Tag Archives: liberal democrat leadership

Liberal Democrat leadership: So what happens at a Lib Dem hustings meeting?

newcastle bridges by ratherbewalking
I was peeved when I saw that the Scottish leadership hustings were taking place this coming Saturday as I knew I had to be in London for a Federal Executive away day. In a moment of madness, though, I decided that I would make a trip to Newcastle for the hustings last Friday night. I am, after all, the FE liaison person for the North East region so it would be good to meet people there.

After a 90 minute train journey, a delicious Chicken Fajita in a place called Zapatista and a quick look at the Centurion pub next to the station to see the amazing Victorian tile work (honest), I headed to the Station Hotel a full hour before the hustings started. It was already buzzing with people. They were expecting so many to turn up that they had had to arrange a bigger room.

I managed to get one of the last seats in the room even though I’d got there so early. Strictly speaking, I might have spent too long drinking gin in the bar with my friend of two decades, Jo, where I also found out something about Tim Farron’s past that I didn’t know. I am now hunting down the evidence and when I find it, you will be the first to know. It’s not scandal, unless you count crimes against fashion in that category. 

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Lib Dem Leadership: Big name endorsements for each camp as ballots are posted to members

Ballots for the Liberal Democrat leadership hit members’ doorsteps from tomorrow.

With that in mind, both camps have unveiled big name endorsements. From the Lamb campaign, he kind of unveiled it himself in his inimitable style:

It isn’t the biggest surprise in the whole world. During our Spring conference, he was pretty critical of Tim. Paddy becomes the latest party establishment figure to support Norman Lamb.

At the start of the campaign, Tim Farron unveiled a list of over 100 parliamentary candidates who had supported him. On Monday he announced the support of over 200 councillors, council group leaders and elected mayors like Dorothy Thornhill and Dave Hodgson. The Westminster Bubble may have gravitated towards Norman, but Tim has significant grassroots support.

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Tim Farron and Norman Lamb face a live audience on Victoria Derbyshire

This morning leadership candidates Tim Farron and Norman Lamb appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2. They were quizzed by Victoria and a live audience. See how they got on below:

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Greg Mulholland MP writes…Free on Friday evening? Join Tim Farron’s online Q & A

Tim Farron and Greg MulhollandThis Friday will mark three weeks until the Liberal Democrats have a new leader. Other than the many visits and hustings he’s doing to meet as many party members as possible, this Friday evening, 6.30pm-8pm, Tim’s also doing an online Q&A live via webcam. I’d highly recommend signing up, and you can do so via this link.

In this election, I am proud to back Tim Farron to take the party forward and get us back to our winning ways. Why do I trust Tim to do that? Simply, because it’s what he’s always done. It takes a solid campaigner to end 95 years of Tory hold on a constituency- that’s what Tim did when he won Westmorland & Lonsdale for us in 2005, the same year I was elected for Leeds North West.

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Liberator questionnaire to Lamb and Farron

Issue 372 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers and takes a hard look at the lessons to be learnt from the fiasco of 7 May.

For the free sample content for this issue we’ve done something different from normal and posted Tim Farron’s and Norman Lamb’s answers to the questionnaire we sent them. You can see their answers here.

We aimed to try to get responses that shed some light on where they think the party stands now and what sort of party they want to lead, rather than opinions on specific policy issues. Both were given the same questions and allowed up to 1,500 words to use as they chose to answer them.

The questions were:

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Leadership LibLink: Norman Lamb: It’s time to halve the prison population

Earlier this week, Norman Lamb wrote for the Huffington Post outlining a strong, liberal case for putting fewer people in prison. It’s powerful stuff:

There can be no other area of public policy, with the exception of the related issue of drugs reform, where establishment politicians so readily bang the drum for the exact opposite of any evidence-based solution. Our prisons clearly fail to rehabilitate: half of those released reoffend within a year, including six in ten of those on sentences of less than twelve months.

Liberal Democrats must lead the call for drastic and urgent action to reduce crime, protect victims more effectively, help criminals turn their lives around and protect taxpayers money: we must push for a Ministry of Justice target to halve the prison population by 2025.

Maybe we should look at the reasons people commit crime and tackle them, says Norman:

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Opinion: It’s time to rock and roll – with Tim Farron

I watched the Tower Hamlets Leadership Hustings video last night and it compelled me to reflect on my more than 40 years’ experience of studying leadership. By studying I mean both academically and through observation, and then using this knowledge when teaching leadership in numerous public and private sector organisations throughout the UK and Europe, as well as in many well-known Business Schools, and also acting as leadership coach to countless senior managers. I am not bragging but simply ‘setting out my stall’ before making the following comments about leadership in relation to Tim Farron.

