Clegg’s pledge after election loss woes

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NICK Clegg has pledged the Lib Dems will be more ‘muscular’ and have a more ‘visible’ presence in Government after crushing defeats in the local elections - losing major councils including Sheffield to Labour.

The Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister gave a speech on the first anniversary of the coalition Government.

He said: “I think one of the most important factors in the recent local elections was the deep, visceral memories of the 1980s in the northern cities. These were the places where the Liberal Democrats were the main face of the coalition.

“That fear is real, as I’ve heard very clearly on the doorsteps in cities like Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield.

“But the 1980s won’t happen again. We are not in government to turn back the clock, but to move forward to a better, stronger and more balanced economy.”

He said it was ‘clear’ that people want the Liberal Democrats to be a ‘louder voice’ in the Government.

Mr Clegg said: “We can be more assertive about our different positions on certain issues, but without threatening stability of the Government.

“You will see a strong liberal identity in a strong coalition. You might even call it muscular liberalism.”