Keen for Coverage Clegg is back: MPs scandalously haven’t reformed the House of Commons before their holidays.
His attack on his Commons colleagues coincides with a big push from his press team. First, an interview in The Independent about the need for fiscal restraint and how the Lib Dems are cutting down their manifesto. Then, a new website that shows their 3 policy priorities at the next election. Both position the Lib Dems further to the right as public opinion shifts towards a desire for public spending restraint.
But the MPs’ expenses issue rings hollow. The piece tends towards partisanship (‘with one eye on the end of the parliamentary session, Labour and the Conservatives have played for time. Only the Liberal Democrats have remained outspoken in support of reform.’) This issue hasn’t been about political parties but individual MPs – all the parties have been embarrassed. For example, who can forget Mr Clegg’s own claims for his garden (over £1,000 of public money, since you ask)?
Mr Clegg was successful in campaigning for the Gurkhas because he saw the need, as a third party, to work with MPs of other parties and to find common ground. Here, he is alienating both parties for political gains at a time when the leadership of the big three are keen to bring about reform (or at least be seen to).
Of course, with a tight by-election campaign this week, perhaps he’s right to position himself alongside an outraged public. We’ll see.