Does Nick Clegg deserve a knighthood?
By Joe Harker
Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who spent five years as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government, is reportedly going to be offered a knighthood for his services to the country.
Clegg is a controversial figure in British politics, with many seeing him as an enabler for the Conservatives due to his decision to form a coalition with them after the 2010 General Election. Some feel that others are more deserving of an honour and others see it as a political statement on Brexit.
A knighthood for "political and public service" is what Clegg is reportedly receiving, with him getting the honour for his part in the coalition government. After the 2010 General Election there was a great deal of confusion and uncertainty after no party won a majority in parliament. Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats at the time, was placed in a kingmaker role as he could have sided with Labour or the Conservatives. As the latter party had won the biggest share of the vote he went with them and the coalition government managed to last the full five years, though it took a toll on Clegg and his party.
However, many believe that Clegg's time in government is precisely why he does not deserve a knighthood. The coalition government implemented several policies that contradicted Liberal Democrat campaign pledges with the raising of tuition fees being among the most prominent issues. The government could not have signed these policies through without the help of the Lib Dems and Clegg was seen as betraying those that had supported him in 2010. Some see him as a politician who "reneged on his promise at the smallest whiff of power". Many of them may be former Lib Dem voters, as the party's support collapsed when the coalition government's time ended and is now tainted by the association with the Tories. Clegg's promises made the party far more popular before the election in 2010 but breaking them destroyed that support.
A knighthood for Clegg may be seen as a political statement on more than just his time in government. Some were expecting former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to be on the honours list and supporters of Brexit might be enraged to see an ardent Remainer like Clegg being rewarded, although other Lib Dems who were in the coalition have previously received honours for their work. Farage claimed that political stances on Brexit were seeing Remainers be rewarded while he was left out in the cold. He said: "Of course I have not got an honour of any kind - I am not a Remainer. Every one of them got CBEs, they got knighthoods, quite extraordinary."