Sir Menzies Campbell has been forced to apologise for his poor performance as Liberal Democrat leader.And most intriguingly there are serious questions about just who is setting direction for the party, if there is one at all:
Some of the party's MPs fear that they will have to replace him within the year, it emerged last night. They gave Sir Menzies, 64, until the party's autumn conference "to get his act together" even though he was elected only two months ago.
Last week's local election results were a disappointment, with the party gaining two seats overall. One MP said the party was "hitting the panic button" over the threat from David Cameron, the new Tory leader.
But some Lib Dems are now privately convinced that they will have new leader within a year, with Nick Clegg, 39, the so-called Lib Dem answer to David Cameron and the party's home affairs spokesman, as the frontrunner.
"Ming will be gone within a year," said one Lib Dem MP.
Some Lib Dems fear that the idea that Sir Menzies's experience would outshine the youthful energy of Mr Cameron is proving mistaken. One MP said last night: "I just think he is not physically up to it."
Another, on the Left of the party, bitterly complained that Lord (Paddy) Ashdown was pulling the party's policy strings by virtue of the Right-leading CentreForum think-tank.The criticism of Campbell has been quite high profile and public before and it seems it's getting to be yet another Groundhog Day. The Lib Dems are criticising the leader for underperforming and demanding he raise his game, otherwise they will depose him. And old leaders are emerging from the shadows. Could we see the Lib Dems come full circle and bring back the leader who they so brutally deposed?
He cited ideas of ditching the party's traditional opposition to tuition fees as one such potential policy reversal, but complained that Sir Menzies was not giving direction.