Nick Clegg has appeared to take sole credit for saving the British economy by claiming that he was responsible for preventing a debt crisis similar to that suffered by Greece.
The Liberal Democrat leader made no mention of the Conservatives or David Cameron as he boasted “I’m proud of creating a stable government without which we couldn’t have had an economic recovery now.”
He went on to compare the British economy in 2010, when the Coalition was formed, to that of Greece, and claimed that improvements in people’s lives since then were due to policies “pioneered” by the Liberal Democrats.
In a second interview, he again appeared to take sole credit for the turnaround, saying: “Economic recovery would not have happened without us stepping up to the plate and creating this stable government.”
And he accused Mr Cameron of seeking to “Remorselessly cut, cut, cut public services for ideological reasons way beyond what is necessary.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Clegg said: “If you ask what I am proud of doing: I’ll tell you what I’m proud of doing. I’m proud of creating a stable government without which we wouldn’t have had an economic recovery now:
“Look what can happen, look at Greece. Our deficit and Greece’s deficit were pretty similar in 2010 but look at the huge differences since then.
“Look at the massive expansion in apprenticeships pioneered by the Liberal Democrats since then, look at the huge cash increase for everybody on the state pension because of Steve Webb’s Liberal Democrat reforms on pensioners, look at the way toddlers in schools now get a healthy meal at lunchtime because of what the Liberal Democrats have done and look at the way in which millions of working people in this country have received because of the Liberal Democrat flagship policy of raising the point at which you start paying income tax.
“Those are things we’re very proud of. There are a whole bunch of other things we wanted to do in the future but crucially we don’t want to throw all those things away by either seeing a Labour only or Conservative only government messing it up by lurching right or left.”
Polls open in
Speaking later to Sky News during a visit to the Bristol Engine Shed, a former train station made into a centre for entrepreneurs, Mr Clegg denied he and his party had “run out steam” and faced a wipe out at the polls in May
He went on: “I have been leader of the Liberal Democrats for eight years and in that time I have genuinely lost count of the number of breathless predictions that the end is nigh, that the Liberal Democrats are going to be wiped out.
“Every time we confound our critics and we confound all the vitriol we get from right and left.”
“When people consider the alternative … the dangers of giving the keys to Number 10 to David Cameron in a Conservative only government where they want to remorselessly cut, cut, cut public services for ideological reasons way beyond what is necessary or put the keys to Number 10 into the hands of Labour, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, who don’t really want to deal with the task of balancing the books, actually they think the sensible thing to do is to stick to the course, finish the job, but finish it fairly.
“That is why we say we will cut less than the Conservatives but borrow less than Labour and I actually think that is a sensible-minded, fair, moderate way of doing things and actually what many people across the country want and of course it is now our job between now and May 7 to make our case.