By politics.co.uk staff
Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has hit out at the "crypto-Tory" Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, as huge spending cuts in Tuesday's Budget loom.
The shadow energy secretary said in an interview given to the Independent on Sunday newspaper that part of the reason formal coalition talks between the Lib Dems and Labour collapsed so completely was because of their "completely macho position on the question of the deficit".
Mr Clegg and his former chief of staff, the Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander, reportedly signed off Tuesday's Budget with prime minister David Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne on Friday.
Mr Miliband said Lib Dem negotiators had been "completely cavalier" about insisting that action to tackle the deficit needed to be taken immediately and "faster".
"[Clegg] has totally sold out to the Tories - he's revealed himself to be a crypto-Tory," Mr Miliband said.
"This is exactly what happened in the 1980s under Mrs Thatcher, but this time you have a Liberal Democrat party and a Liberal Democrat leadership which is frankly in cahoots with this agenda."
Efforts by new Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes to secure full shadow ministerial posts were partially rebuffed in a parliamentary party meeting last week, but growing disquiet within the party remains a headache for its leadership within the government.
"They will have sold their own party down the river just for the sake of power and I think people will feel very betrayed by that," Mr Miliband added.