Leadership contest: Who are parliamentarians past and present and key party figures backing?

As the leadership contest gets under way in earnest, we thought it was time to have a look at how key party figures are lining up behind each of the candidates. This is bound to change as time goes on, so we will update it from time to time.

Tim Farron


Greg Mulholland
John Pugh
Mark Williams

Former MPs

Jo Swinson
Duncan Hames
Simon Hughes
Sir Alan Beith
John Leech
David Howarth
Sarah Teather
Martin Horwood
Paul Keetch
Brian Cotter
Mark Oaten
Steve Webb
Dan Rogerson
Ian Swales
Lembit Opik


Willie Rennie
Jim Hume
Liam McArthur

Former MSPs

Euan Robson


Kirsty Williams
Peter Black

London Assembly Members

Stephen Knight


Catherine Bearder

Former MEPs

Fiona Hall

Brian Paddick
Meral Hussein-Ece
David Steel
Matthew Taylor
Monroe Palmer
John Shipley
Jamie Palumbo
Ken Macdonald
Diana Maddock
Paul Strasburger
Floella Benjamin
Ros Scott

111 candidates in 2015 also signed a letter to the Guardian supporting Tim.

They are:

Lizzie Adams Stratford-on-Avon
Robert Adamson East Yorkshire
Paul Ankers Bury South
Jon Ball Ealing Central & Acton
Charlotte Barnes Ludlow
Ryan Bate Halton
Mike Beckett Scarborough & Whitby
Jacqueline Bell Skipton & Ripon
Lorraine Birchall Carlisle
James Blanchard York Outer
Kelly-Marie Blundell Guildford
Steve Bradley Bath
Jane Brophy Altincham & Sale
Cahal Burke Colne Valley
Theo Butt Philip Bridgwater & West Somerset
Carl Cashman Knowsley
Victor Chamberlain Wythenshawe & Sale East
Paul Childs Liverpool Wavertree
Rich Clare Ilford North
Gill Cole-Hamilton Dunfermline & West Fife
Daniel Coleman Dundee West
Neil Christian Macclesfield
Callum Delhoy Daventry
Josh Dixon Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner
Charles Dundas Livingston
Gareth Epps Keighley
David Evans Banff & Buchan
Dan Farthing-Sykes Edinburgh South-West
Emma Farthing-Sykes Linlithgow & Falkirk East
Ben Fearn Derbyshire Dales
Helen Flynn Harrogate & Knaresborough
Pete Flynn Stalybridge & Hyde
Stephen Glenn Sedgfield
Ed Goncalves Rugby
David Goodall Isle of Wight
Gitanjali Gordon South Shields
Michael Green Hertford & Stortford
Andy Hallett Putney
Paul Halliday Newport East
Duncan Hames Chippenham
Tom Hancock Wansbeck
Garth Harkness Oldham West & Royton
John Harris Richmond
Daniel Hawthorne Stockport
Carly Hicks Ashton-under-Lyne
Tony Hill Maidenhead
Wera Hobhouse North East Somerset
John Howson Banbury
Christine Jardine Gordon
Lorraine Johnson South Derbyshire
Clive Jones Wokingham
Ros Kayes West Dorset
Lauren Keith Brent Central
Andy Kelly Rochdale
Richard Kilpatrick Middlesbrough
Ross Laird Motherwell & Wishaw
John Lawson Batley & Spen
John Leech Manchester Withington
Gordon Lishman Blackburn
Jane-Ann Liston Glenrothes
Nick Love York Central
Anita Lower Newcastle North
Richard Marbrow Oldham East & Saddleworth
Cllr Eileen McCartin Paisley & Renfrewshire South
Paul McGarry East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow
Robin McGhee Kensington
Chris McGlynn Kettering
Robin Meltzer Richmond Park
Hugo Mieville North Dorset
Galen Milne Falkirk
Aisha Mir Midlothian
Pat Moloney Liverpool Walton
Michael Mullaney Bosworth
Ben Nicholls Romsey & Southampton North
Meri O’Connell Reading West
Zoe O’Connell Maldon
Sarah Osborne Crawley
Joe Otten Sheffield Central
Turhan Ozen Tottenham
Clive Peaple Barrow & Furness
Jackie Pearcey Ribble Valley
Nick Perry Hastings & Rye
Jackie Porter Winchester
Nigel Quinton South West Hertfordshire
Peter Reisdorf Wirral West
Bart Ricketts Bromsgrove
David Ridgway Barnsley Central
Simon Rix Truro & Falmouth
Lesley Rollings Gainsborough
Dan Roper Broadland
Selwyn Runnett Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
James Sandbach Suffolk Coastal
Darren Sanders Portsmouth North
Millicent Scott Hammersmith
Matthew Severn Morecambe & Lunesdale
Mike Sheehan Gower
Imogen Shepherd DuBey New Forest West
Robbie Simpson Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill
Vikki Slade Mid Dorset & North Poole
Cath Smith Warley
Patrick Smith Bracknell
Ettie Spencer East Lothian
Iliyan Stefanov Ochil & South Perthshire
Jo Swinson East Dunbartonshire
Wendy Taylor Newcastle East
Freddie van Mierlo Fylde
Martin Veart Edinburgh North & Leith
David Watts Boston & Skegness
Matthew Winnington Fareham
Mark Wright Bristol South
Stefan Zeljko Warrington North

