Lib Dems ‘heading in the wrong direction’

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Nearly half of Liberal Democrat supporters believe the party is heading in the wrong direction, according to a poll.

The research by Ipsos Mori will make uncomfortable reading for Nick Clegg as activists gather for their autumn conference in Glasgow.

The Deputy Prime Minister brushed off suggestions from a Lib Dem peer that he should be replaced as leader before the general election.

Lord Oakeshott, regarded as an ally of Business Secretary Vince Cable, warned that Mr Clegg’s ratings were “very poor” and there were “no signs of improvement”.

But Mr Clegg told the BBC: “He tends to always do so like clockwork at this time of year. When it’s conference and the weather turns bad, up pops Matthew Oakeshott with some disobliging remarks about me.”

The Lib Dem leader has acknowledged there are “differences” within the party that will be aired at conference.

Earlier this week, party president Tim Farron – touted as a potential successor to Mr Clegg – called for the 50p top tax rate to be restored and backed a tougher ‘mansion tax’ on the wealthy.

The Ipsos MORI poll found that 51 per cent of self-declared Lib Dem voters were happy with the direction of the party.

However, 45 per cent said the opposite was true.

The figures were considerably worse than for Labour, which had 59 per cent of backers satisfied with its direction and 32 per cent unhappy.

Nearly eight in 10 Conservatives said they were satisfied with the party’s direction under David Cameron.