Charles Kennedy is preparing to take paternity leave - in the middle of the general election campaign.
The Liberal Democrat leader, whose wife, Sarah, is expecting their first child in April, has told colleagues he will be taking time off when the baby arrives - even if it is born in the middle of the election. Polling day is likely to be 5 May, but Mr Kennedy is believed to have told aides that spending time with his wife and baby is a priority.
Liberal Democrat election planners hope the baby arrives late so Mr Kennedy does not have to duck out of the campaign. But plans have been laid for senior MPs to take over Mr Kennedy's "leader's tour".
Senior party figures are predicting privately that the Liberal Democrats will win between 70 and 82 seats at the election. Their current tally is 55.
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