Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 17:36 UK

Opik's Facebook poke at rivals

Lembit Opik
Mr Opik resigned from the front bench to focus on his campaign

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik has said he is confident of winning the battle to become party president.

He said his campaign was going "really well" as hundreds of supporters signed up to his Facebook supporters' group.

The Montgomeryshire MP quit his front bench job as housing spokesman last week to focus on his fight to succeed Simon Hughes as president.

The ballot closes on 7 November, with the result expected the following week. There are three declared candidates.

Better communication

Mr Opik, known for his romances with weather presenter Sian Lloyd and Cheeky Girls singer Gabriela Irimia, had 506 supporters on his "Lembit Opik for Lib Dem Party President!" group.

This was more than both his rivals, according to his campaign team.

Baroness Ros Scott's group "Ros Scott for President" had reached 400 members, although Chandila Fernando appeared not to have a Facebook group but had 373 "friends" on the social networking site.

Mr Opik said: "The campaign is going really well with people from right across the UK offering to help."

"It's clear that many members share my aspirations for the Liberal Democrats to be a party of government and recognise that the president needs to be able to communicate our messages more effectively."

But Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne has expressed his backing for Baroness Scott, saying: "I'm backing Ros for a very simple reason - she's the right person for president."

Meanwhile, Mr Fernando has promised to update the party's image, saying he is a "strong believer in the power of the broadcast media" to alter its fortunes.

Opik leaves Lib Dem front bench
24 Sep 08 |  UK Politics
Politicians on the spot
18 Sep 08 |  Politics Show
Opik in presidential bid
17 Sep 08 |  Wales
'Stop Opik' plot denied by Cable
17 Sep 08 |  Wales politics
Opik and Cheeky Girl 'take break'
14 Jul 08 |  UK Politics

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