BREAKING NEWS: Vince Cable announces his candidacy for Leader

A statement from Vince Cable MP:

Today I am announcing that I will be a candidate in the forthcoming Liberal Democrat leadership election. I wanted to do so on Lib Dem Voice, the leading forum for discussion amongst our membership.

With 20 years on the national political stage I am passionate as ever about our liberal values. I am ready to commit my energy, enthusiasm and experience to the task of leading the Liberal Democrats through what will be a period of chronic uncertainty. With the prospect of another election looming large, we must be ready for the fight.

Brexit negotiations have begun. The government is split and weakened; Labour is equivocal about Europe. The Liberal Democrats alone have a consistent and principled, outward looking, and approach to the issue. We must fight for the British public to have a final say on the government’s deal with a chance to stay in the EU if the deal is not good enough. To achieve this, we will need to work with like-minded people in other parties.

As Shadow Chancellor I secured a hard-won hearing for the party on the economy, warning of the 2008 financial crisis which has been a source of economic weakness, great inequality and political anger ever since. In government for five years as Secretary of State for Business I created a distinctive Lib Dem vision for the economy with a long-term industrial strategy, promotion of science and innovation, banking reform, investment in young people via apprenticeships and the promotion of socially responsible capitalism. With the economy approaching the Brexit iceberg, Liberal Democrats need more than ever to warn of the dangers ahead and the need for a new course.

As a socially progressive party we must build on our good policies in support of public services. The NHS, especially mental health, and social care and schools are now under severe financial pressure. Our campaigning on these issues, and others, like the environment, must be national and at community level, building on a long tradition which created the party’s local government base. With a clear voice and a clear message on these issues, we can rebuild our vote share and representation nationally, in local government, the Scottish parliament and the Welsh and London assemblies.

There are big opportunities ahead. The Conservatives are in disarray and in retreat. The Labour Party outperformed expectations but complacently believes that ‘one more heave’ will see it into office. But an economic policy based on offering lots of free things lacks economic credibility and will be found out. Investing in infrastructure, rather than borrowing for everyday running costs is credible. There is a big space in British politics which I am determined that we should occupy.

The contest will take place with the largest membership electorate in our party’s history. We should be ambitious about increasing our number still further and in particular attracting young people to our cause. I welcome the more diverse party and parliamentary party we now have and will give priority to promoting diversity, an issue I championed as a minister and with some success in business leadership.

The party has survived five difficult years of Coalition government and the disadvantage of the current unreformed voting system. We are now growing again and the political winds are moving in our favour. I believe I can, as leader, offer the energy, dedication and drive, as well as experience, to help – with you – to make our party a credible contender for power.

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  • 🙂

  • You had me all excited. I thought there was going be an announcement about a confidence and supply arrangement in return for a second referendum.

    Oh well, dear old Vince. Wasn’t terribly effective in government though was he?

  • Alisdair McGregor 20th Jun '17 - 11:03am

    I welcome Vince’s candidacy, but Vince is going to have to set out his stance on immigration and free movement, where he’s previously positioned himself in ways that are – to say the least – out of step with the party membership.

  • Fantastic news!

  • Adam Bernard 20th Jun '17 - 11:14am

    I agree with Alisdair. Vince’s repeated comments on immigration have put him at odds with party membership and with party policy, and are hard to square with our position as an anti-Brexit party.

    I have no particular objections to technocratic centrism, but I’m deeply unsure that this is a recipe for success, and thoroughly sure that it does not justify downplaying our core message of liberalism.

  • Unsurprisingly, I agree with Alisdair, Matt and Adam.

  • Oh good, the public face of the biggest act of self immolation in recent political history wants to lead the party. That will help voters forget about Tuition Fees and move on. Just imagine the clips Labour can use of him announcing the policy and being slapped on the back by those lovely Tories. Not to mention his vain dalliance with the female reporter when he threatened the “Nuclear Option”, not exactly political genius..

    I would have hoped for someone unsullied by the Coalition mistakes, or at least vaguely repentant of them. Tim was the reason I came back to vote Lib Dem in 2017, Vince will not be a positive for me at the next election.

  • Vince has enormous credibility and we could do worse. I particularly like his comment about Labour “an economic policy based on offering lots of free things lacks economic credibility and will be found out” – one of our failings in the last couple of years – and certainly a key reason for our poor performance – has been a complete failure to attack Labour, which may have made sense when they were down (kicking a man down looks cruel) but was always going to backfire if they recovered which they did.

    But I do have concerns over Vince as leader. I’m not convinced by his free movement article but more importantly I suspect age will be held against Vince. Another thing is I can’t really see him socking it to Labour in the way I feel we need to; he has tended to cosy up to them. We need someone who will put forward an unashamedly liberal alternative, attacking BOTH Conservative and Labour anti-liberal positions fervently. Someone who has credibility, passion and vision. Is this Vince? Maybe, but not sure.

  • We are becoming a very cynical tribe. Healthy debate is good for the soul. On the question of immigration. If anyone makes any kind of remark about limiting immigration or stopping freedom of movement they are very often deemed to be anti liberal. So a question. Should a liberal defend all immigration with no limits and argue for freedom of movement for all citizens of the world? And if not why not?

  • Oh No. He was the Secretary of State who introduced Tuition Fees. No way I am voting for him. One day who is next?

  • Sorry should have read “One down who is next?”

  • “I would have hoped for someone unsullied by the Coalition mistakes, or at least vaguely repentant of them”

    No, definitely not. Enough apologising. We have a record to be proud of in Coalition, even if we were unlucky to be in government at a time when harsh decisions needed to be made. We gained a lot of members BECAUSE of our record in coalition not despite it.

  • Russell Bloom 20th Jun '17 - 11:27am

    Vince’s position on free movement follows fairly in-depth research on the issue looking at both the distributional impact, issues of equality on EU and non-EU migration, and the fact that migration policy has degenerated into a tactical policy. If you read the article in the New Statesman he is certainly not against the issue, but highlights the tradeoffs – the positive contribution that young workers offer in some sectors, but it may also not be a recurring benefit. In order for the party to represent a centrist/centre-left position in the country, surely any potential leader must acknowledge hostility to immigration or at least put out a positive message backed up with empirical in order to dismiss the misinformation on the effects.

  • “Should a liberal defend all immigration with no limits and argue for freedom of movement for all citizens of the world?”

    People should be allowed to move exactly as freely as money.

  • I’m sure that Vince, when he was acting leader after Ming’s resignation, dismissed the idea of running for leader as he felt he was too old. That was 10 years ago now, so I would be interested to know why he sees things differently now.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 11:29am

    Julian Tisi 20th Jun ’17 – 11:26am
    “We gained a lot of members BECAUSE of our record in coalition not despite it.”

    Oh, indeed. And it’s number of members that counts, not number of votes or number of MPs. Isn’t it?

  • I have nothing but respect for Vince Cable but I think his leader-ship has (or should have) sailed.

    We have the alarming prospect of Cable, Corbyn and possibly Davis as the leaders of the three main national parties by the end of the summer. No offence to any of these individuals but it’s a bit disappointing (and a little ironic) that an election notable for increased engagement of young voters ends with three grey men in charge.

  • To Malcolm Todd: people were saying that about Labour under Corbyn. Membership translated into votes and MPs.

  • Russell Bloom 20th Jun '17 - 11:32am

    And on tuition fees, instead of a broad-brush tuition fee – which undermines universities ability to maintain good standard of education – I would like to see a means tested approach. Those that can afford the fees continue to pay and low income households get a free education. This would be cheaper on the public purse than what Labour is offering and show the party is thinking progressively about how to tackle the issue after damage from coalition.

  • Christopher Haigh 20th Jun '17 - 11:35am

    Vince has written very wisely about having a sensible immigration policy. Our country has established a good system of welfare security to its inhabitants since 1945. Unlimited migration just puts this system in jeopardy.

  • Good. Bring on the heavy artillery.

    Full “Stalin to Mr. Bean” exchange. Cable v. Brown – YouTube
    Video for vince cable gordon brown mr bean▶ 2:49
    19 Jan 2013 – Uploaded by fair66115

  • David Warren 20th Jun '17 - 11:35am

    I am surprised Vince Cable has put his name forward this time, having just returned to parliament I would have thought he felt the need to concentrate on constituency matters.

    Party leaders inevitably get dragged away a lot and the fall in Tim Farron’s majority may have been a factor in that.

    I feel Tom Brake would be a good choice, he came to Reading to speak in a debate on Brexit and was excellent.

    He proved very popular with local residents even those who disagreed with him.

  • John Chandler 20th Jun '17 - 11:36am

    Phew! Good news!

    And can we stop being ashamed of the Coalition? Some of us came to the Lib Dem fold because of our appreciation of what the Lib Dems achieved in government under difficult circumstances.

  • Lester Holloway 20th Jun '17 - 11:37am

    If Vince can get to himself to North Kensington and Finsbury Park, and speak to people there, he’ll have my vote.

  • Vince,

    I will rank my preferences in order of the candidates determination to stuff Brexit up Boris Johnson’s….

    No deal is “good enough” and we should clearly and unambiguously ask the country to change its mind and reverse the process.

  • Let Vince set out his own stall on his views for the future, and then see how that chimes with the wider aspirations of the party members. Some doubters may be very positively surprised ! He is someone who has tremendous credibility and resonance with the voters. I think he will be a good guardian of the party and our principles, and others in other parties will be looking on anxiously if he is leader!

  • John, and some of us joined the party forty years ago to build a liberal future as the alternative to the two main parties, and then we saw all that work squandered in just five years of political ineptitude. Sure we did a lot to help sort out the immediate mess, but the long term consequences, massive loss of trust, loss of councillors, MEPs, MSPs, and MPs; and now Brexit, all came because Nick sacrificed way too much.

  • The architect of the tuition fees debacle wishes to lead the Liberal Democrats.

  • No point in adding anything further other than to associate myself with the comments made about Vince’s views on Freedom Of Movement.

    I hope there will be other candidates but fear they will hold back in the knowledge that Vince will only hold their ambitions for a short period.

    A cynic might suggest that, at the very least, Vince and Jo have had words.

  • Shaun Cunningham 20th Jun '17 - 11:51am

    Many want to lead or believe they can lead while the truth is; only few have the ability to to do so. Vice has the ability to relate to a wide audience. We are entering a leadership election many in our party never wanted or asked for. Vice will stable the ship and hopeful allow others to gain the experience to come forward at a future date. I welcome this news. The other potential candidates fill me with dread to be honest.

