Nick Clegg launches AV system offensive at Canary Wharf

LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg ploughed into the campaign for AV with a speech at Canary Wharf.

The Deputy Prime Minister has been written off by Labour leader Ed Miliband to be part of the campaign amid fears he could be an electoral liability.

But Mr Clegg was in the limelight on Saturday morning as he addressed party members and the media at a rally in East Wintergarden.

He made a direct attack on Conservative leader David Cameron, an opponent of the Alternative Vote, and said the party had double standards when it came to voting systems.

“It is common knowledge that David Cameron and I disagree about this,” said the Lib Dem.

“Yet it is a form of AV that the Conservatives used in his leadership election. The Tories also use it to select their candidates. I find it astonishing that the Conservatives say AV is good enough for them but it is not good enough for the rest of the country.”

Mr Clegg emphasised that AV, which will be the subject of a referendum on May 5, will be a key tool in keeping extreme parties such as the BNP from power.

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And he plugged into voters’ anger over last year’s expenses scandal by suggesting the ‘yes’ vote would ensure MPs cannot get away with upsetting their constituents.

“I hope and believe that the British people will have voted for the very British reform of AV. So we have fewer than four weeks left to get our message across: If you want MPs to work harder for your vote, vote yes.

“If you want politicians to listen to whole country, not just swing voters in marginal seats: vote yes. And to put it at its simplest: If you want more duckhouses: vote no. If you want more democracy: vote yes.”