Danny Alexander hits back at Jeremy Browne's criticism of the Lib Dem leadership


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Indy Politics

Danny Alexander, the Treasury minister, has hit back at scathing criticism of Nick Clegg’s strategy by the Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne.

In an article for The Independent, Mr Alexander dismissed Mr Browne’s claim that Mr Clegg had left the Lib Dems in “no-man’s land” by positioning the party halfway between the Conservatives and Labour.

The Treasury Chief Secretary insisted: “Far from being in no-man's land, our party stands proud of its record of economic competence during these difficult years. And such has been the influence and importance of our flagship policies on the personal [tax] allowance and apprenticeships that we see our coalition partners routinely attempt to claim credit for them.”

Mr Alexander added: “This is not ‘splitting the difference’ between the other parties. It’s doing things in a distinctly different way, the liberal way.”

Clegg allies also took a swipe at the former Home Office minister, whose criticism came in an interview with The Independent. A senior Lib Dem source said: "Jeremy knows deep down that with the Tories lurching right and Labour veering left, a liberal voice and party is needed in government now more than ever. Ours is a radical programme of providing opportunity for everyone that cannot be delivered by Labour or the Tories."

Caron Lindsay, a Lib Dem activist, agreed with some of Mr Browne’s criticisms. Writing on the Lib Dem Voice website, she said: “I’ve often said that we need to be passionate about who we are and not define ourselves by who we are not so that we’re just pushing ourselves as moderating influence on the other parties.”

But she rejected his claim that this made the party more conservative than the Tories or Labour. She added: “While he’s leaving Parliament behind him, he’s not going quietly or in a manner that’s helpful to the party.”