BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle is set to come up against Solihull MP Lorely Burt in his battle to become the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Commons.

The Lancashire Telegraph revealed yesterday how Mr Birtwistle, 70, had entered the race to replace Simon Hughes, who has accepted a role as the government’s minister of state for justice.

Mrs Burt, 59, was elected in May 2005 and was the first female chair of the Lib Dems’ Parliamentary Party. In 2012, she succeeded Mr Birtwistle as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.