Time to go, Lib Dem candidates tell Nick Clegg

May 25, 2014

Pressure grows on leader after poor election results, but Clegg insists he will not walk away

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates in two key swing seats have called on party leader Nick Clegg to stand down.

Jackie Porter, who is standing in Winchester, said that after the Lib Dems’ weak showing in the local elections it is time for Clegg to quit in the interests of the party.

She added that Clegg has "allowed himself to be portrayed as just another pea out of the same pod" as David Cameron and Ed Miliband. She told the BBC: “We have to make decisions to save the party not the person”.

Meanwhile, the candidate for West Dorset, Ros Kayes, says the public has lost trust in Clegg. "As an individual he's a lovely bloke, I just don't think he's the right person to carry on leading the party,” she said.

As the pressure grows on Clegg, John Pugh MP says that having spoken with more than a dozen backbenchers, he feels the party leadership is seen as “like generals at the Somme”, sending others “over the top” while being “safely ensconced in Westminster”.

Pugh stopped short of demanding Clegg quit but said MPs will now “review” the election results and put the “wider party and country first”.

However, Clegg insists he will “absolutely not” be standing down after his party lost more than 300 councillors in Thursday’s poll. He received support from the chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, who said the party should concentrate on selling “the recovery as a Liberal Democrat achievement” instead of “muttering” about the leadership.

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It is the general LibDem passive attitude that has lost the vote of many dedicated LibDem voters. They failed to capitalise on the relatively strong position of a coalition government and forfeited important manifesto promises based on fear of the Conservatives and of losing their position. The people have spoken strongly with their votes as a result and it is clear that people want change and want to see promises realised. Time to start listening LibDems, stand up for what you believe in and fight for the good of the people in order to restore some faith.