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The men who’ve made the nomination rules a nonsense

January 13th, 2006

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    Don’t back anybody supported by these three

Introducing Mike Hancock, John Hemming and Paul Rowen – the three Lib Dem MPs who are said to be coming to the rescue of leadership candidates who cannot find fellow MPs to nominate them.

Under the contest rules agreed only in September 2005 all candidates have to have the support of 10% of the parliamentary party before they can get on the ballot. At the time it was seen as a way of making it harder for someone to mount a challenge. But these three are making the procedure a mockery. For they are said to be ready to sign the forms of several candidates.

According to the Times this morning the backers of the fourth favourite, Mark Oaten, “.. include three willing to sign the papers of any serious candidate. .. Mr Rowen, MP for Rochdale, has also offered to nominate Simon Hughes while Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South, said: “I’ve offered to sign the ballot paper for anyone who feels they have got a chance.” ..John Hemming, an eccentric who left colleagues aghast by threatening to stand, said he was one of four MPs prepared to sign nominations in the interests of a contest.

In effect these MPs have reduced the minimum requirement from seven to four. Clearly it says a lot about a candidate’s chances if they have to rely on Hancock, Hemming or Rowen.

Meanwhile in the betting the best prices are: Simon Hughes 1.54/1; Menzies Campbell 2.2/1; Chris Huhne 8/1: Mark Oaten 8.3/1

Mike Smithson






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