28 Dec 2011

Cut it out Danny, say Lib Dem peers

Lib Dem peers are less than pleased with their party’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, one of the most powerful figures in the government.

Readers will recall how immediately after the autumn statement, Alexander was interviewed on BBC Newsnight. To some surprise, he said that the Lib Dems were committed to the government’s programme of spending cuts beyond the next election in 2015.

The latest issue of Liberator, the magazine for Lib Dem activists, reveals that not long afterwards, Alexander had a briefing session with Lib Dems peers, which Lord (Mike) Storey asked him about the Paxman interview.

“I said no,” Alexander told the assembled Liberal Democrats from the upper house. They were left rather puzzled. That’s not how they recalled the interview.

More from Channel 4 News: Cheer up Nick…

So they went away to check the Newsnight broadcast. Sure enough, Paxman had asked Alexander:  “So you going into the next election promising further billions of pounds in cuts in public spending? That is what you are going to say in your manifesto at the next election?”

And the chief secretary’s reply? “I’m afraid so, yes”.

I’m told Lib Dem peers are not pleased with Mr Alexander – first for making the commitment to Paxman, and second for his account of it.

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