Nick Clegg used to joke that he should include Ken Clarke in any list of senior Liberal Democrats. But Mr Steerpike hears things have moved way beyond that. Ken, who revealed to the Spectator that he was hoping for a coalition even before it was on the cards, is now acting with the Lib Dems on the notorious Home Affairs committee of the Cabinet. This little-known body is supposed to approve all moves the government makes — but it is now being used to allow Cleggy to veto anything he likes. He then holds the policy hostage, the demands a price for its release. So, for example, he’d try to veto the approval of pension reform unless Danny Alexander can announce minority status for Cornwall. And other such drivel.
A Lib Dem plot? Actually, it’s worse. Mr Steerpike is told by a Cabinet source that Ken Clarke has been acting as part of the Lib Dem axis — and helped to veto the plans for automatic sentencing of repeat knife crime offenders. Leaked documents exposed how the LibDems had vetoed the idea, but they were aided and abetted by Yellow Ken.
In today’s Sun, Nick Clegg is interviewed by the newspaper’s cabbie, Grant Davis. ‘Is there any Tory you like?’ he asks. ‘I get on with..look, I sit next to Ken Clarke in the Cabinet. Ken and I get on incredibly well,’ says the DPM.
Yes, Nick, so we gather.