UK Liberal Chief Forced Out In 'Brutal' Purge

As 66-year-old leader goes, British pols face accusations of ageism
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2007 11:33 AM CDT
Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats.   (BBC)
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(Newser) – British politics got a jolt yesterday with the sudden resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats. The 66-year-old leader of the UK's third party, languishing in the polls, was forced out by party apparatchiks in what other politicians are calling a brutal, ageist coup. "Merciless," screams the cover of today's Independent.

The resignation is a boon to Gordon Brown and bad news for the Tories, who'd been shaving off Lib Dem support for months. The party's young turks have praised the ex-leader in the media, but, as one Guardian commenter notes, "At Mafia funerals it's always the capo who ordered the hit who makes the most fulsome speech over the coffin."