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Lib Dem Founder Calls Clegg 'Toxic'

Monday 26th May 2014

Ex-Liberal president and founding member of the Liberal Democrats Des Wilson has told LBC that Nick Clegg is "politically toxic".

Nick Clegg positioned himself and his party as the opposite of Nigel Farage and UKIP, taking part in a series of debates against the UKIP leader, starting on LBC, to defend our membership of the EU.

However the Liberal Democrats only secured one seat in the European Elections - down 11 MEPs. Whereas UKIP have got 24 MEPs - up 15.

It came two days after damaging local elections which saw the Lib Dems lose 296 councillors.

Speaking to LBC's Julia Hartley-Brewer Mr Wilson said that Nick Clegg needs to stand aside.

"I don't think it is all over for the Lib Dems yet, it was a terrible night," he said.

"The problem for Nick Clegg is that he, there is no question whatsoever in the minds of any Liberal Democrat that he is an anchor that is holding the party down out in the country. He just simply is politically toxic. I was talking to a local constituency team last week who were deciding that they must not ask the leader to come down before the general election because he would do more harm than good."

Des Wilson admitted the decision the Liberal Democrats have to make now is whether or not he stays as leader.

"The problem with throwing him out now is it would take up a lot of time when the party should be fighting the election campaign, it will divide the party down the middle, it will create for the public the appearance of a party in chaos.

"There is a lot to be said for keeping him on that life-expectancy machine until the general election," he continued.

"My own view is it's got to be Clegg himself who's got to do it. I think that only by he him self taking some kind of positive step to help out can the party get out of this mess."

However Nick Clegg has remained defiant following his Party's election disaster.

"The easiest thing in politics is, when the going gets tough, is to walk away, to wash your hands of it," he said.

"But I'm not going to do that."