Clegg dismisses threat of losing Sheffield seat to Labour

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
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Nick Clegg has dismissed the threat of losing his Sheffield seat after Labour leader Ed Miliband said he would join the campaign to win it,

he Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister held the Sheffield Hallam constituency with 53 per cent of the vote in 2010 but May’s election is expected to be close.

Asked by an activist whether he would join the campaign to boot out Mr Clegg, Mr Miliband told a pre-election rally: “Sheffield is very close to Doncaster where I’m an MP so I’m sure I can find time to come and visit.”

Asked if he was worried at the prospect, Mr Clegg defended his record as a “hard-working constituency MP, knocking on doors” and said Labour’s running of the city council had proved unpopular with his constituents.

“What I hear over and over again about Labour is deep reservations that people have about Labour’s attitude towards the economy and looking after people’s money,” he told a press conference.

“You have a Labour council in Sheffield which is among the worst in terms of collecting council tax, that is cutting swathes of public libraries, for instance, across the city while spending vast amounts of money on overpaid consultants or trade union officials in the town hall.

“So I just don’t think people in Sheffield - as indeed elsewhere and certainly not in my constituency - are going to rely on Labour to look after their money.

“You can’t provide decent public services unless you know how to look after people’s money, both locally and nationally, and I think Labour are seriously discredited on both counts.”

It is said that Mr Clegg remains the clear odds-on favourite with bookmakers to retain his seat.