Liberal Democrat leadership candidates spoke in a debate at Churchill College yesterday. Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne both gave speeches to a hall packed with Lib Dem members from all over the East of England.
Both of the candidates are Oxbridge alumni: Clegg graduated with a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, whilst Huhne has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford.
For Clegg it was a homecoming, as he asked his audience to excuse him “If I go dreamy eyed – I fell madly in love with a girl at Churchill College”.
But Huhne was also quick to stress the importance of Cambridge to the Lib Dems. “We are strong in this region, and Cambridge makes a particular contribution.”
Huhne criticised the current state of British politics as “crass, callow and conservative”, whilst Clegg said that the Lib Dems needed to find “a different kind of politics” from the sort offered by the two major parties. Both slated the leaders of the main parties: Huhne poured scorn on Gordon Brown’s “hollow claims to competence”, and Clegg wrote David Cameron off as “plastic and synthetic”.
Former businessman Chris Huhne stressed the need for the Lib Dems to “get the electorate to recognise…that this party has better economic views than any other party”.
He said that the party had to “leave our comfort zone” to attract wider support with their economic policies.
The new leader is expected to be announced on December 17.