Clegg battle on ‘devastating’ night

Published: Friday 8th May 2015 by The News Editor

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The scale of the electoral drubbing inflicted on the Liberal Democrats was becoming clear as Cabinet minister Ed Davey lost his seat and party sources acknowledged Nick Clegg was involved in a battle to keep his own place at Westminster.

The number of Lib Dem MPs could be reduced to single figures, with Cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Danny Alexander also facing the prospect of defeat.

An exit poll forecast that the Lib Dems would return just 10 MPs to Parliament, but party sources indicated that figure could be optimistic on a “devastating” night.

A source said: “The exit poll is accurate. It may be even worse than that.”

In south west London Energy Secretary Mr Davey lost the Kingston and Surbiton seat to the Tories and Lib Dem sources said it was “not looking good” for Mr Cable in Twickenham.

“Devastating is the word I have been using,” said the senior Lib Dem source.

In Sheffield Hallam, where Labour hope to overturn Mr Clegg’s 15,000 majority, Lib Dem sources acknowledged the contest was “close”.

Sources in Labour candidate Oliver Coppard’s camp said it was going “down to the wire”.

Former Lib Dem president Tim Farron, who is often tipped as a potential successor to Mr Clegg from the left of the party, said: “I’m not going to claim it’s a good night for Liberal Democrats. This is going to be a tough set of results for us.”

A grim-faced Mr Clegg ignored a question about whether he would resign as he arrived at the Sheffield count.

Coalition ministers Simon Hughes and Lynne Featherstone were among other prominent Lib Dems to lose their seats as the party’s terrible night continued.

Lib Dem justice minister Mr Hughes lost the Southwark & Old Bermondsey seat which he has held since 1983.

Other senior Lib Dems to go down to defeat included women’s minister Jo Swinson, home office minister Lynne Featherstone and whip Jenny Willott.

Published: Friday 8th May 2015 by The News Editor

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