Lord Ashdown yesterday paid a remarkable tribute to Nick Clegg – calling him the best leader of the party for a century.
The former Yeovil MP led the party from 1988 to 1999, increasing their support.
But he told a fringe meeting at the Brighton conference that looking at the history of the party, including the old Liberals and the Social Democratic Party, Mr Clegg “is the best party leader we’ve had for 100 years, myself included”.
Lord Ashdown had earlier dismissed any suggestion that Mr Clegg faced a leadership challenge, because of the party’s low ratings.
“Nick is performing outstandingly well under a great deal of pressure,” he insisted.
“That is what you know about him; he is very good on the back foot. He has got his own mind. Contrary to all the stories being got up in the press that he is under pressure as a leader, he is I think respected, admired and supported right across the party.”