Even with his sop to the right-wingers of the Orange Book (whose thoughts of privatising the NHS now put them to the right of the Tory party) of abandoning that ancient Liberal Democrat promise of a penny on income tax for high earners, Charlie seems to know that he's lost the parliamentary party and is relying on the membership to keep him in the job. Should the MPs force a vote:
'it is perfectly obvious to me and anyone else that the membership are overwhelmingly of the view that I should continue as leader, and that's my gut conviction as well.'
I don't know what planet he's living on, but can anyone seriously believe that the membership would support a leader who had so completely lost his parliamentary support? The mere thought of that might energise Simon Hughes, who has been giving out mixed signals of late. On the one hand, he's not going to run, but then he's still not given unequivocal backing to Charlie. Apparently, Hughes doesn't feel that he would receive the full support of the parliamentary party, although he is likely to win a membership vote, and that's what's putting him off standing, not any sense of loyalty to Chuckles.
At least Charlie can rely on the support of the president of Amber Valley Liberal Democrats, one Oliver Smith, who noted that the current leader is
'holding it together. I think he's good and I think he makes the right decisions.'But then he is only twelve.