Lord Oakeshott delivered a parting shot at Nick Clegg today as he quit the Lib Dems rather than face disciplinary action for leaking a poll suggesting the leader is set to lose his Commons seat.

The peer said he was leaving with a "heavy heart" and warned the party was "heading for disaster" at the general election unless it jettisoned the Deputy Prime Minister.

"I am today taking leave of absence from the House of Lords and resigning as a member of the Liberal Democrats," he said in a statement.

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"I am sure the party is heading for disaster if it keeps Nick Clegg; and I must not get in the way of the many brave Liberal Democrats fighting for change."