Thursday, February 02, 2006

Huhne right to reject Campbell coronation

What are we to make of the story in today's Times that Chris Huhne welched on a deal not to stand against Sir Menzies Campbell in the Lib Dem leadership contest?

I've no idea whether it's true, though I note that the author is not the impeccably well-informed journalist (I won't embarrass him by using his name) who usually covers Lib Dem matters for the Thunderer...

But whether or not there was such a deal, I think in retrospect it is clear that Chris Huhne made the right decision in asking Sir Menzies to release him from it.

The implosion of Mark Oaten's campaign, and the subsequent revelations about Simon Hughes, have left Huhne as the only credible alternative and a Campbell coronation would only have served the interests of Nick Clegg and Co, not the interests of the party.

As Huhne himself has said, appointing a "caretaker" leader who would stand down after the next election would effectively be like appointing "the chairman of an ongoing leadership campaign among the younger candidates."

The Lib Dems deserve a bit better than that, in my view.