Daisy Cooper MP writes…Ed Davey is the right leader to rebuild our party

Each week, LDV invites the leadership candidates to write a post for us. This is Team Ed’s for this week. 

As a new MP, I’m passionate about making sure we build a party that can succeed in elections from 2021 and beyond. I want more people to feel the same excitement and joy that we felt when we won St Albans.

If we want to replicate the success right across the country, the job our next leader faces is huge. The election review, rightly, didn’t pull any punches: it set out in detail the big, fundamental changes that we need to make in order to rebuild the strong foundations of our party.

How we do that naturally leads to who we elect as our next leader. Who is the best candidate to implement the election review, rebuild our party from the grassroots up and stand up for the liberal, internationalist values that are so under threat today? Put simply, who is the leader who puts us in the best place to win in the future?

Like many of you, I didn’t know who I was going to support when our leadership contest started. I saw the qualities in each of the candidates, and was open to being persuaded to back either of them. After seeing their campaigns, working with them on a daily basis and listening to their plans to rebuild our party, the choice became clear and that’s why I’m backing Ed Davey.

Working with Ed since I got elected, I’ve seen up close the impact he has had. He helped create an outreach drive that made more than 100,000 phone calls to vulnerable people, he led the response to the Dominic Cummings scandal, and he forced Boris Johnson to agree to holding a public inquiry into Covid-19.

More than that, I’ve seen how Ed works to build winning teams, both in his own seat and among our MPs in Parliament, to take on big challenges and I know that’s what we need to drive our party forward. There are a lot of different characterisations of this election, but my lode star has always been which candidate will put the building blocks in place to help us win elections right across the country.  And it’s for this reason that I am backing Ed, because I know that his leadership will see us best placed for success going forward.

We all know that rebuilding our party is a big job, and sadly we know that there aren’t any quick fixes to doing that. In recent years, we’ve tried a few quick fixes and they sadly haven’t worked as we all would have liked.  We have to be realistic about the scale of the job on our hands and the type of candidate we need to tackle that challenge. A lot of the work of our next leader won’t be front page news: it’ll be the hard graft of ‘build, build, build’. The election review makes clear that it is this foundational work that will be crucial if we are to avoid past mistakes and make our party a winning force at all levels of politics again.

In order to meet that goal, we need the right type of leader. We need a leader with experience to build the solid foundations for us to win again right across the country. A leader with a track record of building winning teams and beating the Conservatives in local and national elections. A leader who has a clear message about what the Liberal Democrats stand for.

From my time working with him, I know Ed Davey is that leader, and that’s why if you want to see more successes like St Albans, then he’s the leader to deliver that.



* Daisy Cooper is the Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans.

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  • I will never, ever vote Lib Dem again whilst they are led by someone who voted for the tuition fees rise, breaking their personal pledge.

  • Barry Lofty 9th Aug '20 - 5:05pm

    Although a lot has been made about the tuition fees controversy, and it was not the Lib Dems finest moment, it pales into insignificance with the amount of lying and cover ups being perpetrated on the British people at the present moment. People seem to forgive other parties whatever dirty tricks they get up too!

  • richard underhill 9th Aug '20 - 5:15pm

    * Daisy Cooper came second in the contest to become Party President in 2014. She is on the party’s Diversity Engagement Group. She is the Parliamentary candidate for St Albans.”

  • richard underhill 9th Aug '20 - 5:17pm

    * Daisy Cooper came second in the contest to become Party President in 2014. She is on the party’s Diversity Engagement Group. She is NOW the MP for St Albans.”

  • richard underhill. 9th Aug '20 - 5:35pm

    Former Dem 9th Aug ’20 – 4:49pm
    Have you considered emigrating?
    Australia is a lucky country Rupert Murdoch has left.
    We should be lucky for the same reason.

  • @ Former Dem, “I will never, ever vote Lib Dem again whilst they are led by someone who voted for the tuition fees rise, breaking their personal pledge”.

    You could also have added the bedroom tax, welfare cuts and NHS ‘Reforms’ not to mention austerity, reducing the top rate of tax whilst putting up VAT (another pledge !!) and privatising the Royal Mail, all just for starters, Mr Dem.

