Tag Archives: leadership election 2020

Leadership election 2020: Watch Ed and Layla at hustings

This post will be regularly updated with links to recordings of  Ed and Layla at the many hustings events that are taking place.

I’ll update it and re-post it whenever there is something new to add.

First up, the very first formal hustings, with the Social Liberal Forum on Saturday 11th July.

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Where to see the leadership candidates this weekend

With Layla and Ed duly nominated, they now embark on an eye-watering series of hustings events across the country. There are 4 this weekend.

In just under an hour you can see them at the Social Liberal Forum q and a at 11 am.

At 3:25pm, both candidates will be put through a job interview style interview at the Scottish special conference by former candidate Katy Gordon, who’s a senior HR person and John Ferry, a journalist. I wonder if they’ve been modelling their interviewing style on Claude from The Apprentice.

Tonight at 6pm, it is the South Central hustings.

Tomorrow at 6pm, it’s the Yorkshire and the Humber’s turn to question the candidates.

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Two candidates confirmed for Lib Dem leadership race

Liberal Democrat MPs Ed Davey and Layla Moran will be the two candidates contesting the latest Liberal Democrat leadership contest, the Party has confirmed.

At the close of nominations today both Ed Davey and Layla Moran secured the support required to appear on the ballot.

Voting will open on the 30th July and close on the 26th August, after which the Party will announce the next leader.

Liberal Democrat Party President Mark Pack said:

With two fantastic candidates, I am really excited for the contest for who will lead the Liberal Democrats and champion our vision for an outward-looking, caring country that celebrates

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24 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems move to scrap Section 60 Stop and Search
  • Evidence for reopening schools must be published amidst fears of Covid-19 spike
  • Nominations for Lib Dem leader open
  • Lib Dems back health leaders’ push for review into lockdown easing
  • Bank of America criticism of pound performance shows need to extend transition period

Lib Dems move to scrap Section 60 Stop and Search

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to back a new Bill to scrap suspicion-less stop and search in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, which have exposed ingrained institutional racism and discrimination in the UK.

Given the disproportionate impact of current Stop and Search laws on black people in particular, and BAME communities more widely, the Liberal Democrats will today (Wednesday 24 June) introduce a Bill to outlaw suspicion-less Stop and Search, highlighting that the current law “undermines” community trust in police.

The Party is demanding the Government back their proposal. If passed, the law would prohibit Section 60, suspicion-less stop and search, which currently leaves a black person almost 50 times more likely to be stopped than a white person. The party is further calling for a Race Equality Strategy and an end to the Hostile Environment.

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The coalition and the leadership contest

The legacy of the coalition seems to be a big part of the debate around our leadership election. Those arguing the most important thing is that we move on from the coalition will tend to favour one of the two candidates not around during the coalition. And visa-versa. I assume contributors to Lib Dem Voice are not allowed to write direct endorsements of their preferred candidate, but they can signal their preferences by proxy in this way.

So, in that vein, here are my thoughts on what factors we should consider when choosing our next leader. You will note that many …

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Daily View: 16 June 2020

I’ve been writing this feature for nearly three months now, and hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Today, I’m going to change the style a little, to make it a little less formulaic. Bear with me…

We’ve got a leadership contest underway, if the wave of press releases from the various campaign teams is any guide. By the way, we won’t be publishing them here at Liberal Democrat Voice in line with our policy of neutrality in internal elections. But I would like to see a contest of ideas, especially as I am a genuine floating voter this time. I can’t help …

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Wera Hobhouse: “Let go of the coalition once and for all”

I’ve launched my new campaign video today: we need a new direction, it’s time to let go of the coalition.

I was a councillor in Rochdale during the coalition — I saw its impact. But for our party, it has meant almost irreparable devastation. More than 2,500 councillors and 49 MPs were wiped out and it rocked the very foundations our party was built on.

It’s not to say that the coalition was all bad – equal marriage and pupil premium are just two of the many life-changing ideas implemented by Lib Dems – but some serious mistakes were made. We have acknowledged that – now it is time to well and truly move on.

The Liberal Democrats are not halfway between the Conservatives and Labour. We are a progressive, centre-left party, and we must fight for our values and beliefs from there.

We need a new direction; we must let go of the coalition and aspirations to return. We must get back to our liberal roots, serving our local communities, which is what we have always done best.

That’s where I will take the Liberal Democrats as leader.

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Whose vote is most important when we select our next leader?

How will you vote in the forthcoming Lib Dem leadership election? What qualities are you looking for in a leader?

Will it be the candidate with the best policies? Maybe you’ll plump for the individual with the most charisma? Or perhaps you’ll play smart and choose the person who’s tallest?

