UK & World News

  • 26 May 2014, 18:11

Nick Clegg Defiant After Elections Disaster

Nick Clegg has given an emotional interview in which he insisted it had not crossed his mind to resign after devastating local and European election results.

The Liberal Democrat leader said the results in which his party lost over 300 councillors and all but one of its 11MEPs was "gutting, heartbreaking" and a "huge setback".

But he argued he was not going to wash his hands and walk away just because the "going gets really tough".

He said: "At the point when our big 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."

It came after the Lib Dem MP John Pugh admitted to Sky News he would prefer to see Business Secretary Vince Cable lead the party because he was more popular with voters.

And more than 300 Lib Dems, including councillors and candidates, called on Mr Clegg to step down for the sake of his party.

They said he deserved praise for taking the Lib Dems into Government but argued that voters simply would not give him a fair hearing.

Mr Clegg, who looked exhausted during the interview, said: "It didn't work but it was right that we stood up for the values we believe in.

"I'm immensely proud to lead the most united, resilient and toughest party in British politics.

"We made a big commitment to the British people in 2010 to step up to the plate, to form a government, to reform and repair the damaged British economy and to deliver policy after policy after policy that the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on for generations.

"That is what we must continue to do. We must finish the job."

He said it was right to ask searching questions in the "wake of such a bad set of election results".

But the right response was to repeatedly argue that the Lib Dems were the only party that would both tackle the economic situation but do it in a fair way.

Responding to the accusation he has a bunker mentality, he replied: "No, not at all", adding: "I'm never going to put myself ahead of the Liberal Democrats."

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