Failure to impress with speech could lead to Nick Clegg 'signing his own execution warrant'

Nick Clegg could 'sign his own execution warrant' if he fails to impress the party faithful with his speech at the Liberal Democrat conference today.

Crucial speech: Nick Clegg
Crucial speech: Nick Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister will aim to convince party members that Lib Dem policies and election promises are not being ignored by Tory prominence in the coalition government.

George Pascoe-Watson, partner at Portland, and former political editor at the Sun, said: ‘This is a major moment for the coalition, for Nick Clegg and for the Lib Dems. Get it right and he will strengthen his position and the coalition government. Get the tone and message wrong and he’ll be signing his execution warrant, which would leave the coalition government facing an early election.’

He added: ‘Nick Clegg is right to remind his party they didn’t win the general election. Plain and simple.

‘That’s why they have been unable to adopt their policies in government. He should tell them it’s time to grow up and act like they want to exercise power responsibly.

‘If not, they will be rightly seen as a party of irrelevant individuals who’d rather stand on the sidelines and throw stones at those who are willing to take tough decisions.’

Insight Public Affairs account director Oliver Kendall said: ‘I think Nick Clegg has to tell the conference he is just as Liberal as he was before the election.

‘He’s got to pacify the soft Lib Dem votes, which the polls suggest are moving to Labour.’

The Government is to outline the details of its cuts programme, aimed at reducing the £155bn budget deficit, when it publishes its spending review on 20 October.

Most Whitehall departments have been told to plan for savings of between 25% and 40%.

On Sunday, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said there was a ‘legitimate argument’ to be had over the speed and scope of the cuts.

This followed criticism from Labour that the plans could undermine the economic recovery and damage frontline services, hitting the poor hardest.

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