Guido got a press release from John Lewis telling him that they supply the Huhnie monster with his suits. Says it all really.
08:00 UPDATE :Ashdown is the first LibDem grandee to come out and endorse Clegg.
11:25 UPDATE : Hemming has reconfirmed he is still in the race and his hat remains firmly in the ring.
Some are speculating that the 29 year-old Julia Goldsworthy might run as a marker for the future. So after arguing for 18 months that age (he was 66) and experience (of sprinting) trumped looks and charisma, they could switch to a photogenic reality TV show contestant as leader – Julia is 40/1 on Betfair. Excellent idea, it couldn’t be any worse…
UPDATE : A co-conspirator says she has told her local rag she definitely won’t be running. Boo.
UPDATE II : John Hemming, who has confirmed he wants to run, is a mere 180 /1 on Betfair. He tells Guido he expects to get 5 nominations already!
UPDATE III : Vince Cable has ruled himself out this morning. Telling Nick Robinson that given “the current irrational prejudice about age… an older candidate is not electable”. Rationally, the 64 year-old slaphead is almost indistinguishable from Ming to voters.
Betfair have opened up a market on the LibDem Leadership –
Clegg is hot favourite at less than evens.
Huhne is 13/5
Steve Webb is 15/1
Ed Davey is 36/1
Charles Kennedy is 40/1
Julia Goldsworthy is 40/1
Vince Cable is 50/1
Incidentally, Guido covered all his “Tories to be the biggest party” bets at a profit last night. If Clegg wins he may enjoy a honeymoon at Cameron’s expense…
He has sent out a position statement which is basically steady as she goes, neither right nor left etc., concluding with –
I am one of the few Members of Parliament who have the practical experience of having successfully led a political group from opposition to a position of power (in Birmingham). On issues of diversity I have delivered. As far as extra parliamentary considerations are concerned I am almost certainly the only successful entrepreneur in the parliamentary party that is also a member of a Trades Union. I will be taking soundings following this position statement.
That should sew it up…
Lynne Featherstone isn’t running.
31st October: nominations close.
17th December: the new leader will be announced.
Nick Robinson has got the first Ming interview.
But remember, leading the LibDems isn’t just for Christmas….