Time to go, Lib Dem candidates tell Nick Clegg
Pressure grows on leader after poor election results, but Clegg insists he will not walk away
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.