I have rarely seen Nick Clegg enjoy Prime Minister’s Questions as much as he did today. Freed from the tyranny of the binder of answers, Clegg answered the questions in a confident and confrontational manner. The usual jeers from the other side of the House didn’t put him off his stride today.
One thing that was striking was how often Clegg referred to the Lib Dem-inspired coalition move to raise the income tax thresholds. The Liberal Democrat leadership is convinced that this policy is beginning to pay dividends for the party and that they’ll receive the credit for the big increase in April.
Clegg also took the chance to take several jabs at Labour. He declared that you can’t trust Labour on the economy, mocked — to Tory cheers — Ed Balls for denying that there had been a structural deficit and predicted that at the next election voters would remember who had created the mess in the first place.
But the moment when you realised that this really was Clegg’s day was when Peter Bone, that thorn in the Deputy Prime Minister’s side, rose to ask a supportive question about the two parties coming ‘together in the national interest to clear up the mess that Labour have left them’.