Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit before the election

Nick Clegg now claims that he sold out on deficit reduction before May 6th - despite going into the election committed to a deficit reduction plan closer to Labour than the Conservatives.

Following Mervyn King’s appearance at the Treasury select committee yesterday, in which he distanced himself from Nick Clegg’s claim that it was only after meeting him he had changed his mind on the deficit, the Liberal Democrat leader now claims that he sold out on deficit reduction before May 6th – despite going into the election committed to a deficit reduction plan closer to Labour than the Conservatives.

In the BBC2 documentary ‘Five days that changed Britain’, to be broadcast tonight at 9:00, he tells BBC political editor Nick Robinson:

I changed my mind earlier than that [the Coaltion negotiations] … firstly remember between March and the actual general election … a financial earthquake occurred in on our European doorstep.”

When pressed on why he failed to tell the electorate of his conversion, he says:

“… to be fair we were all … reacting to very, very fast-moving economic events.”

Shadow chief secretary Liam Byrne this afternoon accused Clegg of “simply” misleading voters:

“This shows Nick Clegg simply misled voters. He’d clearly decided before the election that David Cameron was his partner of choice.

On June 6th, Clegg was singing a very different tune in The Observer in an interview with Andrew Ransley, who wrote:

“It is on the economy that the Lib Dems have executed their greatest somersault since the election. Throughout the campaign they castigated the Tories as schoolboy fools for planning immediate spending cuts; now they have fallen in with the plan.

“‘Our view has shifted,’ accepts Clegg. ‘To be fair to us, it shifted because the world around us changed.’ He claims as his alibi ‘the complete belly-up implosion in Greece’, which made it imperative to demonstrate to the markets that the coalition would make an early start on deficit reduction.

“Another influence was ‘a long conversation a day or two after the government was formed’ with Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England. ‘He couldn’t have been more emphatic. He said: “If you don’t do this, then because of the deterioration of market conditions it will be even more painful to do it later.’”

Serious questions now need to be asked: if Clegg had changed his mind before the election on spending cuts, why did he not tell the electorate before polling day? The electorate deserved to know what they were voting for and he did not tell them this. His initial position was along the lines of ‘I changed my mind because of what the Governor told me’, King says he told him nothing and now Clegg claims to have made up his mind long before.

Just as with Forgemasters, however, his explanation may be a long time coming, if ever.

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28 Responses to “Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit before the election”

  1. NewLeftProject

    RT @leftfootfwd: Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit before the election: #ConDemNation #FalseEconomy

  2. Hitchin England

    Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit before the election: #ConDemNation #FalseEconomy via @leftfootfwd

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – This is a totally biased and irrelevant article. So what if he changed his mind before the election – who cares?

    All politicians do it – we now have Labour, the only party in the general election to advocate the AV, now say they are against it. In your world it seems that people are not allowed to change their minds unless they are Labour MP’s.

    Elsewhere on this blog you quote Ed Balls’ comments regarding Michael Gove yet fail to mention for example the response he got from the 5 Live debate.

    Ed Balls represents all that is unattractive about the Labour Party and part of the reason the electorate booted them out. Although you are still gnawing at your knuckles over this Shamik, I really think you should read some of my earlier posts about being positive about Labour instead of these infantile petty articles about your political “enemies”.

    Nick Clegg misled voters? And Lyam Byrne didn’t? Please…

  4. Bangor Uni Labour

    Clegg changed his mind before the election, but didn't tell anyone…?

  5. Mike

    so what was that front page of the Observer (after the election) about

    No return to Thatcher Cuts

  6. Sean

    “I changed my mind earlier than that [the Coaltion negotiations] … firstly remember between March and the actual general election … a financial earthquake occurred in on our European doorstep.”

    he didnt say this in the debate because he didnt want to lose votes

    same with VAT

    Is this the new politics he was speaking about

    we call it LYING

  7. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit before the election: #ConDemNation #FalseEconomy

  8. Jo C

    RT @leftfootfwd: Now Clegg claims he changed mind on deficit <i>before</i> the election Liar liar pants on fire

  9. Mr. Sensible

    What a mess.

    “… to be fair we were all … reacting to very, very fast-moving economic events.”

    What kind of an answer is that?

