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We cannot have strong economy and hard Brexit, Nick Clegg to warn

Nick Clegg is to use his first election campaign speech to warn of the "economic harm" that consumers will suffer from a hard Brexit.

The former deputy prime minister will accuse the Conservatives of "hurting the very people who need most help" as the typical household will be £500 worse off this year than in 2016, according to analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to put Brexit at the heart of their election campaign and pledged to fight for a public vote on Britain's final deal with Europe.

It comes amid reports that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Prime Minister Theresa May was from a "different galaxy" on Brexit.

Speaking at an event in London, Mr Clegg is expected to say: "My argument today is simple: Our country cannot thrive without a strong economy.

"We can't have a strong economy and a hard Brexit.

"Theresa May alone is responsible for pursuing this course.

"It is already hurting the very people who need most help in society.

"So the question in this election is this: Who will hold Theresa May accountable for the economic harm she will inflict on Britain?

"Judging by the reports of last week's lunch between Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister, the Conservatives are once again proving to be as incompetent in doing the right thing for the country as they are ruthless in chasing votes.

"The economic damage is already being felt by the people who the Tories have always cared about least: the poor, the insecure and the vulnerable.

"If Theresa May really cared about the Just About Managing, the very last thing she should do is impose a hard Brexit on them."

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