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Tories warn hung parliament will mean IMF bail-out

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 21 April 2010

Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke warns Britain may have to bailed out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if the election provides no overall winner as the prospect of a hung parliament again dominates the election campaign.

Parliament (Credit: Getty)

Mr Clarke made his comments a day ahead of the second televised leaders' debate in Bristol.

The Liberal Democrats have seen their poll ratings soar since last week's debate, which many analysts judged party leader Nick Clegg to have been the winner.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Mr Clarke warned voters about the dangers of a hung parliament.

"I don't think the bond markets will wait for the discussions and horse-trading," he said.

"Sterling will wobble. We have seen even minor flickers in the opinion polls causing problems with interest rates in the recent past.

"If the British don't decide to put in a government with a working majority, and the markets think that we can't tackle our debt and deficit problems, then the IMF will have to do it for us."

Mr Clarke's comments were quickly attacked by his political rivals.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said they were "ridiculous" and "pretty desperate stuff".

Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable said the Conservatives were "scaremongering of the worst kind".

"They're losing the election and starting to panic," he said.

Prime Minister "desperate"
As the party leaders prepared to share the stage for their second televised debate on international affairs tomorrow night, the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launched a scathing attack on the prime minister, accusing him of being "desperate".

It followed claims from Mr Brown there was some common ground on constitutional issues between Labour and the Lib Dems.

I think there is something desperate, frankly, about a Labour Party and their leader Gordon Brown who now try to present themselves as agents of reform and progress when for 13 years they have been a stubborn block to reform and progress," Mr Clegg said.

"Look at their warm words on political reform. If political reform was such a great idea, why on earth didn't they do it for 13 years? They promised a referendum on far-reaching electoral reform in 1997.

Mr Brown shrugged off the attack on a visit to Cardiff: "People can call people what they like. I'm not going to get into this business of personal attacks."

David Cameron was hit by an egg thrown by a student while campaigning in Cornwall.

The Tory leader shrugged off the attack.

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