Mark Oaten – who dropped out of the leadership race just a few days ago – has resigned from the LibDem frontbench after the News of the World was due to report allegations about him using a 23-year-old rent boy.

In a statement the married Mr Oaten said:

"I have stood down as home affairs spokesman for the party. I would like to apologise for errors of judgement in personal behaviour and for the embarrassment caused, firstly to my family but also to my friends, my constituents and my party. I will not be commenting further at this time and would now ask for some space and personal privacy for me and my family."

The leader of the LibDems in the House of Lords, Tom McNally, has admitted to being an alcoholic in the early 1980s. 

Lord McNally told a special Radio 4 programme that he "deeply regretted the wasted years, the wasted time, the wasted money… When I do look back to the 60s and 70s and I think of my drinking companions, a disturbingly large number – from politics, from journalism, from business – are now dead."

Charles Kennedy admitted to his own drink problems three weeks ago.