Lib Dem ‘Big Gun’ joins election battle

Mike Thornton, left, the Liberal Democrat’s prospective parliamentary candidate walking with Business Secretary Vince Cable in central Eastleigh, Hampshire, ahead of a by-election caused by former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne’s resignation after he admitted perverting the course of justice over a speeding offence.

Mr Cable said yesterday the February 28 by-election was an opportunity for Liberal Democrats to highlight “the many differences” between the coalition partners.

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Mr Thornton, a parish and borough councillor since 2007, is the favourite to win. The Lib Dems held it in the 2010 General Election with a majority of 3,864.