Could Nick Clegg stand aside before 2015?

Could Nick Clegg stand aside before 2015?

It’s 2/1 that he’ll step down before the election?

The Politicalbetting All Pollsters Average (PAPA) – has moved overnight to CON 37.2: LAB 38.5: LD 12.5 .

The changes have been caused by the latest YouGov daily poll putting the parties on 40/40/9 and an old poll dropping out of the calculation because it is now one month old. The Lib Dem share is by far the worst since the creation of the coalition and is just over half the 23.6% GB share that the party achieved at the general election.

All this puts into context a new betting market launched by Ladbrokes on whether Nick Clegg will step down before general election. It’s 2/1 that he won’t compared with 5/2 that’s being offered against Ed Miliband with Labour.

For Clegg a lot could depend on three elections in the next six months – the Old & Sad by election, the English locals and the Scottish and Welsh votes on May 5th and, of course, the AV referendum on the same day.

If the yellows beat expectations in just one of those then I think that he’s safe.

A big question would be how? What would insulate him from a coup is that almost all the major figures in the party are in government with him and he went to great lengths last May to ensure that there was party backing for the momentous decision. If there was a move then I think it would be his own decision.

So is it a good bet? I never cease to be amazed at how resilient leading politicians are – the 2/1 is just too tight. I would be looking for a price longer than 3/1 to tempt me.

If it did happen who would take over and, presumably, become deputy prime minister? The favourite in the next leader betting is Tim Farron who has just been elected party president. I don’t think the party would see him as deputy PM. and it would almost certainly be down to two cabinet ministers – Chris Huhne and Danny Alexander. My guess is that the latter would not put his name forward.

Mike Smithson

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