Defiant Clegg prepares to get tough on Tories

Kate McCann
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LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg will kick off his party conference in Glasgow tomorrow with a defiant message to the Conservatives, who stole his thunder with a pledge to increase the tax-free personal allowance if elected in 2015.

Clegg will focus on his party’s offer of opportunity for all, but will refuse to rule out increasing taxes to pay for his policies. The Deputy Prime Minister is said to “vehemently disagree” with David Cameron’s pledge to cut spending by reducing the welfare bill. Instead, he will pitch his party as fiscally responsible while playing up the fact that 75 per cent of Lib Dem manifesto pledges from 2010 had been fulfilled in this parliament.

A senior party source yesterday admitted that going last in the party conference cycle did make things more challenging for the Lib Dems, who typically go first. However, the source added: “This gives us the opportunity to have the last word which we’ve never had before, and to take on the Tories for stealing a policy that both Nick Clegg and Danny Alexan­der have fought hard for throughout this govern­ment – increases in the personal allowance.”

Clegg will deliver his speech, which he is writing himself, on Wednesday.