11/09/2013 18:18 BST | Updated 12/09/2013 13:26 BST

Ed Davey, LibDem Energy Secretary, Compares 'Nudge' Coalition To 'Monty Python Government'

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, addresses the Liberal Democrat Annual Conference in Brighton.

The coalition is like a "Monty Python government" because of its "nudge nudge" energy policies, LibDem energy secretary Ed Davey has said.

Davey made the Monty Python reference as he spoke about how the government wanted to give people greater ability to switch energy suppliers in order to pay the cheapest bills, an example of the "nudge" theory popular with coalition ministers.

According to witnesses, Davey told his audience: "We are nudging people to create positive behaviour change. I sometimes think of it as a Monty Python government, because we believe in nudge nudge policies."

Sources close to the Energy Secretary told HuffPost UK that the remark was not an attack on coalition ministers but a joke that he has previously made before at private events, in reference to the comedy troupe's "Nudge, Nudge" sketch.

"His comment was about the need to nudge people in the right direction to be energy efficient," an audience member told HuffPost UK.

The Energy Secretary was speaking at the "Energy Event" in Birmingham on Wednesday morning.

Davey explained his plans on Tuesday in an article on LibDem Voice, in which he didn't make the Monty Python reference.

"I'm doing everything I can to help people keep their bills down," he wrote.

"I’m very aware just how many people are worried about bills, not least their energy bills. These concerns will only increase over the coming months as the nights draw in, the temperature begins to drop and the ‘on switch’ for the heating is flicked."