Peter Hoskin

Surmountable problems for Nick Clegg

Surmountable problems for Nick Clegg
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Curious times, getting curiouser, for Nick Clegg. The Lib Dem leader might have thought that bringing his party into government would ensure him a triumphant reception at their conference in two weeks. But, instead, he faces a number of stories that could unsettle proceedings. Today, we hear that more Liberal Democrat councillors have resigned in what they claim is protest at the cuts being implemented by central government. What's more, a number of Lib Dem figures have added their voices to the general cacophony surrounding Andy Coulson. And that's before we consider the underlying, but most urgent, threat to the stability of the coalition: the Lib Dems' spluttering poll position.

But Clegg should not be unduly concerned. Writing at Liberal Democrat Voice on the council resignations, Stephen Tall contextualises it all quite nicely:

"This brings to a grand total of eight councillors who have defected from the Lib Dems since the special conference in Birmingham, where activists voted by an overwhelming margin to approve the Coalition deal. Or to put it another way, 99.8% of the 3,900 Lib Dem councillors across the UK have chosen not to defect, even though the party has embarked upon an incredibly risky venture, one it knows may cost it votes and seats at the next election."

today's Telegraph