Ed and Jo round 1 – the London leadership hustings

It’s going to be a gruelling month for our Lib Dem leadership candidates. They’ve both had a fair bit of media exposure the last couple of days and tonight they are in Jeremy Corbyn’s backyard having their first hustings.

If anyone who is actually there wants to write up a report of the event, it would be very gratefully received. There were a lot of you there – which is fantastic on a Friday night on not that much notice.

In the meantime, here’s the pick of the tweets from the event. London Lib Dems did a fairly comprehsensive blow by blow account. Here are some other voices.

New members are impressed:

Opening statements



First, Brexit

Now non Brexit priorities

And what about Change UK et al?


Tackling poverty

Jo talked about work and wages alongside homebuilding


Combatting tax avoidance



A difference of opinion on electoral reform


Closing statements

And what did people think?


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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • The first thing to say is that crowd were in a great mood & both Ed & Jo were very impressive; I went in as a Jo supporter but I would be happy to see either as Leader.
    Unsurprisingly for the 1st Hustings Jo & Ed seemed to agree on most things, perhaps more differences will emerge as the contest continues.
    The only real differences I spotted were on Electoral Reform & the question of Electoral Pacts with other Progressive Parties. Ed seemed to be against any Electoral Co-operation at all while Jo was, to me at least, disappointingly lukewarm. She didn’t exactly rule out agreements at a British level but she didn’t sound enthusiastic either.
    I would recommend anyone who can to go to future Hustings, the 1st one was great fun.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 1st Jun '19 - 6:08am

    Isn’t it a bit strange that the hustings have already begun, at a time when it is still possible that another candidate could enter the contest? Don’t nominations only close on June 7th?

  • Thanks for this. Although we’ve not been formally told that no-one else is standing, the Alastair Carmichael article yesterday summarised the process which made it sound as if the whole parliamentary group had agreed on the process which in this case relied on knowing who was standing. In short, I think they know that everyone else has ruled themselves out, even if only some have said so publicly.

    Jo and Ed are two very strong candidates and I’d be happy with either winning (currently preference is for Jo), but it might have been nice to have a third candidate, if only for the extra media coverage for that individual and the party that would come with it. It was amazing to have journalists ask about our non-Brexit related policies, so hopefully we’ll find a way for that to continue throughout the campaign.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 1st Jun '19 - 8:24am

    Fiona, yes it would have been good to have had a third candidate. And it would have been good to have had contrasting views represented. There do not seem to be any very clear policy differences between Jo Swinson and Ed Davey.
    It would have been good if Norman Lamb could have stood. His approach to Brexit is different from that of Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, and if he had stood, the party could have had a much needed debate on this issue. As it is, those of us who are unhappy about the Party’s undemocratic “stop Brexit” approach, do not have a candidate to represent our views.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Jun '19 - 9:59am

    Catherine Jane Crosland: It’s not “undemocratic” to challenge or dissent from the prevailing consensus. Declaring dissent “undemocratic” is what dictators do. And no, the referendum result does not “have to be implemented” before we should campaign to reverse it. That is a made-up rule. Legislation is often abandoned before it is completed; even implementation of binding referendums may be abandoned. To have a situation where dissent from a public policy is forbidden for some indeterminate time (during which it is being implemented) cannot be acceptable in a democracy, under any circumstances.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Jun '19 - 10:54am

    ELECTORAL REFORM: I understand that Scotland already has STV for local elections, achieved at the end of the Labour LIB DEM coalition in the Edinburgh parliament.
    There is some preferential voting in some elections in England, but, to be fully democratic, it should embrace ALL the voter’s preferences and NOT JUST TWO .
    TRANSPORT: HS2 is planned to go both sides of the Pennines in England, but High Speed rail is suitable for long distance travel, so there could be consideration of planning for extensions to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Cost control is essential despite the history of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. If airline travel in the UK is banned the Scottish parliament might consider the needs of workers commuting to Aberdeen.
    We should remember who was in government when Dr. Beeching was authorised to savage the network. (Sad song).

  • Yeah, banning all domestic air travel just wouldn’t work right now, but taking much more powerful steps to encourage people onto rail is viable. I regularly travel between Scotland and London by train while many would do it by air, and I don’t think it would take much more investment to increase the proportion who do it by train because on the whole it’s actually quite convenient and a nicer way to travel. However, land-based public transport to some of the Scottish Islands is a whole different kettle of fish. I know Carmichael said he’d stay neutral during this campaign, but I don’t think he’ll be keen to support a candidate who insists he does a weekly commute between London and Orkney/Shetland by train and ferry only. I suggest Ed nuances that particular proposal to avoid it being seen as a very London-centric policy.

  • For me Ed showed he would be the better leader to the wider voting audience, no so worried about what the 500+ members in the hall felt. His pitch to decarbonise capitalism resonated with me 🙂 If Jo became leader, she is able and may grow into the role, however, i just felt Ed will appeal to the voting public better. I was happy to sign his nomination paper at the end 🙂

  • As a Lib Dem voter, can anyone explain what Ed Davey’s position is on working with other parties?

    Is he just ruling out formal coalition or any cooperation whatsoever, even confidence and supply? The Lib Dems got burnt in the coalition, so the reticence is understandable. But ultimately a third party’s primary objective is getting more of its members elected. If a looser, confidence and supply arrangement with Labour can get HoL reform(elected by PR) and PR for council elections and the result being more Lib Dem representation, Then it’d be self-harm for the party to say it’s not interested ruling that out.

