Since launching his leadership campaign last week, Simon Hughes has taken the lead according to various newspaper headlines, here is a selection:
The Mail on Sunday - “Simon Hughes last night appeared unstoppable in the fight for the Lib Dem leadership” “Mr Hughes won rousing applause from the 400 activists”
“Hughes was fluent and at ease”
The Observer “Hughes, the 54 year old party president, has leapfrogged the early frontrunner, Campbell, over the past week”
“Hughes stressed he was not abandoning his commitment to ‘a fairer society’ and to narrowing the gap between rich and poor, which had grown under both Tory and Labour governments.”
“… he remained committed to state-provided health and education for all”
“The test of delivery, he said, had to be what was best for local communities – to whom health, education and other services must ultimately be accountable. ‘There has been a proper appreciation that the public service was too stagnant not responsive enough – too monolitihic said Hughes’”
“Hughes was also keen to address criticism from some of his fellow MPs that while he is popular with grassroots activists, he lacks the organisational and managerial discipline to lead the 21st century Lib Dem party. ‘I know what the weaknesses are’, he retorted, smiling, ‘But cometh the hour, cometh the discipline required.”
“Though recent opinion polls suggested that the next general election could produce a hung parliament, he said that he would not bring the Lib Dems into a coalition government – until they won some form of ‘fairer’, proportional representation. But he would be determined to use ‘our ever-growing influence to ensure our party’s values are reflected in the kind of legislation passed by Parliament’.”
“Mr Hughes is not to be underestimated. He has a great talent for enthusing his party and he’s popular with its members. He is energetic. At party conferences, he seems to speak at more fringe meetings than everyone else put together.
“…he won seven out of 10 of the votes when he was elected as his party’s president”
Monday 16 January
The Guardian“Sir Menzies Campbell… face[s] a strong challenge from the party’s president, Simon Hughes.”
“Many of Sir Menzies’ supporters initially hoped that he could take the leadership unchallenged, and predicted that he would ‘walk it’ in the event of an election.
“But they have been surprised by the efficiency of the campaign run by his main rival, Mr Hughes”
“ ‘It needs to look competent and be competent, and I will only deserve to win if I can show I can be competent in policy – both domestic and foreign – and organisationally, ’Mr Hughes said yesterday.”
The Independent“Mr Hughes is seen by most observers as the only candidate with enough support to be a serious challenge to the party’s acting leader, Sir Menzies Campbell.
“Mr Hughes is thought to be more popular [than Menzies Campbell] among the party members.”
Friday 13 January
The Guardian“…bookies made Mr Hughes the favourite yesterday thanks to his… slick campaign launch.”
“In a smoothly run event that belied Mr Hughes's disorganised reputation, he set out his ambition to draw on talent from across the party.”
I hope this convinces members to vote for him nowm, speak soon