Christian MP may run for Lib Dem leadership

By staff writers
October 17, 2007

A Christian MP is emerging a the most tipped third contender in the race for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, after the surprise resignation of Menzies Campbell.

Steve Webb, MP for Northavon near Bristol and also vice-President of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, told Ekklesia he was seeking advice from his colleagues in the party on the issue before making a decision to stand.

Today's newspapers cite him as a likely contender, with the Daily Mirror saying the "principled, campaigning antipoverty crusader...has most qualities needed by a leader."

Mr Webb has been MP for Northavon since 1997 when he took the seat from the Tories.

Webb thinks foreign policy, notably Iraq, has been too prominent under the past three party leaders and wants more emphasis on domestic issues. Forward thinking in his approach, he favours social networking to get the message across and has pioneered the use of information technology, using e-mail and text-messaging to gague the opinions of constituents, as well as Facebook.

If Steve Webb stands he will be seen as the candidate of the Liberal left compared to Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg who share a similar ideological position within the party.

The 41-year-old was an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies as well as Professor of Social Policy at Bath University.

He has previously been the Liberal Democrat spokesman for health and is responsible for pulling together the party's manifesto for the next general election.

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