It might be helpful to consider the qualities you consider most important in a Leader. Given the party’s election process, here are some things you might well consider:

  1. You like them as a person
  2. You know them as a friend
  3. You think they have good policies
  4. You trust their judgement
  5. You find them charismatic
  6. You enjoyed their hustings speech
  7. You think they would do a good job as PM

The trouble is, pretty much none of the above are useful when considering the most important voter of them all…people who aren’t you.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Layla Moran: Government must step up its support for people who have to self-isolate

Over on the Torch website, Layla Moran explains why the Government needs to do more to support those asked to self isolate because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. She was prompted to do so after seeing members’ views on one of the many social media groups.

Employees who have to self-isolate under the scheme are currently only entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £95 a week. That is around five times less than the £460 net income a week received by a worker earning the maximum of £2,500 a month under the furlough scheme. And while the minimum isolation period is two weeks, some people may have to wait longer for their test or be asked to self-isolate several times. I’m therefore advocating for the Government to step up its financial support workers required to self-isolate under the coronavirus test and trace programme and ensure they receive the same level of support as furloughed employees.

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Wera Hobhouse sets out her plans for a progressive alliance

Wera Hobhouse has set out her plan for a progressive alliance on her website.

She wrote:

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Ed Davey launches his leadership campaign

Ed Davey has today launched his bid to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats with this video:

Nominations close on 9th July and voting will take place in August with the result expected on 27th August.

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Wera Hobhouse: A new direction for the Liberal Democrats

Wera Hobhouse has set out her vision for the party on her website.

It’s about making a clean break with the last decade and abandoning one key element of our strategy and reigniting another.

The time for equidistance is over:

The mistake was to see our party in the political centre, standing equally between right and left. In this day and age, the biggest threat to liberalism – not just in Britain – comes from the right.

Our reasons for entering coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 were well intended, but we ended up undermining our values. We ultimately legitimised the Conservatives’ long-term

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LibLink: Layla Moran A once in a generation opportunity to make our country fairer and more liberal

With the announcement of the revised leadership election timetable starting in two weeks’ time, there are three expected candidates. Ed Davey has yet to formally declare, but everyone expects him to be standing. Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse have already announced that they are standing.

LDV is, as always, neutral in these things and will report equally on all the candidates.

Layla Moran has outlined her leadership pitch in an article for the Independent (£) which you can also read on her website.

For me, the best leadership is calm, measured and purposeful. It is open, transparent and direct. Good leaders spell out what they and their parties stand for, allowing people to grasp the ideas, embrace change and move forward together.

She outlines her position in three policy areas: economy, environment and education:

When I reimagine the education system, I picture more investment in the early years, to reduce inequalities before children get into a classroom. More power for teachers to design a world-class education system, which recognises and supports children with practical skills as well as academic. And, a nationwide adult retraining programme to get people back on their feet and into work.

Our economic approach also needs urgent change. As the country recovers, we mustn’t leave anyone in our society behind. A universal basic income is necessary to support those who fall on hard times. We must invest in education, health, social care and public services, and give all frontline workers the support they deserve. And let’s prioritise our wellbeing and mental health alongside economic growth, because now more than ever, we need to move forward positively and compassionately.

We have an opportunity to steal a march on the environmental crisis, too. In the past months, travel has reduced, and the demand for coal and oil has plummeted. This presents us with a precious opportunity to flatten the climate curve.

I want to see a UK which is not just carbon neutral but carbon negative. Young people, given they will have to carry this burden for us all, should be involved in the decision-making processes for achieving this ambitious goal. We must acknowledge the part that biodiversity catastrophe plays in pandemics, and recognise that to build resilience, we need to talk about habitat as well as carbon.

And what does the party need to do?

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Time to debate policy whilst the house burns down? Perhaps we should smash the boards instead

That the decision by the Federal Board to delay the leadership contest to 2021 was controversial amongst members is itself a non-controversial statement. WhatsApp groups and email chains have been filled with sometimes sweary complaints regarding the decision, comments about dissatisfied members at risk of leaving the party, and an overall despair at the lethargic and doubt-ridden approach the party has taken to 2020.

That the report into the 2019 General Election car crash was hard-hitting and well-sourced is also non-controversial. It is a good bit of commentary on the reasoning behind the weakening of the Lib Dems since around the time of Kennedy’s removal as leader. It covers a lot of topics familiar both to those who have observed Lib Dem fortunes academically and have had to deal with those fortunes on the ground.

The consistent underpinning theme of the report is the institutional rot that has occurred in party infrastructure, which has been aided – but critically, not caused by – political decisions by various leadership members during the last fifteen years or so.

