Seven things we learned from Nick Clegg's first newspaper interview since the election

Seven things we learned from Nick Clegg's first newspaper interview since the election

Following five years of coalition, in which he was heavily criticised for going against his word on university tuition fees, Nick Clegg stood down as leader.

Now serving his party from the backbenches, Clegg sat down for his first newspaper interview since the election with the Independent's Andrew Grice this week to discuss his time as deputy prime minister and the current Tory leadership.

Here's what we learned:

1. He thinks David Cameron uses 'hollow double speak'

Talking about the prime minister's pledge to create a "One Nation" government, Clegg said:

The rhetoric at the beginning from David Cameron was good. I held my tongue. But I am afraid the very thin gruel the Prime Minister has announced, and the deeply regressive steps taken by his Chancellor, means it is insecure, hollow double-speak.

2. He thinks all his 'progressive' work in the Coalition is being undone

As Grice explains:

Mr Clegg has drawn up a long charge sheet. He claimed Mr Cameron professed to care about social mobility while scrapping maintenance grants that enabled disadvantaged children to go to university; targeting help with childcare to better off families rather than those who need it most; reducing the incentive to work for people relying on state benefits; ditching child poverty targets; and cutting the schools’ budget and “Pupil Premium”, for children from poor families, in real terms.

3. He thinks Lib Dems suffered for prioritising policy over 'party politics'

And that joining the coalition, not going back on tuition fees, are why they did so badly.

4. He described his party's election performance as a 'massacre'

From 57 MPs to just eight. :(

5. He thinks Labour won't regain power without electoral reform

The party that should be most desperately in favour [of PR] is Labour. In my view, Labour cannot win power again, as long as the SNP dominates Scotland, without electoral reform. Labour has not twigged that yet.

6. He says Lynton Crosby stole his best idea

As Grice explains on the Lib Dems' flagship policy of raising the personal tax allowance:

Initially, Mr Clegg recalled, Mr Osborne demanded Lib Dem concessions in return for 'your policy'. But when Sir Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ Australian election strategist arrived on the scene and realised the tax cuts were popular and fair, the Tories suddenly claimed the policy as their own and wrote the Libs Dems out of the script. “It was not honest,” he said. “But that’s politics.”

7. He has no regrets

I take responsibility for the things that went wrong on my watch. I took the decisions I took – some good, some bad. I tried to make the right judgements for the right motives in the circumstances in which I found myself.

Read the full, exclusive interview here

More: Five brand new things we learned about Jeremy Corbyn

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