Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will today appeal for frustrated Liberal Democrat activists to “move on” from damaging rows over the NHS and tuition fees.

He insisted there could be “no more looking back” and party members should be “shouting our achievements from the rooftops”.

The exhortation comes as the Lib Dems kick off what could be another fractious spring conference in Gateshead.

Last year’s event was dominated by dissent over the coalition’s controversial health shake-up.

The legislation was “paused” as a result of the outcry and opposition from NHS workers, and has since been amended more than a thousand times.

But it is not yet clear whether the government has done enough to placate the Lib Dem grass roots.

The conference is expected to vote to consider a topical motion on the NHS on Sunday, which could prove embarrassing for Mr Clegg.

Speaking at a rally in Gateshead this evening, the party leader will say he has never “ducked fights”.

“We’ve made some difficult decisions, not all of them popular,” he is to say.

Mr Clegg will also be supported by party president Tim Farron - who previously expressed concerns about the health reforms.

“We got three quarters of our manifesto into government policy, so I hereby allow you to stop saying sorry for the quarter we didn’t get,” he will say.

“And if people wanted that missing quarter, well they should have flipping voted for us shouldn’t they?”