Pundemonium! Energy Secretary Ed Davey delivers cringe-inducing gag-filled speech to Lib Dem conference

He concluded the speech, in which he referred to himself as "fracking responsible", by extending an open hand to Labour on climate policy

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Indy Politics

Energy Secretary Ed Davey today took his position in an illustrious club - politicians who can't tell jokes.

Speaking  to the Lib Dem party conference in Glasgow today, Mr Davey delivered a series of flat one-liners and tired puns which were met with groans and feeble laughter.

Employing possibly the most over-used double entendre of recent years, Davey said he was "fracking responsible" for putting an end to the "hyperbole" surrounding controversial shale gas exploration.

Perhaps trying to invoke the disarming charm of Boris Johnson's naff gags, he went on.

"Liberal Democrats, our fights to green this Government haven't just faced opposition from the badgering of Owen Paterson or the pickling of Eric. No. We have had to face the ultimate test - the charm of Michael Gove. Mr Gove and his draft curriculum for geography. Strong on European continental drift. Weak on climate change."

The only laughs of the day came when Mr Davey joked that the Conservative Party had been "lovebombing UKIP". Spinning the jibe a literary angle, he suggested that Tory backbenchers were guilty of "fantasising" about with Nigel Farage, adding: "They long to be Sancho Panza, to the UKIP Don Quixote."

This tickled the fancy of the more high-minded delegates, who 'got' the reference to Panza, a peasant who followed Don Quixote around devotedly. Before exiting the stage, he steered the speech into more serious territory, making an offer to the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband to join the Liberal Democrats in the fight against climate change.

He said: "Given his track record, surely he would want to improve Labour's act on climate change? So today I'm giving him the chance."

Addressing Mr Miliband directly, he said: "Ed, I'm inviting you to share in my advanced planning and strategy for the critical global conference on climate change in December 2015 - that's after the next election. For the next Government - whichever parties are in it - will need to hit the ground running to fight for the greenest deal for the planet."