Nick Clegg rules out standing in early election, as former deputy PM reveals plans to take up drumming

Nick Clegg was defeated by Labour's Jared O'Mara
Nick Clegg was defeated by Labour's Jared O'Mara
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Nick Clegg has ruled out standing in an early election, saying he plans to take a break from politics and concentrate on drumming and writing.

The former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister was deposed by Labour's Jared O'Mara as MP for Sheffield Hallam earlier this month, after 12 years representing the constituency.

Speaking exclusively to The Star about his plans for the future, he said he would not run for parliament again here or anywhere else were an early election called, as many political pundits have predicted could happen.

He also revealed he would be unlikely to enter the fray in five years time should this government see out its full term, though he said he had been in politics too long to completely rule that out.

"People in Sheffield have asked me a lot whether I would stand again as a Liberal Democrat candidate in an early election if there was one, and I've decided I won't do that," he said.

"I've had 12 absolutely fabulous years. It was by a long chalk the greatest privilege of my time in politics.

"But at the age of 50 I've decided it's time to let someone else pick up the cudgels."

It was his party's opposition to a hard Brexit which Mr Clegg believes ultimately cost him his seat, convincing many Conservatives who had 'lent' him their vote to switch back from yellow to blue.

But he said he has no regrets about his campaign as he couldn't have hidden his views on leaving the single market, which he believes would be a disastrous move for the UK.

And he claimed Sheffield Hallam wouldn't be Labour's 'for keeps', with many voters opposed to Sheffield's new status as a one-party city.

In the short term, Mr Clegg plans to pursue a 'lifelong ambition' by taking up drumming, and to pen a second book about the 'mess the country is in and how we get out of it'. He said he may also do some part-time lecturing.

But he remains 'passionate about politics' and would not rule out running for parliament at some point in the future.

He insisted he was proud of his record as MP for Sheffield Hallam, especially his role in securing the £2bn contract to improve the city's roads and pavements, and pushing through free school lunches for infants while part of the coalition government.

He said what made his former constituency so 'special' was how much people cared about things, from the state of their local schools to global affairs.

"There's no greater privilege in politics than representing people who care," he said.