Nick Clegg funds Lib Dems in Sheffield Hallam fight

The Lib Dems have received £85,600 from Sir Nick, with just over £30,000 going to his former Sheffield seat.

Nick Clegg funds Lib Dems in Sheffield Hallam fight

FILE PHOTO: Nick Clegg speaks at an event in San Francisco, California, on November 16, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

By:
Pramod Thomas

FORMER deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg has been providing financial support in his former constituency seat, the Financial Times revealed.

He donated tens of thousands of pounds to his former Sheffield Hallam seat to boost its fight against the current Labour MP.

Labour’s Olivia Blake has been the lawmaker for Sheffield Hallam since 2019. It is expected to be the only seat where Labour and the Lib Dems are in direct competition.

According to FT, people close to Clegg, now a senior Meta executive, said he has been providing financial support since he lost his seat to Labour in 2017 and has increased these donations with larger, monthly payments.

The Electoral Commission’s records show that over the past eight years, the Lib Dems have received £85,600 from Sir Nick, with just over £30,000 going to his former Sheffield seat. Also, his recent donations have not yet been published on the commission’s register.

His contributions to the Sheffield Hallam seat include £15,000 in 2019 and £5,000 in 2022.

The Lib Dems aim to take up to 20 seats from the Tories in the July 4 election, with their Sheffield candidate Shaffaq Mohammed hoping to unseat the Labour MP.

“The next government is going to be a Labour government. [But] if it’s going to be as strong a Labour government as the polls suggest, we might actually need an alternative voice in this region,” Mohammed was quoted as saying.

Someone close to the former party leader said that he knows the party faces a tough challenge in his old seat, “considering Labour’s current strong position.”

Data also shows that he donated £25,000 to the central party last year, along with two payments totaling £30,000 to its Scottish branch in 2021 and 2022.

Sheffield Hallam was once a Tory stronghold, and the Lib Dems are now targeting voters who chose Tory in 2019.

Mr. Mohammed told the Financial Times: “The next government will be Labour. But if it’s as strong as the polls suggest, we might actually need an alternative voice in this area.”

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In 2017, Clegg, after losing his seat to Labour, moved from Westminster to a tech career in California. He now splits his time between the US West Coast and London, using London as a base for travelling to Asia and Europe in his role as Meta’s head of global affairs.

A Lib Dems spokesperson said: “This is no surprise at all. Nick and Shaffaq have known each other for over twenty years. Shaffaq would be a fantastic MP for Sheffield Hallam. Many people are doing all they can to support his campaign.”

Meta has been contacted for a comment.