Clegg re-elected after 'disappointing' night for Lib Dems
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Friday it had been a "disappointing" night as he was re-elected but oversaw a lower-than-expected turnout for his party in the British election.
The 43-year-old increased his majority in the constituency of Sheffield Hallam and, to a cheering crowd which included his Spanish wife Miriam, said it was "the greatest privilege" to be voted in once again.
But the national surge in support for his third-placed party during the campaign, which at one point lifted them into second place ahead of the ruling Labour Party, failed to translate into any increase in seats.
"This has obviously been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats. We simply haven't achieved what we had hoped," Clegg said.
He added: "I think we conducted a positive campaign full of hope, full of optimism, which I think did engage a lot of people in the election, even if they didn't then go on to vote for the Liberal Democrats."
Although the Conservatives look set to win the most seats in the 650-seat House of Commons they will likely fall short of an overall majority, ensuring they or Labour must try to make a deal with smaller parties to form a government.
Clegg gave nothing away about which party he would support, saying the final election result "is still a little unpredictable -- people have voted but no one appears to have won emphatically."
He said: "I don't think anyone should rush into making claims or taking decisions which don't stand the test of time.
"I think it would be best if everybody were just to take a little time so that people get the good government that they deserve in these very difficult and uncertain times."
© 2010 AFP