This is why the U-turn by the Federal Board this week, to take a panicked approach to the leadership election, replacing a longer-term strategic decision which was well articulated by the Party President and others in several places, is so exceptionally concerning. It illustrates the dysfunction outlined by the report perfectly, and does nothing but, at best, delay real action and debate on the report’s themes until the autumn.

What is clearly needed during this extended stint in the political wilderness is time for the lessons of 2019 to fully sink in, and for an empowered President, new CEO and an acting leader (without the distractions of enacting a mandate) to action the recommendations of the report. It requires a strategic approach, not a tactical one.

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 1)

So many press re;leases today…

  • Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader
  • Govt must drop ‘dog ate my homework’ approach to Prevent review
  • PM backs Lib Dem calls for COVID hero honours round
  • Govt has no answers for Brexit border issues for Northern Ireland

Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader

The Liberal Democrats have announced a fresh leadership election timetable and plans to hold an online Autumn Conference – the first for any major political party – in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a meeting of the party’s Federal Board last night, the party agreed to holding their leadership election from June through to August. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the contest will make use of online hustings and online voting.

President of the Liberal Democrats Mark Pack, who chairs the Federal Board, also confirmed the Liberal Democrats decision to hold a digital conference in the Autumn follows “careful consideration of the latest expert advice.”

Liberal Democrat Party President Mark Pack said:

Following careful consideration of the latest public health advice concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the Liberal Democrats are planning to run the biggest online conference in British politics.

Conference plays a key role in our democratic party as well as being an important training and information exchange event. I am therefore pleased we will host an online alternative, the first for any major political party.

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The party President writes…Key party decisions coming up at the Federal Board meetings next week

How do we improve as a party and achieve greater success in future elections? That’s the theme running through the bumper set of key decisions the Federal Board is looking at next week at our meeting. (Or rather meetings, as to avoid Zoom fatigue, we’re splitting one long meeting into halves on consecutive nights.)

Included in that will be the Board’s first considerations of the independent election review, headed up by Dorothy Thornhill and coming out later today. Thank you for all their hard work to her, her colleagues and everyone who contributed evidence to the review.

Even without that review, there are some things we already know we need to change, in particular our use of technology. That’s why the Board will also be looking at major plans to overhaul our approach, learning from the best of those outside politics and from politics overseas. A big part of the plan is much better use of volunteer expertise.

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The Lib Dem Leadership election: Can we please now just get on with it?

Embed from Getty Images

There may originally have been good reason not to proceed with the Lib Dem leadership election this spring at the height of the uncertainty as to how the Covid-19 pandemic was going to progress,but with hindsight it was quite wrong to announce a postponement of twelve months or more.

For the whole of this year so far, Ed Davey has been able to speak only as “interim co-leader”and as a result the impact of the Lib Dem contribution to reasoned critique of the government’s performance has been significantly diminished, as has the effectiveness of our input to proposals for radical policy change as our society and our economy recover from lockdown. In this time of national crisis we are missing the clear Liberal voice of an elected Party Leader able to speak and negotiate with authority on behalf of the whole party.

The Federal Board should please decide at its next meeting to hold the leadership election just as soon as it is possible to put in place the arrangements necessary for virtual hustings and for a robust voting system.

I am told that the Federal Conference committee is well on the way to finding a way to hold the Autumn Party Conference virtually, including software to enable votes on-line. If those conference logistics can be handled, it should also be quite feasible to arrange for a series of virtual Leadership hustings, for a robust combination of electronic and postal voting,and for the distribution of manifestos by post and email as usual. Why not give the candidates a say in the structure and detailed regulations of the campaign to allay any concerns that the novel format could favour any one candidate over another? And why not maintain a traditional feature of past leadership campaigns by giving some virtual events a regional or a specific policy focus ?

Posted in Op-eds | 18 Comments

Why postponing the leadership is a good decision setting a new challenge to those who wish to lead us.

Why postponing the leadership is a good decision setting a new challenge to those who wish to lead us.

Not only do I agree with the difficult decision to postpone the leadership election, I believe also that it is an opportunity to set a challenge to those wishing to lead us.

Declare your intention this year, pull together a team around you and set out your vision for Britain, our party and our philosophy in a book or manifesto. Tell us about it at Spring Conference and hustings so that we can elect you and give us time to debate and fine tune the vision by Autumn Conference. Build on the vision and build the party by leading for as long as Charles or Paddy.