    And then you get a response from a Mr. Gruntled of Tunbridge Wells, one Richard Underhill, who unhelpfully suggests you should emigrate. But why should you go to suffer American neo-liberalism when you can get it here ?

    Unfortunately some of the remaining Lib Dems actually think the party’s OK….. which is why it isn’t…. but there’s always Scotland in a couple of years’ time.

  • Barry Lofty 9th Aug '20 - 6:24pm

    David Raw : I do not think ANY party is perfect, but stand by what I said earlier, I very much doubt I will be around if or when the Lib Dems become a force again, I hope I do though, but I surely do not want to be associated with this present regime and wish whoever becomes leader the courage to call out as often as they can, the dreadful path they are trying to take our country into.

  • @ Barry Lofty Can’t argue with any of that, Barry, and yes, I hope you do.

  • Not for me thanks, Coalition, Coalition, Coalition. It is an open would that cannot be stitched up. Labour will tear us to pieces.

  • I think the reason the tuition fee moment resonates so much is that those involved broke personal pledges, not just party manifesto commitments. They dishonoured themselves.

    And it seems almost quaint now but there were riots. I think it may have contributed strongly to the “politicians are all the same can’t trust any of them” attitude of many current 20 and 30 somethings, and thereby to the brexit vote.

  • When SirEd took over we had 12% now we are on 6%. 4 minutes on BBC news in 8 months. Enough said!

  • Paul Barker 10th Aug '20 - 7:09am

    No, we are not “on 6%”, that was a single Poll & not even the latest one. There are lots of respectable Polling Averages, we should look at those.

    Since Covid 19 our average Polling has bobbed around between 7% & 8%, before that we were around 10%.
    The present situation is weird, more like Wartime than normal peacetime conditions. There are clearly a substantial chunk of Voters who feel they should back The government during The “Crisis”, whoever that is.

    At some point we will return to “Normal” Politics & we will be back on trend at 10% or 11%. Everyone will put that down to The New Leader & they will be wrong.

    We should try to get a bit more perspective.

  • Peter Martin 10th Aug '20 - 7:34am

    @ Paul Barker,

    ‘At some point we will return to “Normal” Politics & we will be back on trend at 10% or 11%.’

    Possibly. There are several factors involved and it is very difficult to separate out each one. Many are puzzled that the Govt is doing well while the two main opposition parties are languishing in the polls.

    There is also the Brexit issue. Most voters, including many former Remainers, take the view that we’ve made our decision and we have to make the best of it. We can’t keep chopping and changing. We can’t just reverse that and rejoin the EU under the old terms and any new terms will be even more unacceptable to the majority anyway.

    So that’s another reason to support the Govt, and the reason Labour lost so much support in its heartlands in December. Both parties need to move on from a previous Remain position now there’s no longer the same meaning to the word. That’s easier said than done for the Lib Dems of course.

  • @ Peter Martin “Many are puzzled that the Govt is doing well while the two main opposition parties are languishing in the polls”.

    Oh, dear, how not to disguise an Anglo-centric point of view, Mr Martin, but then to be fair, you’ve always been clear on being a Little Englander.

    The first past the post Westminster Government is not doing at all well in Scotland. Just six of its 365 seats are held in Scotland…… Every time Johnson A.B. deP. (Eton College, 1977-83) drops in for a five minute photo-op support drops even further, and after just five months the Scottish Tory Leader has quit.

    As to, “the two main opposition parties are languishing in the polls”……. when you get round to having a think about it, work out exactly what’s wrong with that statement.

  • @ Paul Barker “No, we are not “on 6%”, that was a single Poll”.

    “Oh no it wasn’t”.

    It was six different polls in July including Ipsos Mori, You Gov, Opinion and Savanta. Must try harder before attempting to fly a flag.

  • Peter Martin 10th Aug '20 - 8:57am

    @ David Raw,

    I’m looking at the UK as a whole. Any party with a 6% or so lead would be relatively happy and those parties which are 6%, or more, behind won’t be too happy.

