Lib Dems The Contenders

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The Independent Online
Charles Kennedy: Ross, Skye and Inverness West MP. Elected at 24 in 1983. Favoured by Tony Blair. Telegenic, but accused of lacking grip on policy detail. Seen as lightweight after Call My Bluff TV appearance. Odds: 4-5

Jackie Ballard: Aged 46. Taunton MP. Very cool on close links with Labour. Only woman in race; but "the only candidate with balls", say her supporters. But lacking experience on the Westminster stage. Odds: 25-1

Don Foster: Aged 52. Ousted Chris Patten at Bath in 1992. Ashdown loyalist who favours close links with Labour. Articulate and energetic. Respected education spokesman but suffered humiliating defeat on schools policy at last autumn's Lib Dem conference.Odds: 16-1

David Rendel: 50-year-old social security spokesman, won Newbury seat in 1993 by-election. Has a power base amongst Lib Dem councillors. Favours "bargepole" approach with Labour. Likeable toff,but Old Etonian and Oxford background may count against him. Critics claim he lacks charisma. Odds: 10-1

Malcolm Bruce: 54-year-old MP for Gordon. Treasury spokesman, and a strong advocate of putting 1p on income tax to boost state education. Accused of being a lightweight.More of kingmaker than king. Odds: 33- 1

Simon Hughes: 48-year-old health spokesman captured safe-Labour Bermondsey seat in dirty 1983 by-election. "Thus far, no further" approach to Labour. Popular among grassroots.Disorganised.Odds: 10-1.

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