Reports: Vince Cable to stand down as party leader before 2022 and wants to see through party rule changes

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I see that there are a few media reports about this today. The first was in The Times (£), then the Express and Telegraph, and, this afternoon, the Guardian has followed with, perhaps, the most precisely worded article.

There is nothing on the Lib Dem Press Office Twitter feed about this, as I write. Also I don’t see a round robin email from the party about this. That suggests an element of “bouncing” in this story.

Basically, the story, as related in the Guardian, seems sensible to me. – Some mature planning which will allow the party to move forward without too much drama.

Picking the bones out of the story, these appear to be the main points, using some quotes from the Guardian:

  • “Vince Cable has told his MPs he will not remain Liberal Democrat leader for the long term, but hopes to push through radical reform of his party’s rulebook before stepping aside.”
  • “Cable is due to make a speech on 7 September, a week before party members gather for their annual conference in Brighton. He is expected to outline proposals for sweeping changes to his party’s rules, including introducing a new category of registered supporter…”
  • Another rule change will allow non-MPs to stand for the party leadership
  • If there is a snap election in the next year or so, Vince will fight the campaign as leader.
  • “Allies denied reports that Cable would use the (7 September speech) occasion to trigger a leadership contest in the near term, saying that he would not announce a date.”
  • He’s unlikely stay on as leader until 2022 when there would be an election if the parliament runs its course.

For what it’s worth, I think Vince is and has been a very good leader of our party and this planned, mature approach to the succession is typical of the man.

Update 28/8/18: Vince Cable has referred to these stories as false rumours, saying “I’m not stepping down any time soon”. See new post here

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Aug '18 - 5:55pm

    I like the tone here, of Sir Vince and Paul.

    I have suggested in writing and more, that we have the rules altered to bring in non mps, an idea of mine and others perhaps too, which the leadership like. I think a movement needs wider involvement, these changes are good ones.

    I too think Sir Vince is a good leader and man of substance.

    The world lost a great man of vintage age today, of veteran stature, one of the politicians who transcended political ideology. Senator John Mccain. A moderate, and also a man of substance.

  • paul barker 26th Aug '18 - 6:06pm

    Like Paul Walter i am broadly infavour of the idea of Registered Supporters & against a Leader from outside The HoC but niether of these things can happen before Autumn 2019, at the earliest. That fits with Vinces intentention of going in 2020 or 2021, implied in all these articles. Talking about these things now seems a mistake to me but they are out there now so we have to.
    An official Party statement would be a good thing, asap.

  • Really disappointed with the media handling of this. The plan itself is a fair enough idea, but it is essentially an internal party matter and should have been presented directly to the party members in a straightforward way for proper discussion. Not leaked and teased in ‘sources close to’ articles in publications that are generally hostile to us. The people who make these decisions need to understand that all members have friends and family who are asking us today what’s going on, and we haven’t a clue what to tell them.

  • David Warren 26th Aug '18 - 6:10pm

    I strongly oppose this move to a US style registered supporters idea.

    It caused havoc for Labour in their 2015 leadership elections.If an individual believes in a party then why don’t they just join it?

    Involving existing members should surely be the priority.

    Something no political party appears to be particularly good at.

  • Richard Fagence 26th Aug '18 - 6:10pm

    For medical reasons I can’t go to autumn conference for the first time in twenty-one years. Like many members, I would like an answer to the question “What the hell is going on?” This story is now on the BBC News page. I was under the impression that we, the members, determined party policy. If that has changed, would somebody tell me when it changed?

  • David Westaby 26th Aug '18 - 6:23pm

    This is all very sensible from a man of stature and integrity. It is very important that the process from here or in is well controlled. Vince has held the party together well at a challenging period for country and party.
    I trust his judgement and I hope he is given the space and support to introduce the radical changes that might attract more liberal minded people to the party – this one not some new entity.

  • paul barker 26th Aug '18 - 6:27pm

    None of the things in this article come as a particular surprise, most of us assumed that Vince wouldnt be Leader in 2022 & Vinces views on changes to our Membership & Leadership provisions are well known.
    However, the idea that Vince plans changes is nonsense, he plans to try to get changes through, presumably in Autumn 2020 or 2021. He may be defeated at Conference, Leaders often are in Our Party.
    Please remember that The “News”papers running this story are our enemies & wish us harm.

  • The announcement needs to be followed reasonably soon by an actual resignation; pre-announcing a year or more ahead simply isn’t tenable.

