Clegg on Labour: "No time for the backroom boys"

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NICK CLEGG slammed the two Eds from Labour at the Lib Dem conference in Birmingham in his keynote speech today, raging: “this was no time for the backroom boys.”

 

His ravaging attack on Labour’s leader Ed Miliband, and shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, comes as the UK economy continues to dip deeper into a potential double-dip recession.

 

It also echoed a comment from a previous Prime minister, ironically, one Gordon Brown, who told one Labour Party conference when he was PM that: “I’m all in favour of apprenticeships, but this was no time for a novice.” That was an attack on a potential threat to his leadership when he was PM, the former Foreign secretary David Miliband, Ed’s brother, who lost out to Ed in 2010 in the leadership election for Labour..

 

The Deputy PM and Lib Dem leader also told a packed eagle-eared crowd that they should never trust Labour again on the economy, words that might come back to haunt him if the coalition’s plan A on the economy does not bear fruit.

 

He said that if Labour had been in power in May 2010, it would have been a disaster.

 

The speech, low on policy announcements, tried to justify to the rank and file of the Party why it was right for the Lib Dems to be in bed with the Tories, and what they had achieved in their 500 days in coalition.

 

He said that being in coalition was right, “not easy, but right” because it was in the national interest – and the Liberals were always a Party working in the national interest.

 

Clegg gave a warning though, and said that they should forget that they are in opposition now, but move forward as a Party of government.

 

On Labour being funded by Union Barons, or indeed, the Tories and Labour being in the pockets of Media Moguls, he said that why he was proud to be Liberal.

 

“We are in nobody’s pockets,” he said.

 

And added: “We are here to build a new economy. Not just rebuild the old one.”

 

He paid tribute to the Lib Dem Deputy leader Simon Hughes for rolling up his sleeves and getting on with it – despite Hughes not being a fan of joining a coalition.

 

To the Tories, he gave a stark warning about one thing, the Human Rights Act.

 

He said: “It’s here to stay.”

 

Adding: “We will always protect human rights.”

 

One policy announcement he did make was that he would set up two week summer camps for pupils moving between primary and secondary schools, for those who need to catch up.

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