Being in government has hurt Lib Dem election chances Nick Clegg says
Deputy PM makes comment as polls suggest his party could lose as many as nine of its 12 MEPs in Thursday’s elections.
Nick Clegg said on Monday it was “flamingly obvious” that being part of the coalition government had damaged Liberal Democrats’ chances in this week’s European elections.
As Lib Dem strategists said the party should be judged on its performance in the 57 Westminster seats it won in 2010, the deputy prime minister told reporters that it was “a complete waste of time” to discuss polls showing the party could lose its only Scottish MEP.
There are fears that the Lib Dems, on 7% in a ComRes/ITV News poll, could lose two thirds of their 12 MEPs. The latest Scottish polls, which put the Lib Dems at just 6% and 7%, suggest the Lib Dems will lose their sole Scottish MEP, George Lyon.
Speaking on a campaigning visit to Edinburgh, Clegg told reporters it was “a complete waste of your time” to discuss the polls. He said he was neither a pollster nor a soothsayer but a campaigning political leader.
But he added: “It’s a statement of the flamingly obvious, which is the election when George got elected last time clearly took place when the Liberal Democrats were not in government nationally, when the last general election hadn’t even happened and clearly the circumstances are different.
“But I just think the prediction business is for pollsters and soothsayers. Don’t ask campaigning politicians. We’re out there making the case for what we believe in. I don’t think anyone can fault us for making that case, strongly and forcefully and optimistically.”
- The Guardian,