Clegg: Lib Dems will confound electoral expectations
Lib Dem leader says party will give former FM Alex Salmond "another defeat to write a book about"
Nick Clegg will today seek to reassure the party faithful in Scotland that the Liberal Democrats will perform “so much better than anyone thinks” in the upcoming general election.
The deputy prime minister will repeat the exact same words he used at the party’s spring conference in Liverpool last weekend when he appears at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Aberdeen later today.
Clegg will insist the party “can and will win” on May 7 despite polls that suggest their numbers north of the border could be cut from 11 Scottish MPs to just one.
Constituency polling published by Lord Ashcroft in recent weeks has suggested the party is poised to lose a host of safe seats to the SNP with only Orkney and Shetland MSP Alistair Carmichael forecast to hold on.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is set to lose his Inverness seat while Gordon, where former First Minister Alex Salmond is due to stand, is also set to fall to the SNP, according to the polling.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is also predicted to lose Ross, Skye and Lochaber – a seat he has held since 1983 and currently possesses a majority of 13,000 in – to the SNP.
“I’ve heard the predictions. I’ve seen the polls. But let me tell you this: we will do so much better than anyone thinks,” Clegg is expected to say.
“In those seats where we are out in force, making our case loudly and proudly, we are the ones making the weather.
“I’ve seen it for myself in Liberal Democrat seats across the country - and it is just as true in Scotland as it is everywhere else.
The Lib Dem leader will claim the party has shown “incredible resilience” in the last five years of coalition government.
“It is because of that resilience that we can and will win this May,” he will say. “That resilience will see off the SNP challenge in the seats we hold.
“And it will wipe the smile off Alex Salmond's face in Gordon too. At least then he will have another defeat to write a book about.”
Keith Brown will become the party’s standing campaign director, with responsibility for policy development and preparation for future elections
Exclusive interview with the SNP’s new depute leader on the Growth Commission report, indyref2 and how he interprets his role
The increase will apply to all NHS staff in Scotland working under Agenda for Change and earning up to £80,000
The SNP will announce its new depute leader at its spring conference later this week