  • This looks like a ‘back to the future’ move to me, and I hope there is another candidate standing.
    I have a number of concerns:
    1) Vince’s recent statements on free movement and Brexit
    2) The fact that he was the Minister that brought in the Tuition Fee increase that continues to haunt us years later
    3) He is good on Treasury issues on the economy, so we will lose the best Shadow Chancellor we could have had amongst the current 12 MPs
    4) He is even older than Ming Campbell was when he became Leader, so all those ageist press attacks will come back again

    I also doubt his judgement on issues outside the Economic brief. A few years ago, at the height of his popularity, I saw him speak on Faith Schools ina Conference debate, and he was mumbling and incoherent. A total contrast to the Vince who had spoken so eloquently on the Economy the day before. I think he is a ‘detail’ rather than ‘big picture’ politician.

    Electing Vince as Leader will not make us look like a party moving on and moving forward, instead we will look like we are harping back to past glories. Like the Ming election in 2006, It also looks like an ‘interim’ choice, and I don’t think that is what we need right now.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 11:52am

    Stewart 20th Jun ’17 – 11:32am
    “To Malcolm Todd: people were saying that about Labour under Corbyn. Membership translated into votes and MPs.”

    And if Labour had followed a catastrophic fall in its support with a further slight decline, those people would have been right.
    Healthy membership is undoubtedly a necessity for success, but it’s neither the measure of success nor a guarantee of it, that’s my point. I don’t claim to know exactly what was behind the huge recent increase in membership of the party (though the fact that the first bounce followed its ejection from coalition and the second and greater one followed the EU referendum suggests that coalition fandom is unlikely to have been the major cause), but it certainly hasn’t translated into renewed popularity for the party amongst voters.

  • Vincent is the perfect candidate for the next few years. Someone with intelligence and gravitas to speak up during the Brexit negotiations who can then pass the baton on to his Deputy, hopefully Jo, in due course.
    Of course, Vince is not perfect but he is the best we have and we should back him to the hilt. A shame for Norman who is an excellent MP, a man with a conscience and a Liberal through and through but these are special times when we need someone of Vince’s standing.

  • What really worries me about Vince’s becoming Leader is that the most probable assumption still has to be that no General Election will take place until after the conclusion of Brexit negotiations, and that by then Vince will be 76 years old and no spring chicken at all. If at that point he decides to stand down from the Leadership, our new Leader, whoever that might be, could be landed with having to fight a General Election campaign in the summer or autumn of 2019 as an unknown to the general public and with very little actual leadership experience ; or, if Vince were to decide to fight such an election as Leader before standing down, he would be mercilessly pilloried by the press as aged and likely to be out of touch. The hypothesis by which Jo Swinson might by then have emerged as a UK-wide popular favourite, and thus as some one who could step in as Leader in the summer of 2019 as if she had been born for the role, seems to be a deluded one, in that all past experience shows that a new Leader of the Party needs a fairly prolonged period of exposure as Leader before the public really recognise the merits of the individual concerned.

  • Malcolm Todd

    Of course not. But our failure to advance in terms of votes and seats is much to do with us not offering a very clear alternative. We’re still the “split the difference” party which is failing to attract either the moderate left-leaning or right-leaning voter.

    This is a fundamental problem. If we’re to attract voters to our cause we need to enthuse them with the same passion we feel as activists. As a party we need to be able to stand up proudly and shout who WE are in a way that is both distinctive from the alternatives and in a way that voters believe.

    In terms of our record in government I would be the first to admit that there are things we would not have done in government alone that we went along with for the sake of the coalition. And I would admit we were too slow and subtle to make this distinction publicly. But to just wash our hands of the coalition is doubly weak.

    First, because our record in government is the best evidence voters have of what we actually stand for and to trash this is not just a betrayal of the good work Lib Dem ministers performed, but also takes away a key reason for people voting Lib Dem. And we have a lot to be proud of – not just on fringe issues but core issues too. For example, in a time of austerity we cut taxes for millions and increased taxes on the rich (whatever Labour now claim to the contrary). On necessary spending cuts, we started at the top with expensive middle class subsidies that Labour now prioritise.

    Second, being apologetic is not going to win round many left wing waverers but will likely turn off more who want a party that is proud about what is stands for, not just apologetic.

  • @Julian Tisi
    I don’t want continued apologies, I just don’t want the person who was unapologetic about breaking his promise to be the leader. The rest of the Country can’t move on from it if the architect of the tripling tuition fees is the new leader.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 12:05pm

    “our failure to advance in terms of votes and seats is much to do with us not offering a very clear alternative”

    I’m happy to agree that you’re almost certainly right about that.

    I also agree that being “apologetic” is a dead-end: the people who make constant demands for Lib Dems to apologise for the coalition are no more going to respond by actually voting for them than those who kept demanding that Labour apologise for fiscal imprudence had any intention of giving Ed Miliband their support if he had done so.
    I think one thing to be learned from Corbyn is that the best thing to do is neither to apologise for past failings nor celebrate a record that many people don’t feel worth celebrating, but to ignore all that and talk about the future. I’ve essentially given up on this party because it seems to be unable to do that.

  • Peyman Hewitt 20th Jun '17 - 12:07pm

    People having a go at Vince’ article on immigration, it’s the first healthy one of it’s kind. Pragmatic solution to what people want without the racist and demoinsing rhetoric, something that can be discussed in a civil way as opposed to UKIP/BNP and now Tory rubbish being spewed.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 12:09pm

    But Steve Way’s point immediately above is also a good one: it’s virtually impossible for someone strongly associated with an unpopular past to escape having to engage with it. Part of the reason for the success of Corbyn and McDonnell et al. is that despite decades of political experience they are in government terms “clean skins”. That’s a tricky combination to pull off. (It’s one that the entire Liberal Democrat party had in 2010, of course. Oh well.)

  • I finally came to this party a couple of months ago because a stand needed to be made against Brexit, and in favour of the single market and the four freedoms. For me, therefore, any leadership candidate needs to be absolutely clear that they support membership of the EU, the Single Market, and freedom of movement. I don’t necessarily mind what they’ve said in the past but I want clarity now.

  • David Becket 20th Jun '17 - 12:12pm

    He has to lance the tuition fee boil and bring drastic changes to the system.

    It would also help us if Vince, other candidates and our leader were to take up the issues raised by Kensington and Finsbury Park, and not keep quiet and stay away.

  • Peter Watson 20th Jun '17 - 12:17pm

    @Russell Bloom “Those that can afford the fees continue to pay and low income households get a free education.”
    This would completely undermine the case that the party has made for its tuition fees system, namely that repayment is based upon future earnings regardless of a student’s family background and that poorer students have not been discouraged, i.e. from the 2017 manifesto: “In government, Liberal Democrats established a fairer system such that no undergraduate student in England had to pay a penny of their tuition fees up front or pay anything afterwards until they earn more than £21,000 per year. This meant that only high-earning graduates would pay their tuition fees in full, and eliminated systematic discrimination against part-time students. We now have the highest university application rates ever, including from disadvantaged students.”
    I deliberately use the phrase “its tuition fees system”: if anything, the wording of the 2017 manifesto sees the party “owning” the current tuition fees system with more conviction than it did in 2015, and any conference vote after 2010 that “aspired” to scrap them appears to have been long forgotten.

  • Great news, somebody well known and credible to the broader electorate, important given a general election could happen with short notice at any time.

  • Bill MacCormick 20th Jun '17 - 12:41pm

    And endorsed by Tory Brexiters already! 😉 I jest but the point that historically the Liberal Party/Lib Dems did well when the Tories are doing badly might suggest that this article is not entirely hot air. As the writer suggests, difficult for the Tories to attack Cable’s record in the coalition (or anyone else so associated) without appearing to attack themselves.

  • Nick Collins 20th Jun '17 - 12:44pm

    I agree with David Evans.

  • Alain Dekker 20th Jun '17 - 12:53pm

    Cable is a great candidate, but age and issues such as privatising Royal Mail while in coalition count against him with the voters I talk to. Has it been made clear why Jo Swinson is not standing?

  • Alain Dekker 20th Jun '17 - 12:54pm

    Can whomever campaigns and wins this leadership election please praise Farron for the excellent job he did as leader under tough circumstances and put voting reform (PR or STV) as a top priority going forward. Good luck!

  • I am genuinely conflicted on this. I think Vince is tainted by coalition and tuition fees, but he is also the only likely candidate that anyone outside the party will have heard of.

    I feel the temptation of a completely new and fresh face, but we can only choose from the very limited pool who can and will put themselves forward.

    I would love a selection of candidates encompassing new and old, and have them promote their vision for the party. Cable, Lamb and Davey would have to give us credible answers as to how they will deal with the inevitable questions about their voting records in coalition. Cable and Lamb will need to square the circle of Brexit and immigration, and our new MPs (should any of them stand) would have to present thier vision for the party and a strategy to actually get heard.

  • paul barker 20th Jun '17 - 1:02pm

    After our bruising experiences of the last few Years a lot of Members are bound to yearn for a “safe pair of hands” but we have tried that before, with Ming Campbell & it blew up in our faces. Its not a matter of physical age but of seeming to belong to the Past. Our biggest struggle is to seem relevant & “Old Hands” would make that harder.
    We need a Leader who “feels” up to date.
    Can I repeat my urging that at least one Woman stand. Given that a third of our MPs are in Scottish Seats, a Scots Candidate would be good too.

  • Sue Sutherland 20th Jun '17 - 1:04pm

    I realise that I don’t understand why free movement is such a strongly held belief, so please could someone explain it to me? Also I think there was some provision for funding from the EU to alleviate the impact of large numbers of immigrants on a community, but this country didn’t participate. Again could someone elucidate?
    Liberalism in government is, for me, about balancing rights against harm so, yes, prejudice against all immigrants is wrong but I don’t think Vince said that and why is it OK to be prejudiced against someone because of their age, but not OK to try to engage in the debate about EU migration? It’s an issue we have ignored which has brought our country to its Brexit knees. Surely it would have been better to engage in debate and try to persuade people out of their prejudice?

  • Paul Valentine 20th Jun '17 - 1:09pm

    Well, I think given both the pool of potential candidates and an anticipated further election, this was anticipated. Any new leader could well be in post to take us into such a campaign and perhaps for a short period thereafter.

    I am conflicted on Vince. He certainly received a lot of very positive attention – for himself and our party – across the media for calling it correct on the economy.

    Negatively, I am concerned by Tuition Fees but I am acquiesced by my belief we dodged the issue in the last election to some cost. If we our MPs and party at large had not pledged to scrap fees, I firmly believe the party would have received much credit for the tinkering of the repayment threshold and rates. Vince himself has discussed the changes and regret that it was not rebranded a Graduate Tax. Perhaps no-one else in the potential leadership has the ability to grab this by the horns, and spearhead a new, perceivably fairer policy? That could happen anyway.

    I would like more candidates to commit now especially someone fresh, not least to stimulate the debate we need.

  • Nick Collins 20th Jun '17 - 1:10pm

    @ Alan Dekker: was it not Norman Lamb who pushed the policy of privatising Royal Mail through Conference on the first day of Ming Campbell’s ill-starred leadership?

  • Can we just be clear on several things on tuition fees.

