UK Politics

Nick Clegg to remain leader 'well beyond' one term

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Media captionNick Clegg: "I really wouldn't believe a word you read in the Daily Mail"

Nick Clegg has dismissed stories he plans to quit as Lib Dem leader after one parliamentary term as "drivel".

The deputy PM told the BBC he intends to stay "well beyond one term", amid suggestions he might quit to become a European Commissioner in 2015.

He said he believed joining the Conservatives in a coalition government had been "the right thing to do".

Thousands of activists are in Birmingham for the Lib Dem conference after a difficult year for the party.

Since the last autumn conference the Lib Dems suffered heavy losses in the English local elections, were heavily defeated in a referendum on changing the UK voting system and have faced anger about their support for spending cuts and increasing tuition fees.

No deal

A ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday suggest the Liberal Democrats have not convinced voters they are a "credible party of government".

An online survey of 2,000 adults on the eve of the conference suggested 24% believed they were doing a good job and that support for the party had flatlined at 11%.

But Mr Clegg dismissed a story in the Daily Mail that he had made a deal with his wife Miriam to serve only one term, which was based on a book about Mr Clegg by journalist Jasper Gerard.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I really wouldn't believe a word you read in the Daily Mail... they've got a bee in their bonnet about the coalition and the Liberal Democrats and they come up with drivel every single day.

"I'm in this because I think it's the right thing to do... Miriam supports me fully in this and I want to see us succeed in the coalition government and beyond."

He added: "Absolutely, I intend to see it through well beyond one term."

'No idea'

Mr Clegg joked about the Mail - which this week published a story describing him as "the most dangerous politician in Britain" - in his speech at the opening rally on Saturday, to cheers from activists.

He was also asked about a story suggesting a wish list of new negotiation points with the Conservatives for the second half of the parliament had been drawn up by party researchers.

Mr Clegg told the programme he had not seen the list and had "no idea" if it was true: "I don't control what people do on their desk tops every single day."

"The government's priority is to deliver the coalition agreement and most importantly to rescue and to repair the economy."

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