    Having a leader who isn’t in Parliament is a bonkers idea, and I hope that whatever special conference is convened to consider it rejects the idea. Or, better, that the time and cost of such a conference is avoided by dropping it now.

  • David Evershed 26th Aug '18 - 7:04pm

    Who does Vince have in mind as his successor who is not an MP ?

  • @geoff English. You say the suggestion that there is no one in the party with the appropriate talents is “clearly wrong”. Not sure it’s clearly wrong, perhaps we should just say it’s debatable.
    @ David warren. Indeed. What will they do with these new supporters? They don’t know how to engage with existing members.
    @richard fargence. Not going to conference and feeling out of the loop ? Mmmm !

  • The technical term for a leader whose departure date is confirmed well in advance is ‘lame duck’.

    Having a lame duck leader is saying to the public ‘we’re sitting this one out for a while, we’ll let you know when we’re playing for real again’. Hopefully they’ll still remember who we are.

  • David Becket 26th Aug '18 - 7:51pm

    Vince has served as a good steady leader, with more common sense than the leaders of the two main parties. He does lack charisma, which is an essential ingredient to lift the party in the polls. However it should not be necessary to go outside of the house of commons to find somebody to fit the bill.
    A more sensible approach would be to elect a charismatic radical leader as President at the forthcoming elections. Working with Vince this could provide the combination we need to move forward.

  • John Marriott 26th Aug '18 - 8:05pm

    Choosing a ‘Leader’, who is not an MP is not such a crazy idea. I think this is how quite a few German Chancellors started life, certainly the late Helmut Kohl. However, even was a ‘Ministerpräsident’ before he entered the Bundestag.

    Whether the idea is, in the words of ‘Ian’, “bonkers” depends on what you think of the talents of the current crop of Lib Dem MPs. Given that at least two of the potential candidates ruled themselves out last time, the only one I would support, were I still a member of the party, would be Jo Swinson.

  • Peter Davies 26th Aug '18 - 8:34pm

    It is possible that our next major test will not be a 2023 general election but a second referendum or an early general election to endorse or reject a negotiated deal. I would like to here Vince state that he will lead us for the duration of the current battle and resign soon after the issue of Brexit is put to bed. The Liberal Democrat constitution is not the biggest issue facing the country right now.

  • Peter Davies
    I think you might be waiting rather a long time “for the issue of Brexit to be put to bed”!

  • Peter Davies 26th Aug '18 - 9:06pm

    It will wake again in the morning. We will either leave in March or stop the process soon before or after. Either we or UKIP will be fighting to reverse the result soon after but there will be a period between then and the general election when we have to create a whole new agenda.

  • Innocent Bystander 26th Aug '18 - 9:11pm

    Do any of the experienced LibDemmers link any of this to “a new centre party” ? And is there a potential leader lurking in the shadows? (Big Beast – ex Labour etc etc?)

  • Get ready for Gina Miller to join the party and become your new leader

    She will be a resounding success for the party, resonate with the public and see the party standings in the polls rocket. Ha, think there is a bit to much of frankies fairy dust floating about

  • Well, going by the survey the party sent me during the week, the plan seems to be to give supporters pretty much the same access to the party as members. Am I the only person that sees all of this as a cash raising ploy?

    Also, I must be the only person on here that doesn’t quite get the Jo Swinson appeal. We have to be very careful on how members (and the public) see the election of the next leader. The next GE will probably be the most important in the parties history .

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Aug '18 - 10:04pm

    I don’t know who in the party leaked all this to the Media, and I don’t like it: it’s for our democratic party to decide on major changes with due process, as others above have been saying. Now it is out, however, let’s refuse to be rushed by the Media, or by the Leader himself, into unhelpful speculation. We know of inter-party discussions with shared approaches to opposing Brexit, but that there is no question of party mergers or of forming a new party; and we know that the Liberal Democrats are not about to seek a new Leader.

    If we want to change the rules for a non-MP to be the next Leader, we have to debate it. (Personally like some others above I don’t accept that is either necessary or desirable.) If we are to have a Supporters scheme we have to debate it. (Personally I don’t see the point – what are we to ask of them, if it isn’t a donation and a signature? And the precedent of Momentum is discouraging.)

