Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords

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
Dear Dick,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Tom McNally

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.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.


  • Wouldn’t it be nice to have a radical leader? Please can our lords convince Lord Greaves that he is the right person to lead us in the Lords.

  • Tony Greaves 3rd Oct '13 - 5:43pm

    Oh ho ho. There are fifty-five reasons that come to mind, But I think we might get someone okay.


  • Our Lords have their work cut out then! Maybe it should be a Lady. Is Jim Wallace a contender?

  • James Sandbach 4th Oct '13 - 11:40am

    My money is on Dick Newby taking over. Tom McNally has taken the right decision – it was difficult if nigh on impossible (or at least conflicted) position to be both Leader of the peers group, and a key Government Minister in MoJ – our peers should be using their position in the Lords which is generally the less partisan, more mature legislature (unelected or not – but that’s a separate issue) to probe, challenge and revise Government legalislation rather than rubber stamping it, I hope our peers will now be let of the leash a bit more in the rest of the Parliament – informal alliances in the Lords between libdems crossbenchers, opposition backbenchers (or sometimes tory backbenchers) are a really important check on Government power,,

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