Clegg confident of winning Eastleigh

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Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg visited Eastleigh yesterday, and said he was confident his party would win the hotly-contested by-election.

The Deputy Prime Minister was the first of the three main party leaders to visit the Hampshire constituency that looks to be a close battle between the coalition partners.

But Mr Clegg refused to apologise for the behaviour of former Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne, who stood down after pleading guilty to trying to dodge a speeding fine.

Mr Clegg toured Eastleigh College with his party’s candidate, Mike Thornton, and spoke to apprentices.

Mr Clegg said: “I am confident we will keep hold of this seat, not because I say so but because the people of Eastleigh are telling us that.

“We need to be quite clear where our differences lie [with the Conservatives]. It’s Liberal Democrats that have lowered council tax in Eastleigh, it is Liberal Democrats that are protecting the green spaces. For the last ten years, we have seen a real-terms council tax cut here.”