+++Breaking: Jim Wallace steps down as Lib Dem Leader in the House of Lords

Jim WallaceJim Wallace has announced this afternoon that he is to step down as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

Jim, the former MP and MSP for Orkney & Shetland, has been leader of the group of 107 Liberal Democrat peers since October 2013, during which time he was also Advocate General for Scotland and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords in the Coalition Government. he of course previously served as Deputy First Minister of Scotland between 1999 and 2007.

Jim explained his decision:

This has been a difficult decision for me, and not one which I have taken lightly.

After much thought I believe it is the right decision. I was first elected to the House of Commons thirty-three years ago. For twenty-eight of these years, I have been on the frontline, including sixteen years in a leadership role, here in the Lords and in Scotland. To continue would be because of a sense of duty; but I feel that in the interests of the Group, more than that is needed, particularly as we enter an important new phase in the country’s political life.

It is a huge privilege to lead such a talented and united team which, in challenging circumstances for our Party, has responded so enthusiastically in articulating and campaigning for the liberal and democratic values which our country so dearly needs.”

I will continue to play an active part in Liberal Democrat politics, supporting the leadership of Tim Farron as we enter a period of exciting opportunity for our party.

Tim Farron thanked Jim for his service

Jim has been an invaluable source of political counsel. I am immensely grateful for his support and his leadership of my colleagues in the Lords. I look forward to continuing to work together in the months and years ahead.

Jim is one of the wisest and most experienced voices in the Liberal Democrats. We can’t blame him for wanting to step back from the frontline after working in two different Governments but we’ll miss him in that role. Future leaders should seek out his counsel on any important matters. I certainly think that some of the issues we had in coalition south of the border could have been avoided had Jim been more closely listened to from the start.

Arrangements will be made to elect a successor over the Summer.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Richard Underhill 13th Jul '16 - 4:22pm

    One of the nicest people I have ever met.
    An internationalist a strong upholder of principles, from the televising of parliament in 1988, through coalition negotiations in Scotland where he insisted on a fair electoral system for Holyrood, twice deputised as First Minister and saw in electoral reform of council elections.

  • Thank you Jim Wallace for your contribution to Liberalism!

  • Chris Davies 14th Jul '16 - 12:47am

    I was invited by a friend to join him in his college room to watch the February 1974 general election results come in on a TV. The TV (a rare article) was brought in by a committed Liberal student called Jim Wallace. We sat through the night. Liberal votes cascaded in but we won virtually nothing. Call this democracy! I was outraged, and joined the Liberal Party myself, getting involved in the party’s October election campaign that same year.

    Jim is the friend I have known in politics for longer than anyone else. He made it early to the Commons as MP for Orkney and Shetland, was deputy (sometimes acting) first minister of Scotland, Lib Dem leader in the Lords, oh and that government job too that allowed him to put his lawyer training to some use. Never high profile in England, but I doubt if that was ever of great concern to a Scot like him. A dedicated Liberal before most of us had any idea what that meant, and a very capable pair of governing hands.

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