A TIPSTER is backing Greg Mulholland - who was today looking likely to one of the last men standing in a decimated Lib Dem parliamentary presence - to take over the party’s leadership.
Exit polls have predicted the party could lose up to 47 MPs and speculation has been rife that deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg could lose his Sheffield Hallam seat.
That would leave Mr Mulholland, who was today looking likely to hold onto his Leeds North West seat by a large majority, as one of only 10 Lib Dem MPs across the UK.
Neil Taggart, an election watcher and statistician who recently retired as a Leeds city councillor after more than 30 years, said: “If Greg Mulholland does survive tonight, and if there are only 10 Lib Dems, he could be in a good position. Who knows, Greg Mulholland might become the leader.”
However he joked that “they will need just a taxi and a half to get them around”.
Speaking of the wider exit poll predictions which presented a gloomy picture for Labour - and pointed to another Conservative/Lib Dem coalition - Mr Taggart said: “It’s a bit premature. There are two other opinion polls published tonight which are very similar, telling a completely different story. So unless there has been a massive swing to the Tories in the last 24 hours, I’m a bit sceptical.”
He acknowledged there would be a likely Scottish “wipeout” for Labour, but predicted the party will gain seats overall in England.
“A lot can happen. Anyone who thinks they know , you don’t actually know it until every single vote has been counted,” he said.
“Even if the exit poll is accurate, it gives David Cameron a problem, because the Lib Dems would be decimated nationally, so another coalition would be unstable and weak.”
Mr Taggart believes that even if there is another Lib Dem/Tory coalition, it wont’ last very long, and there will be another election within a year.
When the YEP points out that this was exactly what commentators said in 2010, he is scathing.
“That was because many of us thought the Lib Dems had beliefs and principles.
“Most of them just went along with what the Tories wanted. But this time I would just regard them as being in the Tory group.”