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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Lib Dem race 'about presentation'
Nick Clegg (left) and Chris Huhne. Pictures from PA and Getty
Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne are the only contenders so far

The two contenders for the Liberal Democrat leadership have told the BBC there are no fundamental differences between them on policy.

Environment spokesman Chris Huhne said the party would have to choose "who is going to best present" its case.

Home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg also stressed communication skills, during their Andrew Marr Show interviews.

He said he could speak in a "plain, direct" way to disaffected voters and create a sense of "dynamism".

The contest to replace Sir Menzies Campbell, who quit as leader on Monday, is looking increasingly like a two-horse race after a series of senior figures ruled themselves out.

Mr Clegg and Mr Huhne share similar backgrounds, having attended Westminster School, served in the European Parliament and become MPs in 2005.

'Stale duopoly'

Mr Clegg, 40, is seen as being to the right of Mr Huhne on some issues, but he told Sunday AM: "Don't be surprised that our similarities far outweigh our differences."

AGE: 53
JOB: Environment spokesman
FAMILY: Married, five children
EDUCATION: Westminster School, Oxford University
BEFORE MP: Journalist, businessman and Euro MP

He said the Lib Dems had to "reinvent politics completely" and "to really change utterly the stale old duopoly of two party politics".

He said he believed he had the "qualities" to reach out to people "to bring people to our cause" and espouse the party's policies.

But he said he was "bemused" by comparisons between himself and Conservative leader David Cameron.

He said his politics was driven by opposition to Thatcherism and the "Tory vision of society", which he found "by turns heartless and desperate".

'Tremendous opportunity'

Mr Clegg said he could "speak in a direct plain speaking way to people" in all parts of the country and "create a sense of dynamism and ambition in politics".

Chris Huhne, 53, a former businessman and financial journalist, stressed his greater economic experience but conceded he had few real differences with Mr Clegg on policy.

AGE: 40
JOB: Home Affairs spokesman
FAMILY: Married, two children
EDUCATION: Westminster School, Cambridge University
BEFORE MP: Journalist, lecturer and Euro MP

"Party members have to make a decision - who is going to be best to present the case on which Nick and I - not surprisingly as we have been leading members of the same party for a long time - fundamentally agree on," he told Sunday AM.

Because of a volatile, electorate the party had a "fantastic opportunity to really get out there and persuade people that they ought to come and vote for the Liberal Democrats," said Mr Huhne.

He said the Lib Dems had to take votes off both Labour and the Conservatives and the alleged third party "squeeze" was a "tremendous opportunity" for the party to set out a "radical" alternative.

"We are the real radicals. We are not just about changing the government, we are about changing the whole system," said Mr Huhne.

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