James Forsyth James Forsyth

Why Clegg will get his way on NHS reform

On Andrew Marr this morning, Nick Clegg made clear that changes to the NHS bill are his new priority. He said that there would be ‘substantial’ changes to it and declared that ‘no bill is better than a bad bill.’

I suspect that Clegg will get what he wants on the NHS bill. When I spoke to one senior Clegg ally after the AV vote, I was told that Number 10 is ‘conceding everything to us in that area.’ My source went on to say that because of the Tories’ traditional weakness on the the NHS, the Tories ‘are mortally afraid of a row over the NHS with us on side and them on the other and rightly so.’

The NHS, though, was the only area where Clegg appeared to be setting a new tack. Otherwise, he confined himself to talking about ‘a louder Lib Dem voice’ in government.

PS George Osborne was also on Marr this morning and it would have been intriguing to see Clegg’s face when the Chancellor repeatedly described the No campaign as ‘brilliant.’

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