Clegg kicks off election campaign

Published: Sunday 29th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Nick Clegg will today set out to woo women voters as he kicks off the Liberal Democrats’ general election campaign.

The Deputy Prime Minister is beginning his battlebus tour in the knife-edge marginal constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon – one of a series of Lib Dem target seats where they are fielding a woman candidate.

Party strategists believe that winning over the female vote will be crucial to their chances of success across a range of key battleground constituencies.

Despite their dire opinion poll ratings, they insist that their own internal polling shows women voters coming over to them in a series of must-win seats.

Their analysis of 18 marginals shows that the number of women who say they are undecided as to which way they will vote on May 7 has fallen from 30.6% in 2014 to 22.6% – a drop of 8%.

Over the same period they say that support for the Lib Dems in those seats has risen from 15.2% to 24.9% – an increase of 9.7%.

They say younger women particularly are attracted by their policy on shared parental leave, while headline plans to prioritise mental health, raise tax thresholds and cut the deficit are popular among women generally.

Mr Clegg will highlight the Lib Dems’ attempts to increase their quota of women MPs, visiting a series of constituencies where they have women candidates in the opening days of the election campaign.

They lost Oxford West and Abingdon – where the candidate is physics teacher Layla Moran – by just 176 votes to the Conservatives at the 2010 general election and are determined to win it back this time around.

Mr Clegg is expected to tell a rally of activists: “For the first time ever, the Liberal Democrats go into this campaign with a record of action in government to be extremely proud of.

“We have provided stability and rescued the economy. And we have made Britain fairer by cutting taxes for working people, helping the poorest children in schools and creating 2 million apprenticeships.

“We have shown that you don’t need to choose between a stronger economy and a fairer society. With Liberal Democrats in government you can have both.”

Party officials said that Mr Clegg’s battlebus has been fitted with a satellite radio transmitter so that he can do interviews and radio phone-ins while he is on the road.

Published: Sunday 29th March 2015 by The News Editor

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