    1. Vince Cable, the Lib Dems, the Coalition, etc., did not bring in tuition fees. That was one David Blunkett, Esq

  • Gillian Licari 20th Jun '17 - 1:15pm

    I would need an ironclad guarantee that no consideration will be given to supporting the Tories from each of the leadership contenders.

  • Alasdair Brooks 20th Jun '17 - 1:20pm

    So, we’re likely looking at a Vince Cable leadership through the Brexit negotiations, with Jo Swinson as deputy leader, and Jo then running for leader when Vince steps down.

    I can live with that. I would have preferred Jo, but I respect Vince; and given the small pool of candidates we’re drawing from, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better core leadership team from the perspective of making the best of our increasingly narrow windows of media opportunity.

    But yes, the press office had better help Vince come up with a short, sharp, and compelling response to the inevitable tuition fees questions.

  • Trevor Stables 20th Jun '17 - 1:28pm

    Respect to Vince but we need more dynamism.
    Ed Davey is 100% Pro EU, no blurring about Free Movement and will not be seen as a stop gap.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Jun '17 - 1:28pm

    There are many in the party who make the definite and absurd distinction between left and right , social Liberal and Orangebooker, all that guff !

    But the left wing members of our party tend to back Vince ! Who was in the Orange book and the most senior Cabinet member after the deputy pm, in the coalition!

    I think only on his age ,and need to loosen up, in the media ,and smile ,like he does when chatting, a delightful man, who seems too severe in interviews and panels sometimes, is Vince not my first choice. On policy he is a Liberal , a social democrat , and utterly sensible .

    But with his views on freedom of movement, I am with Sue Sutherland but feel it much more strongly in favour of Vince.

    Those avowed to condemn him are doing so in ways vulgar and patronising.

    To say a man whose first wife was from India , his sons are mixed race , is pandering to racism is a true disgrace !

    His views are called common sense on nearly everything !

    I would not be here but for immigration.

    I married a wife of immigrant origin.

    Sir Vince did twice. His current wife is from New Zealand.

    There is his point. The racism is in not allowing the needed people from outside the EU , who are often from other races, to automatically let anyone come here for low skilled jobs locals could do, being undercut often.

    And worse, we restrict spouses , the loved ones of British citizens, and separate families.

    Until recently this party had , both a moderate policy on this and most things and great support.

    Those who think it was just the coalition that made us unpopular should look at their absolutely blinkered and one sided and extreme attitude to anything they agree with and see the public have stated in no uncertain terms , we are the fringe , shall be, as long as our policies, unlike Labour , however left wing on some things, are out of keeping with reality.

    We can win on the centre , to centre left.

    Not the ultra anywehere !

  • Elaine Woodard 20th Jun '17 - 1:30pm

    Good. That’s one candidate sorted, now we need at least one more to have a contest. Having read all the comments people have been making over the last few days I have decided to be open-minded and see how they all respond to the (quite rightly) tough questions that will be thrown at them.

  • OK, something odd happened there…

    Can we just be clear on several things on tuition fees.

    1. Vince Cable, the Lib Dems, the Coalition, etc., did not bring in tuition fees. That was one David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education in September 1998, a LABOUR government.

    2. 21 of our MPs – almost half – voted against tuition fees, with a further 8 abstentions. Even allowing for the fact that one of those was Chris Huhne who was at an conference in Cancun, that means half of our MPs did not support tuition fees.

    3. The Tories and Labour both wanted no cap on tuition fees. Vince saw this capped at £9000. In July 2015, the Tories removed the cap to allow tuition fees to rise in line with inflation – our MPs voted against.

    4. The tapered interest rate, along with the rise in income level from £15,000 to £21,000, meant that many graduates were actually better off under the new system (as pointed out by the IFS and Martin Lewis.) Again, the Tories were not keen on this – Labour would not have supported the tapered rate as it was not included in the Browne report. The Tories froze the threshold in November 2015.

    It’s fair enough having a debate about the rights and wrongs of tuition fees (and, for the record, I have always opposed them) but we need to be clear that, while we don’t like them, the system was better in 2015 than it was in 2010. It’s interesting to note that, in the Second Reading of the Teaching and Higher Education Bill 1998 (which introduced tuition fees) the only parties who voted against the bill were the Lib Dems, SNP and Plaid.

    Jeremy Corbyn, having spoken against fees, did not vote; neither did Diane Abbott.

  • Not enthused by any of the likely candidates. Will wait and listen to what they say, but not voting, first time ever, is still a possibility. Need a younger Liberal campaigning idealist, sadly this person does not wish to stand at this time.

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Jun '17 - 1:42pm

    Martin Land – “Vince is not perfect but he is the best we have”
    Precisely. As I wrote in the Jo Swinson thread we can only vote for someone who puts themselves forward, and none of those candidates will be ideal. Just consider what Westminster politics is going to be like over the next few months and years: weakened Tories and SNP, Labour whose economic credibility may soon unravel, change of PM, HMG reliant on DUP to get its legislative programme through Parliament, Brexit in a complete mess – I could almost relish the forthcoming spectacle if the implications for the country weren’t so dire. At a time like this we need ‘strong and stable’ leadership, even if only for 2-3 years (and who knows what will be happening then? – it’s impossible to plan the political future with any certainty so we must go with the best – or least worst – choice for the foreseeable future).

  • Peter Watson 20th Jun '17 - 1:49pm

    @Paul Valentine
    “the party would have received much credit for the tinkering of the repayment threshold and rates”
    Threshold yes – but rates? Everything else about the repayment of the tuition fees loan (size, duration, interest rates) was worsened (and increasing the duration and the interest rates also applied to the maintenance loan).

    “regret that it was not rebranded a Graduate Tax.”
    It is not a graduate tax, and “rebranding” it as such looks horribly cynical: the wealthiest can avoid borrowing the money in the first place and the highest paid can pay less by repaying it sooner.

  • David Tattersall 20th Jun '17 - 1:53pm

    I’m pleased with the recent vote, but consider it of a bite back to T.May by the young who didn’t want brexit but counldn’t be bothered to vote in the ref. I hope the libdems start really biting the ankles of the brexiters ho moan, moan about stupid things in Europe. I live in France, my wife is French, I don’t have any vote in the UK, so my voice is gagged, despite I’m British and pay uk income tax -why? Vince or whoever please let me vote for an Integrated Europe.

  • Michael Antonio 20th Jun '17 - 1:57pm

    I have nothing but respect for Mr Cable but it’s only two years since the electorate gave us a clear message on what they thought of our time in Coalition (for good or ill). I fear Vince is far too tarred with the Coalition brush to make an effective leader without constantly being targeted for his time in government.

  • Nick Collins 20th Jun '17 - 2:03pm

    ” Doctor, I keep suffering from deja vu”

    In 2005 Ming Campbell was elected leader in a contest in which Nick Clegg chose not to put himself forward. Two years later Ming resigned and Clegg was (sort of) elected to replace him.

    Is that scenario about to be repeated with Vince Campbell and Jo Swinson?

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 2:05pm

    Peter Watson 20th Jun ’17 – 1:49pm
    “the wealthiest can avoid borrowing the money in the first place and the highest paid can pay less by repaying it sooner.”
    Yes, this – combined with the shameless hiking of interest rates – is what makes the system repugnant.
    In the absence of doing away with fees altogether (which even in 2010 I thought a very questionable priority) I’d favour a front-end charging: not interest, but a levy of maybe 25% on the fees (so, yes, an apparently even larger debt to start with) regardless of whether you pay up front or borrow the lot, then no interest at all on the repayments: just pay the 9% on earnings until it’s paid off or written off. So if your earnings are low to begin with the overall cost over your lifetime is effectively less, not more.

  • David Becket 20th Jun '17 - 2:09pm

    How depressing.

    Do we have a leader who can inspire like Macron?
    No not in the frame

    Do we have radical policies like Macron’s to deal with the issues of today?
    No, not that we will promote. For example we have debated Land Value Taxation until we are blue in the face, but the risk aversion suits will not push it to the fore?

    Is there a future for us?

  • Joseph Bourke 20th Jun '17 - 2:10pm

    I was sorry to see Tim Farron resign but for where we are now, Vince is by far the outstanding candidate to take us through the next election.

    He regained his Twickenham seat with a 15% additional vote to take him to 53% and a 10,000 majority with both the Conservatives and Labour losing vote share in the constituency. An unparalleled performance at a time when Libdem candidates were under severe pressure everywhere.

    He has access to a core team of talented MPs with ministerial experience and is himself a well established national figure.

    On the economy, business and Brexit he has the credibility and gravitas to be listened to by the media and economic experts alike. Hid record on immigration has been positive – arguing for no restrictions on overseas students and intra-company exchanges in the coalition years and adding sensibly to the ongoing debate on preserving the core features of freedom of movement of labour.

    His handling of the tuition fees as the minister responsible for delivering on the Browne report on HE fundingcommissioned by Labour in 2009 was pragmatic. However, the norm was supposed to be £6,000 not £9,000 and since them maintenance grants have been converted to loans and the interest rate has been hiked to 9%. So the issue of a graduate tax needs to be revisited as does the minimum academic standards required before financially inexperienced students commit to borrowing for University courses.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '17 - 2:15pm

    Joseph – are you confusing the interest rate with the repayment rate? Interest is up to 3% over RPI, currently maximum 4.6% (going up to 6.1% in September). Repayments are 9% of income above threshold.

  • Russell Kent 20th Jun '17 - 2:21pm

    For me the only decision in the current situation.

    As for the coalition government, I think it was really quite successful.

    Tuition fees. Stop harping on about things that cannot be changed. Moreover, the days of absolutely fee education for all university students has long gone. Times are different, the economy is different, more people want to attend university.

    I feel there are so many comments on this blog from people who seem happy to criticise from the side, as a knee jerk reaction to authority and government, yet pay no heed to the pragmatism required to actually govern.

    For the foreseeable future Liberal Democrats will only govern as part of a coalition. This requires give and take, accepting things that may not be ideal, but understanding they come with the package.

  • He will be attacked on tuition fees, so what is your policy on those? Given it is his Achilles heel I’d like to know his views, I woz right, I woz wrong or it was an unfortunate necessity, and what do you propose going forward?

  • IRA opponent 20th Jun '17 - 2:56pm

    I would need an ironclad guarantee that no consideration will be given to supporting the Corbyn-led Labour Party from each of the leadership contenders.

  • Joseph Bourke 20th Jun '17 - 2:59pm

    Malcolm Todd,

    yes I have confused the repayment rate with the interest rate. As you note the interest rate is expected to be 6.1% on student loans September.

  • Neil Sandison 20th Jun '17 - 3:06pm

    Vince can eat Hammond , Davies and co for breakfast in terms of Brexit but can he inspire and motivate a modern political movement going into the next general election
    Can he attract those yet to become Liberal Democrats into the party ?

