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Sheffield MP Nick Clegg defends his stance after high-profile week

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (right) and Ukip leader Nigel Farage during their second televised debate at BBC Broadcasting House, London.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (right) and Ukip leader Nigel Farage during their second televised debate at BBC Broadcasting House, London.

They say a week is a long time in politics and it certainly seems that way for Nick Clegg.

The Sheffield Hallam MP came under fire for comments about Sheffield Council declining to take in Syrian refugees, ‘lost’ a television debate with UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and made controversial remarks about Derbyshire County Council employing more people than the European Commission.

Opinion polls following the debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union showed viewers felt Mr Farage, who argued against being in the EU, had the best of the exchanges.

During the televised debate the deputy prime minister said the European Commission employed roughly the same number of workers as Derbyshire County Council.

Coun Kevin Gillott, deputy leader of the council said: “They are totally different organisations, fulfilling very different roles. The comparison is unfortunate and I’m not sure what point he was trying to make by referring to Derbyshire in this way.”

Mr Clegg also criticised Labour-led Sheffield Council for refusing to offer sanctuary to Syrian refugees under the coalition government’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme.

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said assisting Syrian refugees was the right thing to do and the Lib Dems were hopeful the council would change its mind.

He added: “Staying in Europe to protect jobs and helping some of the most vulnerable women and children in the world who have been subjected to unspeakable horrors are things that the Liberal Democrats believe in. The last thing we should be doing is shying away from these issues because they might be difficult or unpopular in some quarters.

“Unlike Labour and the Conservatives who are happy to sit on the sidelines and say nothing, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have had the courage to argue the case and try to dispel some of the myths being peddled by UKIP when it comes to the EU.”

 

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