DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg today asked Eastleigh voters to judge the party on its local record.

Visiting the constituency to canvas with Liberal Democrat hopeful Mike Thornton, Mr Clegg said Huhne's resignation was a personal matter for the disgraced MP, describing the case as “a private matter that has been played out in a public way”.

Huhne stepped down last week immediately after admitting to perverting the course of justice, sparking a by-election on February 28.

Mr Clegg said the former Eastleigh MP had performed well during his time representing the seat.

He said: “Everybody will tell you he was extremely good for the local consistency.”

But Mr Clegg said the focus should now be on the local Liberal Democrat performance in Eastleigh Borough Council, which he said had protected green spaces, kept council tax down and created jobs, including 500 at the Ageas Bowl cricket ground.

He also said he felt it was the party's duty to hold the by election as quick as possible so that the residents of Eastleigh and surround area were not left without an MP.

During his whistle-stop tour, he also Eastleigh College alongside Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton and spoke with young apprentices.