Category Archives: Leadership Election

Should the Lib Dem president be neutral in leadership elections?

That’s the question Jonathan Calder asked on his Liberal England blog, following Simon Hughes’s endorsement of Nick Clegg on Lib Dem Voice this week. His piece sparked a lively comments thread, and has even prompted a story in today’s Pandora column in The Independent:

Simon Hughes has found himself on the receiving end of bitter cat-calls from Liberal Democrats after wading in with his views about the current leadership contest. This week Hughes posted some comments on the political website Lib Dem Voice, in which he came out strongly in support for the candidacy of Nick Clegg. …


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Leadership contest competition

Fortune tellerThe time for spin is over; the time for slide rules has started. Yes, it’s time for the Liberal Democrat Voice leadership election prediction competition.

To enter the competition, post a comment to this message by 8am on Tuesday 18th December giving your predictions for:

  • Nick Clegg’s percentage share of the vote, to one decimal place
  • Chris Huhne’s percentage share of the vote, to one decimal place
  • Percentage turnout, to one decimal place

Clegg and Huhne’s percentages will be calculated excluding spoilt ballot papers. Percentage turnout will be calculated including spoilt ballot papers.

One point will be awarded …


Friends of the Earth interviews Clegg & Huhne

And the results are here.

Friends of the Earth’s Parliamentary Campaigner Katie Elliott, comments:

“We’re delighted that both candidates for the Liberal Democrat leadership agree that environmental issues are at the top of their priorities. We face a huge environmental challenge, especially on climate change, so it’s really important that our party leaders are committed to taking urgent action to help safeguard the planet for future generations. We hope that Liberal Democrat members will hear what the candidates have to say before they cast their vote.”

(For the record, I hope you’ve already cast your vote: it needs to be back …

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Opinion: What should the new leader do in his first 100 days? #3

In less than a week, the Lib Dems will have a new leader – either Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne will have succeeded Ming Campbell. Lib Dem Voice is inviting party members to tell us what you think should be his top priorities. Paul Walter and Linda Jack have both had a go. Today it’s David Morton’s turn…

Paddy Ashdown once said that the first thing a third party leader had to do in the morning “was get noticed.” The media’s love of the two party consensus is well known but very real. As it seems that one slip …

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Leadership Platform 7: Join Matthew Taylor and John Leech on Chris Huhne’s campaign team

There are just days to go, but there’s time for members to get ballot papers back with a first-class stamp on it! We need the help of Chris’s supporters to call members and get crucial votes returned for him by Saturday.

I’m delighted that two more MPs have chosen to declare their support for Chris Huhne as Liberal Democrat leader today. Matthew Taylor, former Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Chairman, and Campaign Chairman for Charles Kennedy’s Leadership campaign in 1999, has announced his backing. So too has Manchester Withington MP John Leech, our Shadow Transport minister.

Chris was part of Matthew Taylor’s economy …

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Opinion: Vince Rocks (And So Can You!)

Vince Cable has deservedly won much praise for his recent performance as acting leader of the Liberal Democrats. He has set a high standard for next week’s victor to match. The danger is that we will treat Vince’s performance as an entertaining interlude before normal service is resumed. Instead, we should analyse and understand the generic lessons that the next leader (and other leading Lib Dems) can learn and apply.

There are essentially six things that Vince has got right:

1) Moral clarity – Politics is ultimately about making moral choices. Vince’s statements make it clear that he has a sense of …

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New MORI poll, featuring leadership question

The Voice doesn’t normally obsess over each individual new opinion poll, but today’s MORI poll is of interest as it has a question about the leadership election:

Q6 Which one of the following politicians I am going to read out, if any, would you like to see lead the Liberal Democrats?
Base: 938 British adults 18+

Chris Huhne 12
Nick Clegg 10
Other 6
None of these 14
Don’t know 58
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Opinion: What should the new leader do in his first 100 days? #2

In a week or so’s time, the Lib Dems will have a new leader – either Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne will have succeeded Ming Campbell. Lib Dem Voice is inviting party members to tell us what you think should be his top priorities. Paul Walter got the ball rolling yesterday. Today, it’s Linda Jack’s turn…

Paul Walter has certainly set the bar high for any other of us to contribute anything fresh to the 100 day debate. However, never one to duck a challenge, I have chosen to approach the question from a different perspective.

Following on from …

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Leadership Platform 7: A message from Simon Hughes…

Dear Friend,

As I’m sure you know this is the last week of the Liberal Democrat leadership contest. For your vote to count it needs arrive by first post on Saturday. So if you haven’t already voted I urge you to do so now.

We are fortunate to have two excellent candidates to be leader. I would be delighted work with either of them. And I believe this contest has been an excellent showcase for our party.

