EASTLEIGH MP Chris Huhne has said he stands by the result of the Lib Dem leadership election despite reports uncounted votes would have made him winner.

Mr Huhne, pictured above, lost the race to Nick Clegg by just 511 votes cast by more than 41,000 party members in one of the closest contests in political history.

It was claimed yesterday that he would have won had about 1,300 postal votes not got caught up in the Christmas post and missed the deadline.

Reports said an unofficial check of the late papers showed Mr Huhne had enough votes among them to hand him victory. The outcome of the election was not contested by Mr Huhne and the ballot papers were thrown away.

But Mr Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, told the Daily Echo he stood by the result.

He said: "Nick Clegg won fair and square on the rules counting the ballot papers that arrived in by the deadline. There is no question of any re-run."

Mr Clegg, who has suffered a shaky few weeks as leader, declined to comment on a story which he said had "no foundation".

Mr Huhne came second to Menzies Campbell by 6,573 votes in the previous leadership contest to succeed Charles Kennedy in March 2006.