Lib Dems surge to top

Opinion poll has Nick Clegg-led party ahead in UK race

Lib Dems surge to top

The ‘IT’ man: Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg. AP

The centrist Lib Dems and their multilingual leader Nick Clegg face increased scrutiny this week as Labour and the Conservatives seek to bring them down to earth.

A YouGov poll in the Sun newspaper gave the Lib Dems 33 per cent of the vote, one point ahead of the Conservatives, with Labour, in power for 13 years, trailing on 26 per cent.
Under the quirks of Britain’s first-past-the-post election system, that would make the Conservatives the biggest party in the 650-seat parliament and give the Liberal Democrats about 130 seats — almost double the number they have now.

That could allow the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition with either of the other parties. Markets fear a so-called hung parliament because they believe it would jeopardise efforts to curb a budget deficit running at in excess of 11 per cent of GDP.

Sterling fell sharply on Monday on concerns that the May 6 election would leave no party with an overall majority.

‘I want to be PM’
Clegg, 43, who has been transformed from a virtual unknown to a rising star after his performance in the first TV debate, set his sights high. “I want to be the next prime minister,” he told a news conference.

The Lib Dems appear to have struck a chord with voters disillusioned with politicians after a scandal over MPs’ expenses which has hit the two biggest parties hardest.
Clegg, Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron will face off in another live televised debate on Thursday.

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