  • Joseph Bourke 20th Jun '17 - 3:09pm

    Gillian Licari 20th Jun ’17 – 1:15pm
    I would need an ironclad guarantee that no consideration will be given to supporting the Tories from each of the leadership contenders.

    IRA opponent 20th Jun ’17 – 2:56pm
    I would need an ironclad guarantee that no consideration will be given to supporting the Corbyn-led Labour Party from each of the leadership contenders.

    No libdem leader should box themselves in the way Tim did before the recent election. In a fluid political climate that includes Liberal Tories, moderate labour MPs and efforts at creating progressive alliances, you need to retain the flexibility to make the limited cohort of Libdems MP count for something in the mind of the voting public.

    We find ourselves in a situation today where the 12 Libdem MPs potentially hold the balance of power and yet are unable to deliver on the key manifesto pledge of a referendum on the EU deal. Not being able to deliver on manifesto pledges is the key reason why too many voters consider a Libdem vote a wasted vote. The more times we can demonstrate it is not wasted, the less this argument will hold in the future.

  • Keith Legg, everything you say is correct but it completely misses the point. The issue is one of trust. Not tuition fees per se. No amount of arguing about tuition fees is going to change the fact that Lib Dems cannot be trusted because of their 360 degree volte face on tuition fees. It doesn’t matter that Labour did the same: they have been replaced by new, old kids on the block who oppose the previous bunch viscerally. It’s about the Lub Dems, whose party policy is still to scrap tuition fees. There’s the rub.

  • Jonathan Pile 20th Jun '17 - 3:24pm

    I Welcome the fact that Vince Cable has stepped forward now but a pity he didn’t run against Nick Clegg in 2014, when we could have limited the damage from the Coalition. He is the best voice on the economy and would command media attention and was devastatingly effective in parliament against Brown. He could give us a strong voice on the Brexit issue, but needs to be 100% against and in favour of staying in. Increasingly issue of Brexit is moving on from it being right or wrong to it being impossible and damaging at this time. Would not welcome any future Coalition with Conservatives. He MUST recant on Tuition Fees and take ownership of his role in the whole TF betrayal, & commit to a graduate tax on higher rate earners to dovetail scrapping fees with Labour policy. If we can borrow to invest in Infrastructure, then that infrastructure includes training, apprenticeships and university grants & cancelling student debt along with house building. Might we not consider a Joint Leadership like the Greens (who I would like to see a formal alliance with) with a Younger Female Leader job share with an experienced Parliamentarian to bring the Gender/UK divide.

  • Frances Alexander 20th Jun '17 - 3:49pm

    Sir Vince Cable will make our best leader. He has gravitas – sadly lacking over the political landscape. He is, moreover, respected, not only by journalists but also by the Tory press barons!
    We should rejoice that he has offered himself for election.
    Thank you Vince, for putting yourself forward. This octogenarian – 49 years a Liberal and LibDem, is pleased to support your campaign. The Liberal Democrats are fortunate indeed to have you on the list of candidates.

  • Stan Collins 20th Jun '17 - 3:57pm

    For far too long our party has been conned out of playing its ace: the coalition.
    We may wish to forget the many good things we made the Tories do in coalition. They don’t in fact they were only too eager to claim them as their own in the last election and our “don’t mention the war” approach played into their hands.
    It also helped them that we didn’t boast about all the things the coaliton stopped them doing: “I would govern as a true Tory if it weren’t for the Lib Dems” – David Cameron.
    And we seem to have forgotten that our party had/has more cabinet and ministerial experience than Labour’s front bench.
    Time to stop snivelling, “Tuition fees, tuition fees” and make full use of our best assets.

  • Is “the respect of the Tory Press barons” a badge of honour for a future Lib Dem leader?

  • I agree with Alisdair, Matt, Adam, Jennie and Andrew 🙂

  • Hopefully Vince “will not make age an issue in this campaign” and “exploit for political purposes his opponents’ youth and inexperience”. :)!!!

    Youth, energy and dynamism can be good. But older leaders Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and indeed although not my cup of tea Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have proved popular and indeed popular with younger people.

    Looking abroad Bernie Sanders was the same age as Vince is now when he ran for President.
    There is an Achilles heel with tuition fees in that the youth and student vote is one that was good for us and we have lost and Corbyn has gained. I hope that Vince can move towards making all post 18 education/training free/almost free. I am not sure how much it raises but I suspect quite close 1% or 2% on national insurance above £45k which is currently 2% as supposed to 12% below £45k.

  • Bernard Aris 20th Jun '17 - 4:28pm

    Agree with Alain Dekker (Dutch family roots?).

    Keith Legg got the Tuition Fees issue cleared up; we tried to mitigate the mess Tories and Labour made.
    In fact D66 in The Hague just brought in a similar system, and the inscriptions from lower-class and lower-income backgrounds actually increased, according to our Institute of Fiscal Stidies (“CPB” in Dutch).

    With British buying power shrinking, two years of insecurity reining in investment, the NHS already deep in a hole (4-8 hours waiting at accident & EMERGENCY) and untangling the legal bonds and rules taking years more, Brexit seems a worse idea every day following this one.

    So we need Vince’s strong voice to talk common sense, not a shadow chancellor proud to still be a marxist, or a Corbyn even more beholden to third world “leftist” dictators like “starve yor people” Chavez/Maduro than the Spanish PODEMOS.

    Immigration on Eastern European contracts from tax-evading or hunger wage paying schemes (by firms based in the UK or Holland or suchlike) should be looked at sternly; not all free movement is beneficial to us or to the people being shoved around the Northwest EU.

    And no leader is perfect because they’re all human; except maybe….. No even she is human…

  • Dave Orbison 20th Jun '17 - 4:35pm

    Keith Legg – what was the LibDems pledge on student fees? You accept it was a pledge, right?

    Do you remember Nick Clegg in the election broadcast mocking other parties for breaking their promise. Yet you seriously still want to argue the point?

    When in a hole ….

  • Really? Has he forgotten the “age” problems Ming had? I bet the Tory press haven’t – they’ll trot it out against him from day 1.

  • Geoff English 20th Jun '17 - 4:46pm

    The Cable candidacy has some great pluses and a few minuses as already debated above. I am not sure who I would vote for now it can’t be Jo Swinson. But the one thing I am sure of is that I want a vote. Please, not another coronation but a genuine choice. Give that largest ever electorate something to enthuse over, argue over, and eventually decide. I do hope Norman throws his hat in the ring and maybe Ed and/or Tom too. I have heard some arguments for one of the new women MPs but I think that would be terribly unfair on them at this stage. The other thing to say is that this may turn out to be something of a caretaker role in which the leader mentors the new deputy leader who hopefully will be Jo and then gives way in a few short years. This would probably be most obviously the case if the leader was Vince, just simply because of his age.

  • Antony Watts 20th Jun '17 - 5:12pm

    Yet another election about Remain/Leave.

    Let me make it clear (as they say)

    1 UK must Remain – for our economy
    2 UK must have Social Justice – for our people.

    That’s a pretty easy platform to stand on, and a winner. Hope we do.

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Jun '17 - 5:36pm

    I’m pleased that Vince has announced his candidacy. The better the choice, the better the contest. The voting system is Alternative Vote (because it’s a one candidacy position), so some tactical voting may be necessary.

    On his views on free movement: most liberals like free movement, and I might even use it, but there’s nothing wrong with some mild temporary reforms in periods of unusually high migration. He wants to abolish the net-immigration target too, which I’ve come around to agree with because I think it is encouraging cruel policies towards migrants in Britain. It’s not as easy as people think to get a UK passport and enjoy full rights.

  • Tuition fees:

    Labour and Conservatives also broke their promises on tuition fees. Unfortunately it is the one thing we are known for. Yes the lib dems and Vince significantly improved the system. But all we are known for is tripling fees when we said we would abolish them. Explaining the nuances falls on deaf ears. Delivering leaflets just last year i got “who’s that from? Lib Dems? Don’t want that you broke your promise on tuition fees.”

    Frankly we are now up against a labour party that will go into the next election abolishing tuition fees.

    It is a risk for Vince but frankly but I think he needs to say that he will back a radical policy on it. For example. Abolish fees. Pay for it by 2% on national insurance for all when it goes down by 10% at £45k. Those already paying back fees will have the 2% used to pay back their fees.

    It would give us back a hearing. If you make a mistake not only do you apologise but you also try to correct it.

  • Frank Bowles 20th Jun '17 - 5:52pm

    The impact of the coalition has diminished; and remember many votes we need to attract have shifted to the Tories. Vince is a known figure, and a generally likeable one and with gravitas. He and Jo had a good working relationship, she was his PPS and a minister at BIS. It could work…

  • Alain Dekker, I agree with you that Cable should have acknowledged Farron’s achievements in so dramatically increasing party membership and by-election wins, and increasing our number of MPs by 50%. That was a remarkable achievement in less than two years. Not to have mentioned or thanked Tim makes Cable look very ungracious.

    Tim recruited a lot of people, including young people, into the party and there is a widespread affection and respect for him.
    I was one of those in the party who voted that we should campaign for second referendum, but came to believe that was a mistake, at least as a major emphasis. I’m still hoping and praying that Brexit will fail, but by the time the campaign started the public concern had switched to austerity and the state of the NHS. That seems to have been one of the major reasons for Labour’s resurgence. Cable has a poor record on austerity, having argued repeatedly for benefit cuts. We need someone who is really concerned about the disadvantaged.

    Finally, the next leader needs to be someone who is not new to Parliament, and not strongly associated with the coalition. Is there anyone who qualifies on both those counts – apart from Tim Farron?

  • Someone please make Jo Swinson reconsider. I like Vince but he’s too old.

  • Vince offers us experience.

    Sadly, half of his experience is of direct involvement in things that we are trying to forget.

    And there is no evidence that experience is a quality particularly prized by the electorate right now.

  • David Pocock 20th Jun '17 - 6:40pm

    I too think I will be open minded. I do agree with people skeptical about Vince on matters of open borders and of Brexit, I rather liked Tims view on both. That said the Openness of our borders , despite some over egging jingoism from our press, does lead to some problems down at the bottom end of society. I’m sure better minds than I can find a solution that leads to us being open and not leaving people behind. Will wait and see what Vince says when asked about these issues.

    On the plus side, If Vince leads then we might be able to move the political discussion back to Economics which would be a very powerful move from us. Elections are won on this issue and Vince will kick the butt of Teresa and Jez on this front. And he is a name with some history behind him. When he does speak on matters it will be as the man who called 2008.

    As for the age thing, meh. In better times it was as non an issue as Tim’s faith. I guess I for one will not let age or faith or non faith be a factor in my vote.

  • Christopher J Squire 20th Jun '17 - 6:44pm

    A Jo + Vince job share is the obvious solution. He could do the instant quotes and TV interviews for the London media and she could do energising the Local Parties and responding to the north British media. The rest they’d do by ‘taking it in turns’. After 2 years he could step down and let her do it all.

