Essential Lib Dem reading

Taken from Andrew Sparrow’s Politics Live today

• Benedict Brogan in his Telegraph morning briefing says Nick Clegg won’t be regretting taking part in the debate.

So will Mr Clegg be regretting his challenge to Mr Farage? Surely not. Ukip are taking votes off the Lib Dems – 400,000 since the last election – but they’re a much bigger threat to the Conservatives. 38 of the Lib Dems’ 57 seats are in seats when they face a Tory challenger. A senior Lib Dem MP in a marginal Con-Lib seat reckons that, thanks to Ukip, he could lose one-fifth of his 2010 vote share and still be returned to Parliament. If anyone should worry about Mr Farage’s success, it’s David Cameron. The other Lib Dem hope, as Tim Wigmore explained, is Ukip sticking around will encourage the Tories to shift to the Right and leave space for the Lib Dems in the centre. If the debates help to ensure that Ukip is here to stay, that’s brilliant news for the Lib Dems. Perhaps Mr Clegg should be getting a little more credit.

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