Nick Clegg retains Sheffield Hallam seat but hints at resignation as Lib Dem leader

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Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has held onto his Sheffield Hallam seat in the 2015 general election, but has hinted that he may step down as party leader.

Despite a strong challenge from Labour’s Oliver Coppard, Mr Clegg gained 40% of the vote to keep his seat compared to 36% from the challenger.

He described the election as “cruel and punishing” for his party, having gone from a majority of over 15,000 votes in 2010 to just 2,353.

Hinting that he may no longer lead the party, he said: “The election has profound implications for the country, and obviously has profound implications for the Liberal Democrats. I will be seeking to make further remarks about the implications of this election, both for the country and for the party that I lead and for my position in the Liberal Democrats when I make remarks to my colleagues in the Liberal Democrats later this mornign when I return to Westminster.”

Mr Clegg became the first main party leader to back same-sex marriage in a PinkNews readers’ Q&A in 2010.

On answering PinkNews readers’ questions, he announced his support for equal marriage, saying: “I support gay marriage”.

He later reiterated his support for marriage equality between gay and straight couples in England and Wales, affirming that it was no longer a question of ‘if’ the move will go ahead.

Other senior members of Mr Clegg’s party were unable to retain their seats, including business secretary Vince Cable, who lost his Twickenham seat to the Conservatives.

Mr Cable lost his seat by 25,580 votes to Conservative Tania Mathias.

The Liberal Democrat minister responsible for introducing same-sex marriage, Lynne Featherstone, was also unseated after a knife-edge battle with Labour’s Catherine West for her Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.

Liberal Democrat equalities minister Jo Swinson also lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the Scottish National Party.

Simon Hughes who has served as Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties and was the UK’s most senior openly bisexual politician – lost out to Labour’s Neil Coyle.