    I don’t know why Vince should be making a major speech days before the Conference, rather than first at the Conference. But be that as it may, it would be good if he and the party press office now made it clear that he won’t be resigning any time soon, and certainly not until after the hoped-for referendum, or until after the next General Election if it is held before 2022.

  • If the idea is to lift the party in the polls, it seems strange to go about this by tinkering with the rules around leadership elections.

    A better idea might be to understand where the Lib Dems fit in the post-Brexit world (yes, it is going to happen and no there s no second referendum) – fighting in a world we live in rather than the world we’d like to live in, is the only way forward. There’s no point fighting for something that isn’t going to occur – the second referendum issue has got a shelf life and the LDs need to figure out that next.

    Assuming, as seems inevitable that Brexit happens, calling for a second referendum will very much be yesterday’s battle, so to appear relevant the party needs to come up with a new offer. What is it?

  • Spring Conference next year is the earliest point at which the rules for the leadership election, or for a registered supporter scheme, could be changed. No proposals have been put forward to the Autumn Conference this year.

    It has been suggested that a Special Conference could be called to change the rules. Although that is feasible it would be expensive and, in my view, an irresponsible use of party funds, especially when there is no reason why it could not have been put to a regular conference.

  • Ian Patterson 26th Aug '18 - 10:58pm

    There is also the spectacle of the non mp leader declaring a policy stance at variance with that held by our floor leader in Commons. How many nano seconds will elapse before press say ‘will the real leader of the Lib Dem’s please stand up’.
    Our ‘recovery’ is neither broad enough or deep enough to withstand any unpleasant shocks or trauma’s.

  • Peter Watson 26th Aug '18 - 11:47pm

    For those who fancy a flutter, you can get odds of 40/1 for Nick Clegg’s return as leader. Could be win-win for fans of 2010-15.
    Or 100/1 for Anna Soubry, George Osborne, Paddy Ashdown or Tim Farron. If you’re feeling lucky(?), how about Tony Blair at 200/1 and Lembit Opik at 500/1?

  • Excellent comments here – particularly from Judy Abel just now.

    But grrrr at the way this is coming out – ramping up speculation for Sept 7th, why not just do it or save for conference. Risks a lame duck leader, we won’t get heard on anything of substance if the leader has handed their notice in. And some of the changes proposed seem dubious to put it politely.

  • The President needs to tell us where all this stuff came from (or didn’t come from).

  • Richard Fagence 27th Aug '18 - 8:39am

    @Chris Cory “Not going to conference and feeling out of the loop? Hmmm.” If I could be there, I would be. I wonder if you will be? And if you are going to make sarcastic remarks, at least spell my name correctly. Thanks.

  • David Westaby 27th Aug '18 - 9:02am

    should this not be simply taken as the leader of the party putting forward some radical proposals to be put out to consultation and then possible approval by the membership. I thought that is what his job was.

  • Judy Abel
    Thoroughly agree about your need for emphasis on important “chunky” policy. The upper reaches of the party do, however, seem to still have a problem with some of this. They still embody too much of the rump of the Orange Book movement which took over the negotiations for, and the management of, the Coalition. Economic policy has always split the party, even before the merger in 1988 and certainly before the Orange Bookers, with, usually, about 55% embracing soft centre vaguely old style Tory capitalism, and about 45% a more radical redistributionist, even egalitarian approach (some of us even with a streak of green economics about us). It is interesting, in periods of high flying, when greens and leftish Labour people have defected to us, they have often redefected because of the off putting effects of debates and people in the end espousing policies which would lead to very little substantial change!

    In economics and public service / “welfare” / housing areas, those at the top know that they have cooperated with the Tories in 2010 – 15 in making things less equal, and “worse” (depending on your standpoint). Those responsible have rejected many times the idea coming from the radical roots that an apology, or some serious public acknowledgement that they got it very wrong in their governmental period. This does not just refer to the tuition fees debacle, but the whole raft of policy.

  • Simon Banks 27th Aug '18 - 9:57am

    Vince had already talked in terms of being leader for two years, back when he was crowned. Going in 2019 or 2020 would give the new leader plenty of time to get going. The idea of him going now is remarkably rash: there might be a snap election and indeed, us being caught in a leadership contest with a lame duck leader might attract Theresa May enough to swing the balance towards it. If Vince announced he was going, we started a contest and then the election was called, we’d have to suspend the contest and Vince would be speaking for us and being repeatedly reminded that he’d soon be gone, so had no authority.

