Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Hague hails Clegg contribution

Nick Clegg won a round of applause at the Tory Party conference as Foreign Secretary William Hague hailed the Liberal Democrat leader's contribution to Government.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg has faced widespread criticism of his decision to renege on a manifesto pledge not to raise tuition fees, but Mr Hague recognised Mr Clegg's personal sacrifice as the Foreign Secretary addressed delegates in Manchester.

He said: "Faced with a necessary but difficult decision over tuition fees, Nick Clegg stuck with it.

"We should always have the generosity of spirit to recognise the contribution he makes to turning this country around."

Signing the coalition agreement in May last year, the Lib Dems secured a referendum on the Alternative Vote system.

But the public overwhelming rejected changing the electoral system.Commentators speculated the smaller party would walk away from the coalition, with voting reform off the cards a generation.

But Mr Hague praised Mr Clegg saying: "He stuck with our agreement all the same."

The acknowledgement sparked applause among delegates, many of them hostile to the decision to go into a coalition.

But the Foreign Secretary insisted it was "vital to form a government in the national interest - even with our long-standing opponents like the Liberal Democrats".

He added: "One and a half years in, our forming of a coalition has been more than vindicated. Yes, it is different from governing on our own, and yes it means we all have some policies we cannot implement. Our distinct identities and beliefs remain."


From Belfast Telegraph