Nick Clegg Attacks 'Swivel-Eyed' Opponents Of Lords Reform

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Nick Clegg has been taking questions from LibDem members | Helen Duffett

Nick Clegg has attacked "swivel-eyed" opponents of House of Lords reform as he attempted to reassure Lib Dem members that the party was having a significant influence over government policy.

Speaking during an online Q&A for party members on Thursday, the Lib Dem leader sought to claim credit for much of the forthcoming legislation outlined in the Queen's Speech.

"I kind of wrote half of it. I wrote a lot of it," he said. "There is a lot of Lib Dem content in the Queen's Speech, some say disproportionately so".

According to party members taking part in the Q&A, Clegg added: "A lot of things Tories proposed didn't make it into the Queen's Speech".

"We've got three years to prove ourselves, we need to hold our heads high in 2015," he reportedly said.

He added: "Hopefully people will see we did things for the right reasons when we set out case out."

Clegg answered members' concerns about proposals to extend government surveillance powers. The move has been criticised by civil liberties groups as "Snooper's Charter".

He defended the proposals, to the outrage of some LibDems, insisting the draft bill will be 'subject to scrutiny by civil liberties groups'.

James Baker
Hearing Clegg present increased surveillance as simply a technological update is making me feel sick

He also hinted that the plans may be subject to change. "We are not going to dump this on you" he told members, "I suspect it will mutate".

"We care passionately about civil liberties ... in a way other parties don't" he added.

Clegg mounted a strong defence of proposals to introduce elected members to the House Of Lords. He declared that the upper chamber is "becoming a standing joke across the democratic world". He said critics of Lords reform were "swivel-eyed".

And he had a bullish message for party members, on how to respond to Labour campaign claims, like suggestions that LibDems will take away free TV licences.

"Just tell Labour they are liars. Because they are!"

Alex Perkins
Nick Clegg says "just tell Labour they are liars. Because they are!"

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