Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 15:33 UK

Clegg attacks 'ragbag' proposals

Nick Clegg's response to the plans

The government's planned legislation is a "ragbag of proposals" at the end of a "dreadful week" for the prime minister, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said.

He said it was just the latest in a long list of re-organisations by the government since 1997 - including a 14th reform bill for the NHS.

"Another stir of the legislative pot won't save this prime minister," Mr Clegg told MPs.

Mr Brown said he hoped he would be more supportive when he saw the fine detail.

'Political hole'

Responding to Gordon Brown's draft legislative programme, Mr Clegg said: "This has been a desperate week for the prime minister.

"Yesterday he brought forward the budget by a full 10 months and borrowed 2.7bn to dig himself out of a political hole over the 10p tax rate, and still managed to leave a million people worse off.

If legislation were to make us safer, we would have been the safest nation on the face of the planet years ago
Nick Clegg

"Today he's brought forward the draft Queen's Speech, producing it a full two months before he did it last year. I've no idea what we can expect him to bring forward next, Christmas? How desperate is he?"

Mr Clegg said the government had "taken away freedom of speech and the right to protest" and had criminalised 3,000 activities since 1997 - equivalent to two new illegal acts for every day Parliament was in session.

He added the new plans would add a 14th reform bill for the NHS "shoved from pillar to post" and another six home affairs bills to add to the 65 since Labour came to power.

"If legislation were to make us safer, we would have been the safest nation on the face of the planet years ago," he said.

He accused Mr Brown of trying to "cling to power" adding: "He has really scraped the legislative barrel to save himself this time.

"This long legislative list is a ragbag of proposals, but he's either addressing things the government said wasn't a problem, like the economy, or trying to turn around problems the government itself created - like over-centralisation."

He asked if Mr Brown was embarrassed to announce that the banking regulation system he had set up needed an overhaul.

And he questioned the 200m fund to buy unsold houses, which he said would only buy 1,000 homes "far too little" to make an impression.

He said Mr Brown would have to do "a lot lot better" if he wants to address economic problems and to devolve power.

Mr Brown responded that he hoped the Liberal Democrats would be more supportive of the measures proposed when they looked at the fine detail.

"You should be supporting us not criticising us," he said.

He said it was right to strengthen banking regulation "having seen what has happened over the last few months " with the sub-prime crisis - and on housing, said the important thing was to keep mortgage rates low, which the government had achieved.

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