UK & World News
Nick Clegg Signs Up To LBC Radio Phone-In
With the Liberal Democrats struggling in the polls, leader Nick Clegg has taken a drastic step to try to reconnect with voters.
The Deputy Prime Minister has agreed to hold a weekly radio phone-in, in a highly unusual move for a member of the Government.
Mr Clegg will take calls from listeners to London's LBC 97.3 radio station with presenter Nick Ferrari for 30 minutes every Thursday morning.
"I'm doing this because I don't think politicians get to hear enough from people directly," Mr Clegg said.
"You can't do the right thing in Government unless you keep in touch with how people are thinking and feeling."
The programme will launch this Thursday and listeners will be able to call, email, text or tweet the Deputy PM directly with questions.
Richard Park, director of broadcasting at LBC owner Global Radio, said: "No other station offers its listeners such unique access to a senior member of Government. This will be must-listen radio."
Mr Clegg appears to be calculating that he can win back some support by being candid with voters who contact him.
He will hope he can resurrect some of the popularity he gained during the television debates in the run-up to the 2010 General Election.
But the phone-in creates the inevitable risk that he could be harangued by voters on a weekly basis over unpopular policy moves.
The decision comes months after his attempt to say sorry for the Lib Dem U-turn on tuition fees backfired when a video apology was turned into a song which went viral.
Supporters have shunned the party since it joined the Tories in coalition and now UKIP appears to be becoming the new home of the protest vote.
The latest YouGov poll, in The Sunday Times this weekend, put the Lib Dems on 10% just 1% ahead of UKIP on 9% with Labour far ahead on 43% and the Tories on 32%.
:: LBC 97.3 broadcasts in Greater London but is available online across the UK.