However my vote in this election has gone to Nick Clegg. I believe he has that ‘X factor’ that means he can reach out to those …

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Opinion: What should the new leader do in his first 100 days?

In a week or so’s time, the Lib Dems will have a new leader – either Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne will have succeeded Ming Campbell. Lib Dem Voice is inviting party members to tell us what you think should be his top priorities. First up, is noted Lib Dem blogger, Paul Walter…

Without doubt, the priority for the new leader is to have an almighty media blitz in the first 100 days: Visits, interviews, tours, articles….you name it, the new leader should suddenly appear everywhere 24 hours a day for 100 days.

Can’t be done? Oh all right then, but it …

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Leadership coverage ‘skinny’

Nick Clegg:

* Nick Clegg to blow Lib Dem cobwebs away (Daily Telegraph, 10th Dec);
* Clegg calls for end to ‘politics of fear’ (ePolitix, 10th Dec).

Chris Huhne:

* My Week in Media (The Independent) – which deserves special mention for this paragraph:

Last week I surfed… Some of the key blogs on the Lib Dem Voice ( I’ve enjoyed reading them this week, but that isn’t always the case, as they tend to have quite vitriolic debates with each other on whether Nick or I have done best in a public debate.

* And Chris is quoted in two …

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Guess what? I thought I’d write about the leadership…

‘Aggressive Huhne could run it close’ – at least, so says Guardian political commentator, Michael White:

Conventional wisdom continues to insist that Nick Clegg, frontrunner to succeed Ming Campbell since his hara-kiri in October, will win when the result is declared on December 18. It will be 55% to 45%, the sages predict. But straws in the wind, not all floated by the Huhne camp, suggest that their man’s aggressive headline grabbing, coupled with his strong showing in head-to-head hustings, may make for a closer result, even a shock win.

White also draws an interesting comparison between the current Clegg-Huhne …

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YouTube hustings: Raising the Party’s profile

In the last of the five video questions put to Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne, the candidates were asked what they would do as Party Leader to raise the profile of the Liberal Democrats.


YouTube hustings: Social justice and rights

The penultimate question put to the leadership candidates as part of the party’s YouTube hustings was from Stuart Weir from the University of Essex. He asked about social justice and for the candidates’ views on economic, social, environmental and cultural rights.


Team Huhne: Chris is catching up

At the weekend, Nick Clegg’s campaign team released their canvassing figures of c.6,000 members showing Nick polling around 60% of the vote. The party estimates that about half the ballot papers issued have been returned; in 2006, c.70% of members voted. Taken at face value, this would suggest that Chris Huhne needs to persuade a large number of those who’ve sat on their hands til now to cast their vote for him.

Chris Huhne’s campaign team have just now issued details of polling figures “obtained by an independent third party organisation” (not named), showing undecided Lib Dem voters breaking …

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Electoral Commission publishes first list of leadership campaign donations

In the light of the Labour Party’s trouble with candidates failing to report donations to the Electoral Commission, it is reassuring to see that the Electoral Commission has published the first list of donors to the Chris Huhne campaign (see here and select “Mr Chris Huhne MP” from the drop-down list) .

The Voice understands that the first tranche of Nick Clegg donations will also appear on their website in the next few days.

UPDATE (6 December): The first batch of Nick Clegg donations are indeed now up on the website.

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YouTube hustings: Fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children

The third of the five video questions put to Mr Clegg and Mr Huhne asked about how the candidates would improve the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. Here are the question and their answers, which both touch on the candidates’ own experiences as fathers.

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Was YouGov’s leadership poll “technically flawed”? (UPDATED)

That’s the suggestion that was made last night in a comment on Lib Dem Voice by Martin Tod, the party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Winchester, who noted:

Just had a quick look and there’s an important technical flaw with the poll… The poll sample’s age split isn’t even close to the party membership’s actual age split. It (unfortunately) hugely overstates young voters and understates those over 60.

If my reading of the data is right, YouGov’s weighted sample of 678 Lib Dem members comprised:

* 237 (35%) 18-39 year-olds
* 217 (32%) 40-59 year-olds
* 224 (33%) 60+ year-olds

I don’t know how this …

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Clegg and Huhne on Today this morning

If you missed Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne on Radio 4’s Today program this morning, you can listen again on the BBC’s website: click the 07:50 link on the right-hand side of

Blog reactions so far:

Let The Voice know about any other postings in the comments and we’ll update this list.

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YouTube hustings: Time to drop our tuition fees policy?

Today’s YouTube question to the two leadership candidates comes from Liberal Democrat Voice’s own Stephen Tall, and is on the subject of student tuition fees.


