Kingston and Surbiton’s Lib Dem MP has said he fully supports party leader Nick Clegg, amid dissent in the ranks over the deputy prime minister’s leadership.

A poor showing in the local and European elections last week led a number of Lib Dem MPs to suggest Mr Clegg should step down.

But Edward Davey backed the leader this morning.

He said: “I have always been a strong supporter of Nick Clegg’s leadership. He has shown huge resilience despite huge attacks by the press and his opponents.

“It’s not surprising, when Liberal Democrats have had to go into coalition with their political adversaries, and had to make some of the toughest decisions of any peacetime government, that he has attracted the criticism.

“He deserves, and will receive from me, full support.”

But Mr Davey would not be drawn on whether he was worried about his own position at next year’s general election.

He said: “These were disappointing results, obviously, but I have never been complacent about the seat.

“That wouldn’t have changed if we had won the elections. I have always in my mind worked as if my majority was still just 56 [as it was when he was first elected in 1997].

“People do vote for the individual as much as the party, increasingly so. I think that reflects people’s antipathy towards politicians as a general class.

“After the MPs’ expenses scandal and after five years or longer of difficult economic times, people have shown in the elections this year that there is a degree of hostility towards all the main political parties.

“You had more split ballot papers than I have ever seen before. That suggests that people are being very thoughtful about their votes.”

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