Nick Clegg has done the right thing in resigning promptly as party leader – and by following it immediately with heartfelt thanks to the hard work so many have put in for the party over the last few years.
There may not be many Liberal Democrat MPs now, but there is more than one plausible leadership contender, and we should have more than one. Because the lesson from other parties in the past applies now to the Liberal Democrats: when you have big issues to settle, you need a properly contested leadership election, not a coronation. A contest triggers debate and a chance of collectively learning the lessons. A coronation compresses that all into an immediate question of for or against the new leader, limiting thought and curtailing debate.
A contest is what the party needs.