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Clegg Moving to Curb Lib Dems Revolt

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TEHRAN, March 5 (ICANA) – The poor performance of Britain's Liberal Democrat party in the Barnsley by-election has forced its leader, Nick Clegg, to launch last-ditch attempts before a key conference to unify his party.
Saturday, March 05, 2011 6:20:45 PM
Clegg Moving to Curb Lib Dems Revolt

While Lib Dems are preparing for their spring conference in Sheffield next week, Clegg is holding talks with senior party figures, including a number of backbencher MPs and peers, to prevent their rebellion over Thursday's results.

Liberal Democrats came in sixth in the Barnsley by-election, finishing even behind Ukip and the British National Party.

The by-election results have raised fears about the party's ability to secure enough control over large city councils in May's local elections, which, when coupled with the Lib Dems' poor poll ratings, could trigger open revolt among party members.

The coalition's NHS reform and the party leaderships move to embrace tuition fee rises despite pre-election pledges to prevent any such increases are expected to be the main flashpoints for the party.

This comes as Clegg also faces pressure from outside next week in his own constituency as thousands of workers and students are set to rally at the conference venue.

Clegg has reportedly held talks with head of the newly-established Liberal Democrat Backbench Group Greg Mulholland, and leader of the Liverpool Council Warren Bradley, among others.

Bradley has expressed his concerns that the government's spending cuts would lead to the Lib Dems losing their support in the North for more than five years.

Clegg has used the meetings to warn the top Lib Dems that they will be directly affected in the May council elections if they go public with the rows while the disputes will also weaken the Yes camp in the alternative vote referendum.

The Lib Dems lost support from 17.28 percent to 4.18 percent in Thursday's by-election, while the Tories also slid from 17.26 percent to 8.25 percent.

Labour candidate Dan Jarvis won the parliamentary seat for Barnsley with 60.8 percent of the votes.

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