A LIBERAL Democrat peer has accused his party of losing its "roots, principles and values" as he dramatically resigned following an attempted coup against Nick Clegg.

Lord Oakeshott, the party's former Treasury spokesman, left a trail of destruction in his wake as he appeared to implicate his long-standing friend and political ally Business Secretary Vince Cable in the plot.

He also released a privately commissioned poll showing another senior LibDem, Danny Alexander, is in danger of losing his seat at the next General ­Election, and then went on to accuse the party of offering cash for peerages. The row follows disastrous showings for the LibDems in last week's European Parliament and English local elections.

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Last night Mr Cable, who is in China on business, insisted he had "absolutely no knowledge" of the poll in Mr Alexander's Highlands constituency or another one in Mr Clegg's seat of Sheffield Hallam. But he did admit he had known about some of the secret polls ordered by Lord Oakeshott in key LibDem areas.