Coffee House

Ed Davey sounds more enthusiastic about Nick Clegg than Nick Clegg himself

10 February 2013

It took a while for Nick Clegg to confirm that he would stay with his party to 2015, but today his colleague Ed Davey did him a favour (or perhaps not) and confirmed on his behalf that Clegg would stay not just through the next election, but would lead his party into the 2020 election.

He told Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics:

‘I’m really very supportive of what Nick has been doing, I think he’s the best leader we’ve ever had and I think he’s going to lead the party not just into the next election but into the one after that.’


Ed Davey is obviously trying to fend off accusations that he’s abandoning the club sandwiches and aiming for the leadership himself, but he managed to make himself sound more enthusiastic about Clegg as leader than Clegg himself. Last April Clegg said ‘you bet’ when Andrew Neil asked if he’d stand as leader in 2015. But this time last month, the Lib Dem leader didn’t want to go any further on that, refusing to confirm at a Westminster lunch whether he’d stay around until 2020.

While playing down any suggestion that a loss in Eastleigh would damage his leader personally, Davey was keen to emphasise the Lib Dem advantage in this by-election fight, pointing to the fact that the party is ‘very strong on the council’ and that it has taken seats from the Conservatives in the last two sets of local elections. His description of the party’s candidate underlined this:

‘I think we are going to win – we’ve got a fantastic candidate selected last night,Mike Thornton, he’s lived in the area, he’s got a very strong local record, he’s lived there for 20 years, and he’s very active in the community.’

Which is exactly what the Tories are trying to fight on, too: the local record, albeit without the advantage of local council success.

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  • Bluesman

    Oh look! Another LibDem liar.

  • Showusyertitz

    I have the misfortune to have Davey as my Member. Here’s a sample of his inanities: “a key focus is cutting bureaucracy – for example, with the plans to abolish or merge huge numbers of “quangos” – the unaccountable bodies past Governments have spent billions on. Nonetheless, overall cuts will be large and difficult, and I doubt very much if I will personally agree with all of them. But I do strongly agree that Government had to stop spending money as if it grew on trees.”

    • foxoles

      ‘Member’ is about right. Davey has deliberately enforced lunatic green energy policies which will ensure more and more pensioners will die a freezing death because they cannot heat their homes.

      He should not be listened to on anything.

  • Barbara Stevens

    I watched the Sunday Politics and Andrew Neil pressed him hard, when it came to the facts of the boundary question, Davy said the Tories had not kept their part of the bargain, Mr Neil proved him very wrong. The Tories did not promise to hold a vote on the Lords and in return the boundary question would be supported by the Lib Dems. We were shown the quote from the coalition agreement. Its the Lib Dems, who have sour grapes on the Lords question being shelved. There’s been no let down at all, Davy was making it up as he went along hoping the public would not notice or care, but see the Tories as having broken the coalition agreement. Blatant lying, or not knowing the facts. It was clear, here was another minister way out of his depth, and Mr Neil skillfully put him in his place, and the truth was shown for all to see. These people are annoying, as they are having high salaries for being a minister of the crown, yet, we are getting poor pay back from doubtful ministers. I wasn’t inpressed one bit, and if this is the potential leader of the Lib Dems then all the other parties have nothing to worry about.

    • telemachus

      Neil is a notorious Murdoch/Tory dissembler.
      Daley is one of the more effective ministers
      More user friendly than his snake in the grass Tory Deputy

      • Colonel Mustard

        The facts behind the interview speaks for themselves. If and when we find ourselves with another triumphalist, gloating Labour government, supported by people LIKE YOU (God, what a thought), profligate in waste, ruinous in prospect, it will be down to the snakes in the grass of Coalition, the Lib Dems.

        You can dress it up and boast about your unhatched chickens as much as you like. But most here know the reality of what a Labour government means. You think you are advocating them here in a way that anyone believes? Your fatuous, dishonest and ridiculous comments perfectly demonstrate the dissembling, lies, propaganda and hypocrisy that is their stock in trade. A better example of why they would be so bad for Britain could not be found than your comments.

