Politicians give their reaction to the surprise announcement that Sir Menzies Campbell is to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats.
VINCENT CABLE, DEPUTY LEADER
Ming has earned the gratitude, the respect and the affection of our party.
That was reflected in the warmth with which his speech was received at our conference a few weeks ago. In that speech he set out a key message - we are the only party in Britain with a clear vision of a fairer and greener country.
He's had a long political career and he's fought throughout that period for social justice and liberal values and we will ensure that we build on that political legacy.
SIMON HUGHES, LIB DEM PRESIDENT
For the last two years Ming has given huge purpose and stability to our party.
He has led the professionalisation of the party and he has led the very successful preparations for the general election whenever it comes.
Throughout all his political life Ming has taken all his decisions - and this
decision is one of them - in the interests of our party and of liberal democracy throughout Great Britain and every Liberal Democrat and many other people owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
CHARLES KENNEDY, SIR MENZIES' PREDECESSOR AS LEADER
I am sorry that things have ended up for Ming in this way, but know the gratitude felt towards him within the party.
I don't doubt he has a valuable ongoing contribution to make to the Liberal
Democrats into the future.
BARONESS WILLIAMS, SDP FOUNDER
The original expectation was that there was going to be an election probably last month.
Gordon Brown had indicated that, Ming was prepared and ready to lead into that fray, but I think now that the election is not likely to be before 2009 or maybe even 2010, Ming feels that he ought not to be leading at that point and I think that's right.
I think he would find it quite hard to manage an election two years off and to maintain the kind of dreadful pace of elections nowadays.
LORD STEEL, FORMER LIBERAL PARTY LEADER
Ming is a long-standing personal friend of mine from way back, long before he was in Parliament, and so this is a very sad moment.
But I always knew he would do what was right for the party and that has been his motivation and I think it is greatly to his credit that he had decided at this point to stand down.
Politics is a very unfair profession. Ming unfortunately came into Parliament quite late in life after many elections. Had he been in earlier I think he could well have been leader earlier and very successfully.
But I'm afraid the media had it in for him from the start and he was never able to overcome that. Its been very cruel, very unkind and very unfair.
LIB DEM FRONTBENCHER DON FOSTER
I'm bitterly disappointed that somebody who I think has served this party incredibly well, somebody who is a Liberal through and through has now chosen to stand down - clearly a decision that he has made.
There's no evidence that he was pushed out and certainly I know of no colleagues that were involved in any attempt [at] a plot or coup or anything like that.
And so [it's] a decision that he's made, in his view, in the best interests of the party.
LIB DEM MP MIKE HANCOCK
Ming has done this in his own way, in a dignified way, but he has been pushed into it.
Whether we like it or not, the last few weeks, if not the last month, has been nothing but people briefing against him, saying things - it was too consistent, too prolonged and too hard-hitting...and the people who were behind all these briefings ought to remember that a year from now, with another leader when the polls haven't risen for us and the policies haven't got through, if you have done it twice in 18 months, there is nothing to stop you doing it three times in two and a half years.
PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN
Sir Menzies Campbell is a man of great stature and integrity who has served his party and country with distinction.
His contribution on foreign policy and international affairs is valued throughout the world. I'm sure he will continue to make a major contribution to public life.
FORMER LIB DEM LEADER LORD ASHDOWN
Ming Campbell is a man of honesty, decency and integrity. He has also proven over the years to be a man of remarkable political judgment.
That he has felt the need to resign this evening tells us more about the nature of modern politics than it does about Ming Campbell himself.
CONSERVATIVE LEADER DAVID CAMERON
Sir Menzies Campbell has had a distinguished parliamentary career and is a fine public servant.
I wish him and his wife Lady Campbell well for the future.