Tom McNally has today written to Dick Newby (Lib Dem Deputy Chief Whip) to say that he intends to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords.
Lord McNally’s letter is as follows:
1 October 2013
I will shortly be coming to the end of my ninth year as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. Before that I served as deputy to Shirley Williams for three years. It seems to me that now would be an ideal time for the Group to select a new leader to serve out the rest of this Parliament and make the maximum impact and input on preparations for the May 2015 General Election. I have informed the Leader of the Party of my intentions and I am now writing to you, as Chief Whip in the Lords, to set in motion the process for the Group to select a new leader. I will remain as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords until that new leader is elected.
It has been an enormous privilege to serve as Leader of a Group which, by its discipline and cohesiveness has constantly punched above its weight. I am grateful to the three Chief Whips who have served with me: John Roper, David Shutt and yourself, as well as to William Wallace and Navnit Dholakia, who were constant sources of wisdom as my deputies.
Responding to the news, Nick Clegg said:
“Tom McNally has led the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords with principle, integrity and authority – the same qualities he brings to his role as a minister in the Ministry of Justice. He has been a source of wit and wisdom for me for many years and I am sure he will be for years to come.
“Under Tom’s leadership, the Liberal Democrat Lords have played a crucial role in improving the laws of the land, both in Government and Opposition. After nine years as Leader, and three before that as Deputy Leader, I understand why he feels the time is right to hand over the reins. I look forward to working with his successor as we work to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.”
As Returning Officer, Lord Newby will now set the wheels in motion for a Leadership election.