Clegg: Govt split over benefits

The Deputy Prime Minister has used the of removing benefits for better-off OAPs as one of the differences between his party and David Cameron's Conservatives. But Nick Clegg said he will stick to the Coalition Agreement until the 2015 election.

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Labour: Clegg is trying to distance himself from Govt record

Commenting on Nick Clegg’s speech today, Labour's Deputy Leader Harriet Harman said:

Nick Clegg will try every trick in the book to distance himself from the record of his government.But as ever, with the Lib Dems, they say one thing whilst doing another -resulting in a record of economic failure, trebled tuition fees, nurses cut, police axed and millions paying more while millionaires get a tax cut.

Bearing this in mind, what we really should be hearing from Nick Clegg today is a proper apology and a declaration that from now on he will actually stick by the promises he makes.

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Clegg: 'Britain should be governed from the centre'

In a speech at the Commonwealth Club this morning, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said Britain should be governed from the centre ground.

He said: "What I want to set out is a case for why Britain should be governed from the centre ground. A case for both a stronger economy and a fairer society, because we can have both – they are not mutually exclusive.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Credit: ITV News Pool

"Serious parties know that that the centre ground is the only place from which Britain can be governed...

"But in times of economic distress, when people and parties are under pressure, when there are no easy answers, no silver bullets, only tough choices – at times like these, politics quickly becomes polarised as the homing instincts of ideologues to the right and the left kick in."

Lib Dems to dispel myth over 'scroungers'

Nick Clegg is due to make his speech on welfare reform this morning Credit: Press Association

Nick Clegg's speech will contrast with that of the Chancellor's. George Osborne said the Government should be there for the "strivers" and not "shirkers". But the Deputy Prime Minister will accept that not everyone who cannot find a job is simply being lazy:

"Of course, there are some on the right who believe that no-one could possibly be out of work unless they're a scrounger... The siren voices of the Tory right who peddle this myth could have pulled a majority Conservative government in the direction of draconian welfare cuts."

Welfare reforms 'not forced' onto Lib Dems

Nick Clegg will emphasise today that welfare reforms have not been forced on to his party by the Conservatives:

It was in our manifesto and on our agenda right from the start. The Liberal Democrats are now the party of welfare reform - sensible, centre ground welfare reform. I want us to keep at the front of our minds the idea that a liberal state is an enabling state. Some conditions are so common that we simply cannot write sufferers off and pay them to stay at home.

It is time for politicians and the benefits system to recognise that people with health conditions have just as much potential as everyone else if only they are given the help they need to get on.

Clegg: Governing in difficult times gives party 'harder edge'

  • In his address today Nick Clegg will acknowledge that governing in difficult times meant his party had acquired a "harder edge"
  • But the Deputy Prime Minister will add that the alternative is "a retreat to the comfort and relative irrelevance of opposition"
  • With the welfare system they inherited from the former Labour government Mr Clegg will say the coalition had no choice but to carry through major changes because it was both "badly designed and financially unaffordable".

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Clegg key welfare speech as Lib Dems slide in polls

Nick Clegg will mount a vigorous defence of the coalition's welfare reforms today on the eve of the fifth anniversary of his election as party leader. His speech comes at a difficult moment for the Lib Dems with polls showing them slumping to fourth place behind the UK Independence Party.

The Deputy Prime Minister will highlight differences between the Lib Dems and Conservatives Credit: Press Association

The Deputy Prime Minister will insist the Government has an "absolute duty" to ensure the system is fair to all. Mr Clegg will acknowledge the changes have, at times, been "painful and controversial".

But he will add that without reform, there is a risk of a "total collapse" in public support for the whole principle of welfare.

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