— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) June 16, 2014
At the moment the pressure is very limited
So far according to Lib Dem blogger, Stephen Tall, just five of the party’s branches have had formal meetings to discuss the leadership and only two, Nottingham and Ribble Valley, have voted in favour of a contest.
The three others – Cambridge, Southwark and Salisbury – voted against. In Cambridge and Southwark the LDs currently hold Westminster seats and will be trying to fight off challenges from Labour.
Under the party rules 75 branches have to decide that way in order for a contest to be triggered and that has to be done within a strict timescale.
Tall’s conclusion, which I agree with, is that there is nowhere near the level of momentum to set a formal process going.
“..I doubt there are even 75 local parties planning to hold a general meeting. And, based on the current split in results, it looks like around 150 would be having to plan to do so in order to get to the magic 75. As it stands, therefore, it seems highly likely Nick Clegg will remain as party leader...”
Whatever these developments are going to be an ongoing irritant which of themselves hurt the leadership.
My view is that the party’s polling position is going to be important. Tonight we should see the latest monthly survey from ICM – the firm that generally gives the yellows their best position. In May it had a 13% share which was two points above the post GE10 low for the party.
The other polling that we are expecting is the Ashcroft CON-LD battleground seats survey. If he handles this like he did with the LAB-CON marginals then we’ll see a series of 1,000 sample phone polls in a handful of key constituencies.
Ladbrokes have 2/1 on Clegg being replaced before GÂ£15 and 1/3 that he won’t.