‘We’re not going to go away’ pledge

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NICK Clegg insisted the Lib Dems are not a spent force in Sheffield, after they lost nine seats to Labour in an electoral landslide at last week’s elections.

The Sheffield Hallam MP told The Star: “The Liberal Democrats are not going to go away.

“We were in power here before, lost power again, got it back.

“If this city was left in the hands of Labour without any challenge it would be a much worse city.”

Of Paul Scriven, who has resigned his job as Sheffield Lib Dem group leader, Mr Clegg said: “It has been a real blow to us, a real knock, and my heart goes out to Paul Scriven and his team.

“They did a fantastic job.”

He added: “I totally understand why Paul stood down. He has done the job for nine years. It is a punishing job and he did it very, very well.”

Asked if he took personal responsibility for the electoral disaster, after local residents voted on national issues, Mr Clegg said: “I don’t think popularity in politics is like a light switch - it doesn’t go on and off, it goes up and down.

“If you are making decisions about difficult things, controversial things and, let’s face it, some downright unpopular things, you are going to get a lot of flak.

“You don’t go into politics if you are going to blink or flinch the moment people say they don’t like what you are doing.”

He said: “Now I look forward to seeing what Labour are going to do now they are in charge.

“They seem to think that being in power in Sheffield is their birthright. They’ve had great fun complaining, now let’s see what they are going to actually do when they are handed responsibility.”