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Nick Clegg returns to lead Lib Dems’ anti-Brexit battle

July 20, 2016 4:35 PM
By Nigel Morris in inews

Nick CleggNick Clegg is returning to the political front line, a year after the Liberal Democrats suffered a general election rout, to spearhead the party's response to Brexit negotiations.

He has kept a low profile since quitting as leader the morning after the Lib Dems lost all but eight of their 57 parliamentary seats in May last year.

His successor, Tim Farron, said the former Deputy Prime Minister was uniquely well placed to challenge Theresa May - whom he sat alongside in the Coalition Cabinet - over her Government's strategy for leaving the EU.

"No one is better placed than Nick to challenge Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis"

Tim Farron, Lib Dems leader

Writing in i, Mr Clegg said he would work with academics, lawyers and other experts to "hold the Government to account and to flush out the answers that British people need about their country, their economy and their futures".

He said ministers had no exit plan for pulling out of the EU, and accused Labour of providing no "meaningful opposition" to the Government on the issue.

'We need to know what Brexit means'

He said: "Theresa May has said repeatedly that 'Brexit means Brexit'. What we need to know now is what that means in reality. The British people voted to leave the EU, but they were never presented with a plan for what Britain's new relationship with Europe and the world will look like."

Since the election, Mr Clegg has joined the Global Commission on Drug Policy and become chairman of a commission on inequality in education.

He has also written a book detailing his experiences of the Coalition and considering the future of liberalism, which will be published in September.

Mr Clegg will shadow the government's "three Brexiteers" - the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.

His decision to become a spokesman for his party will give it desperately needed extra firepower at a time when it is struggling to make an impact in the Commons.

Mr Farron said: "When it comes to facing down Theresa May -whether it's over the Snooper's Charter, immigration and loads of other issues they crossed swords over in government - Nick has been there and got the T-shirt.

"No one is better placed than Nick to challenge Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis."