Politics By Graham Sharpe

Silly, says Mr Clegg

WITH NICK CLEGG dismissing as 'silly', predicitions that the Lib Dems could lose half of the 57 seats they won at the 2010 General Election. But bookies William Hill believe it is far from impossible to happen.

'We are offering 6/4 that the Lib Dems end up with between 21 and 30 seats at the General Election' said Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe - and even the top end of that score would be barely over half of the 57 they won last time out'.

Hills offer 14/1 that they will be reduced to 10 or fewer seats and 4/1 that they win just 11-20. They are 9/1 to remain at around their current mark with 51 or more.

And Hills even believe the Lib Dems are likely to finish behind both comedian Al Murray, The Pub Landlord and the Greens in the South Thanet constituency, offering 6/4 that Murray beats both the Lib Dems and the Greens; and 7/4 that the Greens beat the other two. The Lib Dems are 7/4 to out-poll both Al Murray and the Greens.

Hills also have a market on who will succeed Clegg when he stands down as Leader for whatever reason and make Tim Farron hot favourite at Even money and also offer 5/1 Vince Cable; 8/1 Norman Lamb; 9/1 Ed Davey; 10/1 Danny Alexander.

There is better news for Mr Clegg in that he is favourite to retain his own seat in SHEFFIELD HALLAM where Hill's betting is: 1/ 4 Lib Dems (Nick Clegg); 7/2 Labour; 12/1 Conservatives; 25/1 UKIP.

LUB DEM seats at General Election...0-10 14/1; 11-20 4/1; 21-30 6/4; 31-40 9/4; 41-50 7/1; 51 or more- 9/1.