It’s time for Nick Clegg to stand down, says Liberal Democrat councillor

Millfield ward Liberal Democratic candidate Paul Edgeworth with Councillor Paul Dixon (right) and last week's Sunderland City Council election count at the Sunderland Tennis Centre, Silksworth.
Millfield ward Liberal Democratic candidate Paul Edgeworth with Councillor Paul Dixon (right) and last week's Sunderland City Council election count at the Sunderland Tennis Centre, Silksworth.
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A WEARSIDE Lib Dem has called for leader Nick Clegg to quit after the “atrocious” pasting taken by the party in the city.

Sunderland Lib Dems failed to win a single seat last Thursday and slumped to fourth place behind minor parties.

Nationally, they lost control of councils in Newcastle, Hull and Nick Clegg’s own constituency, Sheffield.

Paul Dixon, the party’s only councillor in Sunderland, blamed the disaster on Mr Clegg’s support for unpopular Coalition actions such as student fee hikes.

Now the Millfield councillor has called for Mr Clegg to resign after voters said “No” to the Lib Dem-supported proposals to change the way MPs are elected.

“He sold out students for failed electoral reform.” said Coun Dixon.

“I think a lot of what Nick Clegg has done over the last year has gone against our policies. He wanted voting reform and he’s ended up not getting it.

“My personal opinion is that he should go. I don’t know about us pulling out of the Coalition, but I think he has too easily agreed to what the Tories wanted.

“I think he should have been a stronger voice in the Coalition.”

Coun Dixon added: “If you’re in the Coalition, you have a lot of power really, and I don’t think we’ve used the power we’ve got.”

Coun Dixon bemoaned Government decisions such as controversial plans to shake-up the NHS and the decision to take funding from universities and allow the institutions to charge up to £9,000 per year.

He also claimed Mr Clegg had played a big part in voters’ decision to reject the alternative vote (AV) system.

The system would have allowed voters to rank candidates in order of preference and mean MPs must secure 50 per cent of the vote.

The AV referendum was part of the Coalition deal between the Tories and Lib Dems – though the Tories declared at the time they would campaign against the system.

Coun Dixon said: “Nick Clegg has been doing a lot of campaigning on TV and in the newspapers, and I think that was a mistake.

“He should have kept out of it. He’s not exactly flavour of the month. He hasn’t been all year.

“I think he’s just encouraged more people to vote No.”

@pressbench