Nick Clegg rejects 'quit coalition' call

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today dismissed a call from a senior party figure to pull the Liberal Democrats out of the coalition government or face extinction.





Mr Clegg said Warren Bradley, his party's leader on Liverpool City Council, was "wrong" and claimed he was doing the opposition's job for them in calling for a split from the Tories.



In a leaked letter Mr Bradley urged his party leader to act before "we disappear into the annals of history".



He said Lib Dem councillors were set to lose seats in local elections on May 5, and the coalition was to blame.



Mr Bradley went on to write: "We have to sever ties from the coalition; if we fail to do this, we have only our parliamentarians to blame."



But Mr Clegg said his party would not be quitting the Government and had to "stick with the plan".



"I think Warren Bradley is one voice, but I think he is wrong," the Deputy Prime Minister said, during a visit to Rochdale.



"If anyone knows what it's like to clear up the mess after Labour, it is the people of Liverpool.



"We can't do it overnight.



"We are doing something really difficult, we are clearing up this terrible mess we inherited from Labour.



"I think we have got to stick to the plan because that will lead us to hand on a better economy for future generations.



"If we get it right, there is a better, brighter future."



Mr Clegg said in the last week in Liverpool alone, 25,000 pensioners and 140,000 basic rate taxpayers were better off due to reforms brought in by the coalition government.







Mr Clegg responded to Mr Bradley's email to his party leader while he was on a visit to Rochdale to publicise a Government scheme to help finance businesses.



But before touring local engineering firm Holroyd Precision Ltd, the winner of a £2.8 million government grant, he had to face yet another critic.



Gillian Duffy, famously and disastrously branded a "bigoted woman" by Gordon Brown, tackled him about his alleged sell-out to the Tories.



Mrs Duffy, 66, asked he why he "went in" with the Tories instead of Labour after the last General Election.



"Because you may remember, no-one won the election at all. No- one got a majority," Mr Clegg said.



"I think it is important you have a Government that can do things because we have to sort out a lot of mess we inherited from the previous lot."



Unbowed, Mrs Duffy asked the Deputy Prime Minister to "look me in the eye and tell me" he was happy with the current Government cuts.



"Whoever was in power now, any government would have to take difficult decisions," he told her.



Mr Clegg added that the country's finances was similar to him and his wife "maxing" out their credit cards - and the debt had to be paid off.



But Mrs Duffy responded "That's just the same speech" she heard him give an hour earlier on the radio.



Mr Clegg later conceded he had probably not won her vote.







Mrs Duffy said she had failed to be convinced about the coalition Government after the brief exchange with Mr Clegg.



"It's gone wrong," she said, "Let's face it, it's all gone wrong."



Later the Deputy Prime Minister refused to be drawn on Mr Bradley's warning about his party's chances at the looming local elections.



He added: "I think Warren Bradley is making a huge mistake in joining in with all that. Let's leave the criticism to our critics."



The Deputy Prime Minister said rather than "doing the job of our critics for us" like Mr Bradley, his party had to stick to the plan of balancing the country's books, to "deliver a better future".



But the war of words continued despite Mr Clegg's response to the leaked email.



Mr Bradley refused to back down, telling ITV Granada Reports: "This isn't a civil war in the party, this is about me putting across my views.



"Our heartlands are being affected by some of the decisions being made by the coalition.



"I will defend the coalition on some issues. The Labour Party left this country in a hellish mess financially and somebody had to take control of it but unfortunately some of the decisions being taken are against my principles and I know against the principles of a lot of Liberal Democrats in Liverpool."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week