POLITICS

Margaret Thatcher Day Mocked By Nick Clegg

18/09/2013 16:19 BST | Updated 18/11/2013 10:12 GMT

Margaret Thatcher day would have resulted in "the first bank holiday where people would rather go to work", Nick Clegg said during his conference speech.

In a line which won laughs from the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, Mr Clegg wondered how the Tory backbench proposal would have gone down in the Scottish city.

The proposal was one of several measures in an "alternative Queen's Speech" of legislation presented by Conservative backbenchers in the Commons.

Mr Clegg said: "There were some real crackers, honestly, you couldn't make it up. Bringing back the death penalty, the return of national service, privatising the BBC.

nick clegg

Nick Clegg made his keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat conference

"I even got a mention: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Abolition).

"They also, by the way, also wanted to introduce an annual Margaret Thatcher day. I would like to see that on the streets of Glasgow - the first bank holiday where people would rather go to work."

Mr Clegg mocked Conservatives who question the scientific case for man-made climate change, and promised: "Liberal Democrats will keep this Government green."

He joked: "I hear that Tory climate change sceptics have said recently that we should abolish Decc - the Department for Energy and Climate Change. I expect, of course, they first denied that Decc even existed, or if it does then it's probably not man-made."

He also poked fun at Education Secretary Michael Gove's traditionalist approach to schooling.

Mr Clegg said he remembered being at school during the Cold War and his history teacher telling him and his "petrified" classmates that "we probably wouldn't make it until Christmas because there was bound to be a Soviet strike".

"That's the sort of back to basics teaching that I'm not sure even Michael Gove would support," Mr Clegg said.

Mr Clegg also inserted a quip about his critic Lord Oakeshott, who has suggested the Lib Dems should oust the leader before the next election.

After talking about his family life, Mr Clegg said: "I know I won't be in politics forever .... Matthew Oakeshott will be relieved. Just three or four more general elections to go."