Top Lib Dem attacks ‘insipid’ Clegg

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Nick Clegg has been accused by a senior Liberal Democrat MP of offering voters “insipid moderation” and retreating into the party’s “comfort zone”.

Former minister Jeremy Browne warned that the Libs Dems could be heading for losses at the general election in May from which it would be “very difficult to recover”.

In an interview with The Independent, he blamed Mr Clegg’s attempts to differentiate the party from their Conservative coalition partners, which meant they were not now getting any credit for the economic recovery.

“We are in no man’s land. We don’t have a distinctive proposition. We have sought to distance ourselves from a successful creation which has required a huge amount of effort and sacrifice by us to make it successful. That is the sad irony of our position,” he said.

Mr Browne, who is standing down at the election, said the Lib Dems were paying the price for the way Mr Clegg had abandoned his mission to turn them into a party of government.

“We lost our way on that journey. We have gone from being a party of protest in opposition to often sounding like a party of protest in government,” he said.

“Nick Clegg made a decision that he was going to look inwards and talk to his party and reassure it, rather than look outwards and talk to the country and appeal to it.”

He predicted that the Conservatives could emerge as the largest party after the poll on May 7 but said that he believed that the Lib Dems would reject the chance of joining them in a second coalition at which point Mr Clegg would resign as leader.

“Being leader of a smaller party would feel unfulfilling and there would be a sense that his era had come to a natural conclusion,” he said.

He forecast that Tim Farron, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, would be elected leader and take the party into opposition.

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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