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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 19:47 GMT 20:47 UK
Lib Dem MPs pick woman chairman
Lorely Burt
Ms Burt said she was 'absolutely thrilled' to win the vote
Liberal Democrat MPs have elected the first female House of Commons chairman in the party's history.

Lorely Burt, MP for Solihull, defeated Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP John Thurso by a margin of 32 to 27 in the final ballot.

St Ives MP Andrew George came third in an earlier vote.

The post of chairman became vacant after Paul Holmes resigned earlier in this year when he became the party's housing spokesman.

'Job to do'

Ms Burt said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have been elected after a close contest.

"The party has a job to do: to bring Liberal Democrat policies to the forefront of British politics. In a small way I hope to be able to contribute to that."

Party president Simon Hughes said: "Lorely deserves hearty congratulations.

"She has already shown she is a popular colleague in and beyond the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons, and she will have the support and encouragement of all other Liberal Democrat MPs."

Ms Burt's election comes as the Lib Dems are choosing a leader to replace Sir Menzies Campbell, who resigned last week.

The only two declared candidates so far are home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg and environment spokesman Chris Huhne.

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