Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg claimed victory last night despite the nation having apparently delivered a resounding ‘No’ to the adoption of the Alternative Vote for future Parliamentary elections.
As the results came through, Mr Clegg said that although the majority of votes cast had been against the proposal for the introduction of AV, the ‘Yes’ campaign had been given a clear mandate by the non-voters.
‘It’s time we gave the silent majority a voice,’ he said. ‘Cynics may say that those who don’t vote should be ignored, but in fact the vast majority of these good honest people are simply happy to go along with whatever has been proposed. I have met many men and women who agree with what their partners say for a quiet life without making a fuss about it. I know I do with David. It’s the same with the referendum: all those who didn’t vote were actually saying ‘yes’. My proposals allow those who lie down and take it to stand up and be counted.’
It is understood that David Cameron attempted to reverse the referendum result at an emergency cabinet meeting last night, but he found to his dismay that the minority Liberal Democrat members were able to overrule the majority Conservative membership.
Speaking from his Downing Street portakabin, the clearly delighted Deputy Prime Minister hailed his side’s victory as ‘a triumph for democracy’ and admitted that he had been confident of the outcome. ‘I have always felt that a result in our favour was likely based on our experience of the last General Election when we swept to power after securing a creditable third place. Obviously, this is a far greater victory as we finished second this time. It just goes to show how popular we LibDems have become.’
Meanwhile disgruntled Tory right wingers, far from fighting the result, are already calling for referenda on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the reintroduction of capital punishment and the abolition of the Welfare State.