Clegg faces more leadership dissent from Lib Dems
Pressure is mounting on Nick Clegg’s leadership abilities amid fresh warnings from Liberal Democrats.
Senior party figures have warned that the Deputy Prime Minister is not “indispensable” and could easily be replaced by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Adrian Sanders, Lib Dem MP for Torbay, told The Sunday Times that Clegg needed to stop “just bumbling along worrying about the future” and should start rebuilding support in the party.
His comments were added to by Lib Dem peer, Lord Smith of Clifton, a former professor of politics, who told The Sunday Times that Clegg was “just a cork bobbing on the waves” with “no strategic vision at all.”
“It’s not as if Clegg is indispensable. Vince Cable possesses the appeal and the credibility to lead the Liberal Democrats into the next election,” he added.
Andrew Bridgewater, vice-chairman of Devon and Cornwall regional party and chairman of the Lib Dem education association, went even further suggesting it would be best for Clegg to resign.
“The sooner Nick resigns and creates a vacancy for Vince, the better,” he told The Independent on Sunday. “To put it bluntly, I would encourage Vince Cable to stand for the leadership to take us into the next election.”
Their comments on Clegg came after one of Vince Cable’s close allies, Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, warned that the party may have to consider a change of “management and strategy” if they are to stand any chance at the next general election.
Clegg was defended by former Lib Dem leader, Lord Ashdown, saying he had “succeeded” as leader and attacks on him were unjustified.
Liberal Democrat employment minister Norman Lamb has now also offered his support to Mr Clegg through BBC Radio 5 Live, “Nick Clegg has shown extraordinary grace under fire. He’s taken an enormous amount of personal flak.”
Lamb added, “He’s taken an incredibly difficult decision to enter coalition with the Conservatives. He did the right thing – this country faces an extraordinary economic challenge trying to get public finances back into order.”