Politics.co.uk Blog

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Clegg in City grovelling shock

Nick Clegg began his speech to the City this morning in an unexpected way: with a "grovelling" apology.

Could it be the Lib Dem leader is finally making up to the bankers after 12 months of sticking it to them at every opportunity?

No - it turned out he was just sorry for being 28 minutes late.

There were some in the room who suggested Clegg was not quite important enough to be worth hanging around for.

But his excuses were well worth the wait.

He didn't bother proclaiming something breezily about matters of state, or privy council, or high-level talks. It was just that he was - how to put it - late.

"Firstly, grovellingly embarrassed apologies," he began. "It took me two hours to get across London... I've been tearing my hair out, not least listening to Ken Clarke and Liam Byrne talk about the deficit."

If the City folk gathered to listen to his wise words had harboured hopes he might switch his banker-bashing tendencies to something more muted, they were destined to be disappointed, however.

Clegg compared Britain to Iceland, backed a ten per cent levy on banks' profits and said "balance" needed to be restored to reduce the influence of the City's "vested interests". He certainly wasn't sorry about that.

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