Thursday, January 12, 2006

Huhne He?

Another newbie MP, Chris Huhne, has joined the 'race' to lead the Liberal Democrats.

After the poor performances of the other three contenders yesterday, the former MEP can't do any worse. The irony of this is that the LD leadership felt that the last leadership contest, which had five contenders, was too drawn out and rather embarrassing for such a small party, so they raised the bar of parliamentary nominations to 10%. When Simon Hughes joins in formally this afternoon, we'll have four declared candidates, with John Hemming still trying to persuade his fellow MPs to lay down their careers on the altar of his ego. Increasingly, it is looking like we'll have 10% of the parliamentary party running, as the rules allow MPs to nominate more than one candidate - which is a fairly ridiculous idea.

Bad news for Oaten, Colin Ross' online poll gives him just half the support that John Hemming has - a mere 1% of the vote, compared to 2% for the Yardley MP, with Hughes and Campbell holding on to 15% each.

Bad news for us, too - John seems to be preparing the ground for his withdrawal, by saying that he only ever wanted to ensure that there was a contest and not a coronation. Chicken.

Also interesting is the comment posted on John's blog, which offers gushing support for Simon Hughes, describing him as
'respected in all quarters as decent, compassionate, urbane, witty, intelligent, principled and also vastly experienced'
The author needs to get out more. One word, whoever you are. Bermondsey.

He's so respected that his majority was slashed by 4000 votes this year with the biggest swing to Labour in any constituency.

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