A leaked ICM opinion poll has suggested that the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg may lose his seat at the next election. The poll suggested that Mr Clegg may be defeated in his Sheffield Hallam constituency, according to Sky News.
The poll suggests that the Liberal Democrats may lose Mr Clegg and three other MPs in Cambridge, Redcar and Wells. It also shows that with the Business Secretary Vince Cable as leader they may fair a little better, but still not enough to save the MPs.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s seat was considered safe for the Liberal Democrats but the poll suggests Labour would take it. Following the leak a Liberal Democrat spokesman tweeted: “We have no idea where this polling comes from but it has clearly been commissioned and leaked for political purposes.
“It bears no relation to the result on Thursday night. Lib Dems secured 38.7% of the vote across Sheffield Hallam, Lab 23.6%, Tories 10.7%.”
Whatever the purpose of the poll it is authentic, and will add to the woes of the Liberal Democrat leader. On Sunday Clegg lost 10 of his 11 MEPs in a UKIP surge across the country, and before then he had lost a large number of councillors.
This has led to suggestions that he may be challenged for the leadership, with Tony Blair suggesting on the Today programme that Clegg had positioned himself to the left of Labour before the election and then gone to the right in coalition.
He has also been privately attacked for agreeing to the Europe debates, despite knowing how euro-sceptic the country was. In the end the Deputy Prime Minister did not come close to winning the debates, but he did expose his slavishly pro-European stance.
Despite the problems at the top Vince Cable continued to defend his boss saying: “There is no leadership issue. Now is not the time for infighting and introspection. The party must hold its nerve.”
“At the point when our big decisions, our big judgments are being vindicated, we are not going to buckle… We are not going to lose our nerve. And we are not going to walk away.”