Tag Archives: leadership election 2019

What happens in a Lib Dem leadership election?

Since the first of the great membership surges in 2015, which coincided with the last leadership election, we have enjoyed at least three further surges, taking the party to comfortably more than 100,000 members.  But as a result, fewer than half of our members actually took part in the passionate and sometimes heated contest between Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

So, what happens in a Lib Dem leadership election?


After proposals to extend the range of possible candidates failed at last year’s Autumn Conference, the rules around candidates are unchanged – candidates must be sitting Lib Dem MPs in the House of Commons, who are nominated by their fellow MPs and backed by at least 200 members from at least 20 local parties. The nominations must all be in by the 7th June.  Candidates have until 16:00 on the 8th to withdraw after this time – at which point, the official candidates will be declared.


Again, after proposals to extend the franchise to supporters failed at last year’s Autumn Conference, in order to vote in the leadership election, you must be a member of the Lib Dems before midnight on the 7th June.  You’ll receive an online ballot on the 1st July, if you have given the party an email address; members without a known email address will have paper ballots issued on the 28th June.  If there are more than 2 candidates, voting will be by instant-runoff AV (so, ranked preference).


The ballot – both online and postal – will close at 15:00 on the 23rd July.  Votes will be verified and counted at HQ, and a winner will be announced the same evening.


At time of writing, ten hustings in ten regions have been organised, and more will likely be planned – you can find a full list here.  If you want to attend, make sure you use the RSVP link so the organisers ensure there’s enough space – in previous years people have ended up sitting in the aisles!  Previous contests have seen online Q&As and virtual hustings as well, and it’s easy to see how Lib Dem Newbies might end up hosting one, for instance, as might the Green Lib Dems and other affiliated organisations.

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

Lib Dem leadership timetable in full

Here is how we get from here until the announcement of our new leader on 23rd July.

The most important date in that is 7th June. If you aren’t a member then, you won’t get a vote. So join here if you like what we are doing.  And share that link around, too. It’s a special one for us.

12th May Nomination forms available

22nd May Opening of nominations

7th June Closing date for delivery of completed nomination papers
Closing date for membership registrations

8th June (4pm) Deadline for withdrawal of candidature
Release of membership lists

Posted in News | 3 Comments

How Liberal Democrat Voice will deal with the leadership election

After Vince formally kicked off the leadership contest yesterday, announcing that we’d have a new leader by July 23rd. The likely candidates are Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, although neither has, at the time of writing, announced.

They will have to get on with it as the first hustings take place on Friday 31st May in London. In total the candidates will be attending at least ten meetings organised by the party. You can see a full list here.

I’m looking forward to an interesting and friendly leadership campaign which will be about how to consolidate our excellent results in the local elections and to build on the profile we had during the European elections.

This will all be very different from the really tough contest between Tim Farron and Norman Lamb in 2015. During that contest, we were still going through all the stages of grief after the disaster of the General Election and it was at times a bit fractious and horrible. Now, we have a much more optimistic outlook and we have to work out who will best help us make the most of it.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

The two most important questions to ask Lib Dem leadership candidates

My wife keeps up with the news, but she can’t recall the last time she saw a national story about the Lib Dems. As Labour and the Tories struggle to hold themselves together, the Lib Dems fight simply to be heard. For most people in the country there is a fading memory of a liberal voice where the party used to be.

With the party’s leadership election looming, that matters. There will be a big temptation among activists to make the contest a battle of ideologies. “Which candidate is closest to my beliefs?” members will ask, endlessly dissecting policy statements, tweets and voting records.

Don’t do it. Your ideology is really important, but the harsh truth is that it doesn’t matter whether our new leader shares it or not. Other things matter more.

Our new leader being heard by the millions of people like my wife matters more. Our new leader connecting with those people, giving them a sense that the Liberal Democrats is for people like them and is fighting for the things they care about: that matters more. A leader who ticks every one of your ideological boxes but fails to connect with the voters will do your cause no good at all.

Posted in Op-eds | 42 Comments

Four things I want from the next Liberal Democrat Leader

Vince Cable has made the difficult but correct decision to stand down as the leader of the Lib Dems. And now, for the third time in four years, we’re left looking for a new leader.

It’s certainly frustrating for us Liberals to see arguably the worst government and worst opposition in living memory still absolutely trouncing us in the polls.

What is clear in a relentlessly unpredictable political climate is that opposition to Brexit is not an automatic ticket back to the top, and the shadow of the coalition years looms larger than many of us realised.

With a leadership election anticipated …

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

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