Update on the Liberal Democrat leadership election

Here’s my latest piece for the party website, which also features in the April monthly email newsletter the party sends out:

Last month, the Federal Board decided to postpone the party leadership election, due to kick off in May, until May 2021, so that the party can focus on dealing with the coronavirus crisis instead.

Following this decision, an appeal against it was made to the Federal Appeals Panel (our internal Liberal Democrat equivalent of the Supreme Court). The Appeals Panel has agreed that the Federal Board can suspend the leadership election while exceptional circumstances exist, but not delay to a fixed date next year. It has asked the Board to keep the timetable for the leadership election under review, as circumstances continue to develop. You can read the ruling in full here.

The Board will, therefore, do so, and will listen carefully to the views of party members. You can let me have your views directly on president@libdems.org.uk or book a video call with me at libdempresident.youcanbook.me.


My 2020 reader survey is currently running. Let me know your views here.

12 responses to “Update on the Liberal Democrat leadership election”

  1. Excellent. Although the arguments for our delay look weaker in the light of Labour having proceeded and elected a leader who now has the backing and authority no interim leader can have, I accept to delay was sensible. I was amazed that the election was delayed till May 2021 when it was quite possible conditions might be suitable for it to be held this autumn or even late summer.

    We need an elected leader.

    Alan Masters’ ruling seems to me logical, sensible and correct in his interpretation.

    One other point – the only thing he gets wrong. The pandemic was the most predictable of emergencies and Bill Gates among others was predicting it. With vast amounts of long-distance air travel and air freight, with still rapidly growing human population, with environmental and political crisis forcing many people to flee long distances and with pressure on natural environments and wildlife by farmers and large companies, pandemics are yearly becoming more likely. This won’t be a one in a hundred years event.

  2. When the delay was first announced I was somewhat taken aback and dismayed that it would be so long before we could have a say. After some thought and on balance I accepted the decision. However with events playing out as they are, nationally with the Pandemic and Politically there are going to be massive changes in the next few months.
    ( I do not see B Johnson as PM this time next year as he is out of his depth ) With Starmer in position and making headway into shaping Labour into what they should have been doing for the past five years we will need an authoritative leader and the sooner they are in the seat the better .

  3. A year is a long time to go without a leader. But see my previous about the new leader ‘bounce’ (akin to a new football manager). Thats certainly what Labour have now (and every other new leader seems to get in the polls). But 1st Exam q: history will ask, ‘what did the Lib Dems do during the Coronavirus crisis?’ Then 2nd: how can the next leader best prepare for the next GE? Currently slated (if I’m correct) for Dec 2024. The response to COVID will be in the mix. Anyway- good luck in the interim!

  4. Whilst we have a leader (albeit interim, we have a leader), I’m not sure following Kingston Council’s example of changing leader mid global crisis is the brightest of ideas.

    The ruling means we go from certainty to uncertainty about the duration of an interim leader, perhaps an unintended consequence of the appellant.

  5. We have leader in Ed Davey. The constitution appointed him. Not elated by the party thats true. I don’t think it would change anything as the Leader has to be an MP and there are no others in the very small number to chose from who could successfully run against him. We certainly don’t seem to be showing high profile in leadership ala Paddy style but that is very much the current Lib Dems approach.

  6. 1 We see electoral reform as the vital key to putting our country right;
    2 Labour need to accept that they cannot form a government alone, especially when LibDems, Greens and SNP are so strong;
    3 We need to go into next May’s elections determined to build our vote share, so that Labour can be dis-abused of their dream of governing alone;
    4 With our interim leader the media will sideline us, and our vote will be down to just our core;
    5 With a new leader we can recover our pre-coalition position;
    6 Then we will be able to push Labour(minority Govt) into electoral reform;
    7 Then parliamentary and constitutional reform can follow;
    – Yes the economy, education and health reforms are vital too, but we don’t want it done Labour’s way. For us to be at the table, influencing all of this, we need a good result in May, and that can only happen with our new Leader in place, to lead the campaign. Our new Leader must be in place before the end of this year.

  7. The public view appears to be that the LibDems have no leader. Selecting one soon would be important for building the party back up. I know that people expect candidates to travel around and meet people, but that can be done virtually in 2020! I would say that and election can be held virtually so there is no reason for a delay.

  8. I feel that we do need an elected leader as soon as possible outside this emergency because it is difficult for the Liberal Democrats to get heard. Ed Davey is working hard but unless he has the title of leader and seen by other than the members to have the authority to speak on behalf of the party he is hampered.

  9. Let us put Ed Davey up for leader and a vote yes/no by the members using e-mail. We can then have a full leadership contest in 2021. This will get rid of the word “interim” to the benefit of our message to potential voters.

    While we must continue to sign up members we need to take a careful look at the Labour Party’s problem that arose from Jeremy Corbin’s dash for membership and the faction fighting that resulted in Labour becoming un-electable. We must really concentrate on getting voters so that we get seats both in Parliament and Local Government. The key to gaining voters is to provide an answer to the voters key question “What’s in it for ME?”. This may sound a bit mercenary but in the voting booth we all vote for the party that we perceive will best give us what we want for ourselves and our family.

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