Clegg to Extend Split From Conservatives With Platform Plan

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will today continue the process of disengaging his Liberal Democrat party from its Conservative Party coalition partner, as he sets out how he’ll draw up his program for the 2015 election.

“Over the summer months, leading up to our conference in October, you will hear from us a drum beat of new, bold, liberal plans, that together will make our economy stronger, our society fairer, and enable people across Britain to get on in their lives,” he’ll say at a press conference today in London, according to remarks released by his office.

Clegg is trying to regain support for his party, the junior member of the ruling coalition, after it placed fifth in last month’s European elections and he came under pressure from parts of his own party to resign. Last week, he pledged to “break the taboo” among Conservatives over state support for housebuilding, to reduce Britain’s debt ratio every year the economy expands and to eliminate the structural budget deficit by 2018.

Today he’ll say his party’s manifesto “will not be written with an eye to what Labour or the Conservatives think or might sign up to.” Instead, “it will be written with an eye for what Britain needs. It will be written as an answer to one, simple question: how can we build opportunity for all?”

The focus of the Liberal Democrat manifesto will be education, Clegg will say. Once the public finances are stabilized, it “would be wrong to carry on with austerity as usual.”

Support for the Liberal Democrats in a voter opinion poll fell one point from May to 7 percent, according to a ComRes survey conducted between June 11 and 13 for the Independent on Sunday. Labour’s lead over the Tories narrowed 2 points to the smallest margin in more than two years, placing the opposition at 34 percent, up one point from May, while the Conservatives rose 3 points to 32 percent. Support for the U.K. Independence Party fell 1 point to 18 percent. A margin of error wasn’t given.

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