When David Cameron made his tactically astute appeal to LibDem voters last month, one of the props for his appeal was the suggestion that the issue of Iraq should no longer separate Tories and LibDems:
“My Party and the Liberal Democrats were on different sides of that argument. But I say to Liberal Democrats everywhere: we’re on the same side now. We want to see the same things happen as quickly as possible: democracy established… security guaranteed… and our troops coming home, as quickly as possible.”
If Chris Huhne has his way, however, there could be a very big difference between the two parties on Iraq. According to today’s Guardian Mr Huhne believes that Britain "should plan for a complete withdrawal of British troops from Iraq by the end of this year". Mr Huhne – reportedly the most impressive LibDem leadership candidate in Tony Blair’s eyes – also casts doubts on existing plans to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent:
"By instinct, I believe in a minimum deterrent, but I cannot believe that we need a deterrent as powerful as Trident given that there’s been an enormous change in the world since we actually introduced that, so ‘no’ to Trident or something of equivalent power… I think we need something which is more in tune with the geopolitical threats which we face today."
Mr Huhne has said that recent revelations by Simon Hughes have effectively made the LibDem leadership contest a two horse race between him and Ming Campbell.