That Danny Alexander struggles with appearing to have gone native in the Treasury has been well known in Westminster for a long time. He gets on well with George Osborne on a personal level, and I reported in December that he'd been rebuked for accidentally using the Tory term 'global race'. Today Nick Clegg was asked about some rather amusing quotes by George Osborne's PPS Rob Wilson (who described himself as the Chancellor's 'wingman' in an event with party members last night) that the Deputy Prime Minister himself thinks that Alexander has gone native. The Huffington post has the full report here but here's the key quote:
'I think Nick Clegg complains quite often that Danny Alexander has gone native in the Treasury. I think there is some truth in the fact he has gone native in the Treasury. The relationship is very good within the Treasury team.'
So today at Deputy Prime Minister's Questions, Clegg decided to lay into Wilson for his 'wingman' comments (as Bob Russell shouted that he thought the Chief Secretary might be 'going naked' instead). He said:
'Mr Speaker, I have just seen these quotes from the honourable member, I'm not sure if he's here, who claims that he's extremely close to the Chancellor, knows his mind, that he is the Chancellor's "wingman". Well, he's as good a wingman as Icarus was in flying off on his own wings, judging by his comments. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is doing an outstanding job on behalf of the government and on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Only last week he was saying that further cuts for the very wealthiest in society will happen over his dead. That, and in so many other examples shows that his heart, his Liberal Democrat heart is exactly where it should be.'