Lib Dem president rejects calls for Nick Clegg to step down
Tim Farron rallies round leader after MPs call for Clegg to quit and party braces for difficult night of European election results.
The Liberal Democrats would be “absolutely foolish” to move against Nick Clegg after poor local election results and an expected fall in support in the European parliamentary elections, the party’s president, Tim Farron, has said.
As the Lib Dems await a difficult night of results in the European elections with the national share of the vote expected to be announced shortly after midnight Farron dismissed a campaign to unseat Clegg.
The party president, who is widely seen as a strong candidate from the left to succeed Clegg as leader, spoke out amid reports that 12 Lib Dem MPs were prepared to call for the deputy prime minister to resign. Campaigners on the left, calling themselves LibDems4Change, have also published an open letter calling for Clegg to go.
However, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the former Lib Dem leader, said that replacing the deputy prime minister was the “silliest idea” he had heard in his career as he described Clegg as the best prime minister Britain does not have. Ashdown, who was Clegg’s patron, added that the number of signatories for the LibDems4Change letter (225) was dwarfed by the number of people (363) who have liked the Lib Dems Friends of Cake Facebook page.
The former Lib Dem leader told the Sunday Politics on BBC1: “This idea that’s been put about by these people who are calling for a leadership election is just about the silliest idea I’ve heard I think in my political career. It’s just not serious politics.”