Deputy prime minister until the last election two years ago, Mr Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour challenger Jared O’Mara, who won by more than 2,000 votes.
Mr Clegg withstood a strong challenge from Labour two years ago and many within Liberal Democrat ranks felt that his survival in 2015 when so many of his colleagues lost their seats made it unlikely he would be at risk this time when the party’s fortunes had improved.
Having stood down as Lib Dem leader in 2015, Mr Clegg returned to the party’s front bench as Brexit spokesman and remained one of the country’s leading pro-Remain voices.
Speaking after his defeat, Mr Clegg said: “In my time in parliament I have never shirked from political battles I have never retreated from the political battlefield.
“I have always sought to stand by the Liberal values I believe in.”
Mr Clegg said that in politics “you live by the sword and you die by the sword”.
Mr Clegg said it was “the greatest privilege of my political life” to represent Sheffield Hallam for the last 12 years, as he issued a plea to parties to seek unity as they try to navigate the Brexit negotiations. Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said Mr Clegg had handled his defeat with “great dignity”.
He said: “Nick Clegg has served his party and his country with great distinction. Even after the quite tumultuous events of 2015 he buckled down and spearheaded the campaign in relation to the European Union.”