The Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister has avoided a humiliating defeat in his constituency of Sheffield Hallam. Clegg has tactical voting to thank for his fate, after local polling revealed Conservative voters teamed up with their coalition partners to save the 48 year old from a surge in Labour support from students wishing to punish the Deputy PM for his controversial tuition fees stance.
Despite winning a healthy majority of 21.4% during Cleggmania 5 years ago, the Lib Dem leader saw his place in the Commons increasingly under threat in the weeks building up to the election. Therefore, he will consider the result as somewhat fortunate.
In a night were many Lib Dem candidates have failed to return their deposits, Clegg will be relieved to have held on.
The selected results in are:
Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) - 22,215
Oliver Coppard (Labour) - 19,862
Peter Garbutt (Green) - 1,772
Joe Jenkins (UKIP) - 3,575
Carlton Reeve (Independent) - 249
Ian Walker (Conservative) - 7,544
Focus will now turn to Clegg’s future as party leader after a disastrous night for the Lib Dems which has seen Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Simon Hughes all defeated.
Already tonight, Tim Farron has appeared to criticise Clegg’s decision to form a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010. A potential leadership contest would be dependent on who is re-elected to the Commons. However, early bookies’ favourites include Alistair Carmichael and Norman Lamb alongside Farron.
For now, Clegg will be left pondering his future, and that of his party.