Hughes rules himself out of contention

by Stephen Tall on October 15, 2007

Simon Hughes, Lib Dem party president and unsuccessful leadership candidate in 1999 and 2006, has just ruled himself out of contention in an interview on BBC News 24. It was, he said, a decision he took last year.

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Hughes was never in contention.

Not in the real world.

by Cheltenham Robin on October 15, 2007 at 9:24 pm. Reply #

Not a surprise. I think the party undervalues the contribution that Simon has made over the years, but as he went backwards in the last leadership election, I could not imagine he would want to stand again. Simon was a leading protagonist of Green politics within the party at a time when it was very unfashionable. Today the party can say that it has always been Green, and it is thanks to Simon amongst others that this is the case.
I suspect he would be happy to support one of the other candidates many of whom are arguing the case that he used to advocate.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 15, 2007 at 9:28 pm. Reply #

No-one will wrestle the green mantle off Huhne, and anyone who tries will not go far.

Huhne will go green.

Clegg will go society.

It will be interesting to see where others go.

by welshproudliberal on October 15, 2007 at 9:32 pm. Reply #

So agree with Geoff about Simon. And Huhne and the green mantle…….doh!!!!! It has been there for such a short time it will peel off like the skin of a banana!

by Linda Jack on October 15, 2007 at 9:48 pm. Reply #

I wouldn’t be so cynical about Huhne’s commitment to the Green mantle, even if it was not so obvious in his SDP days. He spoke at a garden party here in Hackney a few months ago and really impressed the Greenpeace members who turned up. The only “but” would be in terms of how he marries up being Green with economic growth, but that would be true of all the candidates.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 15, 2007 at 9:58 pm. Reply #

Clegg Has to win. His age means he will have greater longevity and mileage than Huhne, plus he’s got more charisma and popular appeal. The environment isn’t enough of a priority with voters to warrant it being such a central part of our policy platform, although having good policies on it obviously is a good thing. Clegg’s more likely focus on society is far more appropriate, and we’d do far better under him. Clegg for Emperor!

by leowatkins on October 15, 2007 at 9:59 pm. Reply #

Leo, the environment is the most important issue in the world today, whether the voters like it or not. A good politician is one who makes a compelling case, not on the grounds of if something is popular, but whether it is right.
I think both Nick and Chris agree on that anyway. But given a choice between the 2 of them, I am sure Chris will put the argument across better.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 15, 2007 at 10:04 pm. Reply #

Linda, you’ve got your way with our last leader. Please don’t start so early in pouring bile over the next possible contenders: there are plenty of things that you can criticise any of them for (and you only have to read my critique of Chris as well as Ming and Simon last time), but ‘I don’t like him so I’ll say he’s lying about everything he stands for without any evidence’ is sock-puppet-style smearing.

I hope no-one else in the leadership election camps will follow your unexpectedly shallow and nasty example. A more gentle person would say ‘that’s not helpful,’ but I’ll say ‘F*** off,’ Linda. I thought you were better than that.

by Alex Wilcock on October 15, 2007 at 10:21 pm. Reply #

Vote John Pardoe – he may be a b*stard, but he’s an effective one.
Eh? you mean he’s not an MP anymore… darn it
(actually I voted Steele)

by Martin J Ball on October 15, 2007 at 10:24 pm. Reply #

Can we all please keep tempers in check. Thanks.

by Stephen Tall on October 15, 2007 at 10:25 pm. Reply #

As someone involved in a leadership bid last time all I hope for is that any contender really checks their cupboards for any skeletons that may be lurking…:-)

On a more serious note what I really hope is that as many members as possible come to the hustings that take place. If you didn’t manage to get along last time, do try and make sure you go this time. Its the best way of re-newing your faith in the Party and it’s principles – whatever ‘wing’ you may think you are on.

by Nick on October 15, 2007 at 10:32 pm. Reply #

Leo Watkins wrote: “Clegg Has to win. His age means he will have greater longevity and mileage than Huhne, plus he’s got more charisma and popular appeal.”

So Chris Huhne is “too old” at 53?

Should everyone over the age of 50 be shunted into the gas chamber?

And on what basis do you measure Nick Clegg’s popular appeal?

Just open your mouth and say any old codswallop that suits you?

by Angus Huck on October 15, 2007 at 10:32 pm. Reply #

Angus what is it with you, are you frustrated or something?!
Anyone would think that every comment is personal to you, it isn’t, your not that important. Can you not comment without just laying in to people, you even make me look chilled.

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 10:43 pm. Reply #

Will somebody sack Mark Littlewood? He’s just been openly criticising lib dem policy on Newsnight only hours after our leader stepped down. Unprofessional anyone? What a complete tool.

by Letterman on October 15, 2007 at 10:59 pm. Reply #

Go and clear off back to the saloon bar, Big Mak.

I was making a serious point about AGEISM, but clearly some people lack the mental equipment to see that.

by Angus Huck on October 15, 2007 at 11:00 pm. Reply #

I am disappointed that Ming has gone. But I think two months is long enough for an election campaign.

PS: “you even make me look chilled” – I wouldn’t go that far, Rab!

by Peter Welch on October 15, 2007 at 11:03 pm. Reply #

It is very clear that everyone is very fired up and angry and p**sed off.

by welshproudliberal on October 15, 2007 at 11:06 pm. Reply #

Letterman@14. Mark Littlewood hasn’t worked for the Party since last March.

by Nick on October 15, 2007 at 11:10 pm. Reply #

Not a surprise Simon ruling himself out, but can we please have the field we should have got in 2006? We vote by STV and despite the speculation about Huhne and Clegg leading the race it should encourage a campaign of all the talents. We need that.

by Andrew Houseley on October 15, 2007 at 11:10 pm. Reply #

There are things that Ming achieved. The Parly Party calmed down after deposing Charles and we began to pull together. We won a by-election. Many people say that Cowley St is better run. We have developed some interesting policies, on poverty, nuclear weapons, and environmental issues, as well as on traditional ones such as ID cards.

