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Tories angry over majority 'lie'

Published 04/05/2015

The Conservatives said it was untrue that David Cameron admitted he could not win a majority
The Conservatives said it was untrue that David Cameron admitted he could not win a majority

Conservatives have reacted with fury to Liberal Democrat claims that David Cameron has admitted privately that he cannot win a majority at the General Election on Thursday.

Lib Dem peer Lord Scriven has said the Prime Minister told Nick Clegg in private that the Tories would not get an overall majority.

Conservative aides said the claim was "100% untrue" and "complete nonsense" and showed that the Lib Dem campaign was in a state of panic.

Writing on his Twitter feed, Lord Scriven said: "So Cameron has taken to lying on Tory majority. Nick Clegg told me that Cameron privately admitted to him that the Tories won't win a majority."

A Conservative spokesman said: "This is 100%, definitely not true. The Prime Minister has repeatedly made clear we only need to win 23 seats to get a majority and he is totally focused on winning that majority."

A senior Lib Dem source said the party would not comment on private conversations, but added: "Nick is a close confidant of Paul. I don't think he would make this stuff up."

Lord Scriven is a former leader of the city council in Sheffield, where the Lib Dem leader has his parliamentary constituency, and has been acting as the party's campaign spokesman during the election.

Appearing on BBC News's Victoria Derbyshire programme, Lord Scriven said Mr Clegg had told him of Mr Cameron's view shortly before Parliament was dissolved in March for the General Election.

He said he had decided to speak out after reading a report in the Daily Telegraph that the Tories were targeting a series of Lib Dem-held marginals which they believed held the key to a Conservative victory.

The paper quoted Mr Cameron warning that a vote for the Lib Dems could let in a Labour government.

"If David Cameron is going to lie when he knows in his heart of hearts his private polls are showing that the British people are likely to give no party an overall majority, then so be it," Lord Scriven said.

"I don't take back anything I said in the tweet. People are not stupid. The opinion polls show what's happening, the private opinion polls show what is happening.

"When I read what's on the front page of the Daily Telegraph, that David Cameron is not telling the truth to try to scare people to vote, then I think that his private feelings do need to be made clear."

Asked about Lord Scriven's claims during a campaign visit to the marginal Hastings and Rye constituency, Mr Cameron said: "I think Nick Clegg is increasingly desperate because he knows the truth, which is there is an inescapable choice.

"On Thursday people have to choose - would they like me to continue as Prime Minister or do they want Ed Miliband and the SNP, the only other available option?

"My message is if you vote Lib Dem you are in danger of ending up with Ed Miliband, if you vote Ukip you are in danger of ending up with Ed Miliband.

"It's only by voting Conservative you can guarantee that I'll continue as Prime Minister, George Osborne will be back at his desk working on that long-term economic plan.

"And we will continue with the growth and the jobs and the investment like here in Hastings."

Campaigning in Twickenham, Mr Clegg refused to be drawn directly on what Mr Cameron had told him but said Tory claims they could win an overall majority were a "big, fat fib".

He told Sky News: "It is not for me to comment on private conversations or tweets from Paul Scriven. But - how can I put it - I've never met a senior Conservative ever who will tell you privately that they think they're going to win this election.

"I wish I could reveal some of these private conversations, because of the difference between what the Conservatives say privately and what they are claiming publicly is quite a gulf.

"They' re now basically communicating a big, fat fib that they are going to win a majority. They are not. They need 323 seats, they are not going to get 323 seats. Everybody knows that."

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