UK Politics

Tory views: Clegg and coalition

The Conservative/Lib Dem coalition will soon be a year old - so what do grassroots Tory activists at the Tory spring conference in Cardiff think of it so far? And what do they really think about one of the men who made it possible, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg?

LINDA BLACKBURN

I think it is early days. It is like anybody that lives together. They have to learn about each other and they have to put up with each other's idiosyncrasies. I think it is hard for party members from both sides to come to terms with the fact that neither of them is in charge. I think the Lib Dems feel particularly hard done to because they are seen as a sell-out by some of their supporters. But it is a coalition. They are having to take on some of the views and values of the Conservatives. It's a compromise. We don't live in Utopia. I think Nick Clegg is a very intelligent man who has had to make some great decisions. I think he is being unfairly picked on by the media.

CHRIS COSTIGAN

I think they have achieved a lot of things in a short space of time. More than if the Conservative Party had been elected on its own. There are complaints in some quarters in the Conservative Party but when you ask those people 'What is it that you wanted to do that you haven't been able to?' they can't answer. I think Nick Clegg has found it difficult. He has had some difficulties with his own party. Some Lib Dems are particularly left wing.

MIKE RIDGWAY

It's going very well. I am very pleased there was a hung Parliament and I know a lot of my colleagues think that. The parties need to work together in the current economic situation. Cameron would have found it more difficult to do what he has done with a small majority of his own. People would have turned against him. I didn't like Clegg during the election campaign - I thought he was opportunistic. My view of him has changed but I am not sure what the future holds for him. I hope he emerges from this with honour. One option might be to join the Conservatives, another might be to leave politics, a third option is for his party to be taken over by someone else.

MATTHEW MILLER

I think the Conservatives have done more than they could have done with a small majority. It would have been more difficult to get some of the cuts through. Nick Clegg seems like a nice person. I don't think he is really a Lib Dem. He seems to be more in tune with a lot of Conservative philosophy. I don't think he ever really believed in tuition fees. He is not a proper Lib Dem but it would be difficult for him to defect to the Conservatives because he gets his power from being the Lib Dem leader.

NATHANIEL IZEAZOR

The coalition has had to take some difficult decisions in the national interest and the Lib Dems have been attacked for it, which is unfair and unjust. I have met Nick Clegg and he is a decent man, a brave man. People have suggested he did what he did to just to get power but I think that is unfair. He would be welcome in the Conservative Party any time, as far as I am concerned - as long he wears blue ties!

NATALIE COX AND EMILY BURDITT

Natalie: I wouldn't necessarily say the Conservatives have achieved more as part of a coalition than they would have done on their own. Everyone has had to make compromises, although the only thing I really wish hadn't happened is the whole referendum on AV voting.

Emily: I don't think Nick Clegg was the right choice to be Lib Dem leader. They should have chosen Vince Cable. Clegg said a lot of things he thought people wanted to hear but didn't think he would have to follow through on it. A lot of my friends voted for him and they aren't very happy.