Lib Dem 2015 manifesto leak: Nick Clegg influenced by UKIP surge

Nick Clegg speaks as Deputy PM

The documents, photographed in the arms of Ryan Coetzee, the party's key strategy figure, show that the Liberal Democrats are moving to the right.

The documents demonstrate that the party is going to take a tougher stance on the issue of non-English speaking immigrants.

According to the Telegraph, the photographed documents say that all new JSA applicants would have to take English tests and those deemed as ‘poor’ will see cuts to their welfare payments unless they go to English classes.

The documents were photographed by Steve Black and show the party’s shift to the right.

It is clear that such a policy is designed to capture voters disillusioned with the current state of affairs and shifting to UKIP. Both Labour and the Conservatives are also taking tougher lines on immigration in an attempt to see off the emergence of Nigel Farage's party. David Cameron is currently attempting to rewrite immigration rules in the EU as part of his plans to renegotiate the UK’s agreements with the EU.

The move is an attempt to win back UKIP voters. And the leaked Lib Dem documents show a similar change in tactics from Nick Clegg’s party.

However, the Liberal Democrats should not be forcing their energy on attempting to win voters flirting with UKIP. Instead the party should concentrate on attempting to get back some of what was their core vote, before 2010. Whether they can succeed in this is yet to be seen.

Monday’s YouGov poll shows that out of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010, only 14% are going to UKIP. The poll also shows that 28% of 2010 Lib Dem voters now intend to vote Labour. If the party wants to do better in 2015 it should be going after these voters rather than those choosing UKIP.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to do badly in the 2015 general election. It is likely that the party will lose more than half their seats. In this year’s European elections, the party was reduced to merely one MEP.

The leaked manifesto also, according to the Telegraph, shows that the party wishes to reduce to reduce bus pass prices for those under 21. There is also a pledge to balance the budget two years before Labour plans to - in 2018 rather than 2020. They also plan to raise the threshold for income tax up to £12,500 by the end of the next parliament. Such a move would lift all those on the minimum wage out of tax altogether.

The Liberal Democrats are going to suffer in next year’s election. The electorate will punish the party for getting into bed with the Conservatives, for going back on their tuition fees promise, among other things.

The party’s attempts to follow the other main parties in going for UKIP votes will not help them in the long run. Instead the party should go after those who have moved towards Labour. Maybe then, will the party succeed in reclaiming a significant share of the vote.