Speaking on a joint platform two years after the Coalition was formed, the prime minister and his deputy will admit they underestimated the ‘depth and nature’ of the ‘massive trauma’ the economy has undergone, which they are ‘only beginning to fully grasp’.
Mr Cameron will say he ‘gets’ why angry voters rejected the Tories and Liberal Democrats in local elections last week but will add ‘in these perilous times it is more important than ever’ to stick to plans to ‘rescue our economy’.
He will add: ‘I don’t hide from the scale of that challenge – or from the message sent by voters in many places in last week’s elections. I’m listening. I’m leading. I get it. There are no closed minds, no closed doors in Downing Street.’
Acknowledging the rejection of austerity in French and Greek elections, he will add that the eurozone remains in ‘extreme trouble’ while ‘at home, we inherited an economy built on the sands of debt, not on the rock of sustainable investment’.
Mr Clegg will add: ‘We have to remember our economy has undergone a massive trauma, the depth and nature of which we are only beginning to fully grasp. 2008 was like a giant heart attack. The banking sector blew up.
The housing bubble burst. People – and government – had astronomical debts they suddenly couldn’t afford. And you cannot recover from that overnight.’
Shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said: ‘The problem is not the Government’s spin, it’s Cameron and Osborne’s recession. Until we see a proper plan for jobs and growth, and real help for people whose incomes are being squeezed, no one will believe that David Cameron gets it.’
Tory Rebel MP Nadine Dorries said she expected a Conservative leadership contest by Christmas.