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Nick Clegg: We did not contest by-election seriously

Nick Clegg said his party was still making "great gains" in support where they hold MPs.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has told Daybreak his party did not "contest seriously" last week's by-election in South Shields, in which its candidate topped only the Monster Raving Loony Party.

The Deputy Prime Minister said: "There was a by-election just a few weeks ago in Eastleigh which we spectacularly won. Some by-elections parties do well in others they don't contest seriously. That was clearly the case if you contrast Eastleigh with South Shields."

Mr Clegg also said his party would not "lurch (to the) right or left" after its disastrous local election results, which saw it lose 124 council seats and comfortably trail UKIP.

Labour MP: 'Good result on what we have seen so far'

Labour MP Tom Watson said his party had made good progress
Labour MP Tom Watson pictured on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee Credit: PA wire

Labour's election co-ordinator Tom Watson said his party enjoyed a good night in the local elections and South Shields by-election.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 programme, Mr Watson said "We had a good result on what we have seen so far, to get 50 per cent of the vote in South Shields, to win back the mayor in Tyneside, to make progress in the Westminster battleground seats within counties is good for us.

"In the Westminster battleground seats, places like Harlow, Hastings, Stevenage, Cannock, the Westminster seats we lost in 2010 and we need to win back in 2015, they are coming back to Labour in quite big numbers."

The MP for West Bromwich East said Labour leader Ed Miliband had been consistently told by voters that they felt a sense of "powerlessness" when it came to politics and its ability to change their lives.

"At the heart of this is economic failure, they feel the Government plan is not working and they feel the job of the Labour Party is to convince people there is a better way, that we can address this squeeze on living standards and give people more hope," he said.


Libs Dems fear big 'third party' gains for UKIP

by Paul Brand - ITV News reporter
Ballot boxes have arrived in South Shields, with a result expected by 1:00am. Credit: ITV News/Paul Brand

The Lib Dems have told me things are pretty horrific for them in South Shields, with it looking like the 'third party' vote has all gone to UKIP.

The turnout in the Parliamentary by-election, sparked by former foreign secretary David Miliband's resignation, is 39.3%.

Cameron 'fighting for the pound in your pocket'

The only "real choice" for voters at the forthcoming local elections is between the Conservatives and Labour, David Cameron has said.

David Cameron addresses Conservative Party supporters at the Amberside Sports Club in Nuneaton.
David Cameron addresses Conservative Party supporters at the Amberside Sports Club in Nuneaton. Credit: Darren Staples/PA

In a direct attack on Labour leader Ed Miliband's policies, the Prime Minister said "the scale of the challenge is actually laid bare today because this is the day when the leader of the Labour Party is turning left.

"More spending, more borrowing, more debt - that is what he's calling for, more of all of those things that got us into this mess in the first place."

Mr Cameron said the Conservatives were "fighting for the pound in your pocket" adding it was "a moral imperative" to keep council tax down.

"We're fighting to keep it there because we get something, it is your money, not our money and not Government money."

Ed Miliband has campaigned in South Shields where local elections will be held on 2nd May.

Lee Nelson 'to stand for election' in South Shields

TV comic Lee Nelson intends to stand for Parliament in the by-election for David Miliband's former seat of South Shields.

The character, created by funnyman Simon Brodkin and who has his own BBC3 series, intends to contest the election on 2nd May after handing in his nomination papers this morning.

'Lee Nelson' - the next South Shields MP?
'Lee Nelson' - the next South Shields MP? Credit: Ian West/PA

Earlier this month Brodkin escaped prosecution following his arrest in March for sneaking on to the pitch and training with the Manchester City team prior to a Premier League match.

Read more: Officer restrains 'Lee Nelson' as PR stunt goes wrong

Nelson, standing for Lee Nelson's Well Good Party read out a speech on the steps of the Town Hall in South Shields, delivering a "17-point manifesto for a Well Great Britain" with a series of eye-opening policies, including issuing each child with lottery scratch cards at birth.

He added: "David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson - I wasn't educated at Eton or Oxford. In fact, I wasn't educated at all. It's time to give the posh the push. And let Lee be your leader for a well great Britain."

Find out more about the South Shields by-election and the candidates standing on the ITV Tyne Tees website.

South Shields by-election due on May 2

The by-election triggered by former foreign secretary David Miliband's departure from the Commons is set to be held on May 2.

Labour sources said Mr Miliband would formally vacate the South Shields seat on Monday, and the writ would then be moved for the contest.

Emma Lewell-Buck was selected as the party's candidate for the safe seat earlier this week.


Miliband: 'Politics will be a poorer place without David'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said British politics will be a "poorer place" following his brother David's decision to step down as an MP.

The former foreign secretary, and the elder of the Miliband brothers, announced this morning that he will be moving to New York to become head of a US-based charity.

ITV News political correspondent Alex Forrest reports:

David Miliband explains his decision to step down as MP

David Miliband told ITV News "I am leaving politics" as he steps down as an MP to take on a charity role based in New York.

He admitted life had been tough since losing the leadership election to his brother Ed.

Political Editor Tom Bradby began by asking him whether the move means an end to his political career:

Read more: The 'nearly man' of British politics steps off stage

Blair: 'It's timeout, not time over for David Miliband'

David Miliband tells ITV News: 'I am leaving politics'

The former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told ITV News: "I am leaving politics."

He told political editor Tom Bradby it is "not fair for me to spend my time looking backwards and inwards" about losing the Labour leadership election to his brother Ed.

David Miliband talks to ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby. Credit: ITV News

He denied any falling out with his brother: "We fought a leadership election but we don't fight each other, Ed and I. That's not the Miliband way."

But he admitted: "Is it tough? Of course it's tough."

He said he "kept him [Ed] informed" about his new role.

Watch the interview here.

Read more: The 'nearly man' of British politics steps off stage

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