Simon Hughes elected as Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader

Simon Hughes was elected as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats this evening following a ballot of MPs.

Simon received 38 votes; Tim Farron received 18.

Speaking after the vote, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:

I am delighted Simon has been elected as Deputy Leader.

Simon has been a huge figure in the Liberal Democrats for decades. He’s a tireless campaigner, a relentless fighter for the vulnerable and marginalised in our society, and one of the hardest working MPs Parliament has ever seen.

There are huge challenges and opportunities ahead for our country and our party, but with Simon by my side I am sure that we can meet those challenges and work to build a fairer, more equal Britain.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes said:

It is an honour and a privilege for me to follow Vince Cable as the new Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. This is not a responsibility I will ever take lightly.

I will fight every day for the principles which underpin our party: fairness, freedom, openness, equality, stewardship of our environment and standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

I will work tirelessly with Nick Clegg and all other Liberal Democrats to help liberal democracy blossom and flourish throughout the land.

Here’s a video of the announcement: (turn your speakers up!)

Video also available on Qik here.

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20 Comments

  • But he isn’t Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party.

  • Patrick Smith 9th Jun '10 - 10:01pm

    Good luck to Simon Hughes as the new Deputy Leader.

    Simon is the best buttress and Liberal supporter for our Leader in all future implementation rounds of the L/D General Election Manifesto, now embodied in the `Coalition Agreement’.

    I wish good travel on the new Freedom Bill,`Fair Taxes’ for the least off 4 million, abolition of ID Cards and AV Referendum and elected H of L`s and cleaner politics.

    Simon has said that he wants to build new social housing `Fit for Heroes’ that still awaits full implementaion since the time of Lloyd-George in 1919..

    Labour over 13 years of government managed only 2700 new council homes and in comparison 20000 new prison cells.

    Many London and Metropolitan Boroughs are now confronted with the gargantuan task to build enough `decent homes’ to a quality standard for needy families, with queues of homeless rising to 15000 including LBWF.

    Instead of building `Decent Homes’ in progressive new build sustainable housing many London Boroughs are being forced to refinance debt without recourse to new investment for new housing stock for 3/4 bed family units,so desperately needed by the homeless.

    Will the new Deputy Leader also scope into the new Parliament a pledged new Leaseholders Bill?

    Leaseholders are often being held hostage to fortune by over zealous ALMOs and require new legal entitlements that were gerrymandered by the last Parliament.

  • Andrea Gill 9th Jun '10 - 10:13pm

    Thank you very much for posting the video too :)

  • @Alix.

    I agree. I think Simon’s reputation might be due an impression created by his tendancy get more interveiws/tv appearanses and by being better known than our other MPs.

  • David Morton 10th Jun '10 - 1:08am

    This is the single best piece of party news i have heard since the coalition talks were announced.

    To begin with an aside to Alix over communication skills, I’ve little doubt of Farrons easy charm as was demonstrated on the Radio Cumbria breakfast show this morning and in all other circumstances I would have favoured moving on a generation and growing talent. Frankly Simon doesn’t need another party honorific to be read out when he is translated into Valhalla.

    However in the current grave circumstances Simon offers two simply indispensible skills.

    Firstly it will be impossible to portray easierly the party he helps to lead as a combination of fiscal Freddie Krugers and Jason Vorhees. He is a archetypal sandals liberal not an assimilated Tory Drone.

    Secondly he is now the biggest single bulwark against ” Project FDP “. I imagine its not an comparision he would enjoy but he’s a Nuclear Deterrent against the party’s radical Biological and Technological distinctiveness being used to realign *the right* of British politics rather than the left.

    My imagary may all point to splits and strains but I genuinely believe this will make the party more stable not less in the end. As I learned as a student the reason the tower of Durham Cathedral alarmingly bends slightly in the wind is because it would shatter if it didn’t.

  • Tim did well. Perhaps a marker for the future.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 10th Jun '10 - 7:01am

    Great stuff- Simon will prove invaluable during the post ‘condem’ period in moving forward a joint progressive centre left agenda with the new Labour leadership. One that will have – despite your best efforts in the near term- a lot of gratuitous Tory inspired socio-economic wreckage to tidy up.

  • Many of us will remember Simon Hughes fighting against the social and environmental vandalism of the Tories. Lets hope he keeps on campaigning.

  • Andrea Gill 10th Jun '10 - 9:04am

    @ROB – the way Labour have been behaving recently, they’d have to change MASSIVELY for there to be a workable, functional coalition with them.

  • He’s not even the deputy leader of the parliamentary party in the Commons. He’s a very naughty boy!

