Skip to main content

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg faces resignation calls as party retains only one MEP in EU election catastrophe

Party executive member Martin Tod says voters won't back Nick Clegg as Lib Dems suffer calamitous rout in European and local elections

The Liberal Democrats were delivered another hefty kicking by the electorate yesterday amid increasing calls for Nick Clegg’s head.

Already annihilated in the local elections, the shellshocked party was also roundly trounced at the European polls, losing 11 seats, retaining only one MEP.

The appalling results, which will be seen as a damning indictment of the party’s time as junior partners in the Tory-led coalition, raise further questions over the party’s future and in particular that of Mr Clegg.

Party activists, including general election candidates, have called on the Lib Dem leader to step down, in a bid to prevent their vote further haemorrhaging in next year’s Westminster poll.

Mr Clegg’s future was already being questioned by MPs as party candidates in target Westminster seats urged him to fall on his sword over the dismal performances.

The Lib Dem leader has insisted he is staying, despite the party losing more than 250 councillors in local elections and being humiliated in the European elections.

But Martin Tod, a member of the party’s federal executive, told the BBC that voters would not back Mr Clegg: “What seems to be clear coming out of this is that they are not prepared to listen to our leader and that’s a really serious problem.

“It’s a problem that I think we need to address.

“You can’t lose all of your MEPs bar one and pretend that nothing has happened, that your strategy is perfect and you just need to carry on as you are and carry on delivering the leaflets and saying what we said in our leaflets this year and everything will be fine.”

Southport MP John Pugh suggested that a dozen of his Commons colleagues had expressed doubts over whether Mr Clegg should continue at the head of the party.

Mr Pugh told the Sunday Times that an internal postmortem of the poor night at the polls — which saw the party almost or entirely wiped out in some former strongholds — “has to include a truly open, mature and balanced look at our whole strategy, including the leadership issue.”

Colleague Adrian Sanders, who represents Torbay, said: “The problem is the messenger, very few people say it’s the message.”

OWNED BY OUR READERS

We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 5,527
We need:£ 12,473
20 Days remaining
Donate today