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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 07:55 GMT
First 100 days: Nick Clegg
By Jo Coburn
Political correspondent, BBC News

Nick Clegg
Mr Clegg's Commons performances have been solid
Ever since his arrival in the House of Commons as an MP - following on from Cambridge University and the European Parliament - Nick Clegg was tipped as a future leader.

But once elected by the skin of his teeth, albeit with the media behind him (they liked the look of another young fresh faced politician bidding for political stardom), life has been less straightforward.

His 100 days in charge may be a milestone greeted more with relief by Mr Clegg rather than celebration.

Life could have been easier, of course, if he had followed on directly after the fall of Sir Menzies Campbell.

Instead the party's stand-in leader, Vince Cable, rather swept the political milieu off its feet with witty performances at prime minister's questions and sure-footedness on key economic issues.

Commons walkout

Since Mr Clegg took over he has struggled to outshine his older and less hirsute deputy.

His appearances at the weekly prime minister's questions sessions have been solid rather than exciting.

Age: 41
Job: Lib Dem leader
Family: Married, two children
Education: Westminster School, Cambridge University
Before MP: Journalist, lecturer and Euro MP

The orchestrated Lib Dem Commons walkout over the EU Lisbon Treaty was widely seen as a gaffe.

The decision to whip MPs to abstain on the bill resulted in frontbench resignations, leaving the party - once the most united over the issue of Europe - looking the most divided.

The leadership agreed it was a high-risk strategy but obviously thought the alternatives were worse.

There are signs, though, that Mr Clegg is beginning to emerge from the shadows.


He has been seeking to develop a persona as the anti-politician's politician.

He declared he would be prepared to face prosecution rather than sign up to an ID card.

His recent high-profile support for the campaign by the Gurkhas for citizenship is another example that might appeal to the public.

On party policy and reorganisation he has also made an impact with a more free market-style liberalism.

Mr Clegg has announced commissions on social mobility and party reform.

His upfront commitment to more patient choice in the NHS and a generation of "free schools" was a clear message to the rank and file.

For many grassroots members the jury may still be out.

The local elections will be a test of Lib Dem resolve, particularly if they lose any of their flagship councils.

But Mr Clegg has time on his side and a parliamentary party that - after all its recent chopping and changing - really knows this leader should be for keeps.

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