Is Chris Huhne the Lib Dem Cameron?

Is Chris Huhne the Lib Dem Cameron?


    From 300/1 to 16/1 in just 24 hours

In one of the most staggering political betting moves ever the price on the former Guardian and Indy journalist, Chris Huhne, becoming Lib Dem leader has, as the chart shows, tightened from 300/1 to just 16/1 in the course of 24 hours.

Behind this market activity was a growing view, reinforced by his appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, that Sir Menzies Campbell, the 64 year-old interim leader may not be the answer to the party’s problems after all. As the Daily Telegraph puts it this morning:-

The Liberal Democrat leadership contest was thrown wide open last night after a flat-footed Commons performance by the front-runner, Sir Menzies Campbell, and indications that two more MPs were preparing to join the race. Simon Hughes, the party president, will announce today at least seven public backers – including Steve Webb, the health spokesman, and Paul Holmes, the parliamentary party chairman – for his leadership bid…Mark Oaten, the party’s home affairs spokesman, submitted his nomination papers signed by seven Lib Dem MPs last night, but with mystery surrounding his backers…A fourth potential candidate, Chris Huhne, a Treasury spokesman, received his first public backers when Lynne Featherstone, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and Martin Horwood, the MP for Cheltenham, indicated that they would back him if he stood.

Huhne, described as a “dark horse” by the Times, is almost unknown on the Westminster scene having only entered the House of Commons at the General Election last year. He did, however, serve as a Euro MP from 1999. Like David Cameron Huhne went to Oxford from a top public school and achieved a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

The fact that he has now got MP backers who have gone public in their support gives his bid the boost that he needs. His name was not included in the YouGov survey of Lib Dem members last week and even if it had been he would, surely, have barely registered. But the main factor in that poll that will help him was the lack of support for Simon Hughes and Mark Oaten – who got 21% and 13% respectively.

    If confidence in Campbell is ebbing and YouGov is right about the lukewarm support for Hughes and Oaten then this race could be wide open

MY BETTING: I got on Huhne at 200/1 early yesterday morning after being alerted to the price by a comment on the site by Alex. I have also closed down at a profit my spread bet on Ming Campbell.

THE PB.C Party. A reminder that this takes place in London from 6pm on Saturday evening.

Mike Smithson

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