In the latest edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire I talked about the big impact that endorsements can make on party contests. Tim Farron has had a strong start on that score, with backing from figures such as Willie Rennie, Kirsty Williams and former party president and twice leadership candidate Simon Hughes. He also has picked up support of three current MPs (Greg Mulholland, John Pugh and Mark Williams).
In a statement, Lady Williams described Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, as one of the finest MPs and ministers she had met in her “long political life”. “He is a wonderful constituency MP, a man who has brought politics at its best to his county,” she said, adding: “Norman became a parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in 1992, a time when personal ambition might have led many politicians to a party that offered a better chance of becoming an MP.”…
Williams said Lamb’s commitments had widened alongside his political responsibilities, highlighting his campaign to give mental health the same status as physical health. “Norman will devote himself to rebuilding our party, and to reminding people of the values our party stands for – liberty, social justice, fairness and compassion,” she said. “I think he will be the kind of leader who can build trust among our fellow citizens.”
As I wrote about over the weekend, that reference to mental health is double-edged and you have to be 50 to have been old enough to vote when Shirley Williams was last an MP. But Williams has been both a high profile peer since and also a popular figure on the Liberal Democrat local parties circuit.
This is certainly a boost for Norman Lamb’s campaign – and the noises for his camp are that it’s but one in a series of big name endorsements they’re expecting.