Clegg institutes monthly press conference fixture

Clegg institutes the monthly Clegg presser

Clegg institutes the monthly Clegg presser

Nick Clegg gave his first monthly press conference today, in what is expected to become a fixture of the Westminster calendar.

Regular press conferences have been absent from the timetable since Gordon Brown left Downing Street.

His monthly press conferences were filmed and did not end until everyone in the room had had a chance to ask a question, but they were discontinued by David Cameron.

The decision to restart the fixture raises the pressure on Cameron to do the same thing – a long-held demand of journalists during the coalition.

Clegg started the press conference by celebrating the "remarkably durable" nature of the coalition.

"Yes, sometimes there are disagreements in government," he said.

"Our parties come at the world from very different perspectives. But sincere differences on policy substance are a normal and healthy party of any government and on the most important questions this coalition continues to confound its critics and is proving remarkably durable."

But Clegg also went out of his way to disassociate himself from Conservative backbenchers during the press conference, saying the "loopy ideas of Peter Bone" showed that large sections of the party were stuck in the past.

The Liberal Democrat leader also went on the attack against Ukip, telling "They appeal to people who want a better yesterday. I want a better tomorrow."

The monthly press conference comes amid continued efforts by Clegg to get his voice heard before the general election.

He is also doing a weekly call-in show on LBC radio.