‘Labour will not fall like Lib Dems’

Tánaiste Joan Burton has insisted Labour will not suffer the same fate as the Liberal Democrats in Britain at the next general election, despite her party’s support plummeting since entering Government with Fine Gael.

She made the claim while stopping short of saying a second “pact” is likely with Labour’s coalition partner as both parties have “very distinct policies”.

Speaking at a Labour Party James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill cemetery in Dublin, Ms Burton stressed the electoral climate in Ireland is entirely different to Britain.

She said this is becauseBritain is facing a raft of further cutbacks while Ireland has “left that period behind” and said the first past the post and proportional representative systems mean a comparison is unfair.

In last week’s Westminster elections, the Liberal Democrats saw their 2010 support tumble, with the party losing 49 of its 55 existing seats, resulting in the resignation of its leader Nick Clegg.

However, despite Labour’s support also shrinking since the 2011 general election, the Tánaiste said she does not believe the same situation will happen in this country.

“There’s always an issue when coalitions come to an end, in how the different parties in coalition government fair, and clearly we have to address the issues our voters care about,” she said.

“It’s far too early to talk about anything like that [a voting pact with Fine Gael]. The two parties in Government have very distinct policies. We have achieved a great many of our objectives.”

Meanwhile, Ms Burton dismissed reports that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is coming under pressure from Fine Gael ministers to hold a snap election this autumn.

When asked if an early end to the Coalition is on the cards, she said: “Both parties... have said we want to see the Government go to full term. Obviously in Ireland we have made a decision in principle for Government go its full term. That’s what I expect Government to do.”

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