Nick Clegg: I'll run for Parliament in 2015

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has confirmed he will be running for Parliament at the next general election, and is confident he will remain leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Clegg was speaking during a visit to meet students and apprentices at Penwith College in Penzance, Cornwall, today. Asked about his own future - and to predict his own role in politicsfollowing the 2015 election - the party leader said: "I will be MP for Sheffield Hallam and leader of the Liberal Democrats."

He also described the Lib Dems as "the only party" making pledges on building both a robust economy and a "fairer society" - something he said his party's coalition partners and the opposition lacked.

Asked if he intended to stand for re-election as an MP, Mr Clegg said: "Of course I am."

He added: "I can't predict the outcome of the next general election. I so happen to think that the Liberal Democrats now are the only party offering two things: firstly a commitment to building a stronger economy; and doing that in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

"I think everybody now accepts you cannot rely on the Labour party to sort out the economy and we have a demonstrably greater commitment to fairness in society than the Conservatives.

"I think there are many people, in Cornwall and elsewhere, who want to see both of those things delivered.

"I think we are unique at being able to do that, for instance through our commitment to taking people here in Cornwall on low pay out of paying any income tax, which will happen this April, as the point at which you pay income tax rises very sharply this April."

Mr Clegg said he was on a fact-finding mission in the county today to "highlight the efforts we're making" in giving young people opportunities to work or train.

"We're expanding apprenticeships in Cornwall alone by over 60 per cent compared to what it was under the Labour government.

"We've made available something called the Youth Contract, which is a £1 billion offer of support, such that if you're between the ages of 18 and 24 and you've been out of work for a certain period of time, we will give you the opportunity to either earn or learn, including by giving payments to local employers here in Cornwall and elsewhere to take on young people.

"I think the country is going through a difficult time economically. We need to constantly make sure we are doing whatever we can, with the means available to us, to give young people the opportunities to get in to full-time work."

Mr Clegg donned chef's whites as he and St Ives MP Andrew George also spent time in the college kitchen with City and Guilds students making focaccia bread.

Several dozen students gathered outside the college reception to greet Mr Clegg as he emerged from his visit, with a handful of muted boos and heckles about his commitment not to raise tuition fees when his party was not in a position to deliver on the promise, while others asked to have their picture taken with the Deputy Prime Minister.

PA

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