MAVERICK Lord Oakshott quit the Liberal Democrats yesterday after leaking a poll that showed the party would be better off without leader Nick Clegg.
The peer opted for a dramatic exit rather than face disciplinary action over the leaked internal poll.
It suggested that the Lib Dem leader would face a wipeout in his own constituency at the 2015 general election, with Mr Clegg polling ten points behind a local Labour candidate.
Lord Oakeshott warned the party faithful that they were “heading for disaster” while Mr Clegg remained at the helm.
The poll went on to quiz constituents about support for the party under Business Secretary Vince Cable and Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander respectively.
Mr Cable — a close friend of the peer — has publicly condemned the leak as “inexcusable” and repeatedly said that there was “no leadership issue.”
But Lord Oakshott’s parting shot yesterday was crystal clear: “We must change the leader to give Liberal Democrat MPs their best chance to win in 2015.
“I am sure the party is heading for disaster if it keeps Nick Clegg and I must not get in the way of the many brave Liberal Democrats fighting for change.”
Labour frontbencher Michael Dugher said the Lib Dems’ problems stemmed from their performance, not their personalities.
The party had broken a raft of campaign promises, from banning tuition fees to protecting the NHS from privateers — and ironically even their campaign slogan: “No more broken promises.”
Mr Dugher said: “It doesn’t matter who resigns — the truth is you can’t trust a word any Lib Dem says.”