Newspaper reports have suggested that Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Simon Hughes is now favourite amongst voters to lead the party.

A survey put him on 34 per cent, ahead of Sir Menzies Campbell and Chris Huhne. Bookies put Hughes in third. He was initially seen as an outsider after being accused of lying about his sexuality.

A PinkNews.co.uk survey last week found similar results. Despite claims of hypocrisy from gay rights groups, almost 80% (79.7%) of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community selected Simon Hughes as their choice for Liberal Democrat leader.

88% of the readers of PinkNews.co.uk , the UK’s most visited gay news provider said that allegations of hypocrisy levelled at Mr Hughes should not affect his chances of securing the leadership.

Chris Huhne gained 17.3% of the vote with front-runner Sir Menzies Campbell receiving just 3%.

Benjamin Cohen, editor of PinkNews.co.uk said that Simon Hughes’s support is not surprising: “Even though you may be able to claim that Simon Hughes was wrong not to have come clean about his bisexuality, I don’t believe that you can label him as a hypocrite.

“As an MP over the past 23 years he consistently supported gay rights, campaigning for equalisation in the age of consent, the scrapping of section 28 and the introduction of Civil Partnerships.

“He never stooped to the level of other closeted MPs who masked their own sexuality with blatant homophobia within the House of Commons.

“The fact that Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk that he backed Simon Hughes for leader demonstrates that the LGBT community has moved on considerably since the 1983 Bermondsey by-election.”