  • I am tempted towards Jo. 5 reasons: age, (appeal to a generation with young families), time the party had a woman leader, most importantly provides an opportunity to regain our lost Scottish votes and be a better prospect to maximise support in the Midlands & Northern England. She is the better known of the two outside the South East, (living in the North Midlands I can testify to that, show pictures to folk here and they name her unlike with her competitor.

  • @Andy, why don’t you ask Ed himself rather than asking people in here? It’s probably best to get it from the horse’s mouth. Or better still, why not join the party? If you do that before 7 June you can come to one of the hustings and ask him directly. You’ll also get a vote in the election (and our policy/strategy -making thereafter).
    Apparently something like 12,000 people like yourself have joined the party over the last week or so. And if you don’t want to join you could sign up as a registered supporter, which is a sort of ‘membership-lite’. Seriously, this is a great time to be a LibDem and we really want you on board. Join at http://www.libdems.org (for as little as £1 per month). 🙂

  • Alex Macfie 1st Jun '19 - 3:46pm

    Confidence & Supply is a non-starter, it just gives all of the disadvantages of coalition with none of the advantages (like any influence in government). In the event of a general election result in line with recent opinion polls, then we should do what Birgitte Nyborg does in Borgen, so a LibDem-Labour Coalition but with a Lib Dem PM, and Corbyn and his clique excluded.

  • Paul Barker 1st Jun '19 - 4:04pm

    I forgot to mention that I was very impressed by The School that provided the venue for the hustings; lots of light & space & the walls were plastered with plastered with stuff on Gay/Trans Rights, Anti- Racism & other supportive stuff.

  • To Alex Macfie.
    You often hear this argument that Brexit has to be implemented before it can be challenged. Leaving aside the fact that the referendum was invalid in the first place due to its flaws and illegality, saying it has to be implemented first is like saying someone must be hanged before their appeal can be heard. In practice, reversing the favourable deal we now have with the EU is impossible.

  • Like most I had seen Jo as the obvious choice, given Layla has dropped out, but also had this nagging doubt that she doesn’t come across that well whenever I have seen or heard her on the media. It’s good that Ed is giving us a genuine choice, and on electoral reform it is encouraging that he is recognising Clegg’s mistake in not making STV for local government our priority – which we would have got without a referendum and which would have strengthen LibDem local parties up and down the country.

    I believe Ed is the right choice based on what I have heard so far.

  • @Catherine – the party has debated our Brexit policy repeatedly at conference since 2016, and has repeatedly backed our ‘stop Brexit’ policy overwhelmingly. I know you take a different view but please stop implying that we haven’t debated it. We have.

  • Andrew Tampion 1st Jun '19 - 10:11pm

    Tom McLean
    One of the axioms of the campaign for a second referendum is that democracy didn’t end with the outcome of the 2016 referendum and that therefore it is legitimate to call for a second or confirmatory referendum. If that is true does it not follow that debate about the legitimacy of calling for a second referendum cannot be ended by a resolution at a Party conference.

  • @Andrew Tampion – nice try! Of course democracy requires that people are given an opportunity to change their minds or consider new information, and indeed you’ll find that our party conference has debated our Brexit policy on several occasions since 2016, but has resolutely decided to oppose Brexit every time – by huge margins. Conversely of course, the UK electorate has not been given a chance to re-consider the issue – despite the fact that the situation has changed significantly since the simple in/out choice of 2016 and a great deal of new information is now available that was not then. That is why LibDem policy is that we want a peoples vote, with an option to remain.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 2nd Jun '19 - 9:03am

    Tom Mclean, Perhaps I should have phrased my comment differently.
    Of course it is true that there have been frequent debates at Conference on the issue of Brexit. Every single conference since the referendum – Autumn 2016, Spring 2017, Autumn 2017, Spring 2018, Autumn 2018, Spring 2019… Meanwhile, motions on, for example, nuclear weapons, have not been accepted for debate on the grounds that the subject has been debated within the last two years!
    I just feel that although there have been numerous Conference debates, these motions have all been stating basically the same policy. If a group of members had tried to submit a motion saying that we should accept the referendum result, and perhaps advocate a “Norway Option” (for example), I very much doubt if that motion would have been accepted for debate.
    The debates that have taken place have been very one sided. It is true that members theoretically could have spoken up for the case for respecting the referendum result, or even to put a liberal case for Leave. But there has been such an increasingly intolerant atmosphere in the party on this issue, that it would take a good deal of courage to stand up in front of Conference and challenge the current party line. People who are unhappy about the party’s current approach have probably stayed away from conference. Of course many have left the party.
    If there was a leadership candidate who took a different approach, then this might enable a different sort of debate – a more thoughtful debate. People who are unhappy about the current approach might be given the confidence to express their views.

  • Thankyou Catherine for your rational, thoughtful response. I respect you for speaking out for your point of view on Brexit.
    However, in terms of the party’s processes, I now feel you’re trying to have it both ways somewhat. Earlier you called for us to have a ‘much-needed’ debate about Brexit, now you’re saying we’ve debated it too often.
    Conference is the body for deciding policy, not leadership elections. And it doesn’t really matter what the motion says; if you hold a different view you simply speak against the motion, or submit an amendment. I’ve seen many leadership defeats at conference over the years, as I’m sure you have. If that is the will of the members, it will happen. I’m afraid your problem here is simply that your view is not the will of the members.
    I’ve been at some of those debates you mention, and in all of them people did speak for a different line on Brexit. They were always heard respectfully and applauded, so I don’t see any reason for people to feel discouraged to speak up, other than the fact that they are in a very small minority of opinion, which is just that – a fact.

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