Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 12:25 UK

'Stop Opik' plot denied by Cable

Lembit Opik MP for Montgomeryshire is making a bid to become the Liberal Democrat party's President

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Vince Cable has denied there is a plot to stop Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik becoming president of the party.

Mr Cable denied a newspaper report that allies of the party leadership were organising a "stop Lembit" campaign.

He said he had not decided who to back in the battle but is expected to back Mr Opik's rival Baroness Ros Scott.

The Times reported senior Lib Dem fears a "joker" such as Mr Opik could win the election to such a senior party post.

Current Lib Dem President Simon Hughes is stepping down at the end of the year.

Party leader Nick Clegg said he would be staying neutral in the contest but praised Mr Opik for his ability to stand out from the crowd.

Several senior Welsh Liberal Democrats are supporting Baroness Scott.

They include the only declared contender for the Welsh Lib Dem leadership, Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams.

Mr Opik is currently the party's housing spokesman and previously leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

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