Norman Lamb


Tom Brake

Former MPs

Lynne Featherstone
Jenny Willott
Tessa Munt
Julian Huppert
Ming Campbell
David Heath
Stephen Williams
Simon Wright
Norman Baker
Sir Bob Russell
Mike Moore
Paul Burstow
David Laws
John Hemming
Julia Goldsworthy
Ed Davey




Shirley Williams
Kishwer Falkner
Anthony Lester
Sue Garden
Sarah Ludford
Alison Suttie
Lindsay Northover
Dee Doocey
Tim Razzall
Kate Parminter
Olly Grender
Judith Jolly
Liz Barker
Dominic Addington
Joan Walmsley
Susan Kramer
Sally Hamwee
Paul Tyler
Jane Bonham-Carter
Paddy Ashdown

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  • no prizes for guessing who the establishment candidate is

  • Both of them?

  • peter tyzack 10th Jun '15 - 9:15am

    Very glad that former leaders have kept out of this, but still miffed that I wasn’t asked to sign the letter to the Guardian.
    Please add: Peter Tyzack, candidate for Halesowen & Rowley Regis. (Bristol member)

  • Graham Evans 10th Jun '15 - 9:28am

    Tuition fees, rightly or wrongly, became totemic in lack of trust for Nick Clegg and the LDs. Will Tim Farron’s voting record on gay rights have the same result? His performance on the Daily Politics was a disaster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wyki2QLlZc

  • Whilst my natural gut reaction is to vote for Tim, I would agree that to allow Andrew Neill to tie you in knots over same sex marriage is a worry

  • Helen Tedcastle 10th Jun '15 - 10:26am

    @ Graham Evans

    The answer to your question is no. Evidence: SSM was not a major issue for voters in the 2015 GE. The economy was though.

    Our part in the SSM Act gave us how many extra votes? We now have eight MPs – there’s an answer.

  • I am observing with interest the evolution of attack lines against Tim Farron.

    First, it was alleged that he is homophobic. That was quietly dropped (at least until 9.28am today).

    Now he is being attacked for having religious beliefs. A lot of Liberal Democrats do have religious beliefs, as do voters out there in the country. Is that really an issue for anyone other than a militant atheist? I pose three questions (which I pose of all political aspirants with religious beliefs). (1) Is he a fundamentalist? (2) Does he engage in tribal behaviour? (3) Does he use his position in public life to promote his religious beliefs? If the answer to all three is negative, and I see no evidence that it is not, then for me there is no issue. I suggest that what we are witnessing here is a rather ugly manifestation of atheist intolerance.

    The one attack line that might in principle have some legitimacy is the one deployed by Vince Cable: that Tim is not an intellectual heavyweight and he lacks a deep understanding of some areas of policy. True, he didn’t go to Oxbridge, but neither did Winston Churchill nor Jim Callaghan. And the other candidate didn’t go to Oxbridge, either. Newcastle and Leicester are about level pegging on the Richter scale of academic excellence, I understand. Those who use this attack line are labouring under a misapprehension. We are not electing someone to govern the country. We are electing someone to get out there and kick-start the rebuilding of the party. The most relevant question should surely be: which candidate can do that best?

