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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 October 2007, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Sir Menzies 'giving a true lead'
Sir Menzies Campbell and Simon Hughes
Sir Menzies has criticised 'idle chatter' over his leadership
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell is giving a "true lead", his chief of staff Ed Davey has said.

The comment comes after the party's president, Simon Hughes, said Sir Menzies had to "do better" at getting his message across to voters.

Mr Davey told BBC Radio Five Live that the Lib Dems were the only party not "ignoring the big agenda" on climate change and "unfair taxes".

Sir Menzies has hit out at "idle chatter" about his leadership.

On Friday, Mr Hughes told GMTV: "The leader obviously has to do better, get better at getting the message across better, at getting the policy out better."

But Mr Davey said Sir Menzies had had a very positive reaction when he spelled out his ideas at a party conference in Suffolk on Saturday.

'Occasional dissent'

He said: "He got a standing ovation. He was taking the battle to the others on the fact that both Conservative and Labour are ignoring the unfair taxes that we have in this country like the council tax, which hits so many people on low incomes, and pensioners... that the Conservatives and Labour are ignoring the big agenda on climate change...

"I think people who are actually listening to what Sir Menzies is saying are saying 'Blimey, at least someone's giving a true lead.'"

Addressing the conference in Suffolk, Sir Menzies insisted he had "the energy, the ideas and the determination to lead this party into the next general election and beyond".

Speculation

He added: "We will campaign on the issues that matter to people - climate change, council tax, tuition fees and free long-term care for the elderly, and Iraq.

"These are things that matter to people - not the idle chatter of the occasional dissident."

The Lib Dems' conference in Brighton was overshadowed by speculation about possible leadership bids by environment spokesman Chris Huhne and home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg.

Both have ruled out standing against their leader but the prime minister's decision not to hold an early election has led to fresh conjecture that Sir Menzies will face a challenge.



SEE ALSO
Darling 'using Lib Dem air tax'
09 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
Lib Dem bid for fixed poll dates
07 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
I'm not too old, says Sir Menzies
20 Sep 07 |  UK Politics

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