The Lib Dem battle bus is packing Peroni as if in preparation for defeat

7am is beer o'clock on the campaign trail

The general election is looking pretty bleak for the Liberal Democrats. Opinion polls are circling the drain, Nick Clegg's been back in Sheffield Hallam making sure he holds on to his seat in Parliament and the Green party are biting at their heels.

It was not without a note of sadness then, when the cargo door of the party's battle bus rose this morning to reveal nothing but two crates of Peroni beer.

The photo was taken at 7am outside Tory HQ. I certainly don't begrudge them for relishing a beer after a hard day's campaigning, but I prefer the theory that Clegg was out there staggering and throwing bottles at his rivals wearing a dishevelled suit with undone bow tie.

The Lib Dems might have a mountain to climb, but Clegg is still confident they can silence their critics.

"Every single time, for as long as I have been in politics, people have written off the Liberal Democrats, and guess what has happened every single time? We confound the critics, the cynics, people who shout us down from right or left," he said during a visit to a nursery in his constituency.

"We are a very tough, resilient party. I think we took a plucky and brave decision to step up to the plate and rescue the British economy.

(Picture: UK Polling Report)

"I'm chuffed to bits that because of Liberal Democrats in government we have given people tax cuts, fairer pensions, more apprenticeships, more help for working families to make sure their kids can come to nurseries like this, free meals at lunchtime, the list goes on.

"It's for people then to judge, but I think most fair-minded folk - they may not like that decision or this decision, may not like that we were not able to put one of our policies, famously, into practice - many fair-minded folk will actually acknowledge we did the right thing by the country and we have put into practice many more policies which will stand the test of time."

@christophhooton

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