    I appreciate that you Little Scotlanders won’t be looking at it the same way! You aren’t particularly interested in “the UK as whole”. If that’s the case you’ll have to do what you have to do. We aren’t like the EU. We won’t give you a huge leaving bill, or freeze your banks accounts if there is a dispute between London and Edinburgh.

  • People who keep saying we’re only on 6% in the polls – In Paddy Ashdown’s first election which was the 1989 European Elections the Lib Dems only got 5.9% of the vote.


  • @ Peter Martin There you go again, jumping to conclusions. Blinkers off please.

    Just to assist you, I’m a Yorkshireman who’s lived in Scotland for sixteen years and try to tell it as I see it and experience it…… and I certainly do see it from a UK point of view given that all my family members have the misfortune to live in sloppily governed England.

  • John Marriott 10th Aug '20 - 9:11am

    I refer you to the Gospel of St John, Chapter 8 Verse 7. OK, who is going to be first?

  • Peter Martin 10th Aug '20 - 9:23am

    @ David Raw,

    PS I should, in the interests of scientific integrity, and you’ll know this isn’t a partisan point, say that there were, according to the link below, 19 UK polls wholely conducted in July. 6% was the lowest figure given in six of them. 9% was the highest. So although it is quite clear that Lib Dems aren’t doing too well they aren’t doing quite as badly as some might suggest.


  • Gordon Lishman 10th Aug '20 - 1:03pm

    Has anyone considered the option of trying, more or less, to stick to the original subject rather than going off on tangents of ever-diminishing interest to most others?

  • Sue Sutherland 10th Aug '20 - 1:50pm

    There I was, contemplating Christmas at the Raw household and whether David had confused America with Australia (surely not?) when Gordon came along and spoilt all the fun!

  • Another day drifts us by. Another day in the wilderness. We need inspiration. We need leadership, and who has been leading us for 8 months?
    A priority for the party must be to radically review who can stand for the Leadership. It must not be limited to MP’s, I am sure the talent we are seeking, is out there somewhere. What we do if we have no MP’s, please ignore the Lords, that would really sink us down to 2%.
    The party is too rigid, too set in its ways, we need a revolution of thought and action.

  • He’s quite good at that.

  • John Marriott 10th Aug '20 - 4:12pm

    @Gordon Lishman
    Where have you been, old chap? Haven’t you realised by now that ‘going off at a tangent’ is the sine qua non of being a LDV contributor? David R has got the T shirt!

    Yes, the party DOES need a revolution. Better run it past conference via a motion for debate first, though!

    @Peter Martin
    You’re getting to sound like ‘Michael 1’ – remember him? 9% doesn’t seem likely to get the party very far under FPTP; but I suppose that roughly where liberalism is at the moment. Do I detect a note of sympathy in your normally harsh prognostications? You’re not weakening are you, having seen how internecine warfare appears to be breaking out in the Labour Party again? Any port in a storm?

    Now, Mr Lishman, was that tangential enough for you?

  • David Allen 10th Aug '20 - 5:04pm

    Let’s try to be tangential and productive. Here is a perceptive article explaining that the Tories have learnt how to operate in permanent campaign mode, hog all the headlines, and marginalise their opponents – even though their actual performance as a government is dire:


    And here is another article arguing that Starmer’s mistake is to let himself be marginalised:


    Well, then we read that Ed Davey is not making an impact, and that Layla Moran is the “candidate with cut-through”. It matters, of course. But I fear that the true answer is that nobody at the moment will achieve cut-through. Not while the Tories keep their stranglehold on the news media, and social media, agendas.

  • Barry Lofty 10th Aug '20 - 6:05pm

    David Allen: Sadly have to agree that Tories know how to keep themselves in the headlines and the opposition parties cannot seem to land a telling blow, which is oh so frustrating, but I cling to hope that they are always one step away from a catastrophic policy like a previous Tory PM ( Poll Tax) I can but hope because they are a bunch of awful people! I am struggling to keep my words polite!

  • @Marco. The point is though that when we were on 0-6% at the start of Paddy’s Leadership it was an unusually low and quite temporary figure as a result of the fall out from merger in 1988.

