Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Abandons Ambition to Be Kennedy's No2 to Join Mayor Race

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Abandons Ambition to Be Kennedy's No2 to Join Mayor Race

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

SIMON HUGHES will next week abandon his ambition to be Liberal Democrat deputy leader - and fight to become London Mayor.

His decision will spark a new contest to succeed Alan Beith for the centre party's number two slot under Charles Kennedy.

It could also dramatically change the odds when Ken Livingstone fights to stay in office in the 2004 mayoral election.

Mr Hughes, Lib-Dem home affairs spokesman, confirmed today he will be making a statement on Tuesday. "It is obviously a very tricky decision," he said. "I have consulted widely among friends and colleagues and I have made up my mind. I will be making an announcement next week." His decision not to challenge for the deputy leadership will astonish some colleagues. The Bermondsey MP, a Left-winger, had lobbied hard for the post and was regarded as a shoo-in.

A moderniser closer to Mr Kennedy is now likely to get the job. Mr Beith is vacating it to take on a major Commons committee. …

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