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Are we reaching a tipping point for Nick Clegg’s leadership?

April 15th, 2014

One of the constants in this parliament is each May, in the local elections, the Lib Dems lose a significant number of councillors and the Lib Dems insouciance to it all. With other parties, it may have triggered speculation about the Leader/a Leadership election. The Lib Dems motto seems to be “Keep Calm and Carry On”

I suspect this year the Lib Dem response is going to be different to another night of bad results, as this cycle of elections features a nationwide election, The European Parliament Elections.

If you look at the above graph, the Tories have seen a slight recovery in the last year, but their coalition partners have not, which must be galling for the Lib Dems. The current polling is pretty dire for the LDs, with them polling around 7 or 8 per cent with a lot of pollsters.

On inspection of the Guardian ICM Euro poll, table 7 shows more voters are planning to vote Green than Lib Dem (24 to 23). Whilst this is but one poll, the fact it is with ICM, the pollster most favourable to the Lib Dem, finishing fifth behind UKIP and The Greens a year before the General Election will cause the Lib Dems to review  their whole strategy and leadership.

I think it is a distinct possibility that the SNP will have more MEPs than then Lib Dems will have in Great Britain. Those are the things that trigger leadership elections.

Add in Nick Clegg’s poor performance in the debates, particularly the second one, which was meant to be an opportunity for the Lib Dems to do well, the polling showed it was pretty dire for Clegg and the Lib Dems. In hindsight, putting a man with the negative ratings of Clegg against the man with the positive ratings of Farage may have been a blunder. The one saving grace was more people didn’t watch it.

Given the prominence that the Leaders have in general election campaigns, the Lib Dems may conclude thanks Nick, but it is time to move on.

The other interesting aspect is that it may well be in David Cameron’s interests that Nick Clegg is replaced. A more left leaning Lib Dem leader such as Tim Farron or Vince Cable maybe the way to get those 2010 Lib Dems switchers to Labour back, as the block of the electorate is currently of one of the two biggest obstacles to David Cameron remaining in Downing Street post May 2015.

It maybe worth looking at the Lib Dem leader at the next general election market as the value has gone out of the next Lib Dem leader market.   Cable and Farron could represent value, as I think the next Leader will be someone who is perceived to be the left of Nick Clegg. Or back the 3/1 Paddy Power are offering on Clegg not being the Lib Dem leader at the next election. 

TSE