  • Helen,

    I agree. Tim has been a bit inconsistent on these issues of personal morality, but there is no evidence that he has broken any promises so there it is no reason for it to reverberate beyond the specific issues, where the people who are most affected essentially got what they want, and have no reason to go dredging back over the issue.

    But it does show that Tim needs to prepare better for interviews with hostile journalists if he becomes leader! He was obviously fairly ready for the questions about Equal Marriage, but not votes in 2006 and 2007… And Andrew Neil did keep swapping around between the votes in quite a confusing fashion

    Here is Nick Clegg, this March, with all the preparation in the world, still willfully missing the point on tuition fees… http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2015/mar/20/nick-clegg-tuition-fees-trust-video He has said it was just a manifesto commitment so often that I think he must actually believe it! Andrew Neil would have had him for breakfast, and certainly would not have let him go on about achievements…

  • George Potter 10th Jun '15 - 12:01pm

    @Graham Evans

    I doubt it will be any more of an issue than Norman Lamb’s voting for secret courts or his broken tuition fees pledge.

  • The one big difference that jumps out at me is that among our Parliamentarians 3 times as many women back Lamb as Farron. Does anyone have any idea why ?

  • Helen Tedcastle 10th Jun '15 - 12:26pm

    @ paul barker

    As a woman my self, it makes no odds to me how many women at the top of the party wish to vote. I’m looking at the values and priorities of the candidates, not how many of the great and the good are casting their vote. I would hope other women and men will consider all the issues and do the same.

  • I think the Daily Politics interview was a glimpse of things to come,there are plenty of genuine concerns with Farron and all of those issues are going to be raised time and time again.

    @George Potter
    It’s already a bigger issue than Norman Lamb’s voting record in the MSM, most papers have covered it this week. His performance was absolutely cringe-worthy, unconvincing and sadly, untrue (the Tactchell claim). We can’t go on telly and mislead people, it looks terrible, plus now we all know his weakness. As Paddy said, judgement is not his strong suit!

  • David Evans 10th Jun '15 - 1:18pm

    Typical Andrew Neil approach to someone he doesn’t like – interrupts, attempts to disrupt interviewee’s train of thought, brings up random items from dim and distant past in attempt to bamboozle. Somehow I find it reassuring that he doesn’t like Tim. I hope he doesn’t like Norman either.

  • I hardly think Paddy and Vince have anything to boast about. One led a campaign which resulted in the loss of almost 50 MPs at a stroke and the other, despite considering himself a ‘heavyweight’, couldn’t persuade enough of his own constituents to vote for him. At least Tim can get the votes in – and that is after all what matters. Paddy and Vince clearly resent Tim for keeping his hands clean – something which says a lot about his judgement.

  • Of the Liberal Democrat MPs at the time of the Tuition Fees vote,
    11 are supporting Farron with a breakdown of 4 For votes, 5 Against votes, and 2 not voting
    17 are supporting Lamb with a breakdown of 10 For votes, 5 Against votes, and 2 not voting

    Of the 28 For Tuition Fees votes: 10 support Lamb, 4 support Farron, 14 unknown
    Of the 21 Against votes: 5 support Lamb, 5 support Farron, 11 unknown
    Of the 8 non-votes: 2 support Lamb, 2 support Farron, 4 unknown

    Of the current Liberal Democrat MPs, who are evenly split on how they voted on Tuition Fees:
    All who opposed tuition fees support Farron
    Two who supported tuition fees support Lamb
    The other two (who supported tuition fees) are views unknown

    Taking MPs who were there into account, there appears to be a tendency for those who voted for tuition fees to favour Lamb, but those who voted against are not necessarily for Farron; unless they happen to be sitting MPs, in which case they are overwhelmingly for Farron.

  • I didn’t think the interview was that bad – there was a time delay which meant that by the time Tim answered Andrew Neil was starting on this next question. I think the most I portant thing about this interview was what Tim said right at the end. He is the only LibDem MP to win over 50% of the vote. ‘Nuff said.

