Peter Hoskin

The yellow bird of liberty stretches its wings

The yellow bird of liberty stretches its wings
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Remember when Nick Clegg said that the coalition was shuffling into a new phase? One where his party would would make their presence, and their differences with the Tories, more acutely felt? Turns out the Lib Dem leader wasn't kidding. Judging by this report of a press briefing he has given in Mexico, the brave new phase is very much in effect.

For starters, Clegg luxuriates in the anti-nuclear hysteria that has arrived in the wake of Fukushima — emphasising not just that our planned nuclear power stations will be more costly and difficult to build now, but also his party's policy that no public money should be used to fund their construction. And then there's what he has to say on the 50p tax, all but confirming that it will be scrapped and replaced by some form of mansion tax. As the article puts it:

"Mr Clegg also spoke out about his mansion tax plan, after a Tory government source told The Daily Telegraph: 'This is not going to happen.' Mr Clegg claimed that Mr Osborne had been explicit in the Budget last week that he would examine ways to make the well-off pay more in taxes, at the same time as he was investigating the scrapping of the 50p rate.

He said that in the Budget the Chancellor 'talks about people paying their fair share and how that affects the tiny, tiny number of people in very expensive properties'.

'George is saying that he will look at that, and he has also said he will look at rolling back from 50p. They are linked in the Chancellor’s speech.'"

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