Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes has reportedly secured majority support for the deputy leadership of his party.
The bisexual MP’s campaign team say he is backed by 29 of the party’s 57 MPs to succeed former deputy leader Vince Cable.
Mr Cable announced he was quitting last week to focus on his new role of Business Secretary in the coalition government.
Nominations for the deputy leadership close tonight and Mr Hughes, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, is expected to gain more support today.
His rival for the post is Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale. The new deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat party will be elected on June 9th.
Mr Hughes, 57, was elected as MP for his constituency in 1983 following a controversial campaign in which his party presented him as “the straight choice” against out gay Labour candidate Peter Tatchell.
He came out as bisexual in 2006 during his campaign to win the party leadership and apologised to Mr Tatchell for the homophobia of the 1983 by-election.
His slogan for the deputy leadership campaign is “Simon Hughes, the life and soul of our party”.
Announcing his bid last week, Mr Hughes said he would work to ensure the party is a “strong, supportive but independent voice within and around the coalition”.
Mr Cable is supporting his candidacy and said: “Simon has given the most phenomenal service to the party over his 27 years as an MP
“He represents the best traditions of the Liberal Democrats, both as a parliamentary campaigner and community activist.”