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Clegg: Leave Nigel Farage's wife and kids out of it

Nick Clegg has leapt to the defence of Nigel Farage, saying protesters who reportedly chased the Ukip leader and his family out of a pub should "leave his wife and kids out of it".

Clegg insists the Lib Dems 'can and will win' at election

The Liberal Democrats can thwart Alex Salmond's bid to return to Westminster, Nick Clegg will claim today as he insists his party "can and will win" in May's General Election.

Despite his party's poor showing in opinion polls, Clegg believes the Liberal Democrats will "do so much better than anyone thinks".

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Lib Dem leader will address activists at an election rally at the Scottish party conference in Aberdeen this evening.

Clegg is expected to argue that the party's resilience and the "incredible things" it has achieved as part of the coalition Government will be key to doing well in May.

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Labour calls Clegg's TV debate offer 'ridiculous'

Labour has dismissed suggestions that Nick Clegg could replace David Cameron in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband, calling the idea "ridiculous".

Lucy Powell, vice chair of Labour's election campaign, said the public was "outraged" that Cameron was refusing to take part and brushed off suggestions Clegg could take his place.

Labour dismissed the idea of a head-to-head debate between Miliband and Clegg. Credit: Olivia Harris/PA Wire

Powell told BBC News: "He [Clegg] can have a debate with Harriet Harman, who's our deputy leader, about being Deputy Prime Minister."

"David Cameron is absolutely running scared from that debate and not only is that wrong, it's totally hypocritical because he said at the last election that he thought these were really important debates," she added.

Clegg offers to take Cameron's TV debate place

Nick Clegg has said he is ready to take David Cameron's place in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband if the Prime Minister refuses to take part.

Clegg said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in that he is ready to take Cameron's place in the two-way debate planned by Sky News and Channel 4 for April 30 - one week before the General Election on May 7.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks on LBC radio. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

"Having been in government for five years, I also have this old-fashioned view that I want to defend the record of this Government," Clegg told listeners.

If David Cameron is too busy or too important to defend the record of this Government with Ed Miliband, then I offer myself. I'll do it instead."

Clegg 'ready' to take Cameron's place in TV debate

Nick Clegg is ready to take David Cameron's place in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband if the Prime Minister refuses to take part, Lord Paddy Ashdown has said.

The Lib Dem campaign chairman and former leader said Clegg is prepared to take Cameron's place in the two-way debate planned by Sky News and Channel 4 for April 30 - one week before the General Election on May 7.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is ready to take David Cameron's place. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Lord Ashdown told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm told that Downing Street is now depending on the Liberal Democrats to say no. Well, I've got bad news for them. We're not going to."

"If it is the case that there's a two-headed debate and Mr Miliband turns up and the Prime Minister will not defend the record of the Government, then Nick Clegg will be very happy to," he added.

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Clegg calls for decriminalisation of personal drug use

Nick Clegg will pledge a Lib Dem overhaul of drug laws. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Young people caught with small amounts of drugs for their own use should not receive criminal convictions, Nick Clegg will say today.

In a speech alongside Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, the Deputy Prime Minister will attack the "ludicrous" status quo that allows people to be unable to get work in later life if they make a "youthful mistake".

He will announce Liberal Democrat proposals to take users out of the criminal justice system, instead introducing either treatment, education or a civil fine for those caught in possession of drugs for personal use.

Under current rules, someone cautioned for such a crime would have to declare it for six years when applying for certain jobs.

If they are fined for the same offence that increases to 11 years, while it will have to be declared for the rest of their lives if they receive a prison sentence.

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