  • Matt (Bristol) 20th Jun '17 - 7:06pm

    I am glad Vince is standing. Now, when we are having a leadership election very few people actively wanted to have immediately, we need the widest possible field of candidates. I don’t know whom I will vote for, but I will give him my consideration.

  • He is realistic and pragmatic on the EU. The UK voted to leave the EU. Leaving the EU must be accepted but that can be part of single market or customs unìon.
    The General Election result could be a way to get a softer Brexit. The LibDems 48% strategy failed. The party’s share fell to 7%.

  • The best way Vince could get around the tuition fees issue is to return to the graduate tax he was said to be in favour of in 2010 (he can blame the Tories for not going along with it)

    Big advantages of graduate tax:
    1) No direct link to what university costs, so no fees being repaid. In other words we abolish fees as we always promised to
    2) People who did not go to university are not expected to pay for those that do. This is a huge advantage to the Labour policy which frankly largely benefits the rich
    3) no interest rate on a loan to worry about
    4) bankers and MPs pay more than teachers and less well paid professions, over their life
    5) The NUS supported it before they were bought off by Corbyn

    There are of course disadvantages to a graduate tax, but no more than the current system. There will be some complex issues dealing with existing loans, which should really be replaced by graduate tax in some way. Personally I would make it retrospective so that those who benefitted from free education start paying it now, but that may be a bridge too far..

    However politically I think this is the best option which does not completely go back on the coalition years but offers a face-saving way out and is more progressive than Labour

  • James Graham 20th Jun '17 - 7:27pm

    I’m sorry but I have to think that Vince will very quickly be seen as “Caretaker Cable” until he hands over to somebody else. We need to have a 5-10 year plan I do not think that Vince is likely to want to be the leader for the next 10 years. (Or even 5 to be honest)
    It would feel like, as others have mentioned above, going back to when Ming was leader and the press having a field day making various comments about his age etc.
    I am not saying that Vince is not up to the job but the perception of the general public is going to be one of why have they brought him back?
    As for this “teach Jo the job” nonsense do people really think that somebody who has been in Parliament for 10 years and a junior minister for 4 of them needs to be taught how to be a leader of a party? I think that is rather insulting to be honest, it is not as if there haven’t been plenty of leaders of various parties with similar or lower levels of experiences in the past. (T.Blair, W.Hague and N.Clegg for example)

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 20th Jun '17 - 7:34pm

    Janet Fife, You asked if any possible candidate matches the criteria of not being completely new to Parliament, and not being too closely associated with the coalition. The answer is that there is only one potential candidate who matches the criteria – Stephen Lloyd, who voted against the rise in tuition fees, and said the party should “die in a ditch” rather than accept it.
    As far as I know Stephen Lloyd has never given any indication of having leadership ambitions. But perhaps it would be good if he did stand, as many people are saying they could not vote for someone who voted for tuition fees. He is not very well known, even within the party. But who knows, this “outsider” could do what Jeremy Corbyn did in 2015.
    If Stephen Lloyd did become leader, it would be a step towards greater diversity, as we would have our first leader with a disability.
    However, I have more or less decided who to vote for, and this candidate did, unfortunately, vote for tuition fees. If someone has an otherwise excellent record, I think we have to forgive them for one mistake

  • @ Christian ” I like Vince but he’s too old.”

    Oh dear, ageism strikes again. As someone of age with Vince, and to use a phrase currently in vogue in a section of the party, that is not a very Christian point of view. I must get some lessons in self righteous indignation from a certain Noble Lord in order to combat this additional form of ism.

    I happen think Jo is too young – at this precise moment – not, of course, a permanent impediment. What better apprenticeship could there be than to sit beside the old growler at PMQ’s as he bears down on the Mr. Bean like Maybot.

    That is not to say, that in two years (?) time she will not be two years older with a tad bit more experience in dealing with the nasties of the media and the baying hordes on the Government back benches. Batman and Robin – Vince and Jo – I salute you.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '17 - 7:48pm

    Vince Cable was on Channel 4 News on 20/6/2017 with Tory MP Ken Clarke and Labour’s education spokesperson. Vince said that there was an attempt to water down fire regulations during the coalition “But we put a stop to it”.
    Imagine what would happen if the Tories had an overall majority, so that they could govern alone.

  • Toxic as he was one of the main drivers in tripling tuition fees.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '17 - 7:54pm

    Catherine Jane Crosland 20th Jun ’17 – 7:34pm Stephen Lloyd resigned as a PPS during the coalition because he did not get funding for a road improvement which was important to Eastbourne, heavily congested.

  • well good for Vince. Dont agree with the ageist comments above, we lost a peregctly good leader in Ming Campbell because we let that bother us – but that was when it was trendy go have 40-somethings keading parties. That went well!
    am slightly concerned at the lingering influence of the old sdp, but vince was the better part of it.
    am very concerned at the liberal ‘purist’ coments above – at what point is it liberal to open your borders to all comers and actually risk losing the hard won liberal essence of your own jurisdiction? Should Monaco offer to accommodate all of the thirld world – and if not, what of the UK? It is a classic liberal dilemma – having acheived a liberal state, how do you help it continue when your own liberal actuions threaten its existence?
    i dont say i have any answers, but until someone who is ‘purist’ does, vince is on the money for me. i alos think that the current cherry picking of talent from less well off places is obscene, but not necessarily illiberal …

  • On the EU

    Personally i support free movement of people actually globally as well as in the EU. For me it is as anachronistic to forbid free movement between the UK and France as say between Hampshire and Sussex. Economically we all benefit.

    BUT I appreciate that overall the British people do not share my view.

    It is clear that with for example a car built in the UK effectively crossing the channel 8 times there is a high price to be paid for leaving the single market. The CBI is halving its growth forecast due to this.

    There is an interesting article by Labour MP chuka umunna at that states that Lichtenstein is a member of the single market but has a quota on EU migrants.

    It seems to me that our position should be to support a deal that involves membership of the single market or as near to it as possible but as a matter of practical British politics this may involve restrictions on free movement. Also as a democrat I think that any major constitutional change should be signed off in a referendum by the British public

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '17 - 8:08pm

    Geoff English 20th Jun ’17 – 4:46pm Jo is deputy leader, presumably unopposed.

  • Jim Alexander 20th Jun '17 - 8:15pm

    Vince is the most credible Leader over the next couple of Years as we negotiate Brexit – he has the respect of the General Public and is recognised as a heavy hitter

    Him and Jo worked together well in the Dept of Business therefore its a very good partnership as Leader & Vice Leader

    As for tuition Fees – Free Tuition Fees have been to the detriment of students from Poor Backgrounds in Scotland – we cant continue to make this a core party promise as there are strong arguments against it – do we want Social Justice or to buy middle class votes like the SNP

    I think Ed Davey & Norman Lamb are also very good candidates if they go for it – comfortable with all 3 of them to be honest

  • Andrew McCaig 20th Jun '17 - 8:22pm

    Presumably if Tim steps down at the recess, as he says he will, Jo becomes Leader until a new one is elected?

  • @ Andrew McCaig
    Unless nobody opposes Vince, which personally I think may well be a good idea.
    If you think about it, it is not unusual, some may say even desirable for managed transitions in leadership to occur in many organisations.
    It would present the Lib Dem’s as a professional organisation to the press and avoid a damaging slanging match over the summer?
    If you accept that the Vince/Jo partnership is a balanced set of skills (of those available) at the present time, this would increase the public perception of a party as one who “has it’s act together” and will not waste time on internal battles and knows its own mind.
    It would also allow, the 2 individuals involved to “get out there” and promote the party.
    I think everyone can agree that it’s not a good look whilst London is burning, and terrorist attacks are happening in multiple communities to be seen to be indulging in self flagellation.

    My abiding memory of the London riots a few years ago were of Simon Hughes going out into the streets of his constituency appealing for calm and later that night appearing on TV with a clear message for the people of London. It impressed me hugely.

    I guess it comes back yet again to What do the Lib Dem’s stand for and how do they wish to be seen by their target part of the electorate!

  • Geoff English 20th Jun '17 - 9:13pm

    Mike S – I will be very sorry indeed if we don’t have a contest, which in no way has to be a slanging match. What’s the point of having a democratic system of choosing leaders if we are too afraid to use it.

  • Surprising how many are still clinging to the Tabanidae delusion. The problem over tuition fees is not that the party knuckled under, and far more that individual MPs had pledged not to vote to increase them. Not only did they renege on their personal promises, but, led by Vince, they hailed the rises as wonderful. I left the party over it – and cannot consider rejoining whilst any of the MPs who voted for the increase are still in parliament.

    * Tabanidae – horse-flies or cleggs.

  • Blimey! There’s a lot of strife in this thread. Have we learned nothing from the ideological purity tests that have torn apart the Labour Party, the Tory party, the Democrats and the Republicans?

    Vince, Ed and Norman all have faults. Who doesn’t? But surely we can all agree that they are principled Liberals? Good guys in a good party? And that the country would be better off with any of them in power rather than the other extremist options currently available?

    My point is: let’s not squabble among ourselves but support whoever gets picked and fight the bigger fights going on out there. The tide of history is on our side (Brexit is to be two years of stories about how badly wrong it is all going. We’re on the right side of this.) We just have to stay united, stay calm, and speak out for what we believe in.

    (I also happen to think that Cable is a big beast with a strong reputation and voter recognition who will get us air time which is another essential thing we need right now. But the others have great virtue too. And I’ll back whoever wins to the hilt.)

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Jun '17 - 10:04pm

    What’s this “exclusive” in the Telegraph about a secret deal between Vince and Jo? My worries about this for Vince’s candidacy:

    1. It will reduce Vince’s authority because people will just be waiting for him to stand down.
    2. We haven’t been told about it and I think it’s relevant to the contest.

    I do appreciate Vince and others making their announcements on Lib Dem Voice though and I might vote for him.

  • Vince, I have great respect for you. You talk very good sense most of the time. But as far a the electorate are concerned the tuition fee issue is not a question of whether it was right or wrong to introduce them, but whether it was right to sign a pledge just before an election and break it just afterwards.
    Your abilities and experience will, I hope, be available to the party anyway as it rebuilds and prepares for the next election. Unfortunately that could be very soon, which would simply provide another opportunity for the electorate to punish us for choosing you as leader.
    If we were just setting out on a 5-year Parliament opposing a government with a 50-seat majority, I think you could do a great job pulling the party together from the front, and make a transition to a new leader before the next election. But we’re not.
    Especially as our deputy leader also supported tuition fees, I think it’s vital we have another leader who can distance themselves from that.

  • @Eddie Sammon
    because everthing that appears in The Torygraph is true & they would never try to start trouble in The Libdems to distract from Mays ghastly mess, no no, no, of course not.

  • Just for clarity, I’m sure most LibDems can forgive the mistake of the broken pledge. I certainly have. My point is the voters have not, yet.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Jun '17 - 10:49pm

    Eddie is correct to be considering whether there is truth in the Telegraph story and if so it is alarming to say the least.

