Danny Alexander, one of the Liberal Democrats’ most senior coalition linchpins, is poised to launch a stinging attack on Conservative colleagues at his party’s autumn conference in a sign of the increasing tensions between the governing partners.
Mr Alexander, who as chief secretary to the Treasury is in effect deputy to George Osborne, has until now been seen as the most conciliatory Lib Dem minister.
Within Whitehall and Westminster he has always been seen as completely loyal to the chancellor and the Lib Dem minister least likely to rock the coalition boat. (He is also part of the all-powerful “quad” of four cabinet ministers who decide final policy.)
Yet at next month’s gathering of his party Mr Alexander will make an outspoken criticism of the Tories for blocking green policies and trying to make changes to employment law “without clear, robust evidence”, according to a policy paper seen by the Financial Times.
The mutual trust between the two sides of the coalition has been tested sorely after David, the prime minister, abandoned the Lib Dems’ cherished plans for an elected House of Lords.
Nick Clegg, his Lib Dem deputy, retaliated this week by announcing that he would in turn scupper Mr Cameron’s plans to re-engineer constituency boundaries to the Tories’ advantage.
That move will see Lib Dem ministers voting against their government’s own policy,