Deputy Leadership contest latest: Huhne backs Farron

A news release from the Tim Farron campaign says:

Tim Farron today announced that Secretary of State for DECC, Chris Huhne, will be supporting Tim’s candidacy for Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Huhne’s support comes on the same day as candidates for Deputy Leader put forward their nominating signatures to the Parliamentary Party. Other MPs who have now confirmed their support for Mr Farron include MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood and newly elected MP St Austell and Newquay, Stephen Gilbert.

Commenting Mr Huhne said:

“Tim Farron has the passion, experience and energy to be highly effective as deputy leader. Working alongside Nick Clegg, Tim will help communicate our message for a greener and fairer society to a new generation of Liberal Democrats.”

MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood, added:

“I’m delighted that Tim Farron has decided to stand for the deputy leadership. He comes with good green credentials and represents a new generation of young Liberal Democrat MPs who are committed both to the coalition and to liberal values and policies.”

Newly elected MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Gilbert, said:

“Tim has a proven track record as an inspirational campaigner and would be ideally suited to providing the strong, independent and radical voice that the party requires over the next few years.”

This means the running totals of declared MPs so far are Simon Hughes 16, Tim Farron 11. The Hughes campaign says it has significantly more pledged support, but that not all MPs have decided to go public with their choice so far. Some of that may be for reasons of momentum (announce new names at regular intervals) but also because some of his backers are people who wish to stay neutral in public. As Simon Hughes is the preferred candidate of many at senior levels in the party that explanation is credible, though even on the figures the Hughes campaign is claiming he is only (so far) slightly above the winning post.

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