U.K.'s Liberal Democrats Rule Out Any Coalition, Observer Says

  • Party prefers to form a strong oppostion, leader Farron says
  • Wants to keep open the possibility of the U.K. staying in EU

The U.K.’s Liberal Democrats won’t be part of any coalition after June’s general election and plans to become the main opposition by attracting voters who want to stay in the European Union, its leader Tim Farron told The Observer.

Farron said while Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour will push for a hard Brexit -- including taking the U.K. out of Europe’s single market -- the Liberal Democrats will offer a “distinct alternative.” That includes a policy that would keep open the possibility of remaining in the bloc, he said.

There will be “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances, Farron said in an interview with the newspaper.

May on Tuesday called for a surprise election on June 8, seeking a personal mandate and parliamentary backing to take her through Brexit talks. In the short election campaign, Britain’s fraught relationship with the EU will be put under scrutiny less than a year since the country voted to leave the bloc. Polls show the Conservatives have a commanding lead over main rival Labour.

The Liberal Democrats formed a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 to create a government. May said in speech last week that the vote will be for either five years of stability under the Conservatives, or a “coalition of chaos” involving Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, according to the Observer.

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