The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I think my view at the time was fairy sort of pragmatic. I was conscious of the fact that from the public's point of view many people weren't really aware of who I was and what the Liberal Democrats were putting forward in the General Election, so the widely watched television debates were -- the new bit in that for the public was the fact that I was there saying stuff that was different to David Cameron and Gordon Brown, and that had an effect, self-evidently, at a time when the public was weary of the outgoing government and was not fully persuaded of the most prominent alternative, the sort of Conservative proposition, so there was an appetite for something different, and to that extent I think it was perhaps not, with hindsight, that surprising that when an alternative, something different, was put forward, people responded to that.

But I have to say personally I never got that swept away with it, because I've seen even in my time in politics that fortunes go up and down quite rapidly. It's a volatile business and you should never pin your hope on one spike or one opinion poll. They -- it tends not to work like that. As indeed it didn't in the event. Our final result in the -- on election day fell far short of the expectations which were hyped up around the time of that first television debate.

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