Johnson woos Lib Dem voters

By Ian Dunt

Alan Johnson has made the first explicit attempt to woo Liberal Democrat voters since the TV debate on Thursday.

The home secretary also raised the prospect of a Labour/Lib Dem coalition, and stressed that it would be a workable status-quo, hinting that figures right at the top of the Labour party are beginning to consider a hung parliament one of the better options available to Labour in the general election.

“I am a supporter of PR and so I believe we have to kill this argument that coalition government is dangerous,” Mr Johnson said in an interview with the Times.

“Leaving this election aside, I don’t have a horror of coalitions. You see what happens in many other progressive countries.”

Asked if a hung parliament would not scare the markets or trigger a reduction in Britain’s credit rating, Mr Johnson poured cold water on the economic suspicions which often accompany the topic.

“I don’t think that’s true, I think we will get what the public want to get,” he said.

“It’s no use trying to frighten them off, it’s patronising. A hung parliament would create a lot of complications but not insurmountable ones.

“It wouldn’t be as good as a Labour government but anything is better than the Tories – except the UK Independence party.”

Mr Johnson went about as far as he could to tell Labour voters to tactically vote Lib Dem in Lib Dem/Tory marginals.

“If you are a Lib Dem in a Tory/Labour marginal you should vote Labour,” he said. When asked who progressive voters should pick in Lib Dem/Tory marginals, the home secretary replied: “I have to say vote Labour. But people can make their own judgments.”

The comments come a week after Gordon Brown suggested to politics.co.uk that voters should do whatever they can do to prevent a Tory government.