TEXT UPDATED 10:30 : With many potential candidates ruling themselves out yesterday the three clear front runners are Huhne (13/5), who has declared, Clegg, the odds on favourite (1/2) who will launch his campaign tomorrow. Steve Webb has withdrawn this morning and endorsed Clegg. John Hemming’s odds have dramatically come in (from 150/1 to 65/1) and he is drumming up nominations for his tilt. He is talking about Kant in his campaign.
There is apparently a “keep it clean” agreement between Clegg and Huhne. Just as there was an Orange Book cadre understanding to install Ming as a caretaker leader – before Huhne ran last time. At yesterday’s campaign launch Huhne did one of his characteristic sly jibes (remember that pious knife twisting he did to Hughes when he was outed). “Ming”, Huhne claimed, was the “victim of a Camelot obsession”. Who is the JFK of this race that he is blaming for Ming’s fall? Guido will give you a clue, it isn’t John Hemming.
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.