Tim Farron, speaking at the Lib Dem conference, made a play to woo Labour voters to switch allegiance to the Liberal Democrats to provide a ‘strong opposition’ to the Tories.
The Lib Dem leader praised some of the policies of the ex-prime minister Tony Blair, saying Labour has ‘left the stage’ under Jeremy Corbyn.
He said his party would raise taxes to save the NHS to ‘give people the care and treatment they deserve’.
Recalling his own experience of battling for a better home for his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s, he called for a merger of the NHS and care service to stop ‘people slipping through the net’.
And Mr Farron also called for a referendum on the Brexit deal the government strikes, so voters can see what leaving the EU would actually mean for Britain.
Making a pitch for moderate Labour voters, he said the Lib Dems were the only party that could stop Theresa May winning a majority at the next election.
He said despite opposing Mr Blair on Iraq he ‘admired’ him for investing in the NHS, new schools and creating a minimum wage.
‘I admire him for those things’ he said before joking: ‘I see Tony Blair the way I see The Stone Roses – I preferred his early work’.