Lib Dems focused on taking Conservative seats, Daisy Cooper says

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said the party has focused on taking Conservative seats in the General Election rather than competing with Labour.

She told the PA news agency that the Conservatives have “taken a wrecking ball to standards in public life”.

She said: “We’ve always said that our target is to remove as many Conservative MPs as possible. We are in second place to the Conservatives in around 80 seats around the country, and we’ve had to target our resources in those areas.”

She would not be drawn on what number of new seats would be considered a success, saying that “every single extra Liberal Democrat MP” will be a voice to campaign for the NHS, social services and the raw sewage crisis.

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper (Will Durrant/PA)

An MRP poll today has forecast the Lib Dems could get 52 seats and 13.5% of the vote share.

Only 11 Lib Dems were elected in 2019.

The party has staged a series of stunts to draw attention after the decline in support following its coalition years with the Tories.

Party leader Sir Ed Davey’s campaigning has included a bungee jump, Zumba class, a roller-coaster ride and various watersports – often involving him falling into the water.

Ms Cooper said: “The fact is that every single stunt we do comes with a very serious message. So when Ed was falling off the paddle board, he was highlighting our pledge to put an end to the raw sewage dumping scandal.

“When he was at a water park in half-term, he was talking about our pledge to put a mental health expert into every primary and secondary school.

“So every time there’s a stunt, there’s also a very serious message. And whilst we don’t take ourselves very seriously, we do take our politics very seriously.”

She said stunts knocking down blue dominoes and blue bricks were an effort to “hammer home” the message that the Lib Dems are seeking to oust Tories.

She added: “There were some really difficult decisions that the Liberal Democrats had to take during coalition, and we were punished, and that’s democracy.

“But I think people will now be looking at the Conservative Party, and they will see what the Conservatives do when they are in power on their own, and when people go to the polls tomorrow, they will be very acutely conscious that our NHS is on its knees, that families have been abandoned and left to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and our local environment simply isn’t safe in Conservative hands.”

“I think the Conservatives have taken a wrecking ball to standards in public life, and people are just sick to the back teeth of sleaze and scandals. And when people go to vote tomorrow, I think that’s what they’ll have at the forefront of their minds,” she said.