‘We deliver the most ambitious change’: Ed Davey vows to pressure a Labor government into radical action | Ed Davey

tThe Liberal Democrats will pressure a Labor government to adopt more radical policies on tax, welfare and Britain’s approach to the EU, Ed Davey has said, amid growing expectations that his party is on track to play a role much more important in the next parliament.

In an interview with ObserverThe Liberal Democrat leader said his party’s focus remained on unseating Conservative MPs through a tactical voting campaign which he said could be the most successful ever seen.

However, with the Liberal Democrats rising in the polls and a cautious Labor Party maintaining a double-digit lead, he said his party would use the next parliament to continue fighting for a higher capital gains tax to pay for the NHS, a new youth mobility. agreement with Europe and the end of the two-child benefit limit, all of which Keir Starmer has rejected.

“We are a progressive and liberal party and we believe in investing in public services,” Davey said. “We believe in making taxes fairer and we believe in truly transformative environmental action. I think people who want to see that level of change in our country can vote Lib Dem knowing that we will have plenty of Lib Dem MPs in the next parliament standing up for that.

“Frankly, if you want change, I think we are offering the most ambitious change. “I even have Labor people saying they are really Labour, but they hope we get a lot of Liberal Democrat MPs on board because they can hold the Labor Party to account.”

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Despite some cooperation with the Labor Party on tactical voting, Ed Davey intends to challenge Keir Starmer on policy if Labor wins power. Photograph: Richard Pohle/The Times/PA

Comes with the latest Opinium survey for the Observer which shows that the Liberal Democrats have increased their vote share to 12%, while Labor has lost two points with 40% of the vote. Despite informal cooperation with Labour, which has seen the parties stay away from seats where the other is the Conservatives’ strongest rival, Davey said his party would pressure a Labor government to take more radical measures once in the power.

“I have opposed a Labor government before and I have seen us win the debate on many occasions,” he said. “That was fantastic for a more just society. Our manifesto is a program that we want to present in the next parliament. We will campaign on it, vote for it and develop it. If you’re winning the argument, you can press the dial.

“On things like our relationship with Europe, the Liberal Democrats are passionately pro-European. It has been a tragedy that we have seen conservatives poison that relationship with our closest friends and allies. Are we going to campaign for a better trade deal with Europe? Yes. Are we going to campaign to allow young people to move around Europe with an agreement on youth mobility? Yes, we are.”

Some projections put the Liberal Democrats on track to triple their current number of 15 MPs, helped in part by voter support to unseat the Conservative incumbent. The bleaker recent Conservative projections even narrowly place the Lib Dems as the official opposition. However, Davey said it would be a “historic mistake” to underestimate the Conservatives, despite some high-profile setbacks during their campaign.

“I just think people who want real change should be cautious about polls,” Davey said. “The conservatives are not going to give up. They have more money than any other party. They are going to spend it in recent weeks on attack ads on social networks. Get prepared. I remember 2017, when everyone thought Theresa May was going to win a landslide. I thought she was going to have a landslide victory. She did not expect to be re-elected in 2017. The Liberal Democrats are certainly not going to take voters for granted.”

Ed Davey separates himself from a paddleboard in one of a series of stunts that have raised the profile of the Lib Dems during the election campaign. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Other senior party figures are concerned that the Tories’ warnings of a “supermajority” for Labor are aimed at winning back precisely the kind of reluctant Tory voters the Lib Dems had been trying to win over in southern seats, as well as those from the south. -West. Davey said he believed his tactical vote request was having an effect.

“We’re seeing tactical voting on a scale I can never remember, not even in 1997 and 2001,” he said. “We’re seeing it on the blue wall in the Home Counties, we’re seeing it in the West Country. It’s been phenomenal. This is very much an ABC election: anyone but the conservatives. The fact that we are the ones who beat the Conservatives in so many seats, I am really grateful for the people who are thinking about the Labor Party, thinking about voting Green, (and) realizing that if they do that they will let in the Conservatives. “It has a huge potential effect on the outcome.”

Davey has enjoyed a successful campaign, combining political ads with increasingly bizarre stunts. This weekend he announces a plan to reduce cancer waiting times with a major expansion of radiotherapy treatment, part of his party’s pledge to see urgent patients on cancer treatment within 62 days. It is funded by a review of both capital gains tax and tax breaks for banks worth £9bn.

“I lost my father to cancer and my mother to cancer, so it’s been a big part of my life,” Davey said. “Surely we should have the ambition to have one of the best survival rates in the world. We have some of the best scientists, we just have to prioritize them.”

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