++ BREAKING: Mark Hunter MP steps down as Deputy Chief Whip

It’s just been announced that Cheadle MP Mark Hunter has stepped down as the Liberal Democrats’ Deputy Chief Whip.

He told Nick Clegg in his resignation letter that he had never intended to stay in post for the whole duration of the Parliament and that the end of the Conference season was the time to move on:

Dear Nick,

It is after much thought that I write to tender my resignation as your Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons with immediate effect.

It has been a privilege to serve for four and a half years as a member of the coalition government and I remain proud of our achievements over that period. We have faced many difficult decisions as a party but I believe it was the right choice, in the circumstances, to form the coalition and provide the political stability necessary for economic recovery to take place.

As you know, it was never my intention to serve in the same post for the duration of the Parliament and now seems a sensible time to move on. As we reach the end of the conference season and return to Westminster this is an appropriate moment to announce my decision.

My first priority is, and always will be, to serve my constituents to the best of my ability and I intend to carry on doing just that for as long as I am able.

It has been an honour to serve and I thank you for the opportunity.

In his reply, Nick praised his “immense dedication and loyalty”:

Dear Mark

Thank you for your letter. I am very grateful for all the work you have put in over the past four and a half years in government.

You have made a major contribution to the first peace time coalition in 70 years, ensuring through your work as our Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons, that the Coalition Government has been able deliver its business through parliament, often in very challenging circumstances.

Throughout your time in office you have shown immense dedication and loyalty for which the party and I personally owe you a great debt of gratitude.

His replacement will be announced “in due course.” Could this be the start of the Liberal Democrat reshuffle?

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  • Like all good whips, Mark has retained a low public profile outside his constituency but he’s been an important part of the many Lib Dem wins in Coalition.

  • Ah, how many of those have there been?

  • Well-done, Mark Hunter. Though ahead in the latest Ashcroft poll, Mark needs a much wider lead, and it looks as if he is going to spend the next 7 months working flat out to get it. I hope and trust that members across the region will go to Cheadle to support him.

  • A lot more than there would have been if we’d not entered the coalition and got hammered at the resulting general election.

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