'Our politics is broken': Lib Dems say Conservatives 'have to go' as Sir Ed Davey launches general election campaign

The Liberal Democrats have said the general election is a chance to "win the change our country so desperately needs," as they kickstarted their campaign.

Speaking at a rally in Cheltenham, party leader Sir Ed Davey said the Conservatives "have to go" as he attacked the government's record on the economy, NHS and sewage pollution.

He also described a vote for the Liberal Democrats in "many parts of the country" as the best way to "get rid" of the incumbent Tory MP.

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"It really is time for change," he told a crowd of activists.

"There's a real chance in this election if people vote Liberal Democrat they will get that change.

"But it's not just a change of government. We need to transform our politics. Our politics is broken.

"If we can transform it, that unlocks the chance to fix our health and care system, to get our economy back on track, to end the scandal of sewage and to get the fair deal that people so, so deserve."

The Lib Dems were launching their first full day of campaigning after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a general election for 4 July.

The marginal constituency of Cheltenham is a key target seat for the party. It's currently held by justice secretary and Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk, who secured a majority of just 981 votes over his Lib Dem opponent at the last election.

The Lib Dems held the seat from 1992 to 2005.

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Sir Ed went on to promise voters a "fair deal" where everyone can have a "decent home that's secure and clean and affordable", as well as a "comfortable retirement when the time comes".

He also offered a fair deal where "every child has a decent school" and where everyone can access "high quality health care".

The Liberal Democrats are targeting constituencies across the West Country following a series of eye-catching by-election wins.

They've also been buoyed after finishing second in last month's local elections in which they seized control of Dorset Council and Somerset Council from the Conservatives.

No deal with Tories

Looking ahead to next month's general election, they are second place to the Tories in 80 seats across the country.

Overall, they are currently polling in fourth place behind Reform UK, according to the Sky News poll tracker.

Earlier, deputy leader Daisy Cooper told Sky News the party "have ruled out doing any deal" with the Tories, but she did not rule out doing a deal with Labour.

"We have ruled out doing any deal whatsoever with this Conservative government because it is quite clear there are lifelong Conservative voters who can no longer stomach voting for this party.

"They simply don't recognise it anymore."