BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle has failed in his bid to become deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Commons.

The 70-year-old lost out to Westminster veteran Sir Malcolm Bruce, the 69-year-old MP for Gordon in North-East Scotland.

The decision in the three horse race, which included Solihull’s Lorely Burt, came down to second preference votes of the party’s 56 MPs.

The contest was triggered after Simon Hughes quit the job to become a coalition minister last month.

Mr Birtwistle, also a councillor for Coal Clough with Deerplay, was elected to Parliament in May 2010.

He said: “I was disappointed not win, but life goes on representing the people of Burnley.

“I thought when the vacancy came up that I should have a go.

“With Sir Malcolm standing down at the next election in 2015, colleagues felt he could give the job his all without risking his seat.”