Nick Clegg was cornered by Gillian Duffy, the woman who famously heckled Gordon Brown during his election campaign in Rochdale, and the deputy prime minster struggled to deal with the pensioner’s blunt questions.
During a visit to Rochdale, Clegg was heckled by Duffy, who demanded to know why he had refused to enter into a coalition with Labour and how he justifies the government’s spending cuts.
Duffy proved a formidable opponent, refusing to be palmed off with politician speak.
When Clegg told her that spending cuts were necessary and that the government was taking “tough decisions” to get the UK out of its economic crisis, Duffy replied:
“That’s just the same speech you gave an hour ago.”
“Can you honestly tell me now, look me in the eye, and say that you’re quite happy with all these policies that have gone wrong for your party?” Duffy asked.
Clegg attempted to sidestep the question, telling her, “Whoever was in power now, whether it was Labour … any government would have to take difficult decisions.
But Duffy persisted, saying: “I’m asking you.”
To which Clegg replied: “Absolutely. I’ll tell you why it’s very important we get this right. If you don’t clear the debts that we’ve got, all that’s going to happen, Gillian, is that we are going to be asking young people here in Rochdale to pick up the tab for our generation’s debt.”
Labour voter Gillian Duffy confronted Mr Brown over immigration while he was on an election campaign visit to Rochdale last May.
In a classic PR cock-up, the then prime minister was heard telling an aide it had been a “disaster” and Mrs Duffy was “just a sort of bigoted woman”.
Brown was forced to pay Duffy a grovelling apology and even visited her at her home.
Go Gillian Duffy!