Britain's LibDems elect new deputy leader

9th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A senior left-winger was Wednesday elected deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in Britain's coalition government with David Cameron's Conservatives.

Simon Hughes immediately denied suggestions he could use his position as Nick Clegg's deputy to undermine the alliance between the centrist LibDems and the centre-right Conservatives, which has proved controversial with some lawmakers and activists.

"The coalition is the right decision," he told reporters. "I'm not only supportive of it, Nick and all my colleagues will testify I spoke in favour of it at our meeting, I voted in favour of it at our conference."

In a surprise move after Britain's general election last month yielded no clear winner, the centre-right Conservatives and the LibDems formed a coalition, Britain's first since World War II, despite campaigning on markedly different platforms.

Hughes, who does not have a job in the administration, takes over as deputy from Vince Cable, who quit to focus on his new job as business secretary.

He was first elected as lawmaker for a constituency in south London in 1983, has campaigned on issues including civil liberties and human rights and faced only one rival for the job of deputy leader.

© 2010 AFP

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