Leader of the LibDems Ed Davey MP doesn’t rule out a coalition with Labour, avoiding Sophy Ridge’s question four times:
SR: Well, you haven’t been that clear in answering the question that I posed which is would the Lib Dems go into coalition with Labour?
ED DAVEY: The Liberal Democrats job is to beat Conservatives at the next election. There are one or two seats where we are up against Labour like Sheffield Hallam but the vast majority of seats that we can win at the next election in my judgement are against the Conservatives and I want to focus relentlessly on that. I think the Conservatives have let down our country very, very badly, that’s what Conservative voters are telling us whether it is on the economy, on the health service, on the environment for example. Here is an issue where we are cutting through, Sophy, the outrageous way that the Conservatives have allowed water companies to pump their filthy sewage into our rivers and seas has really, really angered many, many people and it’s been the Liberal Democrats leading on that campaign in Parliament, in the local elections and I am delighted that many parts of the media are now following the issue that Liberal Democrats have first put on that table. That’s the sort of thing where if you vote Liberal Democrat, you are going to get a strong position on the environment.
SR: Okay, I am very clear where you are on the water but I’m still not clear about whether you would enter a coalition with Labour because some would say look, if you really want to make impact on things such as the environment then you have to be in government. Would you enter a coalition with Labour? It’s a really clear question.
ED DAVEY: Yes, and I’m giving you a clear answer. The more Liberal Democrats that get elected … I want people to vote Liberal Democrat both to defeat Conservative MPs and to get Liberal Democrat policies and I have outlined a number of those policies to you today and that’s the job of a political party, surely, is to stand on a set of policies, to stand on a set of values and put them to the electorate and MPs can do that in Parliament.
SR: If you don’t feel able to answer the question about whether you’d enter a coalition, just say look, I’m not going to answer that question because I’m trying to work out if I am supposed to be reading between the lines here or if I just don’t get it. Would you enter a coalition with Labour?
ED DAVEY: Well, it’s quite clear, Sophy, because when I go up and down the country talking to people on the economy, on the health service, on the environment, that’s not what people are asking me, they are asking me how would you deal with those problems.
SR: It’s what I’m asking you.
ED DAVEY: I know you are but what I feel is that Liberal Democrats, and all politicians frankly, should respond to the electorate, make it clear where they stand on those issues and not take voters for granted. In many ways your question is taking voters for granted and I’m not going to do that. I want to make sure that we earn people’s votes over the weeks and months ahead so at the next general election we can get rid of this shocking government who are failing our country and are just so out of touch with people who can’t afford food bills, can’t afford their energy bills and are desperately trying to get that hospital treatment that they need.
We’ll take that as a “yes”.