Since December I have been concerned that we were rushing to select our next leader too soon. Before Covid-19 many of us were in a state of shock with the populist Johnson’s election victory, his majority, and his Cabinet of Brexiteers. A subsequent leadership election was always going to be defined by Brexit and the failure of our Remain or People’s Vote strategy, and the perceived failures of the Stop Brexit era. An era that has now gone, Corbyn has gone, conservatism is dead and replaced by populism.

An election during these challenging times as the country pulls together to resist the Coronavirus risks alienating or even angering the public if we are seen as too self-indulgent and too political. Even fellow Lib Dems have questioned campaigning or online meetings at this time and have gone silent. The media holds our party and our politicians to a much higher standard than the Tories and Labour. I think a leadership election now would be turned against us.

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Christine Jardine MP writes…Our party’s priority needs to be supporting communities, not a leadership election

I think that it is fair to say that this Spring is not what any of us expected.

By now we all planned to have come away from York conference in full campaign mode for the local elections and once that was finished there was the not insignificant matter of the leadership election.

The first two have already been victims of the Coronavirus guidelines and social distancing.

But what about the third element of that triumvirate? The leadership election.

I am afraid that I think that should also be postponed.

As the pandemic tightens its grip, and we are seeing both increased public concern and an escalating death-toll I think it would be completely inappropriate to prioritise ourselves.

This for me, however, is not about whether or not we have hustings, whether the candidaes will be able to campaign effectively or whether it will be possible for staff to run the process remotely.

No I am thinking about all those people, including many members, whose lives are going to be turned upside down over the next three months.

How many will be on reduced income , or perhaps none at all?

I am trying to avoid mentioning it, but bluntly what sort of national death toll will we be coming to terms with?

Frankly those are the things I want all of our elected representatives to be focussing on.

Getting the information and action the country needs.

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

Jo Swinson…for leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats?

Embed from Getty Images

A few days after the general election, in a state of numbness I’m sure you are all familiar with, my thoughts were on our former leader, Jo Swinson.

I admit, I was not a full-throated supporter of Swinson’s. I believed she would have problems building the relationships and alliances essential to stopping Brexit, so backed Ed in the contest. In my opinion, she had an opportunity to set Scotland on a more positive course against independence. The real north, as I described it last week, could have begun to work more closely to tackle our unique crises. We would have been better able to hold the SNP’s feet to the iron, somewhat ironically, had we spent less time engaging in running point-scoring battles. We had the same aim. Those failings I find hard to set aside.

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The Party of Human Rights

Much has been made of the repurposing of the Liberal Democrats in the aftermath of December’s General Election.  Enter the Orange Bookers, the social liberals and the FBPE Europhiles all of whom are beginning to set out the course they feel the party should embark on as it looks to the future.

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Winning Here?

A poor performance at the recent general election and an imminent leadership contest has led to much soul searching within the Party. In recent weeks a number of articles in the press have rumoured potential leadership candidates and the ideas that they will campaign on.

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Liberal policies for a Liberal Party

With the leadership election approaching this an excellent opportunity to engage with wider debates about the direction for the party. Whilst many have argued for the party to be one for the political centre, I disagree.

History has shown that the British Liberalism does best when it offers a distinct and unique image (with a corresponding set of policies), that separate it from the Lab-Con duopoly.

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

Kicked into the long grass – the Lib Dem leadership election

Long Grass In Rainy Days
18.6 Should the post of Leader become vacant before the election of a new Leader, the Acting Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and the President of the Party shall jointly assume the responsibilities of Leader of the Party until the new Leader is elected.
Federal Liberal Democrat Constitution

This afternoon, the party announced the timetable for the election of a new leader of the party. This was agreed at the first meeting of the Federal Board chaired by our new President and current co-leader of the party, Mark Pack.

Nominations will open on May 11th, which is the Monday after the elections on May 7th. Nominations will close on May 28th with ballots opening on June 18th and closing on July 15th, after which the new leader will be announced.

I’m not privy to the Federal Board discussions but it does not take a mind-reader to, at least, pick out some of the themes behind this decision.

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Our President on the timetable for the leadership election

Our party President and Co-leader, Mark Pack has just commented on the leadership election timetable on his blog:

The Board discussed in some detail different possible options for the timetable, and we carefully considered the pros and cons of, for example, having a leadership election that took place sooner. Considerations such as wanting to get our review of last year’s elections done first and also avoiding distracting key activists from the May elections were weighed against the benefits of having a new leader sooner.

The close of nominations date will also

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Annoyance of LibDem MPs over power of “new sexy people” in 2019 election decisions – Five candidates ready for party leadership contest – Timetable today

Ailbhe Rea has written a long article on the Liberal Democrats for the New Statesman.

There are some interesting points about the 2019 election covered, based on reported conversations with our MPs:

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