    The around 8% average opinion poll rating we have flatlined at for the last 10 years contrasts very badly with the around 20% real votes we averaged across the 10 General Elections from 1974 -2010.

    The average 10 MP’s elected across the last 3 General Elections also contrasts badly with the average 32 elected 1974- 2010 and even worse with the average 54 MP’s elected across the 1997-2010 General Elections.

    You have to go back to the 8 General Elections between 1945-1970 (average vote share 7.5%, average number of MP’s elected 8) to find a comparison to the very poor situation we are in since 2010.

  • Paul Barker 11th Aug '20 - 7:29am

    I dont see much point in comparing present Polling with the past, we are not in “Normal” times. Current Politics does have something of a “Wartime” feel to it with a chunk of Voters giving “The Government” the benefit of the doubt far more than they normally would. If it was a Labour Government, They would be the ones getting the benefit.

    At some point “Normal” Politics will resume, Labour will have a big Lead & we will be back up to 10-11%. Journalists will attribute that to our New Leader, wrongly & some of us will get overexcited about it but the fundamentals will be much the same.

    We will have temporary Boosts, such as after a good round of Local Elections but Recovery is going to be slow, we just have to be patient.

  • So the Lib Dem line has always been that by joining the coalition, they bravely sacrificed party to prevent another election and Tory majority.

    If people had known 10 years ago what the polls would be in 2020, I’m sure they would have been surprised at quite how comprehensive the sacrifice is.

  • richard underhill. 11th Aug '20 - 9:09am

    Paul Barker 11th Aug ’20 – 7:29am
    John Alderdice has given us THE ONE THING that we must do.
    We MUST do that.
    Every member has a vote at conference.
    The numbers will be examined by political journalists.
    Large numbers are desirable.
    It is up to you.
    Show that you care at conference AND in your local party.

  • Alex Macfie 11th Aug '20 - 9:43am

    Former Dem: It needn’t have been such a massive sacrifice, had our leadership conducted the Coalition as a business arrangement instead of a love-in. We had in Nick Clegg a leader who had no clue about the rough & tumble of politics, and he refused to heed advice from those who had been in the same position at other levels of government. Coalition was the right thing to do in the circumstances; the mistakes were in how it was conducted.

  • Alex Macfie and Former Dem …..”……the mistakes were in how it was conducted”.

    No, it was what they did…. the damage they inflicted on the most vulnerable….. rather than how it was conducted. The damage to the party was collateral, self inflicted and predictable…… reflecting on their capacity to make judgements and their general competence.

    Continuity or flakiness…. some choice ?

  • Alex Macfie David Raw I agree with both of you to some extent. The LDs were complete suckers in sharing government ministries with the Tories rather than carving out a few ministries to own. But the bedroom tax (and similar), and violating the tuition fee pledge were wrong on principle.

    Some of the Lib Dem messaging since then has been truly awful too. “Look we were a minority partner in a coalition, so you can’t expect us to implement all of our manifesto!” True enough, but since the Lib Dems will never realistically be a majorty government, the implication is always “oh and we’ll be a minority next time too, so don’t take our manifesto seriously!” I was practically shouting this at the TV during Swinson’s interview with Andrew Neil.

    I know it bothers people that some of us are stuck in the past and keep going on about the coalition/tuition fees, but it really is totemic for people of my generation. To be really cynical, I think all the austerity stuff would have been forgotten, but in raising tuition fees they showed themselves to be personally dishonest and they hammered their core vote… middle-class university-going white people. Amazingly bad strategy. I finished paying off my plan 1 student loans awhile ago, but my husband’s students will face the deductions for their entire working lives, near enough. And even though they were only 9 in 2010, many are still extremely bitter about it.

  • Richard Easter 12th Aug '20 - 5:29am

    Former Dem

    Essentially what Clegg and friends did with tuition fees, is the equivalent of a Corbyn government privatising Network Rail and LNER to someone awful like G4S, and increasing restrictions on trade unions, or a UKIP government (god forbid) refusing to invoke Article 50, and supporting open borders with the world.