    Mr Mouse, it is not good if Clegg was saying 1 thing but then at the same time believing completely another.

    And for the umpteenth time, I believe Labour supports AV in principle; it is this bill, with the boundry changes it objects to.

    But, back on this, whether the Observer article is true, or whether Clegg had made his mind up before the election, the fact is, Lib Dem voters have not got what they voted for.

    Like I say, what a mess.

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – Please read your name Mr.Sensible and get a grip.

    If Labour supports AV and they vote against it for some type of childish political reason then they don’t really believe in it.

    “What a mess” . Please get a grip – this is nothing compared to the last bunch with torture allegations, secret deals with the Saudi’s, rendition flights, underfunding our own troops, losing data… I could write pages and pages of the incompetence of Labour’s thirteen years in office and all sourced by evidence and witnessed by Labour Party members.

    This really is nothing and I remember Labour saying they wouldn’t use tuition fees and had legislated against it yet we still have them. .

    Diane Abbott condemns private education and sends her sons to a public school.

    Harriet Harman is deputy leader of the party while they run a Tory Toffs campaign and she is a countess’s niece and her husband Jack Dromey is given a safe Labour seat yet she claims positive discrimination for woman.

    John Prescott, the class warrior is playing croquet. Lisbon Treaty. Jack Straw joins a protest against post office closures in Blackburn and yet votes for their closures in the commons. It never ends.

    If you think this is a mess you have lost it. I watched Nick Robinson’s program last night and I believe he lied in two places but compared to the devastation inflicted on our country by Labour so what?

    Labour supporters have got to rise above these petty stories and get real – this country needs a powerful opposition and these types of articles will just alienate potential voters.

    I’ve been saying it on this blog forever and have been proven right…

  11. Terry

    Mouse you state “Jack Dromey is given a safe Labour seat”


    he won it by a ballot of members

    so was not given as you yet again wrongly suggest

    with your daily Mail Haarriet Hairpserson views

    Mouse your lies are such a bore

  12. Mr. Sensible

    Mouse, Labour doesn’t support voting reform?

    Read this:

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Terry – Sorry, how stupid of me to think that the deputy leader of the LABOUR Party would do what she said:

    “In August 2009 it was revealed that Labour planned to parachute Dromey into a safe seat in the Leyton and Wanstead constituency for the 2010 general election.[12]

    Such a possibility was unpopular with local Labour Party members[13] and doubly controversial given that Dromey’s wife Harriet Harman has long campaigned for such seats to be All-women shortlists.[10]

    The party’s candidates for the constituency were due to be announced in November 2009, though this was delayed for at least two months, with The Daily Telegraph alleging that the announcement was going to be made at the last possible minute so Dromey could be imposed as the candidate using emergency rules.[14]

    It was revealed in January 2010 that the seat would not be subject to an All women shortlist.[15]

    In February 2010, Siôn Simon, Labour MP for Birmingham, Erdington since June 2001, announced his intention to stand down from office at the 2010 general election.

    The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party swiftly announced that Birmingham Erdington would be an open short-list.

    Jack Dromey was confirmed to have made that short-list. It was further confirmed on 27 February 2010, that Dromey was selected as the Labour Party candidate for Birmingham, Erdington.[16] He was elected on 6 May.[1]”

    Now read the paragraphs above Terry and if you are of good character you can publicly apologise for calling me a liar.

    It was a stitch up and as a (previously)lifelong Labour supporter and voter may I say it is attitudes like yours which are essentially dishonest and amongst other things cost Labour the last election by putting ordinary voters off.

    Since you obviously have an interest in politics to be participating in this fine blog, may I suggest you actually take the time to get evidence for your public remarks as I do. That may save you looking so thick when you get it wrong Terry…

    I will say though that despite an excellent education at the same school (the girls not boys) as George Osbourne, our chancellor, anyone who has the user name and password of “Harriet” and “Harman” and complains when they get hacked can’t be that bright.

    Mr.Sensible – Thanks for the link but whatever the excuses (reduction of MP’s) Labour always blames someone else. “The pound in your pocket” / “Worldwide banking crisis” etc.

