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Clegg proud of coalition's start

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has declared himself "really proud" of the Government's achievements during its first 100 days in office - as he insisted the coalition was "committed to the long term".

In a speech on social mobility to mark the milestone, Mr Clegg hailed progress on the economy, civil liberties, political reform and changing the shape of public services. He also said the Government was "about much more than cuts" as he set out his vision for a fairer society.

The comments came as a poll suggested Britain's first coalition government in more than half a century is still enjoying a honeymoon 100 days in.

Some 46% of respondents to an ICM survey for the Guardian said the Tory-Liberal Democrat alliance was doing a "good job" of running the country, against 36% who said it was doing a "bad job" - though this 10-point margin is down from a 23-point gap in June.

There was also cautious praise from business leaders, though union bosses spoke out against what they said were ideological cuts that risked tipping the UK back into recession.

Mr Clegg, who is "holding the fort" while Prime Minister David Cameron is on holiday, addressed the differing opinions in his speech.

He said: "The new coalition Government is 100 days old. Inevitably there is plenty of discussion about our performance to date. Everyone will have their own view about the kind of start we have made.

"I am really proud of the achievements so far, from civil liberties, to political reform, to steps to reshaping our public services. And of course, our first budget, which set out our plans to repair the public finances.

"Our critics characterise us as being solely defined by our public spending cuts. So let me be clear: tackling the deficit is our immediate priority. But is it not our be-all and end-all. This Government is about much more than cuts.

"This Government is committed to the long term - to making decisions today that will promote a better future: a more prosperous economy and a fairer society. Our determination to fix the deficit is matched by our determination to create a more socially mobile society."


From Belfast Telegraph