  • Hmmm, right-wing press and Andrew Neil focus on anti-Farron stories… Wonder what they want us to do??

  • Graham Evans 10th Jun '15 - 7:11pm

    The Andrew Neil interview covered a lot of ground which had already been covered in Tim’s earlier Pink News interview, and in particular his vote against the Equality Act in 2007. What is so worrying about his performance is that Tim has still not got his act together in addressing his past record, even though he should have known that this issue could come up again. Moreover, although his voting record on abortion has not been raised before, as far as I am aware, he should have realised that this too could be portrayed as essentially illiberal, which was of course the charge made against him by Andrew Neil. Moreover, it’s no good blaming Andrew Neil for his approach; there was nothing new in his approach to interviewing politicians. If Tim becomes leader he will come under much closer scrutiny than he did as a backbencher, and with so few LD MPs he will find himself in the same position as did David Steel – the only person the media will want to interview in future will be the Party leader.

  • When Andrew Neil asks Norman Lamb about his earlier job working for a Labour MP we will be able to see how he copes with difficult questions.

  • Helen Tedcastle 10th Jun '15 - 8:22pm

    @ Graham Evans

    So what you seem to be saying is that there are a checklist of items of policy which, because in your view, Tim does not tick every box according to the ones in judgement, this should trump all other considerations.

    I don’t think that is very Liberal or tolerant. As I have argued before on these pages, conscience is respected by Liberals historically but in recent years (since Harriet Har-person’s Equality Act), this is no longer respected. It’s far more important that MPs vote the ‘right way’ according to the self-appointed judges who are making such a fuss about a narrow set of issues at the moment.

  • @Graham Evans
    I think if you read my post you will find that I said that Time will need to be better prepared for such interviews if he becomes leader. I imagine he will have someone who will prevent him being interviewed by Andrew Neil over a video link to a park without knowing in advance what the questions will be… I wonder if he could even see Andrew Neil properly. It sounded like an interview conducted over a transatlantic phone line…

    I am sure Tim is pretty embarrassed about the way that interview went and he has already apologised to Peter Tatchell for misrepresenting him… He did better in the Pink News interview by simply saying in the end “I have changed my views since then” With Neil he kept trying to state his current views, which did not work so well…

  • Graham Evans 11th Jun '15 - 10:08am

    @ Helen Tedcastle While I do have doubts about Tim Farron because of his voting record, particularly bearing in mind as leader he would be the mouthpiece of progressive liberalism, as opposed to social conservatism, my particular criticism of him is that he has failed to understand that his voting record is a weakness and that he needs to prepare much better in future when he is interviewed. Moreover, in live interviews he will not be able to reply on advisors to brief him. He needs to get to grips with the issues on which he, or the Party, have a weak record.

  • Helen Tedcastle 11th Jun '15 - 12:09pm

    @ Graham Evans

    Since when was allowing people to opt out of something on conscience grounds a sign of social conservatism? Are you suggesting conscientious objectors are social conservatives? Are pacifists social conservatives? This is ridiculous. We have a proud record in our party of respecting people even if they hold a minority view. You’ll find it in Mill. That’s what distinguishes Liberalism from socialism or conservatism…

  • @Helen Tedcastle “Are you suggesting conscientious objectors are social conservatives?”

    it depends what their conscience is telling them to object to.

  • Helen Tedcastle 11th Jun '15 - 12:27pm


    So who is the moral arbiter of someone’s conscience? The person themselves or a political party or the state? If a person objects on conscience grounds to war, Liberals have traditionally respected that. Indeed Quakers have been a significant influence on the party.

    Likewise with other conscience issues – there are a few times when these issues arise and as Liberals/Liberal Democrats, we have traditionally respected dissent from the zeitgeist or majority will – because we respect the individual and that goes for our MPs and our Leader.

    Now what has changed? Harriet Harman’s Equality Act seems to have been the catalyst and the new orthodoxy which glories in not allowing conscience clauses.

  • @Helen Tedcastle if someone objects to gay marriage they are a social conservative, by definition. that’s a separate issue as to whether they should be permitted to hold such views or not.