Great leaders understand, and make use of, a raft of very specific skills and characteristics. They are exceptional communicators who are able to make use of all communication channels open to them. They not only write in a language that everyone can understand, but they are also able to speak directly to people and encourage them to buy-in to what they are saying and take action as a result. Great leaders not only have a very clear vision of where they want to lead their organisation in the future but also understand how the vision links to the past, as well as knowing what needs to be done now to make the vision become a reality. Great leaders have a well balanced mix of charm, humour and wit. They take their role as leader very, very seriously but not themselves. They are usually very humble, use the ‘we’ word rather than ‘I’, and are quite happy to use themselves as the butt of their own jokes, not other people. Great leaders understand the idea that ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. They are very bright yet have a common touch – they can do verbal battle with the best of them but are also able to touch the soul of the woman or man on the street.  I could go on!

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Opinion: The Tim I know and why I am backing him

It seems a long time since I sat in a Kendal pub and talked with a young 32 year old parliamentary candidate who had dreams of being our local MP. The Tories had been in power here for just short of 100 years and we thought that was enough. The District Council had a Tory leader and I was there to see if I could be persuaded to stand as a Liberal Democrat for my local Ward, to bring us a little nearer towards taking control.

It’s 13 years since that meeting, Tim’s now our MP and we run the Council. We’re building homes for local families, who previously were being forced out of South Lakeland, and we’re helping create jobs by having a strong local plan. Our targets are 1,000 new affordable homes to rent and 1,000 new jobs. We came into politics to change lives for the better and we’re doing that in South Lakeland.

We used to run many more councils across the UK, all with a good story to tell, and if we are to rebuild our party we need to take these councils back! That’s why I’m writing to ask you to join me in backing Tim Farron as our new party leader.

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Norman Lamb MP writes…We must renew, restructure and simplify the way our party works

I believe a priority for the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats is to renew, restructure and simplify the way our Party works. Some parts of the Party work well – others do not. Good practice should be shared and problem areas tackled.

As Liberal Democrats, we rightly set high standards for ourselves on tolerance, equality, openness, accountability, and diversity.  But our party often doesn’t live up to them.

During this campaign people have been telling me that there wasn’t enough accountability within the party.  People had concerns about our central message and the way we fought the election – but it felt like there was no easy channel to get those messages through.  And where mistakes were made, it wasn’t clear who ultimately was responsible.

Few party members really understand how our party works.  There are so many committees with overlapping responsibility.  The process for election to many offices within the party is arcane.  If no-one knows how our party structures work, there cannot be effective accountability.

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Opinion: A moment of acceptance

In the election campaign I was touched, but not surprised, to see Sal Brinton post a link on facebook to an interview with Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett where he spoke of his experiences growing up gay, and self-identifying as an HIV+ parliamentary candidate. My suspicion was that many would encourage someone in Adrian’s position to “be discreet”: but seeing him being so open and the party President support him so clearly made me proud to be a liberal democrat.

From a gay perspective, it’s been encouraging in the present leadership election to see doubts over Tim’s support for LGBT people raised as a cause for concern, and to see him act quickly to counter them.

Recently I had a very positive surprise when I read an article picking up on Norman Lamb’s piece in Pink News where he moved the whole debate on a stage by saying:

until every young person is proud of who they are, who they find attractive and who they love, our fight will continue.

The shift feels significant: from accepting a minority (which keeps them as a minority whose acceptance is to be fought for) and something genuine. It calls to mind the slogan of the LGBT-majority Free Community Church in Singapore: “welcome home”

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For new and infrequent commenters only: What do you think of the leadership election so far?

This is one of our occasional posts where we reserve the comments for those who don’t comment very often. Anyone who has made five or fewer comments in the past month is welcome to take part.

The subject for debate today is the leadership election. Liberal Democrat Voice is taking an entirely neutral stance and are doing our best to give equal and balanced coverage of the contest.

