Sandra Gidley: “We can’t make our case because Nick is associated with negative aspects of coalition”

Sandra Gidley speaking at Lib Dem Conference, Brighton 2007One of the most prominent party figures yet to sign the letter calling for Nick Clegg to step down as party leader, Sandra Gidley, former MP for Romsey, was interviewed on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News this morning.  She said that Nick was holding us back from being able to make our case.

This is not about pros or cons of the coalition, it’s more about howe we’ve handled it and how we should be making more of a case about the good things we’ve done in the Coalition.

She argued that we are not able to do that at the moment with Nick as leader, because he’s associated with the negative aspects of the Coalition, the broken promises. She added that people remember that when it comes to putting their cross on the paper.

Over the next year we need someone to lead the party who has questioned the coalition in the past, who is not seen to be in a love in with David Cameron and has the confidence of the party.

When we lose more councillors than the Tories there is something else going on. You can’t put those statistics down to just being a party of Government.

Dermot Murnaghan asked her who should take over and suggested Vince.

Sandra said it was down to the Liberal Democrat members but Vince would do an excellent job because he has been shown to be independent minded in the Coalition.

After the next election, she continued, the “young turks” could fight it out amongst themselves to lead the party if that’s what people want.

At the moment it’s going to be difficult for anybody to say yes I want to lead the Liberal Democrats because so many are frightened of losing their seats.


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  • We don’t need young turks to lead us, we need wise old owls. But if Sandra Gidley is right (which I doubt) and” we need someone to lead the party who has questioned the coalition in the past, who is not seen to be in a love in with David Cameron and has the confidence of the party.”then that man in my opinion is Lembit.

  • Personally, I think Vince is as tainted as Nick – in particular as the Cabinet Minister who trebled tuition fees and dreamt up the damaging mansion tax policy which the Tories exploited so effectively against us in London.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 12:25pm

    We should stop giving air-time to these people. If the backstabbing naive idealists want “war” then they can have it.

  • @Eddie Sammon:

    “If the backstabbing naive idealists want “war” then they can have it.”

    It would appear to me that the naive idealists, who have sat in ministerial offices for the past few years, neither want nor could sustain any kind of war. And, of course, if they had been given less air time they would have done less damage than they have done to date.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 12:53pm

    I for one agree that those in ministerial offices have looked like “generals at the somme”, but the problem was the Party of IN campaign, not Nick Clegg getting in the way of Europhophile social liberal Britain.


  • Chris Manners 25th May '14 - 12:58pm

    Another sighting of “we haven’t got across all the good things we’ve done”


  • I agree with Simon Shaw but I would be happy to accept any one of a number of our excellent MPs as our new leader.

    Things have changed a great deal since December 2007 and It is time for a change, time to move on.

    Paddy may convince himself with his scripted jokes about cake and his tired old harking back to how bad things were for him in 1989, but this is 2014. We are only forty something weeks to the beginning of the general election campaign.

    Everyone knows that if Nick Clegg is still leader next May we will have yet another election disaster just like every election in his seven years as leader.

  • Paddy looks and sounds tired. No wonder. Time for another general perhaps.

  • The secret of good comedy (and political assassinations) is timing ; now is not the time.

  • “backstabbing naive idealists ”

    I think they’re just backstabbing. It’s sad to see that the LibDems have an element who weren’t listening to any of the last fifty years of talk of getting the balance of power and playing a role in government and who have done nothing but snipe at the one leader who has put LibDems in real power. The LibDems can do without people who like playing at opposition, but aren’t interested in playing their part in government. I know that if the European elections show a poor result for the LibDems where I live, a lot of the blame lies with ‘activists’ who sat on their hands because they thought it would be more fun to give their own leader a drubbing. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • mike clements 25th May '14 - 1:54pm

    Critic of Clegg though I am, I will not be signing any letter urging him to resign. Even if there was a competent stalking horse in situ, this is not the right time to mount a challenge. I only wish Nick would join the Pope on his tour of the Holy Land, take a walk down the road to Damascus and have a St Paul style revelation to come back a changed man with a new vision that inspires him to follow the preamble to our Constitution without any more compromises.

  • No why should I be and I am not going to be made to feel guilty by wanting to save the Party I joined and supported since my teenage years and have ploughed much of my income into with a Lib Dem credit card, countless donations and hours spent on the streets leafleting and canvassing for the local elections and last GLA elections only to see the party vote implode. I shan’t be insulted or demeaned by you and your far right orange booker mates. Clegg must go and go now before the party is obliterated at the GE.

  • I’ve found this site/comments section through Google news, I am not a Lib Democrat but am a floating voter with an interest in politics and generally centrist views. So I would guess that I would be the sort of voter you would be wanting to win over in an election and so I thought I would give you my view (maybe not representative but me ‘feeling’ is it probably is) of Nick Clegg.

    The truth is I could never vote for the lib dems while Nick Clegg is leader of your party. I simply do not believe anything he says and has no credibility with me. Let me explain why…

    I and I think much of the country accept that the lib dems made a tough, but the correct choice to form a coalition government with the conservatives. It was the necessary thing to do given the dire economic situation the country faced even if the UK has a natural tendency to dislike coalition governments generally ( again is this not some knee-jerk reaction much more due to the comprises and corruption and imbalances in power seen in coalitions governments seen abraod).

