Nick Clegg wins Lib Dem leadership race

December 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Nick Clegg was named the new Liberal Democrat leader today, Tuesday 18 December, after narrowly beating Chris Huhne in the race to become leader.

The 40-year-old came to Rochdale during his leadership campaign and received the support of Rochdale MP Paul Rowen and Lib Dem Councillors.

Mr Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, won 20,988 members votes, to 20,477 votes for Mr Huhne.

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said of the appointment: "Nick has the energy, enthusiasm and ideas to take our party forward in the North West. I have worked extensively with him and I feel he will be an excellent leader. Nick will take the Lib Dems forward and he is not afraid to speak his mind and it was great that he was able to come here to speak to us earlier this month.

"I am sure he will reach out to many new voters in places like Rochdale. The next few years are vital for the Liberal Democrats. With Nick as leader we will see a no-nonsense approach to things like crime and disorder, health and education.

"Nick will be someone who reaches out beyond Westminster. I think Nick Clegg as our leader will be good news for the people of this Town. I look forward to continuing my work with him."

The Lib Dem leader told Rochdale Online during his visit on December 7: "I think I am being realistic when I say that I think we can break the two party political system within two elections. It will be hugely challenging but it is very possible. To do it we need to start talking to people, to the voters, rather than talking among ourselves."

Mr Clegg re-affirmed in his acceptance speech what he told Rochdale Online earlier this month, saying: "I want the Liberal Democrats to be the future of politics, because Liberal Democrats have the courage to imagine a better society to break the stifling grip of the two party system for good."

Mr Clegg becomes the party's third leader in three years after first Charles Kennedy was forced out after admitting a drink problem and then Sir Menzies Campbell resigned in October this year.

Vincent Cable has acted as leader during the race and gave a "spellbinding" performance according to Mr Clegg.