We just wondered what you thought of it all so far.  Have you seen the candidates in action? Are they talking about the things that you want to hear about? What do you think of their campaign websites, videos and themes? Do you have any questions for them?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

If you haven’t seen the two in action so far, you can always have a look at the New Members’ Hustings. A big thank yo to James Wright, too, for pointing me in the direction of these videos shot  by his Dad Andrew Cambridge hustings last week. They are really good quality.  Here they are:

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Video: Watch Farron and Lamb in action at leadership hustings

A few weeks ago, Tim Farron and Norman Lamb took part in a hustings in London for several hundred new members of the party. The video footage has finally been put online. It’s two hours long, so get yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy. It’s particularly useful for those of you who can’t get to a hustings meeting. I’m particularly thinking of those in the Highlands who would have to travel to either Aberdeen or Edinburgh. The full list of official hustings events is here and there are other unofficial events where both candidates will be appearing.

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Tim Farron talks about Asylum and Immigration

Last week Elizabeth Needham recorded some video footage of leadership candidate Tim Farron talking about asylum and immigration.

She’s happy for it to be shared, so, enjoy!

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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

MPs

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

MSPs

Willie Rennie
Jim Hume
Liam McArthur

Former MSPs

Euan Robson

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The leadership contenders send out their first all-member emails

Lib Dem Chief Executive Tim Gordon, in his capacity as Acting Returning Officer for the Leadership Election, has sent out the following email to members today:

As you will have seen Nick Clegg resigned as Party Leader after the General Election and nominations closed last Wednesday for the election of his successor.  Two candidates have been duly nominated, Norman Lamb and Tim Farron.

Below are the top lines and links in the first of three emails from the candidates that I am distributing on their behalf.  I do this in my role as the Acting Returning Officer for this election.

Also please find below contact details for how you can find out more about each of the candidates.

You should receive your ballot paper by post around the last weekend in June. There will also be a copy of both candidates’ manifestos included with it.

Our ballot counters must receive your complete ballot paper by first post on July 15th for it to count.

To help you make your decision a number of hustings events are being held around the country further details can be found at http://www.libdems.org.uk/leadership_events

Many thanks for participating in this important election.

All 61456 (correct at time of writing but increasing all the time) members of the party will get a ballot paper. These will be despatched on 24th June and the result will be announced on 16th July. Hustings meetings are taking place all over the country, so do take the opportunity to see the candidates in action. Already 1200 people have signed up for the London hustings alone! The New Members’ hustings which took place a couple of weeks ago will be put on the party website at some point.

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Opinion: Why I would follow Tim

 

I joined the Liberal Democrats a couple of weeks ago. For the most part I joined because of Nick Clegg, whose eloquence and calmness intrigued me and piqued my interest in the moderate course. I had decided before the general election that I was going to join after my exams and I was distraught when I realised I would never be following Nick.

I wanted to follow Nick because he was genuine, he could be funny, and he was gracious. I could also tell he was a very smart man who understood his party’s policies and was dedicated to the principles of liberalism. From watching Tim on ‘Question Time’, I could tell he was genuine, funny and gracious, possibly more so than Nick. What I was worried about was the second part of what I admired in Nick.

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Opinion: Why I’m supporting Norman Lamb for leader

At the Spring Conference I went to a fringe event by the Social Liberal Forum entitled Mental Health: equality of esteem?, addressed by Norman Lamb with Ian Brodie Brown (of Imagine Mental Health) and a mental health services user.

This could easily have been just a health minister supporting health things, but there was a great deal more to it than that. Mental health is stigmatised. It took courage to make a stand and put this on the agenda before it became clear that it would not cost us votes.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Why Tim Farron is the right person to rebuild the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats have taken an electoral pounding over the last five years. When we entered coalition government in 2010 it gave us the opportunity to put Liberal Democrat policies into practice for the first time in generations.  We tempered the excesses of the Tories, as is becoming increasingly clear as the new government adopts a frightening, hard right-wing agenda. For this we have paid a heavy price. The loss of so many brilliant and hard-working councillors, MPs and MEPs means we will have to spend time rebuilding and reorganising the party from the bottom up.

It seemed we were so busy being in government that we forgot to remind ourselves and our voters just exactly what it is we stand for. We talked about what we had blocked the Tories from doing, but not enough about what drives us – those values and ethical beliefs that brought us all into politics. Our new leader will need to do that.  He will need to take the liberal values we espouse in our constitution and convey them to the electorate. He will have to energise the grassroots, inspire a new generation of activists and get people back out on the doorsteps, making the case for why we need a strong Liberal voice in British politics.

