Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CLEGG TO LEAD LIB-DEMS AFTER DRAMATIC VOTE; (1)Neck and Neck: The New Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg Faces the Press This Afternoon as Rival Chris Huhne Leaves the Scene. He Pledged to Make the Party More Professional (2)Show of Unity: New Lib-Dem Leader Nick Clegg, Right, Today with Chris Huhne Who He Said Would Get a "Big Role" on His Frontbench

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CLEGG TO LEAD LIB-DEMS AFTER DRAMATIC VOTE; (1)Neck and Neck: The New Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg Faces the Press This Afternoon as Rival Chris Huhne Leaves the Scene. He Pledged to Make the Party More Professional (2)Show of Unity: New Lib-Dem Leader Nick Clegg, Right, Today with Chris Huhne Who He Said Would Get a "Big Role" on His Frontbench

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE

NICK CLEGG this afternoon became the new leader of the Liberal Democratsby a winning margin of just one per cent of the party vote.

He beat Chris Huhne by 511 votes out of more than 41,000 cast, polling 20,988to his rival's 20,477.

He promised to lead a more "ambitious and professional" party which would breakthe "stifling grip of the two-party system for good." But questions will beasked about the narrow margin of his victory which appeared to show the partysplit after a bitter contest. Mr Clegg, 40, said:"A result is a result in politics." Mr Clegg, who becomes the third leader inas many years, paid tribute to Sir Menzies Campbell, whose resignation twomonths ago sparked the contest, and to acting leader Vince Cable.

He also held out an olive branch to Mr Huhne, clearly forgiving him for his"Calamity Clegg" comment. He will carry out an "extensive" first reshuffle onThursday, said sources close to the new leader.

Tonight he promised "a very big role" for Mr Huhne, adding: "Hold your horsesfor a bit until I have been able to put these things into place.

" For his part, Mr Huhne, 53, was gracious in defeat, though he joked "thereare close run things and there are close run things". Mr Clegg had expected toromp to victory having secured the backing of the majority of the party's 63MPs and having won praise for his communication skills and telegenic personality.

But the contest has also thrown up doubts about his drive and political skillswhen set against David Cameron and Gordon Brown. In his acceptance speech, MrClegg went out of his way to try to address the criticisms, promising to usherin an era of "ambition and change", adding: "We need renewed ambition to reachout to people who share our instincts and values but don't yet vote for us." MrClegg said he had "one simple ambition: to change Britain, to make it theLiberal country I believe the British people want it to be". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.