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BRIGHTON: Britain’s junior coalition partners, struggling with falling poll ratings, promised voters yesterday that winning a vote for a parliamentary seat was proof it was ready for a comeback.
The coalition, led by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, has been hard on the Liberal Democrats, out of power for generations until its creation following an inconclusive national election in 2010.
Left-leaning voters have abandoned the party, arguing it has betrayed its core values. The breaking of a pledge to abolish university fees compounded the damage, cutting poll ratings by more than half the 22 percent gained in 2010. A sex scandal over a former senior party figure and a court case involving a former minister have also dented its reputation.
A nationwide poll in the Observer newspaper put the Liberal Democrats in fourth place on 8 percent, behind the right-leaning UKIP on 17 percent, Cameron’s Conservatives on 27 percent and opposition Labour on 39 percent. But winning the seat for Eastleigh, southern England, has buoyed the Liberal Democrats.
Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg urged Liberal Democrats to seize the momentum and make their voices heard. “I have spent nearly three years urging you to hold firm ... to remain steady under fire,” Clegg said. “Today I have a different message for you - win. Get back out there. Tell our side of the story. And we will win again.” reuters