Friday, May 26, 2006

Nick Clegg Sticks the Knife In Ming's Back

As if today couldn't get any worse for Ming Campbell, I've just had this week's New Statesman delivered, in which my friend Kevin Maguire alleges that aspirant leader Nick Clegg has been briefing against the merciless one. Here's what Mr Maguire writes...

That thrusting young Minger Nick Clegg should learn to swivel his head to spy who is sitting within earshot before shouting into a mobile phone about an aged Olympic sprinter off to a poor start. While waiting on Bournemouth station for the London train, it was impossible for your columnist not to overhear the Lib Dems' home affairs chap itemising, between sips of Red Bull, his leader Sir Ming Campbell's political crimes. Ming the Mediocre, according to Clegg, is hesitant and disorganised, commits avoidable errors and lacks momentum but - this was the loyal bit - is capable of recovering. With friends like Clegg, who needs Simon Hughes?

Having torn Simon Hughes off a strip, Old Ming will now have to issue a bit of discipline to the young whippersnapper Clegg. Altogether now...There may be trouble ahead...

UPDATE 5.55pm: Predictably several LibDem supporters are rubbishing this story in the Comments section. I have just called Kevin Maguire to get the story from the horse's mouth. He stands by every word. Clegg had been on the phone talking to a journalist 'off the record'. Unfortunately for him he didn't realise the bloke standing next to him was the Man from the Mirror, Mr Maguire. Sadly for us all the Virgin train arrived early so Kevin didn't get quite as much as he might have done. Clegg has NOT issued a denial - instead he has accused Kevin Maguire of 'distorting' his remarks. Frankly, all he has done is to say what every other LibDem MP knows to be true. And to those in the Comments section who have accused Kevin of making the whole thing up, first of all look at Clegg's non-denial. Then consider the fact that I have known Kevin for nearly twenty years - he's not my politics - he's Old Labour. But there's one thing he doesn't do, and that's make stories up.


Chris Palmer said...

Could you ever imagine such a limp pussy being Home Secretary?

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Lib Dems... Losing Control Here!

Anonymous said...

Thought you'd pick up on this innacurate story - kind of form for you I guess.

This is utter crap. Clegg has released a rebuttal.

Anonymous said...


Could you imagine such a limp pussy such as Cameron being PM?

thankfully, I can't

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous (typically you don't give your name), of course he has issued a rebuttal. He would wouldn't he? He could do little else. You think Maguire made the whole thing up? Cmon.

Anonymous said...

I think Maguire embellished (and probably down right lied...)

He's a journo after all...

Paul Linford said...

Kevin Maguire may be a Brownite but he doesn't make up stories. I believe this 100pc. Furthermore I believe that Nick Clegg will challenge for the Lib Dem leadership before the next election once Ming the Meanderer has been despatched on "health grounds."
He won't have a walkover for the leadership though - the Huhnester will certainly stand again and will stand a much better chance now he is better-known.

Anonymous said...

Ming is Fucked, utterly so! Hughes' rightly picked up the scent of a weak prey and framed the debate about Ming’s leadership. The Orange bookers and the LibDem left are sizing themselves up for yet another leadership battle and poor incompetent (or should that be incontinent?) Ming is being ripped on from both sides...

Dear me, I bet the LibDems are regretting electing him now!

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the way leon phrased his comment. "Ming is fucked" followed by a reference to Simon Hughes.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're not right Paul.

Recess aint far away, Ming wont have PMQs then!?

Anonymous said...

you know what's funniest about this though..

the majority of the general public have no idea (or dont care) about most of what's goin on.

It's mainly stuff for bloggers to salivate over.

ContraTory said...

If Ming is obviously "done in" by his lieutenants, even though it might be done more ingeniously than in the traditional "Ides of March" style, the public will see the Lib Dems for what they really are, which will be most damaging for them. He is going to have to carry on for quite a while until some "illness" can be conjured up enabling him to retire.

Anonymous said...

Come back Charlie all is forgiven.

Anonymous said...

I think Clegg needs more experience and to gain more support within his party before standing in a leadership election. Even so if Ming hangs on for 1 or 2 years he could appear to be the 'saviour' leading up to a general election.

Could we be about to see the second Lib Dem leader to be stabbed in the back within 6 months?

Politics is all about the timing...

