Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited Lewes to lend his support to Norman Baker - calling him an ‘absolutely outstanding and popular MP’ - last week.
Mr Clegg was on the campaign trail in the run-up to May’s General Election and met with Liberal Democrat activists and volunteers at the party’s local headquarters in East Street on Wednesday.
Mr Baker has been calling for more health services to be provided locally in places such as Seaford, Newhaven and Lewes to stop people having to travel to hospitals in Haywards Heath or Hastings. He has also branded bus subsidy cuts made by the Tory-led East Sussex County Council as ‘heartless’ and urged councillors to think again.
Speaking to the Express Mr Clegg said: “Norman has a very well deserved reputation for being a brilliant local MP for speaking his own mind and for having a campaign record on environmental issues, on transport issues, on one local issue to the next, which is second to none. He is quite rightly very proud of that and I’m very proud of his record as I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in Government.”
Mr Baker said: “We’re pleased to see Nick and I think he’s been a very good leader of the party and a very good Deputy Prime Minister. He doesn’t always get the fair appraisal he should do from those in the national papers who push their own agenda and see the reporting of news as second to the purveying of their own prejudices.”
Speaking to the Express about national politics, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg defended his party’s record in Government, saying they had delivered tax cuts, free school meals, cash increases in the state pension, the pupil premium, and a rise in apprenticeships. He suggested that parties such as UKIP, the SNP and the Greens were all ‘peddling the politics of blame’ and felt it was important to retain a liberal voice in British politics. On a national level Mr Clegg said their future plans would be to cut less than the Conservatives who had an ‘ideological approach to cutting services’, and borrow less than Labour, who in his view were ‘inexplicably refusing to set out how they are going to deal with the deficit.’