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Farron to launch Lib Dem leadership bid in Otley

Tim Farron will officially announce his candidacy to replace Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg as Leader of the Liberal Democrats when he visits Otley today.

Tim Farron will announce his candidacy to replace Nick Clegg as the Lib-Dem leader on a visit to Otley Credit: ITV News

The local Leeds North West MP Greg Mullholland will be the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP's campaign co-ordinator.

Farron served four years as President of the Liberal Democrats, until December 2014, and is hugely popular among party grassroots.

“That over 10,000 people have joined the party since polling day shows we still have huge appeal among voters.

"I have every confidence that we as a party can rebuild after a difficult general election - I want to be at the forefront of that, and that’s why I am running to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“I am greatly looking forward to visiting Otley to announce my candidacy. It’s a great example of an area where people see us as the party with the right priorities and are ready to back us.

"That was clear to see in local residents re-electing Greg Mulholland for a third straight term, and overwhelmingly voting Liberal Democrats to run the local town council. Yes, we had a difficult general election result, but we are determined to rebuild and places like Otley show how we can do that.”

– Tim Farron MP
Leeds North West MP Greg Mullholland will act as Tim Farron's campaign co-ordinator Credit: ITV Yorkshire

“I am delighted to be backing Tim Farron to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. We need to re-establish a strong identity for the party and reconnect and re-engage with the public.

"Tim has a clear vision for how the party can be energised to do just that and I want to be part of that vision and making it happen.

“I am very pleased that Tim agreed to come to Otley to launch his leadership campaign. Otley is a proud liberal town, with strong civic pride and a wonderful community spirit.

"It is great that after the remarkable Liberal Democrat victory in the Otley Town Council elections, Tim is launching the Liberal Democrat fightback – and we want Otley to be an example of how a strong liberal team can deliver for people.

“Tim has the ability to connect with people from all different backgrounds, in all different parts of this country and he is the right person to lead the liberal revival this country needs. "

– Greg Mullholland MP

Nick Clegg resigns as Lib Dem leader

Nick Clegg has announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg has announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats Credit: Press Association

His party suffered huge losses across the country, winning only eight seats, in a disastrous night for his leadership; a night where he also lost the position of Deputy Prime Minister following the end of the coalition with the Conservative Party:

It is simply been heartbreaking to see so many friends and colleagues who have served their constituents so diligently, over so many years, abruptly lose their seats because of forces entirely beyond their control.

I always expected this election to be exceptionally difficult for the Liberal Democrats given the heavy responsibilities we have had to bear in government in the most challenging of circumstances.

But clearly the results have been immeasurably more crushing and unkind than I could ever have feared. For that, of course, I must take responsibility.

– Nick Clegg MP

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Clegg retains support after botched coup

Senior Liberal Democrats are once again pledging their loyalty to Nick Clegg tonight, as a botched coup to oust him as leader continues to cause embarrassment.

The Sheffield Hallam MP said he 'didn't believe for a second' that the Business Secretary Vince Cable had been plotting against him.

The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott resigned on Wednesday after leaking a poll showing Nick Clegg could lose his seat, claiming Vince Cable knew about the research.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand reports:

Clegg relishing head to head with UKIP

It is the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York this weekend and its leader - Sheffield MP & Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - says he is relishing a head-to-head with UKIP's Nigel Farage.

As Mr Farage's party vies to take on all parties at the forthcoming European Elections the conference is likely to focus on Europe and Tax - and the Lib Dem leader insisted there is still plenty on offer from the party to voters in our part of the world.

Claire Ashforth was there to meet him.

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Claims South Yorkshire could be missing out on millions in funding

Claims have emerged that South Yorkshire is missing out on millions of pounds of European Union funding - because the cash is being diverted to Scotland instead.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg today denied Labour claims that he's been 'asleep at the wheel' by allowing a 50 percent cut in EU money. He says funding will actually rise this year.

But his opponents say he's fiddling the figures, with cash being shifted to other regions. Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand reports on the row.

Clegg accuses Labour of 'shocking hypocrisy'

Nick Clegg has accused Labour of 'shocking hypocrisy' for claiming that the government has cut EU funding for South Yorkshire.

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that spending would go up this year, from £20m to £23m. But the funding is actually dished out in lumps of six years, and in 2007-2013 it was £350m, with most of that spent at the beginning of the period, which is why spending was so low last year.

In 2014-2020 it will only be £178m - a 50% cut on the previous round. Labour say Nick Clegg - a Sheffield MP himself - has been 'asleep at the wheel', allowing a huge cut to South Yorkshire while richer regions have been given more money.

Click below to watch Calendar's political correspondent Paul Brand quizzing Clegg over the cuts:

Lib Dems accuse PM of scuppering recall powers

Liberal Democrats have accused Prime Minister David Cameron of scuppering plans to allow voters to get rid of MPs who misbehave - a plan Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg was keen to push through.

Press Association

The coalition agreement of 2010 included a promise of early legislation to introduce a "power of recall" allowing voters to force their MP to face a by-election by raising a petition of 10% of constituents.

But the Lib Dems said that Mr Cameron has now blocked a bill to create a recall power from inclusion in the final Queen's Speech of the Parliament.

If no bill is included in the Speech, expected in May, there is virtually no chance of it becoming law before the UK goes to the polls for next year's general election.

The coalition agreement sealed by Mr Cameron and Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the wake of the inconclusive 2010 election included a promise on recall in response to widespread voter discontent about the House of Commons' expenses scandal.

The agreement stated: "We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrong-doing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents."

See Nick Clegg take on squash champion

Watch Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in action as he takes on three times world squash champion Nick Mattews from Sheffield. The pair were at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club at the launch of a scheme to get more youngsters interested in the game.

And the Sheffield Hallam MP didn't have a lot of choice when the champion challenged him to play!

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