It’s over: Ming quits

Here’s the BBC report. More soon…

6.32 pm… It’s official: Simon Hughes and Vince Cable made the announcement at 6.30 pm. Where was Ming? Did he resign, or was he ‘resigned’?

6.46 pm… This quote from The Guardian:

A friend of Sir Menzies told Guardian Unlimited: “This was a very personal decision taken after much reflection. He has been thinking about the decision ever since Gordon Brown took his decision [not to hold a general election]. That was the moment to think about things, talk to one or two people and weigh up whether he wanted to do this.”

6.50 pm… the statement from Vince and Simon is now up on the party website here.

7.01 pm… Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 5 Live says the announcement came (despite the speculation) completely out of the blue – he had been interviewing likely leadership candidate Nick Clegg for the News at Ten, and he had given Ming his full support.

7.08 pm… Here’s the press coverage so far: BBC.co.uk; The Times; The Guardian; The Daily Telegraph.

7.14 pm… The text of Ming’s resignation letter has just been released by the party, and can be read in full here.

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47 Comments

  • Timely, and hopefully graceful.

  • Winning Here 15th Oct '07 - 6:41pm

    Oh great – we’re 11% in the polls and now another leadership poll.

    I hope the young turks are happy. Why don’t they just join the Tories where they belong?

  • As one of the first people to ask for Ming to stand aside for the good of the party may I be one of the first to thank him for doing the right thing. All the signs are that he understood our concerns. He has shown what a great party man he is.

  • I was writing my post when winning here posted @2. Please lets not get into mudslinging. I am not a young turk being a party member since 73 and in my fifties and calling me a Tory is completely crass. If you want to know who I am go on to the members site.
    I do believe that there are some agents provocateurs joining in on here, so can members who want to be controversial please restrict this to the members area.

  • Yellow Warrior 15th Oct '07 - 6:51pm

    Ming wasn’t up to leading a political party. The ‘young turks’ are more talented and better placed to push the party forward. Whoever suceeds ming needs to develope a fresh approach for us if we are to recover in the polls.

  • Grammar Police 15th Oct '07 - 6:54pm

    Winning Here: why do I suspect you’re a Tory ;o)
    You heard it from David Laws to George Osbourne – “I’m not a Conservative”

  • Could we perhaps have a period of quiet reflection about what has happened before indulging in recriminations/triumphalism?

  • …and Sky couldn’t make it there at all!

    Ming has done the right thing for the party as he has always done. He can be rightly proud of his contribution to the Lib Dems and the country.

  • “…Winning Here Says:
    October 15th, 2007 at 6:41 pm
    Oh great – we’re 11% in the polls and now another leadership poll.

    I hope the young turks are happy. Why don’t they just join the Tories where they belong?…”

    Here, here! My meb. No. is 7286783

    I hope they’ll be happy when we’re stuffed out of sight at the next election!

  • nigelashton 15th Oct '07 - 7:03pm

    Will be have to keep voting until we get it right?

  • Heh …Simon Hughes sounded like he was giving an obituary on TV just now …..

    Best thing for the party

  • As a Northern Tory, can I say I’m delighted… let’s see if we can get you under 10% eh?

  • Charles Anglin 15th Oct '07 - 7:12pm

    Ming has always been a real liberal, everything he has said and done as Leader has shown that.

    He was in many ways the right man at the wrong time. I was one of a number of people who repeatedly tried to convince Ming to stand in 1999 when Paddy resigned. However, last year I didn’t vote for him, not because my view of his abilities had changed but because the times had changed.

    It’s sad that British politics has been reduced to little more than stardust and sound bites but that doesn’t make it less true. The modern party political leader needs to be fit for the media age, and sadly Ming just didn’t have the right image for the iPod generation.

    It’s sad, sad for Ming, sad for the party and sad for politics. It’s time to pay tribute to a great liberal and good man and move on.

    Still, as the old cliche says ‘nothing so became him as the manner of his parting…’

  • “But if the easiest story that can be written about you is about your age, then that is the story that will be written, whatever you say”.

    Sad, but true. And, of course, there is a similar argument – a killer argument – against Charles Kennedy, whatever his qualities, ever becoming Leader again. There would only ever be one story about him: the obvious one, which the media would pursue mercilessly.

  • His rampant alcoholism, you mean?

  • Hywel Morgan 15th Oct '07 - 7:29pm

    Simon Hughes (at least) should have been tendering his own resignation at the same time.

  • Well done Sir Ming great man, good decision.
    I also agree with Hywel about el presidente Hughes.

  • have you noticed that the media have already moved on to their next “bashtheLibs” theme :

    “did you wield the dagger???”

  • oxfordeaster 15th Oct '07 - 7:55pm

    Well it sounds as if they did. The letter is short and damning. He might as well have put F off at the end. One thing’s for sure, to see who the next leader is, look at who Lembit is not supporting. And yes Hughes should resign over this – he’s tried to do this out of selfishness.

  • Just been over to Conservativehome – responses there split between:

    a) how sad, he was a man of principle even though I don’t share his politics

    b) oh no! damn! that’s blown it! watch out, Huhne/Clegg/Laws would be bad news for us

    Let those who have ears to hear . . .

  • @26 Simon Hughes?

    Surely he won’t stand? I imagine he would be hammered!

  • Richard Gadsden 15th Oct '07 - 8:08pm

    “did you wield the dagger???”

    To which the answer should be “No, you did!”