  • Graham Evans 11th Jun '15 - 2:31pm

    @Helen Tadcastle
    I note you have totally ignored my principal criticism of Tim, which is that to date he has been ill-prepared for tough interviews. Whether or not he is a social conservative is a red herring.

  • Helen Tedcastle 11th Jun '15 - 3:11pm


    Again, who is the moral arbiter of someone’s conscience? That is the key question? Who is it that is doing the policing? In the case of the so-called Equality Act, no dissent is allowed. The state polices conscience matters by closing the issue of conscience down, because it doesn’t fit in with the new orthodoxy.

    Hold on, I thought that as Liberals we believed in the right of people to have views we might disagree with and defend their right to have them? Not it seems, if you object to aspects of the ‘Equality Act’ regarding registrars with religious objections or SSM Act because you don’t see it as supporters do – as about ‘equality’ but because it redefines marriage and requires a conscience clause. Why? Because such people are ‘social conservatives’, even if they are found in every single party from Liberal to Tory to Labour to SDLP etc..However, in the new climate, it would be better if you kept your mouth shut and not dissent from the prevailing will.

    This is illiberal.

    @ Graham Evans – So Neil put Tim on the defensive and Tim should have prepared better. He has held his hands up and said so. Every one in political life has had a bad interview every now and again, including Paddy and Nick.

  • Graham Evans 11th Jun '15 - 5:19pm

    @ Helen Tedcastle
    ” Every one in political life has had a bad interview every now and again”. Unfortunately this is not the first time Tim has performed poorly in defending his voting record. Rather than trying to defend him, his supporters should acknowledge he struggles in addressing difficult issues when subject to tough questioning. Recognising a problem is the first step in resolving it.
    “Hold on, I thought that as Liberals we believed in the right of people to have views we might disagree with and defend their right to have them?” This is a totally naive view of modern liberalism. In fact it is more akin to pure libertarianism. Liberals have long acknowledged that the State has a role in promoting liberal attitudes based on the “do no harm” principle. When restrictions on drink driving were introduced, many saw this as an attack on personal liberty, even though the victims of drink-drive road accidents were often innocent by-standers. When seat belts were first introduced there was a outcry from many quarters, yet few today challenge the law on this matter (even though the impact on the “innocent” is probably less). The ban on smoking in public enclosed spaces also represents a limitation on personal freedom, but now is regarded by most people as a progressive measure. Similarly, though most discrimination laws do not lead to immediate changes in attitude, they do serve two purposes. Firstly, they help protect minorities from discrimination. The HR Manager no longer had to argue with the racist CEO that discrimination was morally, and perhaps economically, wrong. It was so much easier to simply point out that whatever one’s personal views, discrimination was unlawful. Secondly, they are like the drip, drip, drip of a tap. As discrimination ceases to be practised, so do attitudes to discrimination slowly change.

    As for social conservatives, no one denies their right to hold such views. The key question is whether you can square this attitude with progressive, rational, evidence based, modern liberalism.

  • @Helen Tedcastle personally I have no beef with people holding whatever views they like. But you can’t pretend its liberal to hold those views.

  • @Graham Evans

    That was a very unusual live interview, as I am sure you realise… Such things are done in the studio, face to face, not over a video link to a park! And the reason for that is that party Leaders do not give impromptu interviews.

    Even Andrew Neil realised he had gone over the top as he implied at the end.

    I can assure you that if I got Norman Lamb on a video link to a park over his tuition fee pledge, he would soon look just as uncomfortable!

  • Some posters are talking about Tim Farron as though he was someone new. He has been Party President for several years so I think we can all agree he doesn’t make many gaffes. We all know Tim and we all know he comes across well on TV most of the time.

    This was not a good interview for many reasons. But remember that the leader of the Party will have access to advisors who will train him in how to handle Neill, Paxman etc. Of course many people actually don’t respond well to a politician who comes across as too polished or too pat. A bit of awkwardness suggests authenticity and I don’t think many people are that bothered about how the Leader of a party that is at 8% on a good day voted on same sex issues or abortion. Sorry I just don’t agree that these issues are important to the vast majority of people out in the real world. The question of Trust however – especially trust in politicians- especially Trust in Lib Dems- well that’s as big an issue as there can possibly be. For that reason Norman will never get a hearing from the voting public just as Nick did not. Go there again at your peril, the media would have a field day.

