Friday, February 03, 2006

The only thing coming out this week is the knife.

It has been a remarkably scandal-free week for the Liberal Democrats, but as PoliticalBetting reports, this weekend's YouGov survey of Liberal Democrat members is likely to be the most reliable indicator of where support is flowing within the party. Those who still believe that this will be a Minging landslide should take pause and see how nasty the campaign is getting - the knives are out all round. (Incidentally, has Chris Huhne borrowed one of Hemming's cats for that photo?)

Hughes is touring the media outlets reminding everybody that Campbell declared his candidacy within minutes of Kennedy falling on his sword

'Clearly there was a campaign ready to take off,' Hughes told the London Evening Standard.'
and that Ming is a bit, well, old-fashioned

'Members have a clear choice. Do they have a more pro-active campaigning leadership that involves the whole party... or do you have the more traditional approach that Ming has represented?'
Campbell has also taken a swipe at Huhne's call for British troops to leave Iraq, calling it 'naive populism' (like that's ever stopped the LDs in the past).

Huhne's hit back by confirming Hughes' comments over Ming..

'What I did do however is formally offer my support to Ming before Christmas'
Before Christmas? But Charlie didn't resign until January. Huhne was at least honest with his own decapitation strategy - he's the only candidate who signed both letters suggesting that Chuckles should consider his position.

Huhne's new environmental credentials - a revelation to his colleagues, according to the Times - haven't stopped him risking all by letting Lembit 'Kiss of Death' Opik fly him back from last night's Question Time recording in Aberystwyth to make his formal campaign launch today.

And to complete the circuit, Huhne also threw a right at Simon Hughes, calling to mind the usual Lib Dem graph familiar to all campaigners, showing that the LDs are ALWAYS the only party that can win in this area against the Tories/Labour (delete as appropriate). Following the revelations about Hughes' sexuality, Huhne told the other Dimbleby that

'It's a fact that in terms of the perceptions of both journalism and the bookies it is now effectively a fairly close race between me and Ming. So to that extent that it is a consequence.'
Simon is still trying to convince us that he didn't mean to lie about his sexuality - repeating the claim on the Today programme this morning in a vain attempt to suffocate Huhne's campaign launch today. Both Hughes and Huhne are bitchslapping Campbell over his belated conversion to the anti-war movement, highlighting their credentials in this matter.

This race remains more open than people think and everything will hinge on how those second votes fall and who is dumped out of the race first.

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