The Politics Show North West
The winner is announced on 2 March 2006
In January 2006 Lib Dem MPs fired their leader Charles Kennedy with a ruthlessness that would have made Sir Alan Sugar proud.
As Sir Alan's show - The Apprentice - returned to our screens, the three apprentices to succeed Charles Kennedy came to Manchester.
The Politics Show decided to borrow a trick or two from Sir Alan.
We gathered a panel of three Lib Dem activists to grill the contenders:
ahead of their hustings speeches in Manchester.
- Sir Menzies Campbell
- Simon Hughes
- and Chris Huhne
What could each candidate say they would bring to the job?
Would they impress our panel, or would they hear the dreaded words "You're Fired".
The North West is a crucial area for the Lib Dems hence the three contenders have spent a lot of time here in recent weeks.
The party has six MPs and three Councils under their control already.
In the 2006 local elections they will be breathing down Labour's neck in St Helens and Manchester.
So who would be best for the North West in terms of delivering further success for the Lib Dems?
Simon Hughes was born in Bramhall.
The Panel: Alistair Thomas, Darren Reynolds and Helen Jones
On the left of the party, he might appeal to disaffected Labour voters. However the forced revelation that he is gay may damage him.
Ming Campbell is the safe pair of hands in these troubled times for his party but does he know more about Baghdad than problems in Burnley?
Then there is Chris Huhne. With Campbell and Hughes stumbling, he is emerging as a possible winner.
Our panel of undecided Lib Dems may not be as rude as Sir Alan Sugar but they still had some sharp questions for the wannabees.
The Panel is:
- Prof Alistair Thomas, 64, chairman of Ribble Valley Liberal Democrats and a party member since 1982
- Helen Jones, 48, a Manchester Lib Dem city councillor
- Darren Reynolds, 35, a project manager from Pendle, who has been in the party for two years
So when it came to make your mind up time, what did our panel say about the three contenders?
Find out on The Politics Show.
Jim Hancock presents Politics Show North West with Gill Dummigan
The Politics Show
Join Jim Hancock and Gill Dummigan on the Politics Show on Sunday 05 March 2006 at Noon on BBC One.
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