A Liberal Democrat activist from Sheffield, home of Nick Clegg’s constituency, has said the possibility of replacing the leader of the party is widely discussed amongst members.
The activist, who isn’t named, told the New Statesman:
“It is the topic that people talk about most in the party, but it’s a whispered conversation because people find the whole thing a bit difficult.”
Lib Dem approval ratings have dropped dramatically since their unprecedented popularity in the run up to the 2010 general election. Broken election promises on tuition fees and other actions in support of the Tories have alienated some of the most die hard Liberals.
You Gov voting intention figures from yesterday show the Lib Dems on 9% (Conservatives 31%, Labour 45%). In the 2010 general election, the Lib Dems polled 23%. In regards to who would make a good prime minister, the latest poll shows only 5% say Nick Clegg.
Rafael Behr writes:
The act of compromise, without which two-party government is impossible, reinforces the Lib Dems’ reputation for weakness and cynicism. It is a terrible fix – the device that defines coalition has become, in Clegg’s hands, also the practice that debases it.
However, the New Statesman report goes on to say that many are resistant to expelling their leader in case it has the opposite effect:
As one loyalist says: “Our best hope at the next election is to be able to say we stuck together in difficult times. That includes sticking by the leader”.
Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, has dismissed the possibility of Clegg stepping down from the leadership:
“He’s been doing a fantastic job as Deputy PM and as party leader. He will continue into the election and into the next parliament. Have no doubt about that.”
So Nick Clegg intends to lead the Liberal Democrat Party at the next election, but will the people of Sheffield Hallam vote him back in?
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