Power proves toxic for Britain’s Liberal Democrats

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Sheffield, United Kingdom (AFP) - Britain’s Liberal Democrats had hoped that entering government for the first time five years ago would recast their image as a party that meant business. Instead, it has brought them to the brink of collapse.

Their leader Nick Clegg, Prime Minister David Cameron’s deputy, hinted Friday he could resign after a “cruel and punishing night” in which the party is forecast to retain only 10 of its 57 seats in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Democrats lost some of their most senior figures including Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Business Secretary Vince Cable and former leader Charles Kennedy.

Clegg himself managed to hold on to his seat in the city of Sheffield, northern England, despite a tight race but looked emotional during his acceptance speech.

It was all a far cry from when Clegg first took the Lib Dems into a coalition government with Cameron after the 2010 election, their first press conference together in the Downing Street rose garden symbolising their harmony.

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