Accidental E-Mail Shows Clegg Plan to Attack U.K. Tory Partners

An e-mail accidentally sent to journalists by Liberal Democrat headquarters gave new details of U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s plans to woo voters by attacking his Conservative coalition partners.

The e-mail, entitled “Conference Top Lines” and marked “not for forward distribution,” was intended for lawmakers talking to the media today at the party’s annual convention in Glasgow, Scotland. It was instead sent out to reporters attending the conference. Along with answers to potential questions ranging from government borrowing to cider taxation, the memo gave lawmakers lines they could use to attack the opposition Labour Party and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Tories.

“The Conservatives on their own cannot build a fairer society,” the memo instructed Liberal Democrat lawmakers to say. “In government we have blocked Tory plans to allow bosses to fire staff at will, give an inheritance-tax cut to millionaires and let schools be run for profit.”

With the next general election 20 months away, Clegg is seeking to win back voters alienated by his 2010 decision to go into government with the Conservatives and to position his party at an equal distance between the Tories and Ed Miliband’s Labour.

A YouGov Plc poll published today of people who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 found 59 percent saying the party had got worse since then, against 9 percent who said it had got better. YouGov interviewed 1,593 adults Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.

The e-mail told lawmakers to attack Labour by saying the party “cannot be trusted to build a stronger economy.”

While guidance on how to talk about the Tories did not mention Cameron by name, Miliband was singled out as a “weak leader of a divided party that has nothing to say about the big issues of the day.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in Glasgow, Scotland, at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net; Robert Hutton in Glasgow, Scotland, at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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