Clegg: Lib Dems risk irrelevance

The Liberal Democrats must become a "fully-fledged party of government" or risk being condemned to irrelevance and "slow decline", Nick Clegg warned.

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Nick Clegg: Lib Dems 'risk becoming irrelevant'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told his party they "risk becoming irrelevant" if they do not make some significant changes.

Nick Clegg Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

In a keynote speech the leader of the Liberal Democrats acknowledged that the party had been damaged by abandoning their commitment to scrapping tuition fees but said they must embrace the future.

"If we try and turn back the clock, hankering for the comfort blanket of national opposition, seeking to airbrush out the difficult decisions we have had to take, we condemn our party to the worst possible fate: irrelevance; impotence; slow decline," he told councilors at a meeting in Manchester.

Lib Dem manifesto to spell out 'red lines' for rival talks

Nick Clegg will tell activists the party's ambitions "may be affected by resources and circumstances". Credit: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

The next Liberal Democrat election manifesto will clearly show the commitments the party would "die in a ditch" to protect in any future coalition negotiations, Nick Clegg will say today.

The Deputy Prime Minister will paint the document as a starting point for talks with political rivals when he addresses the party's annual local government conference in Manchester.

But Mr Clegg is set to warn activists that they should not expect to implement everything in it, while reiterating that the previous pledge to oppose tuition fee rises was a "mistake".

He will tell them that next time there will be a clear distinction between "commitments" and "ambitions".

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