24 Mar 2011

Nick Clegg: does he always agree with Dave?

It was supposed to be all about promoting the Budget plans for economic growth. Twenty-one Enterprise Zones are being set up in unemployment hotspots and David Cameron and Nick Clegg were at the Boots HQ in Nottingham to celebrate one of the first of them being set up right next door.

Then at the end of a question and answer session with Boots employees, the PM and the DPM were asked about where we’d all be in 2015.

David Cameron said in a jokey closing remark that they’d probably be having election TV leaders’ debates and that this time it might be “a bit better natured between the two of us.”

The two men then take the applause and walk off the stage … BUT Nick Clegg forgets he has his microphone on and says to David Cameron as they leave the room: “If we keep doing this we won’t find anything to bloody disagree on in the bloody TV debates.”

David Cameron laughs then Nick Clegg looks down at lapel realising, a la Gordon Brown and “bigot-gate,” that he’s forgotten to take the mike off.

His press chief, Lena Pietsch, gives an anxious sideways look to Ed Lewellyn, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

Back on the Budget, something in the OBR report (p27, para 2.39) which might take a bit of the smile of Nick Clegg’s face.

It’s sounded very much from recent statements that the government has pretty well decided that it will get the personal allowance up to £10,000 in this parliament.The OBR obviously thought they’d heard something like that and checked with the Treasury.

This is how they report the reply: “The Treasury has confirmed that … no commitment has been made regarding the progress to be achieved over our forecast horizon.”

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