Nick Clegg's New Year Message: Deputy Prime Minister Promises To 'Anchor' Coalition Government

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NICK CLEGG
PA

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg today promised that Liberal Democrats will continue to "anchor" the coalition Government in the political centre ground in 2013.

In a New Year's message to activists, Clegg insisted that he would not allow the Government to "lurch one way or the next".

His comments may be seen as a message to David Cameron that he will not let him embark on a policy shift to the right in response to growing pressure from Conservative backbenchers.

Clegg yesterday used a newspaper interview to warn Tories that the Government should be helping to deal with the "firestorm" in the eurozone, rather than being distracted by talk about a referendum on UK membership of the EU.

Today, he acknowledged that the economic situation remains far from stable - particularly in the single currency area - and that many British families are "still feeling the squeeze".

He promised that the Government will stick to its deficit reduction strategy, but also invest in jobs, cut income tax and help parents with childcare.

"I want you to hear it from me, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, that this coalition Government is not going to lurch one way or the next," said Clegg.

"We will stay the course on the deficit. We will cut income tax bills and help with childcare bills.

"We will invest in boosting jobs and we'll reform welfare to get people into work.

"A stronger economy. A fairer society. Where everyone can get on.

"That's what we're about. That's what I want 2013 to be about."

Clegg said that 2012 had been "lit up" by images of national spirit, from the Olympic triumphs of Mo Farah and Nicola Adams to the rain-drenched Jubilee River Pageant.

And he added: "As for 2013, there will be more great moments, I'm sure. And some big challenges as well.

"Many families are still feeling the squeeze. Look at the world around us and you see continuing economic uncertainty - particularly in our European backyard.

"We are living through fluid, difficult times.

"What I can tell you is that, whatever 2013 throws at us, the Liberal Democrats will continue to anchor this
Coalition in the centre ground.

"And we will hold firm to our key purpose in this Government - the Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy, in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life."