Nick Clegg: now is not the time for me to resign
Liberal Democrat leader says it is right to question his role after poor election results, but resignation is no solution.
A grim-faced Nick Clegg has made clear he will resist calls to resign, saying the Liberal Democrat party he leads will not buckle or lose its nerve after a poor showing in the European elections.
Looking dejected and exhausted during a television interview, the deputy prime minister said he was determined to continue his work in government and resisted calls for a change in direction.
The last of the party leaders to respond to the European results, Clegg said: “Just at the point when our decisions, our big judgments are being vindicated, we are not going to buckle, we are not going to lose our nerve and we are not going to walk away.”
He said he would resign if it would help the party but, insisted the right course was for him to stay on. The Lib Dem backbencher John Pugh has called on Clegg to make way for the business secretary, Vince Cable.
Clegg’s aides had organised a carefully controlled media appearance after the Lib Dem share of the vote halved in the European elections to just under 7%, with the party finishing in fifth place behind the Greens. In a blow to Clegg’s authority, just one Lib Dem MEP was elected – a fall of 10 on the last European elections in 2009.
Clegg recorded one television interview, with the BBC’s Vicky Young, which was pooled among all broadcasters. It aired first on Sky News.