OatenoutMark Oaten’s LibDem leadership bid is over.  He was unable to win support from any MP other than Lembit Opik (and perhaps (secretly) Charles Kennedy).  Under the LibDems’ bizarre election rules MPs can nominate more than one candidate.  This morning’s Independent revealed that only one of the seven MPs who signed his nomination papers was prepared to publicly back him – three of them had declared for other candidates.

I’ve always doubted that a LibDem MP would defect to the Tories but this event – which must be very disappointing on a personal level – may be interpreted by Mr Oaten as a rejection of his "tough liberalism".  This might be an opportune time for the Tory whips to be offering the LibDems’ home affairs spokesman a new home…