  • Peter Martin 12th Aug '20 - 7:22am

    @ Former Dem,

    ” I think all the austerity stuff would have been forgotten, but in raising tuition fees…….”

    The raising of tuition fees was just as much a part of “the austerity stuff” as the cuts to councils or the bedroom tax. It was all part of a misconceived package based on the incorrect theory that the Govt deficit was too high and needed to be reduced by higher taxes, and fees on education are just as much as tax as the road tax for motor vehicles.

    When everyone else was saving, after the GFC, it was inevitable that the government would be borrowing. One is just the mirror image of the other. It’s the principle of the sectoral balances.

    Yes, the Jo Swinson interview was pretty bad. And why didn’t she, Ed Davey and others make themselves as unpopular with the Tories as it was possible to be by rebelling occasionally? Even if they had been sacked it would have stood them in good stead for the future. The “we were only obeying orders” line was never going to wash.

  • Peter Martin you’re right of course that tuition fees are a form of austerity, but other than perhaps no child benefit for high earners, weren’t they the only direct financial hit against Lib Dem voters?

  • Peter Watson 12th Aug '20 - 12:15pm

    I wonder if this article about the “right leader”, with its references to “success right across the country”, “the right type of leader”, “win again right across the country”, etc., is subliminally suggesting a preferred direction of travel for the party. (Where’s the tongue-in-cheek emoji? 😉 )

  • Peter Watson 12th Aug '20 - 12:18pm

    @Former Dem “weren’t they the only direct financial hit against Lib Dem voters?”
    Arguably increasing VAT was another.
    I say arguably because I remember the debates on this site at the time about whether it was progressive or regressive.

  • Peter Watson I always interpret that emoji as a flirtatious wink, myself! You’re right about VAT, but that targeted everyone, whereas changes like child benefit and tuition fees only attacked specific segments of the population.

    I think both Coalition parties felt able to inflict horrible austerity on the poor (the bedroom tax, etc) because the poor (or rather, poor areas) don’t vote Tory or Lib Dem. At least, not until last year.

  • What doesn’t stand up is that in 2010 Lib Dem M.P.’s accepted a ‘massive need’ for austerity in 2010….

    Hence the huge cuts that punished the needy and most vulnerable (at the same time as giving tax cuts to top rate taxpayers)…… YET NOW…. there appears to be a bottomless pit of Tory government spending to alleviate the impact of covid ?

    So was Austerity really necessary or was the real motive of Cameron/Osborne to sucker the gullible Lib Dems to austerity in order long term to discredit them with their natural voter bases…… if so, they did a pretty good job of it. Had Clegg, Laws and Alexander ever read Keynes… or had they only got as far as Gladstone’s candle ends ?

    The lesson is….. not much point in aspiring to office in grown up politics if you’re not very good at it.

  • Peter Martin 12th Aug '20 - 4:21pm

    @ Former Lib Dem,

    I would say all austerity is a direct hit against all voters. Students don’t just vote Lib Dem and Lib Dem voters, not all of whom are social class A or B, suffer just as much as anyone else when, say, council funding is cut back.

    On the question of tertiary education, governments of all parties have pushed for ever higher numbers of student enrollment. And because student numbers are high they’ve then decided they “can’t afford” to support them properly. The end result has been that many graduates end up doing jobs that aren’t particularly well paid. Jobs that used to be done by non-graduates, and at the same time they are saddled by very high levels of debt.

    So, irrespective of the economic folly of neoliberalism we should perhaps have a rethink about this. I’d personally be in favour of cutting student numbers back by 15% or so but make all courses free, as they used to be. Then offer more of the options that used to exist for young people so they do have a worthwhile alternative to undergraduate courses.

  • Peter Martin 12th Aug '20 - 4:51pm


    “The costs of acting too late – additional debt that will have to be serviced at very low-interest rates – are small relative to the costs of premature tightening, which could leave output lower and unemployment higher for longer.”

    Interest rates are moving into the negative. So the there won’t be even be small costs to borrowing. The costs will be for not borrowing! Will neoliberals accept the logic of this argument and start arguing that governments should reduce their costs by borrowing more? I can’t see it somehow.

