Hughes moves into the 3rd favourite slot

Hughes moves into the 3rd favourite slot

After what must surely be the busiest day of betting ever on a Lib Dem leadership contest the party president, Simon Hughes has now moved into the favourite slot – ahead of the early well backed former odds-on favourite – the 64 year old Ming Campbell.

But the betting sensation of the past 36 hours, the former Euro MP who has only been at Westminster for nine months, Chris Huhne is now well established as third favourite.

The day has seen little support for the home affairs spokesman, Mark Oaten who has seen a steady easing of his price. So what are we to make of the contest now:-

  • Will Campbell’s position be restored after next Wednesday Prime Minister’s Questions. There’s a realistic chance that it might – and remember, Ming scored 49% in last week’s members’ poll
  • Will Hughes sustain and improve his favourite position. He was always said to be the favoured candidate of the membership but his reputation was dented by his poor third place in the 2002 London Mayoral race and he only got 21% in last week’s poll.
  • What about Huhne? His campaign is announced formally tomorrow and we should expect some good coverage because he is communication professional. But would the party elect someone with less than a year’s experience in the Commons?
  • Can Oaten recover? The former PR man has seen his campaign lose traction as other names have emerged. Could he still mount a serious challenge?
  • Our chart shows the implied probability of victory based on the best prices. Keep watching this space.

    Mike Smithson

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