I have to admit that I'd reached a decision some days ago but had held back from declaring my support because I've always had my doubts about endorsements - it's the puritan Returning Officer in me, I guess - but having seen the flood of endorsements now hitting the ether, there seems little point in being more 'purist than thou'. I've given some thought to my decision and here. distilled into a few words, are my reasons for voting the way I intend to.
My first preference will be for Chris Huhne. He is, to my mind, the intellectual heavyweight of the contest, although no disrespect is intended to Menzies or to Simon. I had the pleasure of working with him twice in my capacity as Returning Officer for the South East England Euro selections in 1998 and 2002/03 and was impressed by what I saw. He talks about ideas and does so with flair, enough passion to indicate that he means it and a touch of humour. I'm an economic liberal with a social conscience and his philosophy ties in closely with mine.
My second preference will go to Ming. In the past, I've voted for Alan Beith and David Rendel, as I tend towards the tried and trusted. I like the gravitas that Ming brings to every role he has taken on and feel that, if I can't have Chris, I could have faith in him to lead the Party reliably.
That means that my third preference will go to Simon. That isn't meant to be a condemnation of him as a candidate for Leader - if I didn't want him at all, I would only give two preferences - more an acknowledgment that I feel that we come from different elements of the Party. It is harder to do this given that I live in Southwark, albeit the leafier southern end of the borough. Simon has done wonders in the area, and loyalty to him amongst my members is very strong (and rightly so).
I think that we have a very strong field, diverse and credible, and it will be a tough choice for the members...