  • @PhilKean1

    I despise Liberals with a vengeance and would love them to lose in Eastleigh

    However, despite Cameron’s Party claiming that it is the LIBERALS who have prevented the Coalition taking the necessary action to repair EU-Labour’s damage and grow the economy, the reality is that it is Cameron who is supposed to be in charge, and it is his weakness that is the real problem.

    Therefore, those of us who wish to see Cameron punished can hope for but one outcome.

    I don’t believe that UKIP can win in Eastleigh. Liberals are just too strong there. So the outcome we desperately need is clear and unambiguous evidence that sufficient numbers of Conservative voters switched their voted to UKIP – thus handing victory to the hated Liberals – demonstrating to Cameron what he should expect to see in Conservative areas across the country in 2015.

    • Peter Brownp

      You are probably correct in saying that UKIP could not win the Eastleigh bye-election. However, since the last election, one of the biggest employers in the area, Ford. has ceased production of the iconic Transit van there. It may well be argued that the UK continues in recession because of being tied to the albatross of the EU which is also in severe recession.

      This sudden surge in unemployment coupled with continuing mass immigration from EU countries may help to alter the balance. Especially so when people begin to realise that a very large proportion of the so-called ‘million jobs created’ by the Coalition is predominantly made up of retired citizens who find that they can no longer afford to live on the meagre pension returns that have been decimated by a succession of policies by both flavours of mainstream parties.

      UKIP will use the problems of mass immigration as their main theme in the Eastleigh bye-election and will strike a chord in many of those recently under employed.

      I suspect that UKIP will continue to gain their higher profile as they have done in the most recent bye-elections as they continue to garner additional support from disaffected supporters of all three main stream parties.

      No realistic person will be expecting a UKIP win, but it is highly likely that the Party may well, seriously, cause a considerable reduction in their overall support.or even alter the balance of the Tory/LD marginal and bring about a general levelling of the vote.

  • realfish

    I noticed that when challenged about the Lib Dem ‘stab in the back’ on constituency boundaries, Davey had great difficulty in maintaining eye contact with Brillo.

    • telemachus

      Now most folk have an emetic reflex when faced with Neil
      So do you blame him

      • Colonel Mustard

        It is your quantity over quality comments that trigger the emetic reflex from most folk here.

  • HooksLaw

    I’ve never seen why a leader should resign just because they have lost an election. Wilson for instance did not.

    • Peter Brownp

      Possibly because there was no alternative strong enough to lead the party. This became obvious when Wilson ‘jumped ship’ leaving poor old ‘Sunny Jim’ Callaghan as party leader. A job, of course, far too big for his talents which which inevitably led to a Parliamentary vote of no confidence.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    I happened to catch Andrew Neik running rings round this buffoon and making him weasel out of all the questions. I don’t usually watch TV interviews. Does this count as a good result for the libdems?

    • HooksLaw

      Neil hounded Johnson over the NHS on Thurs night but did anybody really notice?

  • Field Marshal

    Clegg and Davey will be lucky to find the Liberal Democrats still exist then.
    I’m not even sure the Good People of Sheffield will see fit to return Clegg in 2015.
    Does the word Busted Flush come to mind?

    • telemachus

      We all admire Vince Cable and Simon Hughes and when the current aberrational flirtation with the revanchists is past the Liberals will be back in our affection as a party which showed itself more reasonable than NEW Labour in past decades

      • Colonel Mustard

        The current aberrational flirtation of the Lib Dems is with the real revanchists – Labour. The attempt to distance “yourselves” from New Labour when pretty much the whole gang that went along with it sits on the opposition front bench is laughable – but oh so typical.

        As for Cable and Hughes. I wouldn’t trust either of them with a five pound note.

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