Lord Heseltine tells voters to back the Lib Dems or independent Tories at general election

Lord Heseltine delivers a speech on Brexit and the electiom. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Lord Heseltine delivers a speech on Brexit and the electiom. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine is urging people to vote either Lib Dem or ex-Tory MPs standing as independents in the general election.

At a Lib Dem press conference in central London Heseltine made an impassioned case for Britain's place in Europe, and of immigration to the UK.

He lambasted the Tory party's campaign and said: "They don't tell you the truth, either, about the regulations that they want to get rid of.

"They don't tell you the truth about the immigration that they need in order to sustain the livelihood and civil life and happiness for everyone in our country.

"None of these things. They simply pander to the language and emotions that underline human prejudice across the world.

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"In America, it's the Mexicans and the wall. But in Europe, it is the foreigner and Brussels.

"Be warned about the message and the messengers who portray this insidious injection into the body politic of British democracy."

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He added: "There is one thing on which I profoundly agree with Boris Johnson. This is the overarchingly most important election of modern times.

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"Because we are talking in this election not just about our prosperity and our living standards, we're talking about the sort of people we want to be, the sort of people we believe we are.

"The sort of society we want to bequeath for the younger generation.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has welcomed Lord Heseltine's backing for her party as she branded prime minister Boris Johnson "extreme".

Swinson said: "Michael Heseltine is a hugely respected Conservative former cabinet minister, and I think it kind of says a huge amount about where the current Conservative Party is under Boris Johnson with their deal with Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

"That people like Michael Heseltine are recommending that you should vote Liberal Democrat, I mean that tells you how extreme Boris Johnson has become.

"He is proposing a hard, hard Brexit that will make Nigel Farage happy.

"That's not going to be good for our country."

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