London: In the first major electoral test
after the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats have
been dealt a stinging blow by the electorate as the party
suffered major reverses in elections to local councils in
Widely derided for going back on pre-election promises
not to raise tuition fees, the Liberal Democrats and their
leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, were blamed for
major spending cuts and other unpopular acts since the David
Cameron government came to power.
In the local council elections, the Labour party made
major gains at the cost of Liberal Democrats, while the
Conservatives generally retained their position as they are
perceived to be implementing what they promised before
Smarting over the reverses, Clegg has said his party
had been "blamed" for coalition spending cuts as the Liberal
Democrats faced a wipeout in northern England cities and had
lost nearly 300 councillors in total, mostly to Labour.
Clegg told a news agency the Liberal Democrats were facing
"the brunt of the blame" for coalition spending cuts, adding
that, for some voters, they were bringing out "memories of
things under Thatcher".
But he promised to "redouble our efforts" and "get up
and dust ourselves down".
Cameron said his Conservative party and the Liberal
Democrats would "continue to work together in the national
He added that the Tories had "fought a strong
campaign, based on sorting out the mess left by Labour" and
that the coalition government would "work for the full five
years" of this parliament.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the results of the
English local government are sending a clear message to this
government, and Liberal Democrats in particular.
He said the message was that "there needs to be a
change of direction, on some of the key issues, on living
standards, on the NHS, and going too far and too fast on the
deficit, and I hope the government take heed of that".