    This presumption that because some want Vince followed by Jo, should consider some of us prefer the idea of Norman, followed by Layla …!

  • @ Eddie Sammon “What’s this “exclusive” in the Telegraph about a secret deal between Vince and Jo? ”

    Steady, Eddie. If it was a secret it wouldn’t be in the Telegraph, now would it ?

    You should be more worried about members of the House of Lords silently tiptoeing round the corridors of Westminster in soft shoes and then deleting six days of their normally prolific Twitter account between 8 and 14 June.

    Asforo Layla, Lorenzo, do her a favour. She’s not even hung her coat up yet.

  • On the subject of Vince I’d urge everyone to read David Laws book on the coalition. According to that, Vince ‘went native’ straight away. He was the one that negotiated the tuition fees deal which Clegg was crucified for.

    This deal about stepping down after three years for Jo smacks of that Blair Brown deal which only caused bad feeling. It is extremely presumptuous that the membership would automatically elect Jo, taking no account of any possible future candidates who may come forward. I have nothing against Jo, but realistically she has little real-life experience, employment-wise at any rate.

    I want nothing to do with deals cooked up in back rooms. Who knows what else is being decided on behalf of the membership? All it says to me is keep well away. Apparently we are not allowed to think for ourselves.

    If it becomes a choice between Vince, Ed and Norman I would rather support Norman. Not seen Ed nor Vince doing much of anything since 2015, whereas Norman has been working tirelessly on mental health issues especially. I doubt I’d bother to even vote in a Vince/Ed only contest.

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Jun '17 - 12:08am

    Mark Pack reports that Vince denies he has agreed a deal with Jo. The party needs to make news organisations pay for fabricated rumours. Who is going around saying these things? It needs sorting out, whoever is responsible.

  • @ Lorenzo Greetings, to our trusted and well beloved Cheer Leader and Kingmaker Lorenzo the Younger.

    Great idea. Can’t wait to get the Spider letters asking me to donate.

    Charles as Deputy Leader with Her Maj Brenda as Supreme Leader with a secret agreement for two to three year’s time with himself wot talks to trees and sells over-priced biscuits taking over ?

    They’re a bit busy at Ascot at the mo tho

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Jun '17 - 12:22am


    It is not true, Layla has experience outside of politics and parliament, as someone who was brought up in different countries, and as a teacher in this one. And no coalition baggage. She is a very appealing person, a very good speaker, and highly intelligent .She also represents an English constituency, which is crucial to our national success , near students, and in the middle England we have lost the trust of .


    My view is we need Norman, who actually articulates some meaning to what politics and Liberalism is for, and connects in a very subtle and warm and gentle way with people.

    My concern with Jo, who I have always liked, and am glad is deputy, is she has little experience of anything other than being a career politician, and gender as her main concern.

    We need to reach the mainstream, not the elites so called , or intelligentsia, as referred to more once!

  • David Pocock 21st Jun '17 - 12:35am

    Really hope Layla or someone new stands if for no other reason than to let us peak into the future.

  • “I have nothing against Jo, but realistically she has little real-life experience, employment-wise at any rate.”

    Well working in the lingerie department of M&S is considerably more real-world than any job Nick had before going into politics! She has by the way more experience of employment outside of politics than Charles Kennedy and Matthew Taylor combined and possibly more than Julia Goldsworthy.

    But you’re basically right. 10 years experiencing the real world in a lobbying or at the chancery bar would have given her a much better insight.

  • @ Jim Alexander

    Fullfact says the picture in Scotland is complicated because a third of higher education there is provided in colleges as supposed to at universities. See

  • Eddie,

    the Telegraph is reporting “Last night there was speculation that the Conservatives could even open talks with the Liberal Democrats’ 12 MPs about supporting the Tory Government if the DUP talks fail.”

    The speculation probably refers to a blog somewhere or even comments here,

  • If all the candidates voted for the tuition fee increase then Vince might get my vote. I have voted in every leadership election of the party except the last one. This was because I wanted a leader who would engage in two-way communicate with the membership. In the last contested presidential election the candidates answered my questions; in the last Federal Committee (Board) elections most candidates I emailed with questions replied with answers; but in 2015 the replies from both candidates were generate and didn’t answer my questions, and when I tried to get them answered I received no answers.

    The increase in tuition fees is a huge problem, I don’t think Vince supported our 2010 policy, which would make it difficult for him to say, “I have always wanted a graduate tax, but the Tories wouldn’t support it during the coalition, but I would make reform of the tuition fee system one of our red lines in any future coalition talks.”

    David asks good questions, “Should a liberal defend all immigration with no limits and argue for freedom of movement for all citizens of the world? And if not why not?”

    I am shocked by the easy yes answer some people have given. The answer is no. Migrants are more likely to be well educated, articulate and ambitious, therefore those without these gifts are left behind in their original country. Migration is for the fittest. Also the country that migrants were born in are less off because these people have left it; if they stayed their nation of birth is likely to be improved. The better educated and or skilled the person the greater the negative effect on the nation of birth. Some Eastern European countries have been adversely affected by the emigration of a significant proportion of their population, Lithuania comes to mind (26% population decline since 1991). A liberal solution is to reduce the economic pull factors by increasing the economic and social situation in the countries from where migrants come from. It is a shame that the coalition government could not get the EU to reform on the movement of labour.

    For those worried about age, Jeremy Corbyn is 68, Gladstone was 84 when he gave up being PM in 1894 and Churchill 80. Therefore if there is a general election in 2019 or 2020 Vince should be able to state he expects to be able to serve as PM for the full five years.

    I think it would be interesting if Stephen Lloyd also stood.

  • Joebourke
    The speculation relates to the fact that the talks between the Conservatives and the DUP are not going too well. The DUP is no pushover. The Liberal Democrats will not enter a coalition with the Conservatives. Prepare for a new election.

  • Galen Milne 21st Jun '17 - 7:20am

    The next election will be mainly about the economy and the impact on businesses large and small as the Brexit outfall continues apace. We need someone at this important time for the whole UK who can articulate our alternatives to the electorate. Vince Cable is our most capable in that respect and he is well respected by the floating voter public. For that reason I am leaning toward him as our best and most sensible option especially as I’d expect an early election (again) in about 2 years time.

  • ayne Mansfield 21st Jun ’17 – 7:19am……..Are you sure about that Manfarang? Are you sure that it will not be deemed to be, ‘in the national interest’ ?……..

    I don’t believe that any of our MPs would be brazen enough to formally support the Tories…However, I’ll watch how they vote on a ‘case by case’ basis..As the old adage says, “There is more than one way to skin a cat”…

  • Galen Milne 21st Jun '17 - 7:45am

    The next election will be mainly about the economy and the impact on businesses large and small as the Brexit outfall continues apace. We need someone at this important time for the whole UK who can articulate our alternatives to the electorate. Vince Cable is our most capable in that respect and he is well respected by the floating voter public. For that reason I am leaning toward him as our best and most sensible option especially as I’d expect an early election (again) in about 2 years time. This is no time for anything else but a mature and pragmatic approach to pending crisis in our economy.

  • Harris Richard 21st Jun '17 - 7:54am

    Sorry but even to consider him after his association with coalition and the tuition fee betrayal shows how far the party needs to go to be a real player again. With Vince leading again you can be sure the result will be the same as 2015.

  • Peter Brand 21st Jun '17 - 8:07am

    If we do a deal with the Tories after promising not to only 2 months ago, on top of the electorate not having forgiven the same trick with tuition fees, we are dead.

  • Peter Brand 21st Jun '17 - 8:16am

    @Joebourke 21st Jun ’17 – 1:52am
    When Brian Paddick clarified that the views of Tim’s that he had concerns about were not his Christian views, it led to speculation – including whether Brian may have had concerns about Tim’s views on doing a deal with the Tories.
    Lessons here on ‘think before you tweet’.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 8:34am

    There may be a (high risk) way of doing a deal with the Tories:

    Confidence and supply conditional on

    1. Abolition of student tuition fees) retrospectively keeping the promise

    2 tories to have sole control of Brexit negotiations (they may tear themselves apart)

    3 referendum to stay in EU or accept the deal

    4. Lib Dem leadership (esp Vince in whatever role) free to publicise dreadful results of leaving EU at every opportunity and with better things latform

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 8:47am

    @Nick Collins: I’m not sure of the details, and you may be right. But sadly, like tuition fees, the public just haven’t got the patience to listen to intricate arguments that turn on little details. They want simple answers. It is a great shame, but can’t say I blame them. So much hot hair and lies from Trump, Brexit bus, May, fake news, etc. The point is not whether Cable is fully or partially responsible or Royal Mail…nor even whether we should have privatised RM at all…but that in the minds of sympathetic (Labour/Green) voters I talk to, he and by association the Lib Dems, are tainted because of the Royal Mail privatisation which in their minds is anathema.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 8:55am

    PS also opportunity to extract lots more anti-austerity goodies and block centraling, authoritarian and anti-human rights legislation

    I quite like it, but it is high risk.

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 9:00am

    @Bernard Aris: Yes Dutch roots, but a long way back (many generations)! The tuition fee issue is actually something I think the Lib Dems did a great job with, mitigating the worst aspects of the Lab/Con plans. But all of this misses the point…we (ie. the Lib Dems) completely screwed up the PR. Clegg’s “I’m sorry” video was naive, as it cemented in many, many young voters minds that we were “responsible for tuition fees”. On social media (like Twitter where I am active) Labour never miss an opportunity to remind young voters of this. The Conservatives, as the larger coalition partner and employing a “decapitation policy” (as a Conservative councillor told me), worked the PR and media hard to sell tuition fees as a “Lib Dem U-turn”…and we let them get away with it! Beware of wolves in sheep clothing.

    If we want another shot at power again and to implement the Liberal, centrist policies this country desperately needs, we need to know where your red lines are in future. And if, in future, a larger coalition partner wants to cross these red lines have the balls to stand up tall, tell them where to shove it…and f they push it through, play the media hard and don’t grovel either.

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 9:03am

    @Janet Fife: I’m not sure which of the current MPs fits the bill. Catherine Crosland responded and mentioned Stephen Lloyd. For those in the know, wouldn’t Jo Swinson fit the bill? She’s young, very bright, etc, etc.

    Also, does the leader have to be an MP? Apologies if that is a naive question!

  • Peter Brand 21st Jun '17 - 9:07am
  • Nonconformistradical 21st Jun '17 - 9:14am

    @Alain Dekker

    The leader does have to be a member of the House of Commons

  • John Probert 21st Jun '17 - 9:25am


  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 9:30am

    @Keith Legg: Thanks for the additional details on tuition fees. Some I knew, some I didn’t. Your reasoned arguments are excellent and the sort of thing that we Lib Dems thrive on…but not sure how we solve this puzzle of being tainted by “introducing tuition fees”. Voters have long-memories, like simple answers, and Lab/Con remind young voters constantly on social media that we are “to blame”.