Against that we failed to win the Bromley by-election, which would really have taken the wind out of Cameron’s sails. We did not do well in last year’s local by-elections. We have not developed a strong narrative as to where Britain should be going.

I think Mark Littlewood was right to say that now, in an election campaign, we can talk about what we are not doing well, where the gaps are, and then to challenge whoever stands to say how they will fill the gaps.

It would be daft to pretend that we have all the answers and that all we need is a spinmeister/fair media coverage and our poll ratings will double. Yes, the ability to appear unwooden on television is part of it, but we should have a debate on what we stand for and where we go.

Let’s hope we get that in what I agree is a very short timescale.


by tim leunig on October 15, 2007 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

I’d like the field to be (in alphabetical order) Clegg, Huhne, Kramer, Webb.

by nigelashton on October 15, 2007 at 11:23 pm. Reply #

What has impressed me most over the last week or so is the way the party has kept this largely private – to the evident frustration of the media and the Tories.

That demonstrates both immense maturity and a determination to remember that in the end we share a bigger objective.

One of the worst features of the last campaign was the negative campaigning – particularly the childish briefing against Chris (eg criticising him for being succesful enough in life to be able to buy more than one house.) I hope that type of campaigning does not feature this time because it is divisive and damaging.

I agree with the comments about wanting the contest we actually wanted last time – I think the absence of that was what undermined Ming most in the eyes of the activists.

A genuine exchange of ideas and a mature assessment of the leadership qualities of the candidates. Followed by a genuine union behind the new leader – whoever that person is.

by Ed on October 15, 2007 at 11:29 pm. Reply #

Lets put it this way.

Being nice should not be on the job requirement.

Someone who doesn’t mind ruffling feathers, bruising some egos while evangelising liberalism to the populace.

by Colin Smith on October 15, 2007 at 11:41 pm. Reply #

I agree with Andrew @ 19. This time we need to have the election that we were deprived of in 2006 because the Cleggs and Daveys of this world lined themselves up behind what was always no more than a stop-gap measure.

We need a real contest with a solid field. The preferential ballot can handle it.

by Eldoc on October 15, 2007 at 11:42 pm. Reply #

Tim @ 20 – We won the Dunfermline by-election before Ming was elected Leader.

by nigelashton on October 16, 2007 at 12:15 am. Reply #

Why not Danny Alexander. He comes across to me as someone with the stature of a leader.

by Peter Crowe on October 16, 2007 at 1:08 am. Reply #

Danny Alexander? You’re having a laugh. He’s not even liked in his own area after failing to stand for Charles which only made members believe he was part of the group that undermined him.

by Bannerman on October 16, 2007 at 1:16 am. Reply #

There’s only one man that is guaranteed to spark the public’s interest, and that is a return to the leadership by Charles Kennedy.

Don’t underestimate the public loyalty that was felt for him, nor the sense of betrayal many shared at the manner of his removal. David Steel was right on the BBC tonight; Ming should have been acting leader while Kennedy sorted himself out. Westminster Liberals might have thought they had to get rid of Kennedy, but the country did not, and a lot of trust was lost as a result.

by Kenny on October 16, 2007 at 1:17 am. Reply #

Problem is Kenny every debate, talk, interview would end with “so Mr Kennedy are you off the booze yet?”
He is a good man, and was a good leader but his personal problems are far too public for a return at the moment.
I also think the tabloid press would just have a field day with him & us if he came back.

by Big Mak on October 16, 2007 at 9:21 am. Reply #

26 and 27: As a constituent of Danny’s, I think it’s far too soon for him to consider standing (and I suspect he would agree). But don’t get the idea that he’s not liked in his own area – that simply isn’t true, as I’m sure will be shown by his increased majority at the next general election. He is also popular with local members.

by Bernard Salmon on October 16, 2007 at 9:59 am. Reply #

My mate Caron has it right on her blog in saying that the campaign is not long enough. I also agree with her assertion that it’s a bit daft to announce the new Leader just a few days before the country shuts down for the Christmas and New Year festivities. Who in the real world will give a damn about our leader when they are all focused on the impending fortnight long piss up?

by Iain Rubie Dale on October 16, 2007 at 12:15 pm. Reply #

Lib Dhimm leaders are always mediocre nonentities. Face the facts, guys, your choices are always very poor because look at what you’ve got to work with. Some of the names mentioned here are just laughable. Susan Kramer? Danny Alexander? Who the hell are they?

Does it really matter which of these pipsqueaks gets to be Lib Dhimm leader until shortly after the next election? Because that’s what you are arguing about, you silly rabble.

Your “party” is actually a franchise for thoughtless protest voting. You consist of at least three separate and intellectually dissociated factions – green, tax-and-spend, and 1970s Heathite – all of which hate each other.

Why does British politics need you? Who’d miss you if you went?

by Bunnies Can And Will Go To France on October 16, 2007 at 12:49 pm. Reply #

32. If thats so why waste your time writing on this site numb nuts!
Tories, you gotta hate them.

by Big Mak on October 16, 2007 at 10:20 pm. Reply #


I’m puzzled by people (oh, alright then, Tories) like Bunny, who consider themselves sufficiently politically savvy to post on sites like this … and then trot out the “who are these people” line.

If you’ve never heard of Susan Kramer/ Ed Davey/ David Laws/ Julia Goldsworthy what are you doing posting on a political site ????

by crewegwyn on October 16, 2007 at 10:44 pm. Reply #

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