Coffee House

Nick Clegg is safe, but his party will continue to glower a while longer

28 May 2014

5:30 PM

28 May 2014

5:30 PM

Nick Clegg is safer now than he was this morning. Lord Oakeshott’s outing as the source of these ICM seat polls and his resignation from the party has put the plotters on the back foot. MPs who were ambiguous in their support for the leader are now much more forthright. Vince Cable himself is preparing a further statement of loyalty to Clegg following his denunciation of Oakeshott yesterday.

The Clegg operation is more interested in getting this story over with than settling scores. It is vigorously defending Cable, arguing that he can’t be held responsible for Oakeshott’s actions.


But the problem for Clegg is that the Lib Dems’ internal structures mean that it will take a fair while for the last embers of this plot to be put out. There are still constituency association meetings to come to discuss his leadership and his critics could yet gather the signatures of enough accredited conference delegates to call a special conference. The consequence of this is that Clegg will have to concentrate on communicating to his own party — not the country — for a while longer.

This story won’t be truly over until the rebels have exhausted the party procedures. But Clegg can sleep comfortably in his bed tonight.

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Show comments
  • Gary Wintle

    Oakeshott is one of the few people in Westminster fighting corruption. He comes across as passionate and blunt, in contrast to the supine, weak Clegg.

  • Bill Sticker

    What ever Clegg does in his bed at night and frankly I dont think I really want to know I dont think sleeping will be high up the list. The peoples army have risen and handed him his P45. He put his money where his mouth is in two crucial debates and the voters verdict nearly left his party with no MEPs as a result.

    His political career is now like Monty Pythons parrot it is demised it has shuffeled off this moirtal coil except in Cleggs case it hasnt the wit to stiffen.

    Personally I dont really want him to go as hes done such a fantastic job for our fortunes so far I would like hime to stay on and complete the job

    Thanks a million Nick!! VOTES THAT IS!

  • AlexanderGalt

    Nick Clegg might be safe but Dave isn’t!

    There’s a great post that argues how Ukip can win the general election by picking up the working class that Labour has abandoned.

    It’s called, Workers Of The World Ukip at:

    • mattghg

      Sorry, you lost me at “Ukip can win the general election”


  • dado_trunking

    Ok, the pawn sacrifice was actually a knight, but what about the kingmaker – and I mean the LibDem kingmaker.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …what about your sockpuppet maker, lad?

  • In2minds

    “Clegg will have to concentrate on communicating to his own party — not the country — for a while longer” –

    Too busy to appeal to the voters then?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Safe, but still a prat.

  • Donafugata

    Oh I do hope Clegg stays put and has to endure even greater humiliation all over again next year.

  • Alexsandr

    what a result. a drubbing the elections, then the sandalistas rent asunder.

  • ButcombeMan

    Do not believe it.

    Common sense says the LibDems would be better regrouping and with a new leader before the next election.

    The sore will fester, bound to.
    What of “Uncle” Vince?

    Playing a canny game. He knows the person who wields the knife, rarely benefits. Vince will be calculating.

    When Clegg decides to go, Vince will be there, waiting, silently smirking while publicly hand wringing.

    • El_Sid

      Slight catch with this is that according to Oakeshott’s polling, Cable won’t be an MP this time next year either.

      • ButcombeMan

        If Clegg does not go before the election, they truly will be shredded.

        Oakshott is telling them the truth.

        • Gary Wintle

          Oakeshott is telling hard truths, just as he has done on cash for peerages and Project Merlin. He’s actually one of the more sincere politicians around, yet perversely he is portrayed as the villain in this story, purely for letting people know how much of a disaster Clegg, Beaker, and co are.

        • El_Sid

          A change in leadership is just rearranging the deckchairs, they will be crucified whatever happens. It’s easy to blame the current leader, but I’m not sure too many people will want to be the Libdem IDS and oversee a catastrophic defeat. Probably better to let Clegg take the blame and see who comes out best after the election – and see who is still an MP.

  • DaveTheRave

    LibDem leader safe? You bet! Even if he loses his seat next May, there’ll be plenty of warmed seats waiting in Brussels/Bruxelles, along with applause and pats on the back.

    • telemachus

      In relation to Brussels
      Nick’s big role was to promote Farage in the debates thus maximising his vote and therefore jolting the real politicians out of their torpor

  • telemachus

    So sad about Oakshott he was always good value for a political punch up
    Vince, a good man, can now turn to his Socialist roots