Liberal Democrat leader rules out a coalition with Conservatives

Asked about the prospect of a coalition with Labour, Sir Ed Davey said that is a "hypothetical question"

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives but did not make the same commitment against a deal with Labour when challenged.

Speaking to BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, he said “almost certainly” the party’s list of target seats at the next general election will now be longer.

Asked if he would consider a coalition with the Conservatives under Rishi Sunak, he said: “No. I’ve spent all my life fighting the Conservatives.”

He said he “fought them every day” previously in coalition under David Cameron, adding: “When I became leader of the party I made it very clear that my job was to get the Conservatives out of government.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Credit: Phil Noble/PA

Asked about the prospect of a coalition with Labour, he said: “That is a hypothetical question because we don’t know what’s going to happen after the next election.”

Put to him that he was ruling out working with the Conservatives but not Labour, said: “The focus is on getting rid of Conservative MPs. I make no apology for that.”

Meanwhile, a senior Labour MP avoided discussing whether the party would go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

It follows analysis of England’s local election results, which showed Labour could fall short of a majority in the House of Commons at the next election.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, challenged on the Sunday political shows, appeared to repeatedly avoid ruling out a deal with the Liberal Democrats.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting. Credit: PA

Asked on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday whether Labour would be prepared to go into coalition with the Lib Dems, Mr Streeting said: “We’re not even entertaining that prospect … I just don’t think that is the scenario that we are going to be in after the next general election.”

He also told Sky: “I think for the next general election Labour feels confident but not complacent.

“I think those results do point to enormous progress made under Keir Starmer’s leadership. He’s changed the Labour Party, now he’s got a hearing to be able to change the country, but there’s more to do.”

Asked on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme about the prospect of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Mr Streeting said: “We’re just not in that ballpark of talking about coalition governments.”

He also told the programme: “We think we can win a majority – people wouldn’t have said that after the last general election – that’s what we’re working towards, that’s what we’re fighting for, and I think people can go confidently to the polls at the next general election knowing that a Labour government is possible and within our grasp.”

He said a Liberal Democrat “recovery” in areas which moved away from that party to the Conservatives in 2015 “isn’t somehow a risk to a Labour majority, it is a path to a Labour majority”.

Put to him that the local election results do not show that Labour can be confident of a majority at the next general election, Mr Streeting said: “Thursday night’s local election results were exactly that – local election results, not a prediction of the next general election.”

He insisted there is more to come from Labour in key policy areas such as education and health.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know