POLITICS
04/12/2013 07:43 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

PMQs: Nick Clegg Defends The Tories, Says They Would Not Have 'Sucked Up' To The Banks

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
PA/PA Wire
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.

Nick Clegg was not in a differentiating mood today. Standing in for David Cameron at prime minister's questions, the Lib Dem leader decided to defend the Conservative Party's pre-election economic policies.

"We have our differences on this side of the House, but the one thing that unites us is we wouldn't have gone on a prawn cocktail charm offensive sucking up to the banks which created the problem in the first place," he said. "No one on this side of the House would have broken the British economy in the first place."

Clegg raised eyebrows by speaking on behalf of both his party and the Tories, given a substantial amount of the funding for the Conservative Party comes from the City.

The message also jars with the pre-crisis comments of George Osborne and David Cameron who both urged the then Labour government to relax regulation on the banking sector - not tighten it.

Clegg added: "We had to pull the economy back from the brink because thats where they left it. They sucked up to the banks."

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, noted Clegg's decision to defend the Tories past economic position. "Isn't he the very best deputy the Conservative prime minister could ever wish for?"

Clegg hit back at Harman: "Without the Liberal Democrats there wouldn't be a recovery." Osborne, sat next to the deputy prime minister, laughed but did not look entirely like he agreed.