- Vince Cable standing down as Lib Dem leader.
- People have until Friday June 7th to join and vote in the leadership contest.
- Get all the best coverage of the leadership race with Liberal Democrat Newswire. Sign up here.
- Race likely to be between Ed Davey and Jo Swinson to succeed Vince Cable.
As trailed, Vince Cable is standing down as Liberal Democrat leader, ending his time on an improbable high. Not only brilliant local election results, but also – if the polls are right – with the Liberal Democrats outpolling the Conservatives in a national election for the first time since 1906 (insert joke about how that is before even Vince was born). Perhaps even also outpolling Labour.
Here’s what Vince Cable is writing to party members, followed by an early take on the contest to succeed him from me
Vince Cable’s resignation statement
Last night, the British people finished voting in the European elections. We have fought a very strong campaign and when the votes are counted on Sunday, I expect us to do well.
I want to thank the volunteers who have made that possible. I was very touched while campaigning around the country by the enthusiasm and optimism of our members and supporters.
Many who kept going through difficult years for the party are now enjoying our resurgence as a major national force.
Our long and proud tradition of success in local government was revived this month by the best local election results in our party’s history. In the last two years, we have gained 780 more council seats and 15 new councils.
And membership is at record levels with a strengthening base of supporters amongst students and young people.
Together, we have rebuilt the Liberal Democrats – thank you.
I said earlier this year that the time would soon come to hand over the leadership of the party to a new generation. That process begins today: I will be proud to hand over a bigger, stronger party on July 23rd.
If you have friends who would want to vote in the election to choose my successor, urge them to join by Friday 7th June. Every new member can help shape our future.
There are major challenges ahead. One is to win, finally, the battle to stop Brexit. Our campaigning has given hope; now we need to secure a referendum in Parliament, and then win it.
Another is the opportunity created by the conflict and decay within the two main parties to build a powerful, liberal, green, and social democratic force in the centre ground of British politics. We are now in an excellent position to lead such a movement.
As we do so, I am confident that we will regain ground at Westminster, with a big group of MPs and real influence on the national stage.
Thank you, as ever, for all that you do for the Liberal Democrats.
With best wishes,
The race to succeed Vince Cable
This won’t be featuring Layla Moran but read on to see who it is likely to feature…