Nick Clegg will not be able to lead the Liberal Democrats into the next general election, one of his most high profile former MPs has said.
"There's no point in pulling our punches. After a year of research, [we] have concluded that Nick cannot realistically lead the party into the next election without incurring an additional contraction in the number of MPs - directly as a result of his leadership," the ex-MP said.
"We have also identified the lack of a political narrative which was left the party drifting in an identity vacuum while, by contrast, the Conservatives have been remarkably effective at maintaining their focus and image."
Fortunately for the deputy prime minister, the former colleague making the call is Lembit Opik, whose credentials as a serious politician have been somewhat undermined by a series of rather low-brow activities since leaving parliament in 2010.
The Guardian reports that Opik made the comments while publicising his new book co-written with Ed Joyce titled 'The Alternative View: A Way Back For The Liberal Democrats'.
Opik dramatically lost his Montgomeryshire seat at the 2010 election following an unexpected, and embarrassing, 13.2% swing to the Conservatives.
He has since appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and made an unsuccessful foray into stand-up comedy.
He made headlines after becoming engaged to Cheeky Girls' Gabriela Irimia and is said to be embarking on a career as a pop promoter for his former fiancée.
Opik was last seen performing in a pop video while dancing wildly on a London rooftop.Suggest a correction