Political

Lembit Öpik expelled from Lib Dems for advising Conservatives

Nation.Cymru reports:

A former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has been expelled from the party for advising the Tories on how to beat them, it has been reported…

In the run up to the Senedd election, he spoke at a ‘How to Stop the Lib Dems with Lembit Öpik’ event organised by the Conservative Party.

He was introduced by former Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, Conservative Member of Parliament for Epsom and Ewell…

“I gravitate towards common sense and liberty,’ says Lembit Öpik. “Sadly, If the modern day Lib Dem party has its way, there’ll be a deficit of both in Councils, constituencies and the Commons.

“I’m keen to share my thoughts on a cure for this malaise, as there’s currently no vaccine against stupidity.”

The very first TV interview I did was as a young student activist at a Liberal Democrat conference. It was arranged by Lembit, and he was kind, thoughtful and encouraging through the process. It is why he was once a popular, rising star in the party, and at the heart of a successful drive to improve the party’s membership recruitment. He also pulled off an impressive feat in being a politician from north east England who went to win a selection in a rural Welsh constituency for a Lib Dem held Parliamentary seat. Lembit Öpik even became the only Lib Dem MP ever to have a regular column in the Daily Sport.

But it’s been a long time since he and the party got on well with each other. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Party President, lost his seat in 2010, twice didn’t become the party’s candidate for London Mayor (comparing himself to Nelson Mandela after one of those bids) and started praising Jeremy Corbyn.

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6 responses to “Lembit Öpik expelled from Lib Dems for advising Conservatives”

  1. The worm turns…
    Like many who met him, I found him inspirational. Yet I do recall a slight unease in not being able to see behind the presented persona to the real Lembit.. so to re-phrase his own joke, the old Etonians have woo’d the old Estonian.

  2. With full respect for what Mr Öpik did for the party in the past, but driving to Conservative to seek freedoms and liberty is like join to AfD and campaign for equality.

  3. Lembit changed significantly following his paragliding accident, he became the celebrity-focused high lifestyle parody of the person he used to be. I told him in 2009 if he didn’t step back and repeat the campaign he ran to retain the seat in his first campaign he would lose but he brushed my warning aside with “they wont vote for Glyn”.

  4. So sad. Lembit was an inspirational trainer way before he became an MP and I owe him much. However the problems went way back. Lembit was never a team player and successful politics is a team game. He just could never see that there is such a thing as bad publicity and that his constituents were seeing past the charisma which won him the seat. Lib Dems are at their strongest when they put their constituencies first. Over the years he had jumped from one idea to another and I guess this was one which finally saw the end of him in our party.

  5. I recall his early rise to fame within the party. I was the (short-lived) MP for Ribble Valley during 1991 and he popped up at virtually every event of importance. He was clearly earmarked by the party hierarchy for great things and his early record in electoral politics was impressive. He had an engaging personality, great confidence and could clearly communicate and resonate with voters. However, even in those early days, there were hints of over-confidence, self-importance and overplaying the charisma and self publicity. It’s a great shame that it’s come to this.

  6. Sad. but judgement was not his strong card. Like all good politicians , an opportunist – but you can see where this got Boris. ! “A liar and a cheat”, emblazoned on his grave. Shades of Lloyd George? but not so famous or long lasting.

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