doc

THE HAMPSHIRE MP at the heart of talks about the future of the country is staying tight-lipped on any possible deal.

Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne, has been involved in top-level talks about a Tory/Lib Dem pact and has spoken exclusively to the Daily Echo.

Mr Huhne is the Liberal Democrat homes affairs spokesman and was twice contender in the party leadership race and has been linked to possible posts as Transport Minister or Home Secretary.

Taking a brief break from negotiations he told the Daily Echo: "Good progress has been made in the talks although it has been very wearing and tired for all those involved.

"There are optimistic signs that a good agreement will be reached shortly that will be in the national interest."

However, he said he could not answer any questions about his future and rumours linking him and his colleagues to the centre of government.

He could also not be drawn on which party the Lib Dems favoured, any involvement he had in the negotiations with Labour or any remaining stumbling blocks.

He could also not comment on criticism from some quarters that his party is being two-faced by courting both major powers following the announcement yesterday that Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be stepping down.

Chris romped to victory in the general election last week with 24,966 votes, a massively increased majority of 3,864.