    Permitting a non-MP to be leader would be interpreted in the media as either or both of us expecting to lose nearly all our MPs at the next election and as lining up Nick Clegg to return as leader, which would be profoundly divisive. Besides, as long as we have a number of MPs, the role of leader rightly includes leading in the Commons and there is already a member-elected leader normally outside the Commons, namely the President.

    The key question about a registered supporter scheme is what rights members but not supporters would have. I can see no good answers to this, so I just suggest renaming membership as a supporter scheme, retaining all the rights of members, setting the subscription bar low and encouraging local and regional parties to operate two email lists, one for activists and possible activists and the other for supporters who don’t want a lot of emails.

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Aug '18 - 9:57am

    If you look at the history of general elections since 1970 we have generally done best in vote share when Labour have been doing badly, but best in terms of seats when the Tories are doing badly. I am afraid the best hope for a significant increase in our vote share is a Labour government. Remember what happened to Hollande’s socialists in France? 40% to 8% in 5 years…
    However there is also a possibility that if Brexit goes through with Corbyn waving it on its way, then we might get the significant boost from Labour Remainers, without a Labour government. Polls show that 23% of Labour voters think Labour is “strongly against Brexit” Currently these voters are hoping that Labour will back a new referendum, and they will stick with Labour until the issue is resolved.
    We have to accept that we have always been a protest Party for many of our voters. Protest votes happen when people feel betrayed.

    I just wish we could bite the bullet and back a graduate tax with an “end to tuition fees”, instead of trying to argue the current arrangement is a graduate tax anyway (which it isn’t: taxes do not stop when you have paid something off…). The group of instinctive Remain voters we need most still feel betrayed over graduate debt.

  • It’s his decision alone when to move on though I do feel he is becoming recognised as the spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. Any change needs to occur well before the expected date of the next General Election. The danger of a non MP being leader is that he becomes another President with less media coverage that would be ideal. I support the Supporters’ Scheme and it must be free and managed jointly by local constituencies and the Party centrally.

  • Frank Bowles 27th Aug '18 - 10:13am

    Why should the leader of our party be a member of the Westminster Parliament? Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Arlene Foster, Michelle O’Neill and the leaders of UKIP, the UUP and the SDLP sit outside Westminster. No reason for our Federal Leader to sit in any particular one of the Parliaments of the UK, particularly the only one not elected by PR.

    But I do think they should be elected politicians and that if we want to create other roles, perhaps a different sort of President for prominent public figures who wish to align with us, then that is a different conversation

  • Neil Sandison 27th Aug '18 - 10:21am

    Once a leader indicates they will be stepping down they do as DAL says become a lame duck leader .The press will have a feeding frenzy with every question to Vince and our sittings MPs will be about who do they support or do they believe they could be the next leader .We do not want a Tory scenario where their leader was the last person standing in a pretty poor self selection process of potential candidates .We need to stand by our constitution and enable the members to pick a successor to Vince.However that should not be a long drawn out affair until 2022 .i would suggest the contest is open from Spring 2019 with a new leader in place by Summer 2019 ready for any potential general election in 2020.Vince carries on as an interim leader until that process is completed.

  • Patrick C Smith 27th Aug '18 - 10:22am

    Sir Vince Cable is a much greter asset to the Country than people know, namely, the voters, as his term demonstrated was a very powerfullly as a brilliant Secretary of State for Business and Skills in `Coalition’ 2010-15, as he knows exactly how to declare on the Economy and tells it as it is,and voters prefer it that way : and currently the Economy is hemorrhaging £440M a week, due to the reality and dire prospect of a `No Deal’ Brexit.

    Sir Vince can announce his intended rule changes to widen our support base of Liberal Democrats and in welcoming on board al new fellow travellers and voters are needed.

    However, registering of supporters additional to members, for a nominal rate, puts the Lib Dems in line with US party registrations that is fraught with pitfalls, if done here.

    For a start US politics is a 2 party zealot system and as such is manifestly undemocratic to the electorate and there is no sense in that for other party voter choice and if you are a US voter you are asked to register or vote Democrat or Republican and for no one else.

    So there is still much at staketo play for and is exactly what the Lib Dems are going to achieve in breaking the mould in this 2 party log jam in the UK and there has to be a fresh approach to make third party mass membership attractive and sustainable in widening its post Brexit appeal to all those voters with no `political homes’ and those who don`t like `extremisim’ : on offer with Labour and Tories..