  • Paul McKeown 10th Jun '10 - 12:50pm

    I hope Simon Hughes uses this role wisely. It is important that the Liberal Democrats continue to hold their identity and values in the eye of the public and it is important that the difficult choices that the coalition makes are held up to the test of Liberal Democracy.

    However, the awful history of our party must never be forgotten. There must be no splits in the party, there must be no future with Coalition Liberals and Anti-Coalition Liberals, because ultimately that will be a future without Liberals at all.

    Bear in mind the example of John McDonnell, who recently stood for the Labour Party leadership. John McDonnell has remained a member of the Labour party through decades in which he has fundamentally disagreed with the direction of his party. He has campaigned tirelessly against some of his party’s decisions, he has stood in opposition to the leadership on two occasions. But he has always remained loyal to his party and never once left it.

    Can I command John McDonnell’s example to any left liberals who are struggling to come to terms with the current coalition? If you don’t like what the party is doing, campaign within the party against its direction of travel, but never, never, never threaten the continuity and physical integrity of the party.

    For those Liberal Democrat MPs who will find themselves at odds from time to time with the policies and decisions of the coalition government, let your feelings be known in private and in the chamber, abstain if you have to, but think very carefully indeed about the consequences of dividing against the government. Ultimately, if things become too much, it is up to the party itself and not to individuals to cross the floor. But, I tell you this, I cannot see things coming to that, both parties have too much at stake in this endeavour. Persuade your coalition partners that you are right, and if you cannot persuade them, accept it. Any coalition will involve compromises, but it isn’t just the Liberal Democrats that are making these compromises, bear in mind, too, what is precious to the Conservative Party, and what they are having to give up in response to our needs.

    On a lighter note, whilst reading De Volkskrant to see how the two Dutch liberal parties were faring after yesterday’s general election, I came across an interesting headline dealing with an issue south of the Dutch border, “Vlaamse liberaal heeft de meeste seks”, literally “Flemish liberals have the most sex”. Is there a campaigning slogan in there for us, “British Liberal Democrats have …”?

    Just a thought.

  • Well done, Simon. An important signal from the Parliamentary Party in the Commons, which should be heeded. Though I look forward to hearing more about tim in the future.

    Why did only 56/57 vote? Is David Laws still away on compassionate leave? Or is it bad form for the leader to vote?

    @David Morton and whelan: I had to google Jason Voorhees, but not ‘a very naughty boy’. Does this make me a typical liberal, or just old?

    @Paul McKeown: But is ‘abstaining if you have to’ on issues to which our leadership has agreed equivalent to ‘voting against’ on issues on which our leadership has generously secured our Parliamentarians the opportunity to abstain (and thus effectively wave through Tory policy, e.g. marriage tax relief, tuition fees)?

  • David Morton – what’s wrong with the FDP? They are allies of the Lib Dems in Europe I believe.

  • David Allen 10th Jun '10 - 4:03pm

    “If you don’t like what the party is doing, campaign within the party against its direction of travel, but never, never, never threaten the continuity and physical integrity of the party.”

    Wise advice, which this sceptical supporter of coalition will aim to follow. After “party”, I’d also like to add the words “as a separate and independent organisation” into the advice. I wonder whether Cameron and Clegg would truly subscribe to those aims?

  • Paul McKeown 10th Jun '10 - 4:17pm

    @David Allen

    “as a separate and independent organisation”

    I too would find the idea of any future pre-electoral coalition hard to stomach. Liberal Democracy demands coalitions after the electoral process, not before.

  • Why have LDV not corrected the incorrect description of the post which Simon has been elected to?

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Jun '10 - 12:13am

    Paul McKeown

    Can I command John McDonnell’s example to any left liberals who are struggling to come to terms with the current coalition? If you don’t like what the party is doing, campaign within the party against its direction of travel, but never, never, never threaten the continuity and physical integrity of the party.

    To whom is this addressed? There have not been significant numbers of active members of the party who tend to be on its left threatening its “continuity and physical integrity”. In fact, I’m not aware of any. What is remarkable is that nearly every active member of the party has accepted it was the only realistic option, if there are any who haven’t they have been very quiet about it.

    All the division seems to me to be coming from the right, as there seems to be quite a lot of this threatening language thrown out from the party’s right making this sort of unfounded accusations against the left. Sometimes the impression is given that they’re trying to engineer a split in order to get rid of embarrassing people who have been members of the party for long enough to know that “economic liberalism” was NOT what the party was all about pre-merger, post-merger or at any time until very recently when this stream appeared from nowhere and claimed it had always been there.

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