NewopinionpollA new opinion poll for BPIX finds the LibDems on their lowest opinion poll rating since 2002.  It shows the Tories maintaining the opinion poll boost that David Cameron’s election provided. has documented the reasons why Sir Menzies Campbell has now emerged as the clear favourite to succeed Charles Kennedy as LibDem leader.  Mr Campbell, already interim leader, following Mr Kennedy’s immediate resignation of yesterday, has the support of 23 MPs according to a BBC Radio survey.  Lord Steel has also declared for the former Olympic runner.  Ming’s support contrasts with three MPs backing Simon Hughes and just two MPs backing Mark Oaten.

David Laws, a leading Orange Book liberal, has already declared for ‘Ming’ in a sign that the Orange Bookers are not a united force.  Mr Laws may believe that Mr Campbell has a better chance of uniting the party than someone like Mr Oaten, who is seen as a champion of the LibDem kind of economic liberalism associated with the controversial Orange Book.  Mr Laws and Nick Clegg (only elected last May and who has already ruled himself out of the race) may see Ming Campbell as an interim leader who can be replaced by a more ‘modern’ figure after the next General Election. 

Hughes_simonBBCi reports that:

"Mr Hughes, party president, said he would not announce whether he was standing until he had overseen the process for choosing the way a new leader will be decided."

This seems an extraordinary state of affairs.  If Mr Hughes has any interest in running for the LibDem leadership he should immediately resign from this position or there could be a suspicion of him choosing a timetable or process likely to favour his own candidacy.