Clegg welcomes ‘open’ rows on policy

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Nick Clegg said coalition government ensured disputes were had in public rather than behind closed doors yesterday after reports that leading Labour figures almost came to blows over European policy.

Labour dismissed the suggestion in a Sunday newspaper that Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, the Morley and Outwood MP, had to be dragged apart as they argued over a Commons vote on the EU budget.

Mr Clegg said the coalition can “thrash things out more openly”.

“Actually the remarkable thing about this coalition, and this is exactly what David Cameron and myself both said from different positions right from the beginning is that we would work, we do work, we will continue to work in a manner which is respectful of each other’s differences, not in any way hiding them, being quite open, being forceful in the language we use about those differences but not personalising it and certainly not resorting to fisticuffs,” said the Sheffield Hallam MP.