    There is a probable majority of voters seeking opposition to a potentail threat of a Brexit `No Deal’ Britain and a new method of Lib Dem led mass membership -joining all fellow travellers together-must be sought found voted on and implemnted asap.

    This project is expedient and now becomes the lodestar in our political culture to gain a Brexit `Second Referendum’ on Britain`s future for generations.

    I would be not in favour of an elected leader of the Lib Dems, who is not chosen at Constituency grassroots as an MP, as this would be too radical and depart from parliamentary tradition but notwithstanding it is for the democratic efficacy of the Conference delegates to determine these potentail constitutional changes in Brighton.

    This leader led debate has to be very right and proper so to do.

  • Andrew McCaig: Graduate Tax, after Tuition Fees who would believe us?
    I am not an MP, anyone wish to nominate me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • @Tim13 I agree with your analysis – and think to have a more solid future, the Lib Dems need to come down more on the side of social justice and redistribution – some work on new economic models would be good.

    Yes, apologising and transparency is essential too. On tuition fees, anyone who has had children doing humanities subjects at university with only 5-6 hours of tuition a week, knows that £9,250 a year is like asking someone to pay £10 for a loaf of bread The fact that you only pay afterwards (+6% interest which is also totally unjustifiable) doesn’t make it better value for money.

    We need to somehow get some of the best economists, scientists, doctors, businesses, housing and energy experts to form a policy advisory board to come up with some new and fresh ideas on how to run Britain better. I don’t believe it’s impossible!

  • David Warren 27th Aug '18 - 12:27pm

    Why is Tom Brake never mentioned as a possible future Lib Dem leader?

    He came to a meeting I organised to debate Brexit and he spoke he really well [even though I didn’t agree with him].

    He also has a bit of charisma,

  • Innocent Bystander 27th Aug '18 - 12:28pm

    ” I don’t believe it’s impossible!”
    This was to be the modus operandi of Andreas Wittam-Smith’s “Democracy 2015”. They had no policies but declared that policies would be produced by teams of “experts” gathered to tackle all the nation’s problems, exactly as you suggest.
    The party is completely, utterly and without trace dead.
    Why? Because people want a vision, a dream, a view of a different future – not a group of anonymous privileged elite offering to “fix things” without saying how.

  • Joe Chung, no you are not alone in finding Jo Swinson devoid of appeal as a potential leader. However, she has several cheerleaders in influential positions, not least on this site

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Aug '18 - 1:24pm

    The idea anyone is going to think not having an mp as leader you admit to being likely to not have mps, implies people care, if thats so we would be a successful winning electoral party!

    Contributions saying these ideas are terrible are to be expected in a party that preaches radicalism and is conservative.

    This party thinks radical is open prisons, more pot, and state run public services, other than that, all of which is not radical, it is , keep the status quo.

    I think radical is be open to different ideas, listen to the wide electorate and allow for change that can work.

    A party president with no salary means rich people or mps or peers do it, mos of us cannot.

    A party leader who is salaried by the party and a parliamentary group leader who is not, is not a defeat, it is a distribution of power. It is more Liberal.

  • marcstevens 27th Aug '18 - 2:03pm

    I like the idea and Vince is a very good leader and I hope he carries on and defies the ageists for a very long time. One candidate who I would like to see throw her hat into the ring is Gina Miller and if elected she would build support and give the party the gravitas it so deserves.

  • Unfortunately having a leader is not an MP won’t work.

    I think to understand Lib Dem politics in a FPTP system you need to have stood (and won) a parliamentary seat. One of the faults of Nick Clegg was that he had a very easy path to being an MP – an MEP at the top of a list under PR and then inheriting his parliamentary seat in good times nationally without having to build it up. And he didn’t therefore understand the precariousness of the Lib Dems. Coming into touch with the electorate is a wonderful corrective to some of the nonsense we have seen from SPADs etc. I have never seen a former Lib Dem SPAD talk sense as a member of panel of pundits on TV.

    No matter how glittery a “celebrity” leader you are – it doesn’t make up for the experience of the grind of “retail politics”.

    Secondly all non-parliamentary leaders of UK wide parties have stood as parliamentary candidates. It is a virtually intolerable workload for someone to be leading the party 24/7 which is what it needs and also building up their local profile 24/7 which is also what it needs and they wouldn’t just be able to win locally on a national profile as has been shown by the other parties.