YouTube hustings: Your first bill as Prime Minister

Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg have submitted their answers to five video questions posted on YouTube and selected by Acting Returning Officer Chris Rennard. Today’s answers are on the first bill the candidates would introduce as Prime Minster.


University of Westminster online hustings transcribed

A transcript of the online hustings recorded at the University of Westminster is now available to read, thanks to the hard work of volunteer Alix Mortimer.

You can download a PDF here.


Leadership Platform 6: Nick Clegg writes…

Like everyone, I owe a great debt of gratitude to our NHS. But these days it is struggling – with budget cuts, ward closures and superbugs. People are struggling, too – with cancelled operations, complex bureaucracy, and little sense of control over their own health.

I want an NHS ordinary people take charge of. But during the campaign, lots of people have been asking me exactly what that will mean. So here goes.

First, of course, I will devolve to locally elected people the power to develop the health service their community needs – not the health service Whitehall wants them …


YouGov leadership poll: half of those yet to vote are undecided

Clegg: 43%
Huhne: 33%
Undecided: 24%
Voted so far: 52%

Margin of error: +/- 3.8%


  1. The 56-44 lead for Clegg already reported is based on excluding the don’t knows. This is the usual method for calculating headline figures, though with such a high level of undecideds in this case the raw figures should also be looked at to understand the overall picture, especially as…
  2. Assuming that no-one who has voted is undecided, 50% of those who have not voted yet are undecided. 
  3. The margin of error does not take into account any systematic sampling errors, e.g. YouGov’s Liberal Democrat members sample may (or may not) over-represent activists and therefore might


Sky News poll on Liberal Democrat leadership race: results

The key figures doing the rounds on the internet* are:

Nick Clegg: 56%
Chris Huhne: 44%
% members voted so far: 48%

 * Therefore either true, or not. Take your pick.


More leadership hustings viewing for your delectation

Catch 21 – a Westminster-based internet TV station run “by young people for young people” – made a film at the London Liberal Democrat leadership hustings which you can watch over on their website. It includes specially recorded pieces with both Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg about how to get more young people involved in politics.

Don’t forget that you can also still watch the party’s own webcast hustings, with Nick and Chris answering questions emailed in by party members, over on the party’s main website.

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Results of YouGov poll on Liberal Democrat leadership election

… will be broadcast on Sky News this Sunday as part of the Sunday Live show, from 10am. Both Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne will also be appearing on the show and you can submit questions for them via the Sky website.

(Thanks Rob for the comment highlighting this show).

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The Economist: Lib Dems “are lucky in their candidates”

No endorsement of any one candidate, but a fairly decent (though by no means uncritical) write-up of the Lib Dem leadership candidates in this week’s Economist, which is well worth reading in full. Here’s the conclusion:

There are reasons to be cautious about both candidates. Mr Clegg has run a flat campaign, and was rattled when his rival attacked him. He is the more natural communicator, but comparisons with David Cameron, the Conservative leader, are not yet justified. His promise of a “new kind of politics” echoes similar pledges by politicians who went on to revert to partisan point-scoring, including

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BBC Q&A with the leadership contenders

The Lib Dem leadership contenders – Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne – have been answering readers’ questions: Nick by e-mail and Chris on video.

Here’s the link.

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London hustings – views from the blogs

Yesterday’s London leadership hustings has produced a fair few insta-reactions across the blogosphere – all judiciously fair-minded, too.

(An outbreak of civility among the blogging community! – what’s happening to us? It’s almost as if we’ve come to the conclusion we have two excellent candidates for the leadership, either one of whom could do a sterling job if elected.)

Anyway, here are the links:

Rob Fenwick on A Posh-Sounding Northumbrian: London hustings: my verdict
Gavin Whenman on The Whiskey Priest: EXCLUSIVE: London LibDem Leadership Hustings Report and my Voting Intentions
Tom Papworth on Liberal Polemic: Not candidates but

Also posted in Best of the blogs | 4 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTim Hill 27th Nov - 1:21am
    Go on. Tell us :-)
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 26th Nov - 11:37pm
    I am deeply unhappy about our likely involvement in the oncoming campaign in Syria - but given that Labour is about to eat its own...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 26th Nov - 11:34pm
    @Jonathan Brown Me too. I like being in a broad church. At the moment, I'm describing myself as a Social Democrat, because I think that...
  • User AvatarPeter Hayes 26th Nov - 11:09pm
    A question he might ask, can the Prime Minister confirm that expanding the air war will not reduce the air support to the Kurds who...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 26th Nov - 10:26pm
    @ a social liberal, Obviously I didn't make myself clear in my post.I have always been opposed to British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. I...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 26th Nov - 9:53pm
    PS, I know you can achieve a no-fly zone diplomatically, but it isn't explicitly said and it looks like the equivalent at this stage of...