"Mr Alexander also said he backed 'in principle' the coalition's plan to replace all out-of-work benefits with a single 'universal credit' payment.
He said such a move was 'sensible' but he would be 'scrutinising' the government 'very carefully' over its £2bn start-up costs."
In terms of the eternal game of politics, this leaves Labour arguing the toss over specific benefit cuts and the pace of welfare reform. It may not make for clear-cut dividing lines, but we should welcome Alexander's words today – and especially so if he means them. The more support the universal credit receives, the more progress can be made against poverty and welfare dependency.