    To my mind the best chance of shaking this ball-and-chain is to hammer (hard) the argument that fees, paid-off when you’re earning, is progressive, helping students from poorer backgrounds gain access to education. And time. Long, intricate arguments about little details are for the birds these days. You’re preaching the choir…we here know the Lib Dems did their best and even got a progressive outcome against the odds.

    Next time, be careful where your red lines are, and “die in a ditch” as Stephen Lloyd puts it if they are crossed…and if you genuinely have done your best…don’t apologise like a wimp!

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 9:37am

    @Nonconformistradical: Aah, ok thanks. Couple of obvious follow-on questions, then:
    1) What about Nicola Sturgeon? Is this specific to Lib Dems?
    2) Lib Dems face an uphill battle in the anti-democratic first-past-the-past system (and yes, Greens fair even worse). In the scenario where we get 10-15% everywhere but win nowhere (ie. 0 MPs, which was a possible outcome last election)…who is leader?

    Seems to me the rule about the leader having to be an MP is anachronistic and misguided. Maybe a leader who is young, passionate, pro-EU, Macron-like figure unencumbered with constant constituency work might be just the ticket for our party with significant support but no safe seats.

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun '17 - 9:42am

    @Tristan Ward: Like it, would throw in voting reform (PR or STV) but Tories won’t bite. If we do a deal with Con/Lab in future, the leader needs to have steel. Clegg was (is!) a giant and a great leader, but had too much personal affinity for Cameron who screwed Clegg (and the Lib Dems) royally in what Conservatives tell me was a deliberate “decapitation policy”. Be wary!

  • Mid May 2017……Vince Cable…Corbyn’s election chances are on par with finding ELVIS ON THE MOON’ …

    Mid June 2017…..Vince Cable…Corbyn is ‘complacent’….

    Latest…Jodrell Bank picks up what sounds like “Jailhouse Rock” from moon…

  • Tracy – why would I give any credence to anything David Laws says or writes? Now there is someone who is properly toxic, never mind Cable.

  • I always opposed the Coalition, but I have to say to those suspicious of Vince, he always gave me the impression of being semi-detached from the Clegg-Alexander-Laws neo-liberal axis. Certainly they thought he was semi-detached and treated him accordingly.

    On tuition fees, it was dumped on him by Clegg and he pragmatically tried to make the best of a bad job.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 11:11am

    The Liberal Democrats could Liberal Democrats enter a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives on the following basis:

    1 Tories to have sole responsibility for negotiating the terms of Brexit. It is their mess, and they must get us out.

    2 Tories agreeing pass legislation for a further referendum on membership of the EU on current terms as opposed to delivery of the deal negotiated by the Conservatives.

    There would be a tension party between “soft” ” and “hard” Tory outers, with the soft outers being able to point to their solution being more desirable in the light of the upcoming referendum. It is conceivable the Tories may split around this.

    There would be a welcome and highly public success of Tim Farron’s general election policy.

    The party leadership would be free to campaign to remain.

    4 Lots of high profile opportunities to obtain anti-austerity goodies and block reactionary legislation;

    5 We block the influence of the obnoxious DUP. I am surprised how profile this issue is among my works colleagues and friends.

    6 The agreement is conditional on immediate abolition of student tuition fees, thus fulfilling the famous pledge that did the party so much damage. The collective gasp of astonishment from the electorate at this achievement would go a long way towards neutralising our enemies’ attacks on this extremely vulnerable point concerning broken promises.

    No Corbin in government in (say) the next two years.

    The risk is that party would be seen as backing the Tories again when Tim Farron promised “no deals”. But Tim will not be the leader, and I venture to suggest that delivering the country from the DUP, delivering stability in the current unstable situation and most importantly, righting the wrong of the broken student fee pledge may prove powerful counter arguments.

    This is a time for courage and flexibility.

  • Alain Dekker 21st Jun ’17 – 9:42am Clegg was (is!) a giant and a great leader, but had too much personal affinity for Cameron who screwed Clegg (and the Lib Dems) royally…

    “Giants and great leaders” don’t get screwed; ‘royally’ or otherwise…

  • Richard Underhill 21st Jun '17 - 11:42am

    In the Queen’s Speech we should look out for spending on the parliamentary building. It is legally a Royal Palace and is therefore exempt from fire regulations, although it is probably a death trap. There has been a ceremonial search of the House of Lords because of Guy Fawkes, but substantial building works are needed, with cost implications unless parliamentary business is moved out of the building for a while.

  • Richard Underhill 21st Jun '17 - 11:49am

    No mention of a state visit by DJ Trump.
    The Republicans narrowly won the bye-election in Georgia.

  • Stephen Booth 21st Jun '17 - 12:03pm

    At last, an adult enters the ring! Go for it Vince, I’m 73 so you’ve got one more year’s wisdom more than me!

    I cannot help but think we need more people with serious in-depth experience. Listened to Michael Heseltine being interviewed on Newsnight last night. What intelligence, experience and wisdom. Let’s hear from more like-minded politicos. Where’s Gordon Brown? John Major? Neil Kinnock? Ming Cambell? Your country needs you.

  • Tristan Ward: “There may be a (high risk) way of doing a deal with the Tories:
    Confidence and supply conditional on
    1. Abolition of student tuition fees) retrospectively keeping the promise
    2 tories to have sole control of Brexit negotiations (they may tear themselves apart)
    3 referendum to stay in EU or accept the deal”

    NO, NO, NO!

    We promised no coalitions. How is it going to look now, if we just go and break another solemn promise?

    Even more so, how is it going to look, if the conditions we propose to the Tories are:
    (1) please retrospectively do something about tuition fees, just so that the LDs can look better,
    (2) please accept all the downside risk of Brexit, and shield the LDs (somehow) from the political flak, when it goes pear-shaped.
    (3) to seal the deal, give us a second referendum, something we want, something most voters have made clear they didn’t want!

    These are outrageously self-serving demands. They would make the DUP, with their demands for money for Ulster, look like saints by comparison with ourselves!

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 1:18pm

    @ David Allen at 12.30pm.

    I absolutely understand the difficulties But may of your objections are for the Tories to make, not us., and indeed show the strength of the suggestion.

    The Tories’ desperation to hold power could (I emphasise could) play to our hands. As for their taking the downside of Brexit – well so they should. Johnson, Redwood and the rest are all convinced the sunlit uplands lie beyond anyway, so not much of an a issue I would have thought.

    I suspect a second referendum (if there is one) will be fought in a totally different political and economic climate to the campaigns fought last year, two weeks ago, or anything today.

    And if the Lib Dems get some goodies out of a deal – well jolly good. They could go for the benefit of the DUP and their well know progressive policies.

  • Nick Collins 21st Jun '17 - 1:26pm

    @ Alan Dekker: Privatisation of Royal Mail, was in the LibDem manifesto for the 2010 election. it was one of the policies which , by being in cahoots (sorry, coalition) with the Tories, they were able to implement.

    So the whole party is tainted by it: and deservedly so.

  • Jonathan Pile 21st Jun '17 - 2:32pm

    @ Tristan Ward Please, Please, Please NO MORE COALITIONS WITH THE CONSERVATIVES EVER! For ANY reason. Why : 1) It would DESTROY our much our coalition damaged Party 2) The Conservatives must go .Constitutionally, Theresa May should follow the Constitutional Convention & Precedent set by two previous Conservative Prime Ministers who called and lost Snap elections. The First by Ted Heath in Feb 1974, who despite having the most votes and having failed to entangle the Liberal Party in a coalition resigned a few days after the election result, because he had lost his mandate & couldn’t command a majority in the commons. Second Stanley Baldwin in 1923, who lost an snap election, despite having the most votes and seats, asked the Liberal Party for support which was refused & then resigned allowing the First and tiny minority 191 seat Labour Government to rule until 1924. These two conventions should be taken as the honourable (and wise) course for the PM. Involving the DUP is a not worth it for anyone, risks the Good Friday agreement. A minority Labour Government would be a wiser move for all than this Zombie Non-Govt of the undead. It would have to deal with the Brexit issue, instead of sitting on the fence.,_1923

  • Joseph Bourke 21st Jun '17 - 3:49pm

    David Allen is right about the nefariousness of doing deals based on outrageously self-serving demands.

    Alistair Carmichael, in an interview today following the Queens speech, made it clear that any support for the Conservative legislative program would be based on the merits or otherwise of individual bills. With respect to Brexit he pointed to the Mansion House speech by Philip Hammond as a basis for discussion, whereas the program outlined by Mrs May in her Lancaster House speech would not be supported.

    Personally, I think it is always a mistake to rule out working with other parties (Conservative or Labour) as you never know for sure when a hung parliament will make some form of cross-party cooperation necessary.

    The Libdem policy on tuition fees has always been flawed. No European country (other than Austria) has free tuition and none have fees as high as England. The happy medium lies in between these two extremes and perhaps funded by a graduate tax.

  • Alain Dekhar it’s not about the merits of tuition fees, it’s about trust. Pure and simple.

  • Joseph Bourke 21st Jun '17 - 4:18pm

    Jonathan Pile,

    there is another precedent to consider (13 years prior to the 1923 election) as this Irish Times article discussing the Liberal/Irish Pary pact in 1910 points out:

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Jun '17 - 4:34pm

    Russell Kent

    Tuition fees. Stop harping on about things that cannot be changed. Moreover, the days of absolutely fee education for all university students has long gone.

    Yes it can be changed – at a cost. So let’s say what that cost is in terms of tax. Plus the cost of providing a decent NHS, care for the elderly etc etc.

    The problem with politics here is that government services and taxes are talked about as if they are unrelated things. So everyone says they would like better services, and oppose cuts and all that, and Corbyn has done well out of that. However, when it comes to actually raising money to pay for it, then remember – what really pushed Labour up was when the Tories spelt out a way that could (and actually already is when it comes to residential care) being used to pay for it. No-one seemed to ask the question “OK, if not that way, how?” and perhaps it should have been “how, on top of paying for what is necessary to abolish tuition fees”.

    Clearly the tuition fees issue is not going to go away for the LibDems, so it would be better (and would have been in the general election just gone) to bring it out ourselves rather than let our opponents do it. Who better to do that than Vince Cable? I hope that he can come out clearly and say that there was simply no way that the Tories would have agreed to the tax rises necessary to continue subsidising universities, so the LibDems were in a terrible dilemma – the only way to keep their pledge was to agree to big cuts elsewhere to pay for it.

    I saw Labour posters saying things like “Vote Labour to save yourself £27,000”. Well, who would not do that – except it doesn’t make the point that the £27,000 then has to come from somewhere else. Personally, I’d like to see it coming from higher inheritance tax. So, how many of those who would vote Labour to save £27,000 will stay that way when they are told it means maybe £50,000 less from Bank of Mum and Dad?