Anonymous said...

What are we supposed to believe - that all and sundry in the LibDems think Ming is doing a good job and wouldn't dream of slagging him off behind his back?

It's not that they've not got 'previous' on this is it? Shall we ask Charles Kennedy what his perspective is here?

I'm with the journo on this one.

kingbongo said...

At some stage the LDs will have to have a civil war between the Liberals and the socialists and my money is on the lefties winning.

Outside parliament there's not too much support from the activists for right wing Liberalism. They can agree on civil liberties to a degree but not on economics.

Clegg though is overrated as is Laws, they can both do worthy dullness but nothing more. Huhne is like a provincial bank manager who's had a mid-life crisis and has decided he wants to save the world.

If Cable had any sense he'd leave them to it and come over to where he belongs, the tory backbenches.

Finally, can they actually afford another election? They're not cheap and HSBC will wat their money back at some stage.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Ming Campbell as leader but if I'd known then what I know now...

Anonymous said...


You haven't published the by-election results for this week. They look pretty good for the Lib Dems.


Caradon DC, Saltash-Pill
LD Graham Syass 474 (43.6 +15.8)
Ind 334 (30.7 –23.5)
Con 280 (25.7 +7.7)
Majority 140. Turnout 31.97. LD gain Ind. Last fought 2003.

North Kesteven DC, Branston & Mere
Con 570 (49.1)
Ind 440 (37.9)
Lab 150 (13.0)
Majority 130. Con gain Lab. Last fought 2003 Con and Lab elected unopposed.

Tynedale DC, Wylam
LD Tom Appleby 364 (44.5 +13.8)
Con 247 (30.2 +21.1)
Lab 206 (25.2 +13.2)
Ind [0.0 –48.1]
Majority 117. Turnout 52.29.LD hold. Last fought 2003.

Haywards Heath TC, Bentswood
LD T Fisher 550 (38.5)
Con 506 (35.4)
Lab 371 (26.0)
Majority 44. Turnout 37.4. LD gain Lab.

Anonymous said...

Nick Clegg will be good for the party, he has recognised the democratic deficit in England.
He has argued the case for an English Parliament,and this was reported in the Yorkshire Post last month."On April 21, the party said it was "to end decades of support for regional devolution, including elected regional assemblies. Senior figures in a party working group on devolution and local governance have conceded that the policy is outdated. This follows voters' rejection of a North East Assembly in 2004".

Party home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "It was unrealistic to continue backing such an unpopular concept." LibDem senior figures did say this would cause a rift among members. Well done Nick Clegg.

Anonymous said...

Delicious. Positively delicious. I wish, I wish, that over-sensitive souls hadn't sought to have the Ming's Dynasty blog deleted.

Anonymous said...

OK, it's based on his feeble appearence on Question Time, but I think Clegg is a loser. Lib Dem hopes were built on a pretty face and a nice haircut. But when the guy opens his mouth.... Nah. I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Unless Maguire wandered up unbeknownst to Clegg I find it a bit unusual that he was caught out in this way.

However since Clegg has the profile of Joe Bloggs, of Acacia Avenue, Sometown he strikes me as someone who is hardly a household name in his own household. He's not even known well amongst LibDems never mind the public.

Huhne has a better profile even if it may still be as "oh I recognise that face from somewhere..".

Clegg will be an even greater let down for the LibDems as they realise they've shot themselves in all limbs by getting rid of Charlie and replacing him with a duffer and a nobody.

neil craig said...

If Clegg is now stabbing Ming in the back the way Ming did to Charlie this does not entirely inspire confidence. I didn't think he was more than adequate on Question Time (the Tory Indian woman was good & outstanding when she got the bit between her teeth on immigration which she has obviously thought about).

Shaun (editor) said...

I have known Kevin for nearly twenty years - he's not my politics - he's Old Labour.

I am no Cameron luvvie, but Kevin Maguire's unhealthy obsession with Cameron and Osborne's toffness and his espousal of class war makes him an inverted snob I wouldn't care to be friends with.

Anonymous said...

I was back in York (my old University) this weekend, and I noticed that the campus LDYS were doing their bit to promote Campbell by... advertising an upcoming visit by Nick Clegg with the by-line "come and listen to a potential future leader of the Liberal Democrats"... bravo chaps!