If the Deputy Prime Minister resigns his post as leader of the Liberal Democrats after the election then who will lead the party?
It is likely that the Liberal Democrats will lose at least half their seats if not more in the upcoming general election. The Liberal Democrats will need a chance to reflect and rebuild their party so a new leader will need to be able to do this. However, if the party renews their agreement with the Conservatives then the party will need a leader that can work with them (assuming Clegg steps aside). Then again if the Lib Dems end up working with Labour in some way or another then a leader to the left of Nick Clegg will likely be looked more favourably on.
What do the betting markets say about the next Liberal Democrat leader?
Tim Farron (4/7)
William Hill gives good odds for Mr Farron, much better odds than anyone else in the party. As someone who was President of the party for much of the current Parliament and as someone who was not a minister in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, Mr Farron might be the person to lead, rebuild and shape the party in the event that they are out of government. He is youthful and charismatic, and if he keeps his seat, he could be well-placed to take over from Nick Clegg later in the year.
Vince Cable (6/1)
As someone who has been the Secretary of State for Business for the last five years, Vince Cable could be a very experienced leader. However, if the party wishes to distance itself from the coalition government and reform itself then choosing someone so close to the coalition might not be the best idea. Then again if the party were to work with Labour following the election then Vince Cable - who was a former Labour councillor - might be a good pick for the party.
Norman Lamb (7/1)
As with Mr Cable, Mr Lamb has experience in government so could be well placed to lead the party. However, he is not as big a name as the likes of Cable and Farron so would struggle to make an initial impression, but that could work in the party’s favour.
William Hill also gives odds for the likes of Danny Alexander (12/1) and Alistair Carmichael (20/1). Recent Ashcroft constituency polling suggests that Mr Alexander could be on course for losing his seat in May, so his hopes of becoming leader could be rather slim. Come May, if the party needs a new leader, but loses a significant chunk of seats, then they will not exactly be spoiled for choice.
See the full odds from William Hill here.