I believe that Tim Farron is the best man for that task. Tim is a stalwart campaigner and a passionate, inspiring communicator. He has all the skills, vision and drive to reach out to our existing members, all those who have recently joined and those who will join when they know how important it is to have Liberal Democrats defending the values that we hold dear.

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: We can build a new progressive, liberal movement of change across the country

Yes, I know, lots of leadership stuff today – but then, there’s a lot out there and it is a Very Big Thing for the party at the Norman Lamb badgesmoment.

Norman Lamb has outlined his vision for Politics Home. Trust the people, he says:

As liberals, we fundamentally believe that government can’t pick and choose which human rights are important, or who should have them.  We believe that powerful organisations – both public and private – must be open and accountable.  And we believe that, when people use the internet, they don’t surrender the right to privacy from government snooping.

And at the very heart of my liberalism is the idea that we must trust in people. That we must take power away from unaccountable institutions and give it to individuals – so that they can decide how to live their lives, rather than being told what to do by the state.

Nearly a decade ago, I won a long battle with the Labour government to force the then-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to publish lists of the individuals he met.  That principle now extends across all government ministers – and is crucial in holding ministers to account for the way that decisions are made.

And it’s important to give those most vulnerable a proper say in what happens to them:

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Video: Tim Farron talks about housing

Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Tim Farron has released his first campaign video and he’s devoted it to housing:

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Leadership News: The Tweets

We thought we’d take an occasional look through the Twitter feeds of leadership hopefuls Norman Lamb and Tim Farron. Today they are united, marching for human rights.

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Leadership News: Support for both Farron and Lamb in Huffington Post

Two recent articles from the Huffington Post speak out in favour  of each candidate for the Liberal Democrats.

First, Jack Davies tells why he is supporting Tim Farron:

It was a cold afternoon in November when, huddled before my computer screen, I typed out a message to Tim Farron, the then party president of the Liberal Democrats.

The message was a call for help. I was hoping to stand for election as the Liberal Democrat PPC in New Forest West and I needed assistance in applying.

I didn’t expect Tim to reply, but to my surprise, he did.

His reply was polite and helpful. He offered to read my application script and pointed me in the right direction with tips on what to say. I was taken aback by the response and even more astounded that so much care was afforded to it.

It is moments like these that inspire people to enter the world of politics, to aspire them to be as good as the politician who has taken the time to talk to them. It certainly inspired me into getting more involved and I set up New Forest Liberal Youth to encourage more young people in the New Forest to become involved.

Editor of The Secularist Conversation Stefan Rollnick explains his support for Norman Lamb:

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Lamb looks to Farage for inspiration

The Huffington Post reported Norman Lamb’s remarks at a new members’ event in London this week.

Lamb told the activists: “There are remarkable things happening these days, just look at the rise and fall of corporations. The big companies that are household names one day and disappear the next. The startups that suddenly catch fire and become enormous new organisations.

“The same is happening in politics. Look at what happened with the SNP, look at what happened indeed with a different force, one we reject entirely. Nigel Farage communicated a view to people in a way that got people listening,” Lamb said.

He adding: “Now, his message is one of division, ours is one of uniting people.

“There are so many people out there ready to hear from us. And actually wanting to hear a progressive liberal voice in opposition to a right-wing Conservative government. With the the Labour Party in a state of internal turmoil themselves and likely to face many years, I suspect, of infighting, the responsibility of us to step up to the plate and make the case for progressive liberal politics, the politics of hope not the politics of fear, is overwhelming.”

 

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Tim Farron MP writes…The Human Rights Act is vital and we must fight to keep it

The Tories have blinked on the Human Rights Act but the fight is not yet won. They are still going to make ‘proposals’ this year, with still the threat of a bill next year.

The Human Rights Act is a favourite target of the right wing press. They hate it because it is ‘European’ (even though the European Convention on Human Rights springs not from the EU but from the quite different Council of Europe – and anyway, what’s wrong with being European?). They hate it because it contains a right to private and family life and so it interferes with that part of the media’s business model. And they hate it, above all, because, although human rights law protects everyone, some of its beneficiaries will always be unpopular and isolated minorities, people it is popular to attack.

But the Human Rights Act is vital for a fair society. Last year, for example, a court declared incompatible with human rights an Act of Parliament that retrospectively cancelled the Department of Work and Pensions’ debts to thousands of jobseekers who had been illegally denied benefits. How else could this unfairness be rectified? Parliament had passed the law only the year before. Jobseekers are demonised and although we should never stop campaigning for people being bullied by the government, it was clear that no political campaign was going to help. Only the court could do the job.

