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.