Lib Dems are not 'lurching' to left - Clegg
Nick Clegg has dismissed claims by a sacked Westcountry minister that the Liberal Democrats are poised to lurch to the left.
Liberal Democrat Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne, who is on the right of the party and was hailed as a rising star, last week compared the Lib Dems to a shopping trolley that "left to its own devices defaults to the left and to being the party of protest".
But in a Press conference yesterday, Mr Clegg offered a withering retort – arguing Lib Dem advocacy of the Royal Mail sell-off and nuclear power showed Mr Browne must have a "different understanding" of the difference between left and right.
Without addressing the Somerset MP by name, the Deputy Prime Minister told journalists: "At our last party conference, my party decided to stick to the tough fiscal approach we have taken rather than lurch to the left.
"We decided to change our approach to civil and nuclear power to embrace it rather than shut it out so long as there is no public subsidy.
"We decided not to turn the clock back and repeat our pervious policies on tuition fees. And we decided not to revert to re-instate the 50p income tax rate.
"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 try to say to me that is a record of a party lurching to the left really has quite a different understanding of shopping trolleys, and left and right, than I think most people do in British politics."
Amid the political fall-out over spiralling energy bills and a Government review of "green" levies added to the charge, Mr Clegg indicated his coolness towards subsidising onshore wind farms.
Asked by the Western Morning News whether there were enough onshore wind farms in Britain and subsidy should be ploughed into other renewables, he only championed turbines at sea.
He said: "The emphasis on the wind turbine is on the big offshore wind installations.
"That's where you can put the really big installations, that's where the technology is galloping to produce turbines that are able to produce much, much more energy than the early prototypes of wind energy."