    The Lib Dems are not hated because of the coalition (although not loved either for it), They are hated and are presently unelectable because Nick Clegg said one thing to the public and then did the opposite. The Student fee’s election promise was some side point, it was pretty much the number one reason why people who wanted labour out but could not bring themselves to vote for the Conservatives voted for the Lib Dems. It was seen as thee fundamental core policy of the lib dem manifesto.
    To then enter a coalition and throw that main policy out AND then claim “well you have to make compromises ” …. all well and good but this was your main, main winning policy!!!! At that point he lost all credibility in the eyes of the non lib-dem party members. As I remember it felt that it was traded away for the AV referendum. Again that felt foolish as it felt like political vanity being put ahead of why many not lib-dem voters had given you their vote.

    Secondly and more recently the fact that a few years ago Nick Clegg promised a EU referendum and now simply dismisses as “well times change”….. and this he is saying when the general public of this country are crying out and creaming to have a say on the EU once and for all.

    Thirdly ( and the last Nick Clegg point). So to me he has lost all credibility and I don’t believe anything he says. The 3rd problem is whenever I seem him on TV responding to my genuine concerns over the undemocratic nature of the EU, the corruption and the over reach of the EU or the broken promises he seems to be talking to me as if I was 5 years old or as if I did not understand anything and was stupid. “Europe, well its this big thing”….. ” we are in coalition so we can’t have everything” … it was your main policy!!!! Europe is much more than just big!!!! don’t treat me as thick!!!

    From an outsiders viewpoint, this is why I could never vote for you while Nick Clegg was your leader.


    A side point over the issue of Europe to do with the Lib Dems stance as a whole. It does you no good to make out that everything is all rosy with the EU and the European project. Yes the press make it to seem more a problem than it is. However it is based on what the public seem as genuine concerns over the levels of corruption, undemocratic nature of the system and the lack of power to be able to make changes. It has never helped the europhile position that again the public have felt and have been lied to on consistent basis throughout our membership of the EEC/EC/EU. From Ted Heath claiming no loss of sovereignty, not joing the Euro would cost 5-7 million jobs, through to the treaty of lisbon being a “tidying up exercise”. The treaty of Rome always stated the the end game was a federated Europe. But this has been consistently denied for 40 years .

    This last point links into the problems of Nick Clegg above as been seen as a liar and cannot be trusted. It also feeds into the rise of UKIP. The Europhile arguments must be based in truth and not hidden agendas because it is thought to be unpalatable to the UK public.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th May '14 - 4:12pm


    I think they’re just backstabbing. It’s sad to see that the LibDems have an element who weren’t listening to any of the last fifty years of talk of getting the balance of power and playing a role in government and who have done nothing but snipe at the one leader who has put LibDems in real power


    I and many other have made clear that it’s not the formation of the coalition that’s the problem, or even the compromises that inevitably have to be made in that situation. It’s the way Nick Clegg has handled it, the way he has made a difficult situation worse by so many of the things he has said or done.

  • David Lowrence 26th May '14 - 8:06am

    I am sick and tired of being told that I am disloyal or as above a backstabber. I have supported this party in it’s various guises for 50 years. This incompetent (I hesitate to use the word I want to next because it would result in this post not being published) has made this my most difficult year. all members should have the post above from john pinned on their wall. This party has become one of the most introspective and self serving organisations I know, wringing hands about internal things and forgetting that there is a community out there who have to understand and believe in our values. At the moment I see none except “the value of IN” which has to be one of the worst presented policies ever. All spin – no substance or recognition of the voters’ fears and (genuine) concerns over the role and power the civil service in Europe . I endure scorn and ridicule from colleagues because nobody faces up to the real problems with the EC. It is better to be in – but just reciting a list of good things fools no one. The world is full of failed good men who never looked beyond the positives of their message. Nick is one – please go quickly.

  • @Chris “getting in power and playing a role in Government” is a fair aspiration. However it required us to play a politically COMPETENT part which Clegg hasn’t. Ever since the betrayal of signed pledges about Tuition Fees the Parliamentary Party sacrificed our integrity and credibility and people haven’t forgotten even if they can’t remember why.

  • William Jones 26th May '14 - 8:44am

    I am not signing a letter that the authors refuse to say who they are.

    This timing issue on changing the leader has now become irrelevant. After this set of election results. The worst set under Nick’s leadership.

    We must move on from the coalition and look to the future with some hope.

    Nick must make the right decision for the party. I believe that decision is now to stand down and swiftly elect a new leader.

  • You are spot on Sandra Gidley. I was disappointed and then angry that Nick Clegg chose to turn our party’s election program into, in effect, a referendum on membership of the EU.
    There is austerity in Europe, most of the political elite have allied with the bankers and the 1%, and it looks to the public opinion that Nick Clegg has carried the LD to support and join the 1% and its attack on the living standards of the 99%.
    For me wondering if I should have voted Green.
    The main Lib Dem issues of why people that supported us positively is domestic issues such as reform of the council tax, constitutional and electoral reform and environmental issues, etc and internationally on opposing the creeping US imperialist policies into Europe and EU policies, examples seen in the coup in the Ukraine.
    In campaigning NC has failed and his record in government and extending into this years’ elections.
    It takes agreement of all parties to form a coalition and the Tories have continuously undermined our reform policies.
    We should have have made it a red line, insisted on fundamental policies of liberalism such as the referendum on electoral reform to STV and the house of Lords reform and that they should support the change, after all, we made compromises on education.
    If not, there is no point to continuing this coalition!
    The public would have given us credit for this.
    This don’t only says it about Nick Clegg but about the whole of British government which is out of touch with the people.
    The success of UKIP will come and go, but these issues of the remoteness of the Westminster oligarve need to be resolved to make the parliamentary system in this country act like a democracy.

  • “The truth is I could never vote for the lib dems while Nick Clegg is leader of your party. I simply do not believe anything he says and has no credibility with me. Let me explain why…”

    …you don’t have to do that John, many Lib Dems are with you on this issue!

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