Clegg says poll that suggests he will lose his seat is ‘utter bilge’

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A poll suggesting that Nick Clegg could lose his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour has been dismissed as “utter, utter bilge” by the Lib Dem leader.

Related: Sheffield students: we can kick Clegg out of power

The Survation survey, commissioned by the Unite trade union, showed the Lib Dems as 10 points behind Labour in the seat. It found 33% intended to vote for Labour, 23% for the Lib Dems and 23% for the Conservatives, from a poll of more than 1,000 residents.

But critics were quick to point out that it did not prompt those questioned to think about their local candidate, and was not weighted by past voting intention.

It also included several questions about the controversial EU-US trade deal called TTIP which unions believe could open the door to more American corporate involvement in the NHS.

Asked about the poll on his LBC Radio show, Clegg poured scorn on it. “This poll is such utter, utter bilge,” he said. “Surprise, surprise, the trade union paymasters of the Labour party have come out with a poll showing Labour is ahead.

“Unlike these Unite bosses who pay for Labour candidates up and down the country, I am actually out and about knocking on doors in my wonderful constituency, in the most beautiful part of the north, southwest Sheffield.“Of course there are some people who say I hate the Tories so much I’ll never forgive you for going into coalition. I try and explain to them no one won the election, it was the only way we could form a stable government and of course I’m not a Tory.”

Previous polls suggest Clegg will hold the seat, which he has represented for a decade and was a previously Conservative constituency before the Lib Dems took it in 1997. However, Labour is said to be pursuing a “decapitation strategy” to unseat the Lib Dem leader.

Powered by article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for The Guardian on Thursday 5th February 2015 10.48 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010