Nick Clegg rules out stepping down as Liberal Democrat leader to become European Commissioner

 

Nick Clegg has killed off speculation that he would stand down before the 2015 general election to become a European Commissioner.

MPs of all parties have repeatedly floated the scenario of the Deputy Prime Minister quitting as the Liberal Democrat leader the year before to begin a new career in Brussels.

The switch would enable the party to go into the next election with a leader less associated with the Conservatives – and potentially with a greater appeal to former Labour voters who supported the Lib Dems in 2010. The next vacancy for a British EU Commissioner will occur in 2014.

However, Mr Clegg, deputising for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Question Time, flatly ruled out the move in response to a question from the Tory Eurosceptic MP Mark Reckless.

Mr Reckless asked him: “Does the Deputy Prime Minister expect to be involved in the selection process for our next EU Commissioner?”

The Lib Dem leader responded: “I won't be a candidate, however much you might hope otherwise.“

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