Clegg hopeful of standing ground in Sheffield

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP arrives to cast his vote in his Sheffield constituency
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP arrives to cast his vote in his Sheffield constituency
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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg has revealed he voted against the idea of an elected mayor for Sheffield - as he also supported party colleagues hoping to avoid heavy losses to Labour for a second year running.

Last May, the Lib Dems were swept from power losing nine seats to Labour.

Mr Clegg’s constituency home is in Rivelin, part of one of the closest-fought wards, Stannington, held by the Lib Dems last year by just five votes.

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said: “Nick has been campaigning in Sheffield for weeks and has picked up no public appetite at all for elected mayors in the city.

“He has an open mind on the issue and thought it was right that it was put to the people of Sheffield but, in the absence of demand from the public, he voted against an elected mayor.”

Results of the referendum and council elections are to be counted today at the English Institute of Sport and will be revealed this afternoon.

The spokesman for Mr Clegg added: “It is going to be tough for us again because we are in Government, but when we have been out campaigning, people have been willing to listen to us and there hasn’t been the same vitriol we had last year. We are fighting a good fight and hope to minimise Labour gains.”

Meanwhile, although Labour is hoping for success once the ballot papers are counted, the party has suffered a blow after Coun Bryan Lodge decided to stand down as deputy leader to spend time with his business and family life.

In his letter to colleagues, the Birley ward councillor who is also cabinet member for finance said: “I have discussed this with Julie and she understands my position.

“I would like to continue as a cabinet member and would therefore be in a position to concentrate on the portfolio.”

Coun Lodge said his role had been a ‘real privilege’.

Voters also went to the polls yesterday in Labour-controlled Barnsley, Bassetlaw and Rotherham, where councils are not expected to change hands.

For full details of results see The Star tomorrow.

■ For updates from the Sheffield count today visit www.thestar.co.uk and @sheffield star on Twitter.