Nick Clegg survives a coup but Lib Dem MPs’ fury over poor election results rages on

Deputy Prime Minister will be urged to change party’s strategy as LibDems fear a rout in 2015 vote

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will this week face angry MPs from his party who are demanding an overhaul of its strategy after disastrous local and European election results.

The Parliamentary party will meet after the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, the first time that the bulk of LibDem MPs have been together since the party lost 11 of its 12 MEPs last weekend. Some MPs had hoped to use this meeting to demand Mr Clegg consider his position, but the Deputy Prime Minister survived a botched coup last week that has eased the pressure on him.

Instead, it is thought that more than 10 MPs – about a fifth of the LibDems’ Parliamentary caucus – will demand that the party abandon its “stronghold strategy”.

This plan was supposed to play to the LibDems’ famed strength for holding constituencies once they have won them, as the increasingly unpopular party has struggled to pick up new supporters since entering coalition. But this strategy backfired last month when for every four local seats they won again, three were lost. This weekend, politicalbetting.com showed that if this trend were repeated in the general election the LibDems would lose 24 of their 57 MPs.

One rebel MP said that the findings “blow a hole” in the LibDems’ current electoral plans. “If the strategy is working I wouldn’t like to see it when it is not working,” added the MP, who is one of those who want a more positive approach of focusing on potential electoral gains next year.

John Pugh, the Southport MP who publicly questioned Mr Clegg’s leadership last weekend, told The Independent on Sunday: “I think the party now needs to address the twin evils of growing inequality and the growing lack of social cohesion. I don’t think the current party strategy spells that out.”

Last week, research commissioned by Lord Oakeshott showed that Mr Clegg could even lose his Sheffield Hallam seat next year. The LibDem peer was manoeuvring to get his friend Vince Cable to succeed Mr Clegg, as polls showed approval for the Business Secretary as leader. Mr Cable denounced the polling as “inexcusable” and Lord Oakeshott quit the party, warning that Mr Clegg was leading the LibDems to “disaster”.

Mr Clegg could face a leadership contest if 75 local parties demand a ballot.  One of Mr Clegg’s most prominent critics, Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming, said last night takes the party into “uncharted territory”. Senior party sources believe Mr Clegg will survive this crisis too.

Adding to the sense of doom in the party was the re-emergence of the LibDems’ biggest scandal, accusations of sexual impropriety against one-time party master-strategist Lord Rennard. In January, an inquiry led by Alistair Webster QC, found there was less than a 50 per cent chance of the allegations being proven, though the report has not been made public.

However, the inquiry did suggest the peer  apologise. For months Lord Rennard refused to do so and subsequent attempts at mediation between Lord Rennard and four female complainants collapsed. Lord Rennard offered a qualified apology in a letter published last week, which many LibDems hoped would draw a line under the scandal.

However, both Lord Rennard and the complainants are running separate appeals about the process and the peer wants the inquiry report published as he believes it at least partly exonerates him. 

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

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

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

Primary supply teachers needed in Downham Market

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN Teacher required with immediate...

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