Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg emerged as the star of Britain’s election campaign, and while his popularity failed to translate into seats in parliament, he still held power Friday as kingmaker.
Clegg’s confident performance in three TV debates opposite Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron thrust his third party into second place in opinion polls and electrified the race.
At the height of “Cleggmania”, the 43-year-old was named the most popular British party leader since Winston Churchill and was compared to US President Barack Obama for his message of change.
It was a marked change from the past — a BBC poll in September found 36 per cent voters had never heard of Clegg.
But it did not last, and soon after polls closed in Thursday’s election it became clear the Lib Dems had made little progress and would even lose seats.
But as the results confirmed the Conservatives won the biggest share of seats but not the majority they need to form a government, the Lib Dems have found themselves in the middle of a flurry of deal-making.
Miliband may take over from Brown
With the Labour party suffering losses, Foreign Secretary David Miliband was set to challenge Brown for the party leadership, a report said.
He has received support from former prime minister Tony Blair and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.
(With IANS inputs)