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19 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:14am

Clegg “sold out” for power

Lib Dem voters accuse Clegg of abandoning principles.

By Sophie Elmhirst

A new poll in the Independent on Sunday today carries some dispiriting news for Nick Clegg as he greets his party at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Liverpool. Over half of the Lib Dem voters polled in the ComRes survey believe that Clegg abandoned his principles by entering a coalition with David Cameron.

In addition, four out of ten people who voted Lib Dem at the election would have cast their vote elsewhere if they had known that Clegg was going make a deal with the Conservatives and form a coalition government.

The poll also reveals support for the Lib Dems has fallen 3 points to 15 per cent in less than two weeks.

However, in his appearance on The Andrew Marr Show this morning, Clegg was bullish, saying that the Lib Dems should not worry about their position in the polls because “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. He also announced a crackdown on tax avoidance, calling the practice “morally questionable”.

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In an apparent bid to offset some of the harsh Conservative rhetoric about punishing benefit fraud, Clegg said: “I want us to be as hard on people who are tax cheats as people who are benefit cheats.”