Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Nick Clegg: Lib Dems are not a 'wonky shopping trolley'

Nick Clegg today denied the Liberal Democrats are lurching to the left, as he applauded his party's decision to privatise the Royal Mail and oppose higher taxes for top earners.

Speaking to me at his monthly press conference, he rejected the suggestion from sacked Lib Dem minister Jeremy Browne that the party risked looking like a "wonky shopping trolley".

"I have to say that at our last party conference my party decided to stick to the tough fiscal approach we have taken rather than lurch to the left", he said.

"We decided to commit to civil nuclear power provided there is no public subsidy, we decided to not turn the clock back and repeat our previous policies on tuition fees and we decided not to revert to the 50p rate of income tax."

"Subsequent to that conference we've had one Liberal Democrat secretary of state deliver privatisation of the Royal Mail, and another one deliver massive Chinese and French investment in new civil nuclear capacity. Anyone who wants to say to me that's the record of a party lurching to the left really has a completely different understanding of shopping trolleys and left and right than most people do in British politics," he added.

He also denied his recent U-turn on free schools was a lurch to the left, saying he was "utterly bemused" that it had been seen in this way.

So where does all this leave his attempts to differentiate the Lib Dems from the Tories? Answers in a shopping trolley...

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