Outspoken former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik is at the Sutton election count and has pledged to start procedures to remove Nick Clegg as leader of the party if they perform poorly in the European elections.

Mr Opik spoke to the Sutton Guardian at the count where he is supporting Beddington South Councillor Ed Joyce.

He has predicted a bad night for the Liberal Democrats nationally but backed them to retain control of Sutton Council.

He said: “Nick Clegg’s reputation is on the line – his future is in thousands of ballot boxes across Britain.

“If the Liberal Democrats hold their seats on the European Parliament then I will never criticise him again.

“But if they get fewer than six MEPs I’ll instigate the constitutional processes in the party to cause his departure.”

Mr Opik, who famously dated one of pop duo the Cheeky Girls, said he is good friends with Coun Joyce, who assisted him in his failed bid to run for the Liberal Democrats in London’s mayoral elections two years ago.

He added: “The Lib Dems will get on well here in Sutton because they have delivered. They’ve got a bunch of individuals who really care about their local citizens – nationally it will be a different story.”

Sutton and Cheam’s Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow has dismissed Mr Opik’s threat to have Mr Clegg removed as leader, saying it is not the first time he has planned against him.

He said: "Lembit's been calling for Nick's resignation for a long time. I like Lembit, it's a pity he lost his seat, but he's not an influential member of our party anymore."