Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 14:13 UK

Clegg 'happy' to be a Chihuahua

Chihuahua Coco at Crufts this year
Nick Clegg says Chihuahuas are "tenacious little dogs"

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said he is quite happy with an opinion poll suggesting that the dog he most reminds people of is the Chihuahua.

Asked about the Mail on Sunday's poll during BBC One's Politics Show, he said they were "tenacious little dogs".

He noted that Tory leader David Cameron had changed within just a few months from a poodle to a Labrador.

"So there is all to play for in the canine stakes," he joked. "But I'm very happy with a Chihuahua at the moment."

"I think the Chihuahua lovers out there watching this wouldn't want me to insult that particular dog," he added, when asked whether he aspired to be seen as a different breed, such as a Rottweiler.

Nick Clegg on being compared to a Chihuahua

According to the British Chihuahua Club website the breed generally pays scant regard to a lack of size and "are ready to stand up for themselves even if the opposition is far bigger".

'Fighting to win'

The BPIX online poll of 2,385 people between Wednesday and Friday suggests that people see Gordon Brown as a St Bernard - the same answer as a year ago.

On a range of other questions the poll suggests Mr Brown's popularity has fallen over the past year.

For example the poll suggests people would rather sit next to Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg than Mr Brown at a dinner party.

Labrador (getty) and a St Bernard (ap)
The canine version of Cameron vs Brown (Labrador pic Getty, St Bernard pic AP)

And twice as many people would have Mr Cameron babysit than Mr Brown, and the Tory leader was also now seen as a better pub quiz team member than the Labour leader.

However Mr Brown can take solace in the suggestion that he is still more trusted to keep a secret than Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg.

In terms of overall support the poll suggests the Conservatives are on 49%, Labour on 26% and the Lib Dems on 14%.

Asked on the Politics Show about Mr Brown's performance over his first year as prime minister, Mr Clegg said: " I think the British people have turned their back on him."

He said that Mr Brown had claimed to be the authoritative man with his hand on the tiller and to have ended boom and bust, and that all seemed "pretty rich" now.

Mr Clegg then rejected suggestions the Lib Dems had failed to take advantage of Labour's weakness.

He said they were "fighting to win" in the Henley by-election and claimed that the Liberal Democrats winning control of northern cities had been the "unnoticed part of the shifting political landscape".


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