  • Bernard Salmon 15th Oct '07 - 8:09pm

    First of all, I think we should thank Ming for his service as leader. I didn’t vote for him last year, but I recognise that he had a clear democratic mandate from the party and he could (and in my view should) have continued until the next general election. He knew when he took over that the next election could have been more than four years away, so I am slightly surprised that he has decided to give up now.
    But I think his going does mean we can have a fresh start and Ming deserves credit for recognising that and avoiding the months of prolonged speculation about his own future which some people in the party were stirring up.

  • A very sad day for British politics. Ming was the right man for the job, and continues to be so even now.

    In the end, the media made it impossible for Ming to continue as leader. Who can blame him for calling it a day?

    Who are the winners? Well, the media, of course. And their paymasters: Murdoch and his friends in the US military industrial petro-chemical complex. The same people who selected Blair and Cameron to look after their interests in the 51st State (or dependent territory, to be more accurate – no Constitutional rights for us Limeys).

    What happens next? Well, I guess Frank Luntz will be brought in to ensure that the candidate favoured by Washington gets it. You wait and see.

    I hope we get this latest leadership election over and done with as soon as reasonably possible. And when the new leader is duly elected, I trust we all give him or her our wholehearted support. No more sniping on Lib Dem Voice.

    Oh, and please let’s give Ming back his old Foreign Affairs brief.

    (By the way, Ming is younger than Mr Rupert Murdoch.)

  • Sid Chambers 15th Oct '07 - 8:57pm

    What about Julia Goldsworthy?

  • “Winning Here” in number 2 must be a Tory himself, wishing that the “Young Turks” would join the Tories. It wasn’t the “Young Turks” who wielded the knife. Simon Hughes isn’t a Young Turk.

  • Men's Ease Campbell Fan 15th Oct '07 - 9:49pm

    Does Sir Menses know he’s resigned? Has anyone told the old fool?

  • Men's Ease Campbell Fan 15th Oct '07 - 9:54pm

    @ Angus Huck:

    In the end, the media made it impossible for Ming to continue as leader.

    LOL! Bollocks. Sir Menses’ mediocrity made it impossible for the silly old bugger to continue as leader.

  • Men's Ease Campbell Fan 15th Oct '07 - 9:56pm

    @ Steven Allen:

    Well, this mess consigns me back to spoiling my ballot for the foreseeable future

    So you’re going to carry on voting LibDhimm then?

  • Ming is a decent man who has always carried himself with dignity .He was clearly pushed. I have no time for those who gloat.
    I suppose those who did the pushing want us to ape the Tories. Much good it seems to have done Labour.
    We need an authentic voice not a pretty face.

  • Geoffrey Payne 15th Oct '07 - 10:20pm

    I think lots of people are getting over dramatic on here, no doubt egged on by our opponents.
    There is no dagger, it is as simple as that. It was the polls that did it. I suppose if I am bitter, it would be the so-called right-on satirists, the comedians and cartoonists who would not dream of lampooning someone for their colour or sexuality, but somehow age is fair game. Some of the reporters as well, always chipping in with a question at the end about Ming’s age, regardless of it being irrelevent to the subject they are discussing.
    There is no question that anyone in the Parliamentary party was disloyal. As has been made clear by Ming, it was his own decision.

  • Big Mak, you are dimmer than I thought. You totally misunderstood what I wrote.

    Rupert Murdoch owns 40% of the print media in the UK. The media (much of it owned by Murdoch) forced Ming from office. Their chief argument against Ming was his age.

    Is it not therefore hypocritical for a 76 year-old man who has a full-time and very high-powered job to say that a 66 year-old man is too old to lead a political party?

    Make no mistake as to why the media deposed Ming. It is because of Ming’s opposition to the Iraq war and his refusal to be a stooge of the US military industrial petro-chemical complex.

    Whoever gets Cheney’s approval will be promoted by Frank Luntz on Newsnight in a month’s time. Just you wait and see. The candidate who “wins” Luntz’s focus group definitely does NOT get my vote!

  • Lembit, Mike German and now Ming.

    Does this mean Nicol Stephen will shortly be next?

  • Angus tell you what I going to bed, if you have another half she is such a lucky lady, just whisper “US military industrial petro-chemical complex” and any women would be putty in your hands.
    Goodnight you smooth talker you.

  • I think Ming’s done us all a big favour – for whatever reason he has stood down – the change of circumstances with no election opened the door and this site has seen a huge amount of debate about the leadership in the last week.

    We had the prospect of that continuing through a general election and then Ming would have gone more or less straight after.

    Now we have the chance to draw a line and move forward.

    Who knows who we will choose – but this is really the chance for a new leader and now much of the dust has settled from the end to Charles Kennedy’s leadership.

    Last time many people reacted to Charles’ untimely departure and voted for ‘safety first’ and elected Ming as a kind of interim leader.

    Now lets ensure there is a proper policy debate and let the best candidate win. we have the time and there are going to be choices.

    And lets not get led by the Press, but choose someone who will lead.

  • Paul L I 100% agree!

  • Big Mak, it was President Eisenhower who spoke aout the military industrial complex and the threat it posed to American democracy and world peace.

    I would have thought a fount of wisdom like yourself would have known that.

  • Angus it was Martin Luther King that said “I have a dream” mine is that you get a life, get a grip and hopefully leave those of us that have now moved on post Ming to get on with saving the party. You shuffle off and read some nice quotes, you interesting man you!

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