Constitutional reforms, it turns out, are much easier to defend than emergency Budgets.
By Alex Stevenson
While George Osborne was sweating before the Commons' Treasury committee, Nick Clegg was enjoying a much easier ride in front of the political and constitutional reform committee.
The deputy prime minister, by way of a warm-up for his 'away day' crisis talks with Liberal Democrat malcontents later, had deigned to pop in to the Commons to receive a light grilling. In the end he was barely toasted, establishing the upper hand by congratulating the select committee members for their election.
He was patronising to Tristram Hunt, the most swashbuckling historian to have ever graced a library, when it came to the 1832 Great Reform Act. Hunt wanted to know whether Clegg's reforms were purely "utilitarian" or whether they need "some more poetry".
"Any reform programme can do with a bit more poetry," Clegg said condescendingly. "It is a mixture of idealism and pragmatism." Like mostRead More »from Clegg as patronising as Osborne was defensive