Simon Hughes backs Linda Jack for Liberal Democrat President

Former Liberal Democrat President Simon Hughes is backing Linda Jack in the contest to succeed term-limited Tim Farron as party president:

Linda Jack, who leads the Liberal Left group in the party, has won the support of Hughes despite the fact she opposed the Lib Dems going into coalition with the Conservatives and suggested Clegg should hand over the role of party leader while carrying on as deputy prime minister.

Given Simon Hughes’s high popularity with party members, this is a major boost for Linda Jack’s campaign, although the other candidates are also lining up plenty of big name backers themselves.

Here are some of the quotes from Simon Hughes backing Linda Jack:

I think Linda represents the heartbeat of the party. I think Linda understands the party, I think Linda knows the party’s length and breadth up and down the land, and has campaigned at all levels, locally, parliamentarily for the European Parliament and so on and I think Linda has the ability to communicate really well she’s a great communicator I don’t think anybody in the party who has not had communications from Linda and if she’s the President they will know she’s the President and the rest of the world will know she’s the President too…

I think the really important job of the President is to try and represent the Party’s view to the Leadership to the Parliamentary leadership and also to be a complement to the way in which the establishment of the party speaks to the country. Those are the two fundamental jobs, but there is one extra job – which is to keep the troops enthused and supportive…

Linda’s experience is having been an activist in the party for a long time without ever having been perceived to be a member of the establishment. Now sometimes people may think that maybe a disadvantage but actually parties need [such] people who are perceived to be in the public leadership and obviously if we are a radical party, wanting to be a radical party but we have been in Government there is a danger we are being perceived of as being a party of Government, not a party of radical political ideas wanting always to change the Government…

I’ve seen Linda at work as an effective party activist over the years and I’ve trusted her judgement, I’ve supported her radicalism I’ve always believed that she is a really important counterweight to the danger of the party being seen to be a party led from the top rather than a party in which all of us have an equal part. Linda understands that and we are a party of tens of thousands of members and the party’s voice is the one that is going to persuade people to go and support us in elections.

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