    No, it’s clear that Tim is the only possible Leader at this time. The question is how can the Party advisors make him sound better in interviews about his voting record on certain issues. I’m not even sure they need to though as I just don’t think many people care. Most people are sophisticated enough to think, yeah he’s a man of faith so that’s going to be hard for him. For the rest, well Tim can simply say, my feeling on this has evolved over time. Nowt wrong with that. It is, after all, the truth.

  • Matt (Bristol) 11th Jun '15 - 9:03pm

    TCO – if someone objects to gay marriage they are a social conservative, by definition.

    Not really. It can be taken to mean that they are (arguably) socially conservative on one issue, but they may be liberal on many other, different issues.

    I gather that some very radical people of a liberal tendency (a small minority, I admit) are against single-sex marriage on the grounds they would rather abolish all marriage as having any legal standing. Are they socially conservative?

  • @Helen Tedcastle

    > if you object to aspects of the ‘Equality Act’ regarding registrars with religious objections
    >or SSM Act because you don’t see it as supporters do – as about ‘equality’ but because it
    >redefines marriage and requires a conscience clause.

    You’re defending the Christian Conservative values many of us have spent a lifetime fighting. If I object to black or asian folk on religious grounds should I get a clause stating I’m not required to have anything to do with them? If I interpret the Bible literally and don’t let my wife out of the house during menstruation should my oppression be legally protected because I’m following scripture? Inequality is about the only thing I find intolerable, it’s an archaic and crude control mechanism that no liberal can accept.

    Objecting to legislation designed to make humans more equal in the eyes of the law isn’t liberal by any definition.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '15 - 11:48am

    Please will party members use the party name/ Liberal Democrars? which was decided democratically by a referendum of federal conference delegates and widely accepted. Lib Dem was announced by former leader David Steel as “acceptable in a headline” during Paddy Ashdown’s leadership. Anything else confuses the brand.

    Norman Lamb’s speeches to conference showed an amazing grasp of detail and an understanding of health issues that political journalists trying to cover a wide field would probably not even realise they ought to ask. The sessions have been circulated by email. A problem is that Labour chose to to make the National Health Service their major election issue. They failed, in part because it is no longer National, it is devolved and therefore not a general election issue in Scotland. It is also devolved in Wales, although affected by the overall level of funding to Wales. Norman Lamb was right to press for equality for mental health, the leader agreed and the coalition partners agreed. He has a record of achievement.

    Tim Farron focussed on housing in a fringe meeting, which may have been recorded by broadcasters but not shown in full. His Lake District constituency has special problems which also happen in Cornwall and parts of Wales. He has a co-operative council.

    Devolving housing does not answer the fact that internal migration is not devolved, until and unless Scottish independence were to happen, making Scotland comparable with the Republic of Ireland.

    Look at the drop in the population of Scotland over the past 20 or 30 years and compare it with the increase in the population of Greater London over the same period. Have a look at the performance of the current Mayor and wonder why he is not standing again. There is a lot of brownfield land in Greater London which is not being developed.

    We should not be choosing a leader of the federal party on the issue of housing alone, but it should be a major part of the campaign for the next mayor by, for instance Simon Hughes, if he is willing and if Liberal Democrat members in Greater London were to support his candidacy, He has the right experience and name recognition.

    London’s housing issues spill out into the home counties and beyond, putting rail transport under strain.

    While electing a federal leader under the current rules, we should also consider whether the rules are right. They were set before devoltion occurred. They currently prevent talented women from standing at a time when three other parties in the TV debates had and still have women leaders, The rules also restrict talented men, such as former Acting Leader Vince Cable and former leadership candidate Simon Hughes. We should not implicitly assume that we will always lose parliamentary by-elections.

    We should not assume that it is the job of the next leader to rebuild the party and wait for him to fail. There are council by-elections happening frequently and in many places. Despite TV, radio, internet etc the leader cannot be everywhere. Let us win some of those elections ourselves.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '15 - 11:49am

    Sorry. Please pardon typing errors.

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