    No matter what their excuses are, Labour either support and are going to vote for AV or they’re not. And it appears they’re not…

    PS. Did you enjoy my link to Neil Kinnock btw…

  14. Tommy

    ‘No matter what their exuses are, Labour either support and are going to vote for AV or they’re not’. This is willfully stupid. If there were a bill supporting an increase in child benefit which included a restoration of the death penalty, and Labour decided to oppose this bill, presumably that makes them fundamentally opposed to increasing child benefit does it? The critical point is whether the other things included in the bill are serious enough for Labour to vote it down. They’ve concluded (rightly in my view) that they are.

    As for ‘previously lifelong Labour supporter’: when does this date from? You’ve been posting anti-Labour views on here ever since the blog started. Also, if you’re going to be snide about Harriet Harman’s education, then perhaps you should improve your own spelling: it’s ‘Osborne’, not ‘Osbourne’, dear.

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Tommy – Real working class Labour family going back generations (Grandfather was a Union Rep and Labour councillor) but I won’t support deception and underhanded behaviour by whoever commits it. Have you read the Mandelson book?

    Your critical point is not well made and whilst I appreciate it is just to illustrate a position the whole thing is daft – there is no connection between child support and capital punishment.

    Prison and capital punishment would have been better. There is however a direct connection between voting issues and Parliament sizes. You are attempting Strawman on a narrow point in my opinion – typical left wing response to something you disagree with.

    Finally Tommy I am not being snide about Harman’s education just pointing out she has the same schooling as Osborne yet Labour ran Tory Toff campaigns and I don’t like hypocrisy.

    I notice you didn’t comment on her husband being forced on the local Labour Party and regarding the spelling mistake it was a name I have no reason to know the correct spelling of – it’s just a name.

    On the other hand Tommy you have typed “excuses” as “exuses” and I do think you should perhaps improve your own spelling of commonly used nouns,dear.

  16. Terry

    yeah mouse
    you didnt vote labour at the general election
    so what did you vote
    UKIP I suspect

  17. Terry

    Yes your a liar Mouse
    he was elected by the membership of the Labour Party in the consituency
    I know I voted in it

  18. Terry

    The 176 local Labour members voted in a postal ballot with the result due on Friday, February 26 2010


  19. Anon E Mouse

    Terry – So let me get this straight Terry. (I voted Independent btw, not UKIP).

    At the meeting of the NEC to discuss the candidate, Harriet Harman, Dromey’s wife, equalities minister who was promoting the “all woman shortlists” was not there when the decision was made to parachute Dromey in.

    You don’t find that strange at all Terry?

    The NEC has “full delegatory authority to make decisions which cannot be overturned” so the local Labour Party had no right to overturn their decision – your vote was wasted – it’s a stitch up.

    It must be because nobody would be stupid enough to vote for that trade union dinosaur.

    I say you’re being used Terry (unless you’re still at school and pretending to be a grown up) if you voted for him and furthermore I don’t believe you did vote for him – why would you?

    He has nothing to do with the local area and why those people who voted didn’t think it was odd that Simple Simon suddenly resigned yet STILL didn’t vote for Steve Bedser I do not know.

    What worries me is that in the face of all the evidence you still support this useless man and seem to be denying the truth. Next you’ll be telling me there are Weapons Of Mass Destruction in Iraq…

    Try this:

  20. Mike


    Labour supports AV. They don’t support backroom fiddling of the boundaries. The coalition chose of their own free will to combine the two into an all or nothing bill.

    You’re ridiculous Anon E Mouse. If people disagree, they must be lying! After all, how can a person honestly vote for someone that Anon E Mouse doesn’t like? It’s simply inconcievable that not everyone agrees with Anon E Mouse!

  21. Anon E Mouse

    Mike – The coalition is in government and can combine as many parts of a bill as they like – the two are linked and my guess is that people in this country want LESS MP’s – you really will be in a minority if you want more.

    Labour, as with any other bill put before the house, is perfectly capable of modifying and debating the sections of it and voting against them before it is sent to the other place.

    To suggest that this bill is any different from any other bill is dishonest as far as I’m concerned – it is just a bill put to the house, nothing more, nothing less.