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Video: Norman Lamb’s pitch for leader

Norman Lamb has released a video talking about why he wants to be leader.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: The best argument for the Liberal Democrats? A Tory Queen’s Speech

Over at the Huffington Post, leadership hopeful Tim Farron has been writing about the Queen’s Speech and why it shows that a strong liberal voice is needed.

On Europe, the referendum on our membership of the EU is an issue already threatening to turn into a parody. Cameron has just barred two groups from voting – 16 and 17-year olds, who engaged fantastically with the Scottish referendum; and most EU citizens resident in the UK, who can already vote in local government elections. Probably two of the groups most likely to vote to stay in the EU! There is also the fact that Britain will take over the rotating EU presidency in July 2017. That Britain could be in charge of the EU while simultaneously campaigning to leave it is a just a bizarre scenario. Will we see the referendum brought forward? Regardless, this is going to plunge many businesses into huge uncertainty and put many of their investment plans on hold.

Closer to home, we see the Snooper’s Charter back on the agenda. This is going to make internet service providers collect and store vast amounts of data – such as what websites you’ve been on, who you’ve been emailing, when, from where – and make this data available to government on request. Big Brother is well and truly here. Tories often complain that the Liberal Democrats blocked them from implementing the Snooper’s Charter – and I’m dead proud that we did. The one question we must all ask Theresa May, and Tory MPs who will support her Snooper’s Charter, is: how do you protect our freedoms by destroying them?

We also see more ‘tough talk’ from David Cameron on immigration. Wages of some illegal migrants will fall under the scope of the Proceeds of Crime Act and will be confiscated. This could hit the genuinely vulnerable and exploited migrant worker who earns £23.60 after doing a 60-hour shift. If this makes no sense to you, it doesn’t make sense to me either. This is, yet again, the politics of gimmickry and division.

He ends with an invitation:

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Norman Lamb MP writes: I want us to lead the way in Parliament to allow assisted dying

For many years, I opposed attempts to legalise assisted dying.  I had concerns, shared by many, that the risk to the most vulnerable individuals outweighed the benefits.  Equally, I respect those with deeply held religious concerns.
 
But my views have been challenged in recent years. As an MP and in my role in the last Parliament as a health minister, I have spoken to many terminally ill patients, and the families of those who suffered slow deaths in great pain.
 
So many of them were convinced, when someone is suffering intolerably, and when they are reaching the end of their life, they should be allowed to end their suffering with dignity, and with the support of those closest to them.
 
These testimonies have forced me to think again. Would I want the right to decide for myself, when faced with terminal illness, when I wished to die? And would I want it for loved ones? The answer is unequivocally, yes. 
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Jo Swinson writes….Why I’m backing Tim for leader

The Liberal Democrats have always felt like a family, and none more so than with the rallying round after the crushing election results this month.  As the results unfolded, the texts and tweets began to arrive.  I had to read them in small batches over the next few days: it’s often the words of kindness that bring the raw emotions to the surface the most.

On one level, the pain I felt was deeply personal – Duncan and I both lost our seats after 12 years of campaigning and service to our communities.  Compounding this was the shared anguish of watching liberal giants like Vince and Simon defeated; transfixed by the TV in a sort of stunned post-count vigil with my campaign manager Katy Gordon as the new political reality dawned.

By Friday morning, I was reunited with Duncan and Andrew, whose excited “Mummy, mummy!” was the best possible antidote to the haze of sleep-deprived sadness.  I turned on the radio to hear Nick’s resignation speech – taking responsibility with dignity, and reinforcing the need for our liberal values more than ever – and that was when the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. 

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Video: Simon Hughes endorses Tim Farron’s leadership bid

It’s Simon, so it’s not going to be brief, but here is a party legend saying why he thinks Tim should be leader:

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Frank Bruno “to endorse Norman Lamb”

From today’s Independent on Sunday:

Frank Bruno, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, will endorse Norman Lamb to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The former health minister wants to show he has popular appeal as he tries to close the gap on Tim Farron in the race to succeed Nick Clegg.

Mr Lamb has already secured the support of former N-Dubz singer Dappy, and is expected to unveil Mr Bruno, who fought Mike Tyson twice, in a video endorsement this week. “Frank Bruno is heavyweight support,” a source close to Mr Lamb said. Mr Bruno, who has suffered from depression, is a fan of Mr Lamb because of his work on mental health.

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