    Negative interest rates could create a very strange world. Good customers won’t necessarily be the ones to pay their bills promptly. It might make more sense to encourage the late payment of bills. That way you’ll at least get 0% !


    “In the medium term, the current budget should balance”

    We’ve had this discussion before. But you’ve never supplied a valid reason why.The best you can do is to point out that some other people think it should too! There needs to be a bit of a rethink on what ‘current’ and ‘capital’ actually means.

    It can’t make any sense to treat the building of a hospital as a capital, or good, type of expenditure and the employment of the doctors and nurses to work within it as a current, or bad, type.

  • Galen Milne 14th Aug '20 - 8:09pm

    Thanks Daisy. Your feedback confirms my own opinion. Right now the Party require a steady hand built on sound experiences, good and bad. Your insight on knowing someone who can lead the team is so important. We require a team effort that will include Layla for sure, and Ed Davey has the right experiences to put that team together.

  • Galen, I am neutral in this election, but E Ds hand has been on the tillar since January. During that time the “leadership” appeared to try and delay a leadership election till 2021, we have been virtually non existent as a party and support has plummeted from 12 to 6% Not the sign of leadership we so badly need.! I rest my case..

  • @ Theakes ‘Normal’ politics hasn’t existed since March. It’s not too surprising the people of the UK have more on their mind than the fourth party at Westminster, the fifth party at Holyrood and the fifth party in Cardiff.

    Just make sure you’re not in so much of a hurry to set off that you don’t end up in a squeal of breaks and a car crash.

  • Peter Martin 15th Aug '20 - 6:27am

    @ JoeB,

    “If the policies pursued by the Nordic counties are adopted as a model then a more equitable outcome might be achieved.”

    The Nordic model is essentially mercantilistic. The idea is that, along with an export surplus of goods and services, there is also an export of an unemployment and debt problem. The Nordic model, including Sweden, involves downward currency manipulation to keep exports cheap.

    Are you suggesting that the UK should copy this? Many are unhappy that the pound is as low as it is without being pushed even lower.

    Current spending doesn’t only benefit current taxpayers. For example, you and I are still benefitting from spending on our education many years ago before we began to pay any significant amount of taxes. That was at least as much from the ‘current spending’ on the salaries of our teachers as it was on the construction costs of the buildings we occupied. We wouldn’t have learned much at all if we’d just had the buildings but no-one to do the teaching!

  • David Raw: think you make my case, we should have had the leadership election over and done with by March.

  • theakes 14th Aug ’20 – 8:52pm……….Galen, I am neutral in this election, but E Ds hand has been on the tillar since January……

    It isn’t just his record since January. As Business Secretary in the coalition he out-Toried the Tories with his attacks on employment rights and safety regulations; he even used their rhetoric describing the rules as ‘Red Tape’..

  • Peter Watson 15th Aug '20 - 10:36am

    @Marco “Up to 8% in the polls now … Expect this upward trend to continue.”
    Actually, I’m not certain that was a joke. Squint a bit and perhaps there’s a trend in the aggregate polling shown here: http://www.britainelects.com/the-latest-polls/. Different companies still seem to report a Lib Dem voting intention between 6% & 8% (https://twitter.com/britainelects), but at the level the Lib Dems are polling, it’s difficult so far to distinguish a trend in Lib Dem support from random noise in what’s left over from Lab + Con support.

  • Peter Watson 15th Aug '20 - 10:40am

    @theakes “we should have had the leadership election over and done with by March.”
    The leadership front-runners last December are the two candidates now. The party’s drawn-out wait-and-see approach gave the impression that there was not a lot of confidence in them.

  • Peter Watson – it was no joke, we are surging upwards. Edmania is taking hold of the nation.

  • Peter Watson 15th Aug '20 - 10:23pm

    @Marco “Edmania is taking hold of the nation.”
    And that nation is Slovakia (https://www.instagram.com/edmania.eu) 🙂

  • Marco – most recent poll has the Lib Dems at 5%. Surge over.

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