Candidate denies not wanting Clegg visit
SENIOR Bristol Liberal Democrats have denied some members do not want Nick Clegg to appear in public alongside their mayoral candidate.
It had been reported that with Mr Clegg suffering in the polls, it would not help the chances of Jon Rogers winning the November election. But Mr Rogers said the Deputy Prime Minister was on his way to Bristol, next month, to give his public endorsement to the campaign.
It came as local activists gathered in Brighton for the annual conference, which will be dominated by Mr Clegg's recent apology over the tuition fees hike. Other party figures, including Bristol West MP Stephen Williams, followed his move by apologising for promising to axe fees in the last general election campaign.
Mr Clegg also said yesterday parents and grandparents would be allowed to draw on their pension pots to secure deposits for young family members in a bid to boost home ownership. He said it was part of Lib Dem proposals to make the economy "fairer".
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Recently deputy leader Simon Hughes identified the mayoral race and the election of the Avon and Somerset Police Commissioner as the party's best chance of reviving its fortunes at the ballot box.
But veteran Lib Dem councillor John Kiely, who represents Easton ward, was quoted over the weekend saying he would only be happy at the end of the conference if his party leader quit and handed over to Business Secretary Vince Cable. Mr Kiely was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Andy Morgan, the chairman of Bristol Lib Dems, said his colleague was "certainly outspoken in his views".
He added: "Our candidate is going to be seen in public with the star performers coming down from London."
Mr Rogers said: "Part of my campaign is that I have contacts in government. Having the Deputy Prime Minister a phone call away is a real benefit."