Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Saturday, 19 September 2009 13:50 UK

Clegg rounds on 'phoney' Tories

By Brian Wheeler
Political reporter, BBC News, Lib Dem conference

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg will claim only his party can deliver change

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has turned his fire on the Conservatives by labelling them "fake" and "phoney".

Arriving in Bournemouth for the start of his party's annual conference, Mr Clegg said: "People up and down the country are crying out for change.

"So the choice before people is the choice between fake, phoney change from David Cameron's Conservatives, and real change the Liberal Democrats offer."

Earlier the Lib Dem leader warned of the need for "savage" spending cuts.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "In some cases we will be quite bold, or even savage, on current spending, to retain spending where you need it.

"It has got to be austerity for a social purpose."

The Tories simply believe it's their turn
Nick Clegg

In a rally on Saturday evening for Lib Dem delegates, Mr Clegg will label Mr Cameron the "conman of British politics".

He will tell delegates: "The Tories simply believe it's their turn, that they don't have to work for it, they don't have to prove themselves.

"If you want things to be different, really different, you have to choose different. That's our message."

Mr Clegg will attempt to use the week in Bournemouth to rally activists ahead of a general election due before next June.

The conference looks set to be dominated by rows over how many spending cuts will be included in the party's manifesto.

'Scrap Trident' call

Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has drawn up a £14bn-a-year list of cuts he says are needed to begin tackling Britain's record national debt.

These include scrapping Trident nuclear submarines and other big defence projects like the next stage of the Eurofighter aircraft - although they are not yet party policy.

Vince Cable
Vince Cable has said cuts and tax rises should not begin during a recession

In his pamphlet, he also proposes freezing public sector pay, a radical review of public sector pensions and scrapping major IT projects like ID cards and the NHS computer projects.

But he could face opposition to the plans from some on the left of the party, including members of its federal policy committee, which has the final say over what goes in the party's manifesto.

Asked in an interview with Andrew Neil, on the BBC's Straight Talk programme, if the proposed cuts were his personal "wish list" or party policy, Mr Cable said: "A lot of it is already Lib Dem policy... the rest of it will have to be considered and we'll go into an election with a manifesto, we have a due process.

"Maybe because of whom I am a lot of it will be there, but some of it may not be - it has to be agreed with my colleagues of course."

You cannot continually spend more than you have and borrow the money
Jonathan Weakley, Barrow

Mr Cable also appeared to suggest a commitment he made in April to spend £6.7bn on childcare and education was in doubt, as most of the cuts that were meant to pay for it are included in his list of cuts aimed at paying off the national debt.

Asked by Mr Neil how much the party would now spend on childcare and education, Mr Cable replied "it may or may not be" £6.7bn but "there will still be, I'm quite sure, in our final manifesto, a commitment to modest amounts… particularly in education".

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