In praise of Chris Huhne

As we get ready for tonight’s second TV debate, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on one of the reasons why Nick Clegg did so well in the first debate and also why the party was poised in a happy and strong position such that Nick’s debate victory boosted the party to first place in many polls. That reason? Chris Huhne.

Not only did Chris Huhne play the role of Gordon Brown in the debate preparations, but the very fact that a closely defeated leadership candidate was used in such a role reflects on how closely and how well Nick and Chris now work together.

Their leadership contest was tetchy at times and finished a nail bitter. Some predicted the outcome would doom the party to splits and further trauma, but Chris has played his role perfectly. Despite for many months the media being desperate to run “Huhne and Clegg row” stories, he did not feed them even the slightest slip that could be misrepresented and he is now one of Nick’s closest advisers, in frequent contact in a way that puts the petulance amongst senior Labour figures to shame. What a contrast also from the leadership splits and personal animosity in the Conservatives under a series of leaders since 1997.

Chris deserves our thanks for behaving with sense, loyalty and good judgement in a way that so many senior MPs in the other parties repeatedly failed to do.

You can donate to Chris’s re-election campaign here.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • He also knocked John Humphries for six in the 8:10am interview slot on the Today programme this morning, for which he deserves our thanks.

  • Jeremy Hargreaves 22nd Apr '10 - 5:14pm

    I’ve really been enjoying Chris’ very effective performances taking the fight to other parties’ spokespeople, and media interviewers.

  • Mark Inskip 22nd Apr '10 - 7:50pm

    Missed Chris on the Today programme this morning, but just listened to it on the BBC website – brilliant interview with Humphries and great defence of Nick!

  • Amen. Huhne’s played a blinder.

  • The leadership contest itself was a fantastic learning process for both of them, and is part of why Clegg is so good now. Congrats to Huhne for pushing that all the way.

  • Huhne often doesn’t know when to stop during an argument and generally talks too much, but on the Today programme he succeeded in upsetting ex-Sun columnist and leader writer, Sir Trevor Kavanagh, whose sensibilities seemed bruised by ” that astonishing interview with Chris Huhne where for the first time I heard John Humphries shouted down by his interviewee.”
    Reallys? Kavanagh’s a charlatan and it was his assassination in the past of every left of centre policy that neceessitated ‘New Labour’ which resulted in his realpolitik switch of allegiance for which he was knighted. Anointed by the Murdochs he can barely control his rage as his advice to go early for the Conservatives may be about to backfire. We need more Chris Huhnes because there seems no effective LibDem rebuttal unit in the face of TeamCameron’s onslaughts….other than, for the moment, Peter Mandelson!

  • Steve Comer 23rd Apr '10 - 7:19pm

    If Chris has upset Trevor Kavaagh then he’s doing something right!
    He was also brilliant on the post-debate interviews, as was Paddy Ashdown, who made Ed Milliband look like a novice.

    There is a harder edge to a lot of our interviews this week and the general tone reminds me of the old Who song “We’re not gonna take it.”

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