Nearly half of Lib Dem members want Nick Clegg to resign as Leader by May 2015.

Nearly half of Lib Dem members want Nick Clegg to resign as Leader by May 2015.

Is this the moment for Vince Cable to seize the leadership?

It hasn’t been a good few years for Nick Clegg, some of the lowlights include

He still remains the worst performing leader with the Ipsos-Mori leadership ratings, and with the Lib Dems polling with some of pollsters, just ahead or just behind UKIP.

Even with phone pollsters, they’ve been polling around 10-14%, and haven’t polled higher than 15% since January.

Then this week Lib Dem  voice published a poll of 500 Lib Dem members, the findings were

While 47% of Lib Dem members in our survey say they want Nick Clegg to lead the party into the next election, almost exactly the same proportion – 46% – want him to resign as Lib Dem leader before then. It will be scant consolation that a large majority – 70% – want him at least to continue as Deputy Prime Minister until May 2015.

Even three months ago, Nick Clegg’s leadership wasn’t seriously being questioned by many within the party, with calls for his resignation mostly confined to mavericks like Lembit Opik. Two factors have, I think, changed the equation.

The two factors, the the Coalition’s troubles and Nick Clegg is more exposed now than he was in May because of Vince Cable’s recent hints that he is limbering up for the leadership.

As Lib Dem voice notes

In short, there is a plausible alternative to Nick — unlike David Cameron, whose only leadership rival (Boris Johnson) isn’t even an MP.

Lib Dems can be very ruthless with Leaders who are perceived to be a hindrance to the party, as Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell will attest to.

With Vince being the first choice amongst the electorate to replace George Osborne as Chancellor, where amongst Tories he polled second after William Hague, and first choice amongst Labour voters, he has a popularity that Nick Clegg or other Lib Dems don’t possess.

As the Times noted this week, there are fifty upcoming policy disagreements for the coalition parties to deal with in the next few months. Perhaps this presents an opportunity for the Lib Dems to help boost their polling, and Vince to capitalise on his popularity.

Back in June, I wrote that  “It would be understandable if Vince Cable were on manoeuvres”

I backed him then to be next Lib Dem leader at 16/1.

His best odds are now 6/1 with Ladbrokes.



Mike Smithson is currently on holiday.

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