    What Labour don’t like is that this government is running rings round them and dismantling their stupid legislation as top speed – on Adam Boulton last Sunday Alan Johnson said the public wanted CCTV and speed camera’s and stuff – talk about out of touch.

    Where did I say if someone disagree’s with me they must be lying? All I said was that it is dishonest to suggest, in the case discussed, that Jack Dromey wasn’t parachuted in – he was. Ask Steve Bedser if you don’t believe me and ask Peter Watt for his opinion of Dromey, a treasurer of Labour who didn’t know about the finances? Yeah right.

    The whole thing stinks Mike and if you believe that supporting dishonest undemocratic practices by the Labour Party will return them to government you are completely wrong.

    I have linked to Kinnock and his best ever speech to a conference and yet not one person on this fine blog has said that they support debate and discussion. Speaks volumes….

  22. Gez


    so me and the 170 members who voted didnt count

    we decided not the NEC between 3 candidates and jack won by a mile

    We voted for Jack beacuse hes a good MP (just because you hate his wife like all Daily mail readers)

    Apology welcome

  23. Anon E Mouse

    Gez – I read The Times in paper form and The Guardian online – never read the Mail and I don’t hate anyone – stop trying to smear me. I don’t like Labour double standards.

    1. After Simple Simon stood down the choice was between three decent Labour local candidates and should have been a woman from the Equalities Minister’s All Women Shortlist but Harman missed the NEC meeting (she wasn’t alone) to discuss it. That’s when the dinosaur, Jack Dromey, was parachuted in. He’d tried to get in a safe Labour seat previously but the local activists stood up to the NEC and should have done here. Shame on you Gez.

    Who was the Equalities Minister promoting the AWS? His wife, the toff, Harriet Harman. That doesn’t seem odd to you?

    2. Jack Dromey did not “win by a mile” – it was supposedly 58% – which is not a mile – not that it was open and transparent, stitch ups rarely are.

    3. There were also four candidates, not three as claim and you say you voted for him “because he’s a good MP” (I corrected your spelling for you there Gez – see your English teacher next time) but that’s my point.

    He WASN’T an MP at that stage – it was a Labour stitch up and everyone knows it.

    Did you actually vote in this ballot or are you simply making things up I wonder? Hmmmmm…

  24. Blank

    Mouse – I play croquet in my parents back garden occasionally, does that make me a ‘toff’? I just mean that you could have chosen a better example of Prescott’s corruption, because in my view the fact that ‘normal’ people play croquet could demonstrate that it is becoming more mainstream instead of purely a pursuit of the rich; sorry for the pedantic rant:).
    On the subject of Nick Clegg misleading the electorate, yes it was wrong, but as Mouse earlier said, a lot of politicians do it. In my view its not a major issue because the Lib Dem’s ‘popularity’ in the leadership debates failed to manifest itself in a larger portion of the votes, for me demonstrating that people were largely indifferent to Clegg anyway. If that is the case, then it was rather undemocratic that Clegg, who failed to gain an election breakthrough, was for a time ‘kingmaker’.

  25. Anon E Mouse

    Blank – Of course not but then he makes claims of being a class warrior and somehow I don’t associate that with his “working class hero” status any more than him going into the House of Lords – with certain people they always look for excuses. Lord Hattersley anyone? It’s hypocrisy and on this blog no one seems to care.

    Regarding Clegg I quite agree with you. He made his pitch and the electorate said no.

    But I do like the way government is being run now – the fear that Labour used to justify the ends has gone. The “What if this happens” lack of confidence and the panic merchant stuff from David Miliband and the “serious” impression given by Labour Ministers with their “We’re getting on with the serious business of government” has gone and I love it.

    To me it is a breath of fresh air to see coalition ministers walking to work instead of getting out of black Jag’s with men with headsets on.

    Watching Nick Robinson’s program last week I was struck by the scene depicting both Cameron and Brown getting out of their respective Jaguars.

    Cameron can clearly be seen thanking the man who opened his door for him and Brown completely ignoring the man who did the same.

    Personally I think that in five years the cuts will be forgotten and the Lib Dems will be able to show the electorate that they are fit to be in government. It will be interesting.

    As for Labour if they don’t elect Diane Abbott, and they won’t, then without a “New Labour” moment they will be out of office for several elections.

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