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Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Thursday, 5 January 2012

Clegg: 'No-one planned' for EU isolation

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has urged the UK to re-engage with Europe and called for more action on tax avoidance in the first of the Today programme New Year leader interviews.

"We must constantly explain to people what we are doing in this government," he told Sarah Montague, setting out how a fairer tax system and the "pupil premium" showed how his party had delivered in the coalition.

On Europe, he denied being a "starry eyed" pro-European, insisting that engagement with the EU must be based on UK interests.

"No-one planned for an outcome which left Britain in a position of one," he said of David Cameron's use of the EU veto.

"Standing tall and speaking out loud and clear from the heart of Europe" was essential for jobs, he said.

And on tax, he said the public were "angered" that large companies and a wealthy elite "get out of paying their fair share of tax".

He said that the government were considering a blanket law preventing tax avoidance, and said he hoped for "more action" on the issue in future budgets.

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