Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
The former social worker became the first ever woman to win the Tory seat of Taunton two years ago.
CV: Simon Hughes
Former barrister Simon Hughes has been tipped for becoming the mayor of London as well as potential leader of the Liberal Democrats.
CV: David Rendel
The old Etonion is the party's spokesman on social security and welfare.
CV: Malcolm Bruce
The Lib Dems' chief spokesman on the Treasury Malcolm Bruce was Paddy Ashdown's campaign chairman in the last leadership contest.
The bookies' choice
Charles Kennedy is so widely regarded as the favourite to win the Lib Dem leadership contest some bookies will not even offer odds.
The path to leadership
A quick guide to dates and procedure in the Liberal Democrat leadership election contest.
Paddy Ashdown's letter of resignation
The full text of the Lib Dem leader's letter to his MPs setting out the reasons behind his decision to step down.
To be young and in charge
Paddy Ashdown wants out of the Commons before he's 65. His plan to quit reflects a growing trend for young political leaders.
From action man to MP
Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has announced he will stand down from his post after the European Parliament elections in June.
A job with potential?
Paddy Ashdown's heir will be inheriting a Liberal Democrat party in tip-top shape but stepping into his shoes will be no easy task.
Simon Hughes: Ambitious for all
Simon Hughes MP sets out his vision for the Liberal Democrats for BBC News Online.
Charles Kennedy: A party of government
Charles Kennedy sets out his vision for the Liberal Democrats for BBC News Online.
David Rendel: Equal opportunity for all
David Rendel sets out his vision for the Liberal Democrats for BBC News Online.
Malcolm Bruce: Promotion to premier league
Malcolm Bruce sets out his vision for the Liberal Democrats for BBC News Online.
Jackie Ballard: Principle into power
Jackie Ballard MP sets out her vision for the Liberal Democrats for BBC News Online.
Lib Dems on 'threshold of power'
Out-going Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown says power at a national level is in reach of his successor.