I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as President of the Liberal Democrats.
The news is overshadowed by the results of the general election where, in amongst individual brilliant results, there were so many disappointments and tragedies. After such a promising start as our party leader only a few months ago, Jo’s own defeat is particularly saddening.
Our increased share of the vote, more second places and enlarged party membership, added to the fantastic growth in our local government base earlier in the year, does, however, provide us with the foundations to recover from. As does the welcome progress in making our Parliamentary Party more diverse.
It will be a big and challenging agenda for the party’s new leader, supported by us across the party and one I will now have the responsibility of helping shape and deliver as your President.
Thank you especially to everyone who helped get me elected, to my campaign manager and agent, Janet Grauberg and Pete Dollimore, and to the party staff for running the contest at such a busy time. Thank you also to Christine Jardine for a campaign carried out in such good humour.
I would like to pay tribute to Baroness Sal Brinton, our current President, to thank her for all her work in the role over the past five years and to wish her all the best in her new role as a Vice President of ALDE (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe).
Thank you also to everyone who worked so hard in the general election. We will need to learn urgently the lessons of what went right and what went wrong, so that we can redouble our efforts in the new year to stand up for the liberalism, pro-Europeanism, internationalism and environmentalism that is so crucial to the future of our society and our country.
Let’s work together to make sure we succeed.