This moring’s Politico London Playbook email contains a very useful quick-fire Q&A with the candidates to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats:
LIB DEMISTRY: The Lib Dem leadership race is finally out the blocks after voting opened this week, giving members until August 26 to cast their ballots. Playbook asked the two candidates to make their pitch to the Lib Dem faithful in a quick-fire Q&A. They appear in alphabetical order to avoid squabbles.
THE ED DAVEY PITCH: “The Liberal Democrats need a leader with experience, vision and judgment to take on the big challenges we face as a party and as a country. I’m an economist with a track record of creating green jobs, and winning elections and I think that’s what we need right now!”
Key pledge: “To implement the election review in full, so that we never again go into a general election without the strong foundations necessary to help our campaigners win. You can have all the good policy you like; if it’s built on sand it won’t do you any good.”
Should the UK rejoin the EU? “I’ll always believe our best place is in the EU, but our job now is to convince the country of that. If the opportunity ever arises for us to rejoin, and we can take the public with us, I’ll be at the frontline of that fight.”
Fun fact: “When I was at school, Ed Balls was the year below me and I once lent him my O-level history notes. He never gave them back.”
Best thing about your opponent: “Layla’s willingness to speak out about her own life experiences is refreshing. I know how difficult it can be to decide to share part of your own private experiences so I admire her for that.”
THE LAYLA MORAN PITCH: “The Liberal Democrats are at 6 percent in the polls and we need to change. I am the candidate who can move us on from the last decade, credibly put forward a positive, progressive vision and rebuild trust with a broad base of voters.”
Key pledge: “To change and renew our party, so that we can win again at every level, and build a fairer, greener, more compassionate society for all communities in our country.”
Should the UK rejoin the EU? “I would love to rejoin the EU, and I believe we will in years to come, but we must make the positive case to the public and win the hearts and minds of voters first. In the short term, my priority is to work cross-party to prevent a devastating no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.”
Fun fact: “I love karaoke and my go-to songs are Eternal Flame and Sweet Child of Mine. I’m a grade eight singer and cellist (and played in an orchestra many years ago!)”
Best thing about your opponent: “Ed is a stalwart of the party. He’s liberal through and through and a tenacious campaigner. He never gives up!”
Ballot papers are now going out. If you’ve not yet received yours, there’s information here on when to expect it and what to do if it doesn’t arrive.
Listen to the Liberal Democrats and British politics being discussed by myself and a wide range of experts from inside and outside the party on my podcast, Never Mind The Bar Charts.