James Forsyth

Clegg gets his retaliation in first

Clegg gets his retaliation in first
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Nick Clegg has written to his MPs and party members trying to stiffen their sinews ahead of the Budget. The message is, yes this will be unpleasant, but it’s Labour’s fault—and they shouldn’t be allowed to forget that as they rail against it. It ends with this very David Cameron-esque sign-off, ‘Sorting out Labour’s mess will be difficult but it is the right thing to do.’

Tomorrow, will be the biggest test by far of the Coalition and Lib Dem support for it. Will we see Lib Dem MPs waving their order papers as Osborne sits down, will they have the stomach to cheer such a tough Budget?

Tory MPs get emailed most days, and sometimes several times a day, by the whips reminding them not to sit on the benches reserved for the Lib Dems—the front two rows on the right hand side of the government benches. But one was joking to me earlier that, tomorrow the Lib Dems might prefer to be hidden amongst the Tories. Certainly, the lay-out of the Coalition benches will provide some interesting contrasts tomorrow: I doubt that many Tory order papers will rise when Osborne announces a CGT hike.

One other thing to look out for is how the Labour leadership contenders react to the Budget. Will their own responses amplify the main Labour message or distract from it?

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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