Election 2011: Lib Dems Welwyn Hatfield leader backs Nick Clegg

WELWYN Hatfield’s Liberal Democrat leader Tony Skottowe has backed embattled Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, despite his party’s dismal showing in the local elections.

The Lib Dems suffered heavy losses in England, Wales and Scotland, losing hoardes of council seats in former party strongholds, including Mr Clegg’s own Sheffield constituency.

But with speculation surrounding Mr Clegg’s future as leader of the Liberal Democrats, cllr Skottowe hit back at the negative press being given to his leader, and in particular the “nasty” campaign fought by opponents of the AV election system.

“We were going to lose seats whatever,” Cllr Skottowe told the WHT’s election team at Campus West, where he is supporting fellow Lib Dems up for election.

“That’s part of the price of being in Government. It wasn’t entirely unexpected.”

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On his party’s own chances in Welwyn Hatfield, Cllr Skottowe said: “I think it’s going to be a very close-run thing.”

But when asked whether in light of the poor election results a new party leader was needed, Cllr Skottowe was bullish.

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“I can’t see the point of self-inflicted wounds,” he said.

“Nick Clegg has had some very nasty things said about him in the press, particularly by the No to AV campaign. They have targeted him and the Lib Dems especially.

“I’m sticking with him for the time being. Now is not the time for a new leader.”

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