    I am open to how it would be paid for – but I would like the public to make clear what they would like to see, properly in terms of what really would raise the necessary money. Can we, led by Vince Cable, initiate a discussion on this?

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st Jun ’17 – 7:19am
    “Are you sure about that Manfarang? Are you sure that it will not be deemed to be, ‘in the national interest’ ?”
    Brexit is not in the national interest.

  • @Matthew Huntbach
    The young vote is gone unless we address the tuition fees issue.
    I think the least we have to do is honour the pledge we made in 2010, applied retrospectively. In linking our policy to this it will invite us to explain why the increase was forced upon us. I have yet to plumb the figures but it feels doable. Other than this we would have to scrap them all together. The cynicism embedded in the Labour manifesto was that all their offerings were costed against the 5% of top earners or corporations. Their vote can easily be overpowered. Unfortunately what they didn’t explain was that it is also highly mobile and evasive.

  • Peter Watson 21st Jun '17 - 5:20pm

    @Tristan Ward “Confidence and supply conditional on …Abolition of student tuition fees) retrospectively keeping the promise”
    What mandate does the party have to demand that? The manifesto defended the tuition fees system and the closest it came to calling for changes was to suggest a review of higher education finance.
    And is it even clear that Lib Dems want to “scrap unfair university tuition fees” (copyright 2010)? The justification that is frequently made is that it will appeal to young voters, making Lib Dems look like a cynically unprincipled vote-scrounging machine.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 5:34pm

    @Peter Watson,

    “What mandate does the party have to demand that? The manifesto defended the tuition fees system and the closest it came to calling for changes was to suggest a review of higher education finance.”

    Peter, I wasn’t aware of the manifesto pledge. BUT, the problem is not that we WILL be made to look like a cynical vote-scrounging machine – BUT we ALEARDY ARE seen in that light BECAUSE OF the breaking of the promise. Righting the wrong will put us in a better position surely. It wouldn’t be a promise – it would be something delivered.

    @ Joseph Bourke, Jonathan Pile. I am not suggesting coalition. I am suggesting confidence and supply.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 5:39pm

    @ Jonathan Pile

    “allowing the First and tiny minority 191 seat Labour Government to rule until 1924.” and “A minority Labour Government …..would have to deal with the Brexit issue, instead of sitting on the fence.”

    So – what’s our attitude to a Labour government that is committing the UK to exiting the EU (which is after all Corbin’s manifesto’s policy)? Seems to me a Labour Government would be guaranteeing Brexit would happen.

  • Propping up this shaky Tory Government in any way would be the final act of Hari Kari. Those that advocate it are like a moth to the flame.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 5:44pm

    @ Dave Allen

    “These are outrageously self-serving demands. They would make the DUP, with their demands for money for Ulster, look like saints by comparison with ourselves!”

    Sorry but this is just silly.

    Of course the demands serve the Liberal Democrat’s agenda, but’s that’s what we’re politics for isn’t it?

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 5:48pm

    @ David Raw

    “Propping up this shaky Tory Government in any way would be the final act of Hari Kari. ”

    This is the risk. But I note that Lord Ashcroft’s polling shows that about 50% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2015 went elsewhere in 2017 AND they were (almost all) replaced by people migrating from the Tories to us. (Usual polling caveats apply).

  • paul barker 21st Jun '17 - 6:01pm

    If The May Government falls, we should cheer surely, its then up to Labour if they want to try. That would be a golden opportunity to exploit Labours splits, with The Leadership in favour of Brexit & most of the members against.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Jun '17 - 6:22pm

    “If The May Government falls, we should cheer surely, its then up to Labour if they want to try. That would be a golden opportunity to exploit Labours splits, with The Leadership in favour of Brexit & most of the members against.”

    I would expect a short period of Labour government when they attempt to pass legislation for all the unpriced goodies they have promised many of which would be voted down, shortly followed by a general election. Corbin would campaign on the basis that he has been stopped from implementing his programme and wins a large majority as a result. Lib Dem vote falls and seats lost. Meanwhile the Brexit clock continues to tick and the Labour party either falls apart over the issue just like the Tories (so we are in jus as bad a position as we are currently in) , or sticks together to implement JC’s will on Brexit which would be hard to resist since he has just won them a totally unexpected majority.

  • @ Joseph Burke

    According to

    Many countries have free university tuition fees in Europe for native/EU students including Germany (at a regional level), Spain, Greece, Norway, Denmark,Sweden, Austria, Scotland, Czech republic.

    Others have at least some universities with very low fees including France and Italy. Even america almost elected a Preesident in Bernie sanders that advocated free university tuition. He probably would have won at the general election against trump.

    There is always a debate to be had over what we make collective provision for paid out of general taxation or what we charge directly for. We could apply the same system of fees to secondary education. We are having that debate over social care.

    Personally I believe in minimising charges and paying for things out based on the ability to pay out of taxation.

  • Galen Milne 21st Jun '17 - 7:59pm

    Scotland doesn’t have Tuition Fees per say but it has a cap,on the numbers of Scottish students as they want the income from overseas student fees. How fair is that? In England the universities are now better funded (I know because we supply university R&D sector) and there is a substantial, measurable, increase in students from less well off backgrounds. So why is that? Maybe it’s because they don’t pay any fees until they are earning over £22k and that is also tapered depending on eventual income. Let’s grow up as a Party and tell it ” as it is”, just like Vince will, instead of pussy footing about all the time, because it ain’t got us anywhere fast has it?

  • Peter Watson 21st Jun '17 - 9:06pm

    @Galen Milne “there is a substantial, measurable, increase in students from less well off backgrounds. So why is that? Maybe it’s because they don’t pay any fees until they are earning over £22k”
    Maybe. Maybe not.
    Lib Dem statements on this, even in the 2015 & 2017 manifestos, always seem to imply that increasing tuition fees caused an improvement in the number of applications by students from disadvantaged backgrounds but fall short of explicitly claiming it. Usually it’s a simple juxtaposition: we increased fees; number of applications is now higher. It seems a little sneaky.

  • What happens if we get a minority Labour Administration ? Its hard to say because right now Labour are the only Party actually expecting to do better in an Election. That could mean that other Parties will let them get their Program through. We know what Labour have said about Brexit but what they mean is harder to tell, like The Tories they seem to want a bunch of contradictory things.
    Whenver the next Election comes, will it turn into another 2 Party Race, squeezing out the smaller Parties ? We dont know.

  • @ Jonathan Pile
    “Theresa May should follow the Constitutional Convention & Precedent set by two previous Conservative Prime Ministers who called and lost Snap elections.”

    She is. In 1974 Ted Heath tried to form a coalition government with the Liberals and only resigned when he failed. After the 1923 general election Stanley Baldwin did not resign, he waited for Parliament to meet in 1924 and only after being defeated in the House of Commons did he resign (

  • Yellow Submarine 22nd Jun '17 - 1:32am

    Clearly a former Coalition Cabinet minister leading the party is a huge step backward but is there an alternative ? If Jo doesn’t want to do it yet who else ? I think Tim should have staid on but he was ousted. Complete mess.

  • Clive Lindley 22nd Jun '17 - 1:02pm

    I very much welcome Vince Cable’s readiness to serve. For our very survival and national relevance we have to make deeper inroads into the electorate. Tony Greives last week made the painful point that we have the same number of MPs now, that we had in the 1960’s! That I find desperately significant!
    Think about it! We are not going anywhere unless we meet certain criteria in public perceptions. An important factor, particuarly in our TV dominated political debate, is the leader. Is he or she ‘substantial’ in the public imagination? Has he/she ever done anything other than politics? If so, have they acheived anything significant in the wider world outside ? Vince positively fits all these criteria and he has the added capacity ‘to tell things how they are’, not just as they might be. At this time of maximum ‘churn’ in British politics it behoves us to put in place a leader of heavyweight status -so that we can remain in the game!

  • Yeovil Yokel 22nd Jun '17 - 9:43pm

    The most vital issue facing the country is what Geoff Boycott is going to say when Test Match Special resumes shortly. Last year I seem to recall he was enthusiastic about Theresa May’s elevation to the Premiership, but now that a fellow Yorkie born and bred is the current front-runner to be leader of the nation’s third party I wonder if he will, in his balanced and thoughtful way, reconsider his political allegiances. The nation awaits the Word of the Oracle with trembling anticipation.

  • Peter Watson 23rd Jun '17 - 7:46am

    Surely an Ed Davey leadership is less likely after today’s report by the National Audit Office about the “risky and expensive” Hinkley C project which is “not value for money” (
    The party risks an unopposed Vince Cable (having faced either no opponent or no serious one) looking like a caretaker manager who is simply keeping the seat warm for Jo Swinson. That does not sound like the foundation for a radical rethink of the party’s vision and direction.

  • Tristan Ward 23rd Jun '17 - 6:37pm

    I have great respect for Vince Cable, but the broken tuition fee promise tuition fee would be a terrible burden if he were to become leader. To see why, have a look at his article in the Guardian where he (rightly) attacks Labour’s position on Brexit as being against the interests and wishes of young people.

    Predictably the comments section is full of postings pointing out the broken tuition fees promise, and frankly I feel much the same myself. I see no way of making that millstone go away other than by time – in the same way that the memory of the winter of discontent has faded to Corbin’s benefit.

  • Tristan Ward 23rd Jun '17 - 6:38pm
  • Katharine Pindar 24th Jun '17 - 10:09am

    The Brexit position of the Labour Party would not open up the future for young people, as Tim Farron has always said and Vince Cable is confirming. The word needs spreading, and Jeremy Corbyn should not be acclaimed at Glastonbury! Having read Vince’s article in yesterday’s Guardian, as well as most of the comments above, he will have my vote if we hold a leadership election this summer.

  • Tristan Ward 26th Jun '17 - 9:21am
  • Hopefully we’ll soon have confirmation of a contest but Ed isn’t rushing into it! Whilst I welcome Vince’s candidacy and he is a figure of stature in these uncertain times, obviously he has strengths and a few weaknesses. A Davey leadership would be different and not just in terms of approach but of course they both were Coalition Cabinet Ministers, important to see them pitched against each other in debate. A factor will certainly be if you think a long term leader is necessary at this point or if greater experience more vital. Only just joined but will consider on the candidates credentials, more than thinking about how it affects future leaders such as Jo Swinson.

    As far as tuition fees goes for many it was a matter of trust but in my view whilst the policy wasn’t ideal it is more progressive that some give credit for. Whilst case for modification and the threshold should definitely be increased no way should Liberal Democrats go back to the old policy or be Corbyn lite,even if he’s currently a cult figure for some sections of the electorate.

  • Stephen Tuthill 27th Jun '17 - 8:24pm

    Vince will make a great Caretaker Leader, until we have fresher candidates ready to stand…

    Hopefully, after Vince’s care of the party, in a years time one of the new MPs will be ready to stand.

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