    If they are not a parliamentary candidate then the media will have an absolute field day. The electorate even for a third party are partly judging us on who are candidate for PM is. And even if they are parliamentary candidate for the first time a newbie will be crucified as unexperienced and probably made mincemeat of by the tabloid and interviewers.

    All (? most0 of our most effective national politicians and leaders have started by being highly effective local politicians.

    Unfortunately our leaders think they can find nirvana from a guru from a commonwealth country – it normally works out badly as it did last time. Of course we should learn from experience and good ideas from abroad. But the leadership should start by listening to those with experience of what works in British politics – and that is the grassroots of this party. Paddy won in Yeovil by virtually ignoring what was being promulgated by the national party at the time.

    Hopefully we will reject this stupid nonsense.

  • Teresa Wilson 27th Aug '18 - 3:10pm

    As a result of signing an on-line petition on an environmental issue a couple of years ago I accidentally became “supporter” of the Green Party (free of change at that). I can apparently attend meetings and even conference. What I can’t do is vote. Nor can I take part in electing party officials or leaders. Every so often I receive a bulk mailing to remind me of this and encourage me to join.

    I think the Greens have quite a sensible attitude to supporters who are not actually members. A certain amount of involvement is encouraged, but there is no chance of the kind of takeover that happened in the Labour Party following the creation of the £3 vote. Having been in the Labour Party in the past, I wouldn’t recommend going down that route myself.

  • Dr Selby Whittingham 27th Aug '18 - 9:41pm

    Some comments seem to equate House of Commons with Parliament. There are good
    practical reasons for having the Leader in the House of Lords or maybe a joint Leader there with Sir Vince in the Commons (a set-up which has worked in the past). No LibDem is going to be PM in the next parliament. The likelihood is that the LibDem MPs will be a smaller body than the Tory or Labour ones and any LibDem Leader will struggle to make a mark in the Commons. Whereas in the Lords one would be much better placed to initiate change.

  • Innocent Bystander 27th Aug '18 - 10:35pm

    I understand but it is political vision which is in such short supply, not expertise. Thatcher had such a vision, Corbyn has one too. Hard to think of others.
    The only “ideas” going the political rounds are anodyne, tired and superficial, have all been tried before (and failed) and can have no impact on national revival.
    And the voters know it.

  • “One candidate who I would like to see throw her hat into the ring is Gina Miller”

    This one? Who said, “What I wish for is the best Brexit for all of us in Great Britain.”, “We are all leavers now” and ““British voters want Brexit and we must bring it about as successfully as we can.”

  • Malcolm Todd 27th Aug '18 - 11:59pm

    Sources for these surprising statements? Only 3 weeks ago, Gina Miller was still demanding a second referendum.

  • Peter Watson 28th Aug '18 - 1:42am

    @Malcolm Todd “Sources for these surprising statements?”
    Presumably this article by Gina Miller for the Mail on Sunday:
    But then again, back in late 2016 Vince Cable seemed to consider a second referendum “seriously disrespectful and utterly counterproductive”!

  • Russell Simpson 28th Aug '18 - 9:33am

    @Andrew McCaig. The Libdems policy on teriary education should be to reduce the interest rate to RPI and reinstate maintenance grants for those who are less well off.

  • Russell Simpson 28th Aug '18 - 9:42am

    1. Vince Cable should not annouce he’s going, until … he’s going.
    2. Lib dem leader should be an MP.
    3. Leader should be elected by members.
    4. Libdems should campaign more heavily for electoral reform (ie PR).
    5. Libdem policy on student tuition fees should be for interest to be RPI and reinstate maintenance grants for the less well off.

  • OnceALibDem 28th Aug '18 - 9:44am

    @MalcolmTodd – reasonable request 🙂

    The one above covers the latter and “What I wish for is the best Brexit for all of us in Great Britain.”

    “We are all leavers now” –

    She’s entitled to (a) her view and (b) to change them. But she would come under a lot more scrutiny as a party leader and the history of people without a political background having the skill set to handle that sort of thing is not that encouraging. It isn’t a skill set you acquire in other fields no matter what your success.

    Other than being anti Brexit I don’t know anything about Gina Miller’s politics. Anti-Brexit covers the spectrum from Kenneth Clark to Hilary Benn. Both decent enough people but I don’t see either as leaders of Liberal party.

    And there is also an issue that I’ve seen it reported that she’d said she doesn’t want the job anyway.

