FORMER deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will step back into the spotlight today when he addresses the Liberal Democrat conference as part of the party’s EU referendum campaign.
Clegg stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in May following the party’s devastating defeat in the General Election, which saw the Lib Dems lose 49 seats in the House of Commons. Since then, he has kept a relatively low profile, declining a spokesperson post under the party’s new leader Tim Farron.
But Clegg will return to centre stage today when he says that the stakes in the EU referendum “could not be higher” with “not just one, but two, unions [hanging] in the balance”.
Clegg will warn Lib Dem delegates that the SNP will “gleefully grab the opportunity to persuade the people of Scotland to leave the UK as well” in the event of a so-called Brexit.
A longtime proponent of Britain’s membership of the European Union, Clegg will also attack the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying: “I’ve seen the Labour Party abandon its progressive principles to score short term tactical points: failing to support House of Lords reform; barely lifting a finger in the AV referendum; blocking party funding reform.”
“But I say to Jeremy Corbyn: the EU referendum is simply too important for ambivalence.”
Corbyn, who has been highly critical of the EU and voted for Britain to leave the bloc in the 1975 referendum, said last week that Labour would campaign to stay in the EU under his leadership.