Wednesday, April 21, 1999 Published at 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Harvey considering quitting Lib Dem race
Nick Harvey: Wants a proper intellectual and political debate
Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey has confirmed he is prepared to back out of the race to lead the party to help narrow the field.
Mr Harvey, MP for Devon North, believes that there are too many candidates in the race to succeed Paddy Ashdown.
There are up to nine contenders to lead the party into the millennium.
Among the frontrunners are Charles Kennedy, Menzies Campbell and Simon Hughes.
Mr Harvey says the current field is too big for a proper intellectual and political debate.
"I haven't ruled myself out," he said. "What I'm saying is that we've got to get away for some quiet discussions in rooms. We've got to narrow this field down.
The contest for the Liberal Democrat leadership will be fought between 12 June and 11July.
Mr Harvey said it was a good thing that there were so many credible candidates.
But Mr Harvey said that if the party's foreign spokesman Menzies Campbell attracted more support, he would be prepared to step down.
He said: "Menzies Campbell and I look at things in a similar way.
"If the conclusion we reach between us and with others is that he's got a better chance of winning this contest than I have, this isn't an ego trip and I would be willing to lend my support to others who want to take the party in a similar direction."
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