    The two traits people talk about are ‘Charisma’ and ‘Gravitas’ – very rare to find a leader with both. Probably the last leader the Lib Dems had with both was Paddy. Tim had Charisma in spades, Vince possibly has more Gravitas than any politician around today. But both of them made a limited impact. It isn’t as simple as find the right leader and the rest falls into place.

  • Neil Sandison 28th Aug '18 - 9:48am

    DR Selby Whittngham is on the right track you need different leaders to fulfill different functions A leader in the House of Commons and a counterpart in the Lords .A leader of party in the country We have that in the party president .But what of this supporters group .Membership should have value because of the commitment given and to ensure those standing for public office in our name are in fact Liberal Democrats .However a Friends of Liberal Democracy does have some merit for those who support our aims and values but have yet to cross the line to full membership where one has the rights that gives in terms of electing a leader Standing for public office or helping to make national and local policy . So lets decide the limits of this friends group and not undermine full membership in the process.

  • Russell Simpson: what if there are no MP’s, we have come quite close to that situation three times in my lifetime.

  • To be fair to Vince, the media are currently fixated with divisions in the Tory and Labour Parties. It’s all about personalities – Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson etc. They have lost interest In reporting anything centrist, so he is facing an uphill struggle to be heard. It is the media which decides everything these days.

  • Judy Abel: The problem for the Liberal Democrats is that they are worthy but dull and do not offer the sort of quick fix wonder cures such as Brexit or nationalisation which will neither fix nor cure but young people do not know that unless they come from Venezuela and have little or no idea or interest in anything beyond show business celebrities.
    What people do know about the Liberal Democrats is that they broke their promise on tuition fees and nothing they say will alter that. The other big scandal which I predicted is pensions where people are being conned into changing good ones for unsafe or downright fraudulent schemes because of the changes made by the coalition. This change must be reversed at the earliest possible moment or it will be worse the than the student loans scandal.

    When the Liberals and Liberal Democrats were prospering it was at a time of rising living standards when Labour policies seemed irrelevant and if the Conservatives were a bit unpopular then people turned to the Liberals to express their disenchantment as they did not wish to make radical changes to the system. We are now in a 1945 situation where many people now want radical change because they see the system as failing in areas such as housing, stagnant or declining living standards as wealth moves to the East and other parts of the world, and unreliable public transport because of strikes and inappropriate state intervention.

    I am sure the Liberal Democrats are devising sensible policies to deal with all these issues but people are not interested in sensible policies but fed by media hype they want exciting ones and punishment for those they think are responsible for their problems. Sadly we can look forward to more disasters as the policies of the two big parties fail.

  • John Barrett 29th Aug '18 - 8:30pm

    Michael 1 – I agree with every word you have said.

    There are many other reasons that having a non-MP as leader could turn out to be a complete disaster, especially if they were to be one of our Peers.

    Can you imagine the position where the elected leader of our party is not in fact elected to the position they hold in Parliament, in the Lords.

    Worse still would be if that leader had in fact been rejected when they stood for election, elevated to the Lords, then was elected as leader of our party. It would not only be the media that would have a field day, many members would no doubt be mortified at the very thought of going down that road.

    Other advantages of being an MP include an understanding of how the party works at local and national level, a track record of campaigning, an ability to motivate and inspire members, a platform from which to speak and most of all, a record of commitment to the party.

    If someone is not committed enough to become a member of the party, they should not have the right to stand for any post or position within the party, especially to be the leader.

    As someone who has been a member of the party for decades, has held many posts at local and national level, including being elected as a Councillor and as an MP, I do not think I have the right to stand to be leader. Why on earth should someone who has done not one of those things have the nerve to think they have the right to be our leader.

    The only people who are not members of our party but feel they could lead it will not only posess a degree of arrogance that should probably disbar them from becoming members in the first place, and should we continue down this path and elect such a person, the only thing they will do is lead our party down the road to oblivion.

  • nvelope2003 30th Aug '18 - 1:19pm

    David Raw: What happens if we have no MPs ? No leader ?
    Nigel Farage was quite successful in getting what he wanted.

  • David Allen 1st Sep '18 - 7:56pm

    Vince Cable might very well be remembering that when he himself became Leader, many people called for a contested election, but, no other candidate was willing to contest the election.

    Could it be that Vince fears that, if non-MPs are not to be allowed to stand, then the number of candidates willing to replace Vince in due course might be … only one… or even less…?

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