Clegg ‘third most influential right-winger’

Ian Dunt

Nick Clegg’s attempts to convince his party that cooperation on deficit reduction is in line with liberal philosophy took a beating today when he was made the third most influential right-winger in the country.

The Daily Telegraph list put David Cameron in the top spot and George Osborne in second place.

But Mr Clegg beat Margaret Thatcher, William Hague and Lord Ashcroft to take his place among the leading figures of the British right.

“Some may question the inclusion of the leader of the Liberal Democrats in a list of influential people on the right,” the paper wrote.

“But Clegg has proved in the last six months that he really does belong on this list. His recognition of the need to cut the deficit and do it quickly is one reason. His clear influence over David Cameron is the other.”

The news will do little to help Mr Clegg improve his reputation among Liberal Democrat members who are wary of coalition plans to radically reduce the deficit in the lifetime of this parliament.

Mr Clegg has put in serious effort trying to convince supporters that deficit reduction is a prerequisite for progressive policies, but party strategists will be bracing themselves for a disastrous local election campaign next year once the spending cuts bite.