Election 2015

Who will replace Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader?

Nick Clegg Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nick Clegg's resignation leaves the Lib Dems with just seven contenders for the top job

Nick Clegg has stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats and called a leadership election.

But with the party reduced from 57 MPs to just eight - and the loss of ex-ministers such as Vince Cable, Norman Baker, David Laws and Danny Alexander - here are the remaining MPs:

Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale

Image caption Tim Farron said in March that the party would be tainted for a generation by the 2010 coalition

Former Lib Dem president Tim Farron has retained his Westmorland and Lonsdale seat. He has held the seat since 2005, when he ended a 95-year rule by the Conservative Party. Though on Friday he saw his majority slide by 3,315 to 8,949, from 60% to 51.5%.

At the Lib Dem conference in March, Mr Farron - seen by some as a frontrunner to succeed Nick Clegg - was quoted in the Mail on Sunday suggesting the party's brand would be tainted for a generation by governing with the Conservatives.

Asked if he would stand to replace Mr Clegg if he was no longer leader, Mr Farron said it would be "foolish and disloyal" to consider a post-election leadership bid.

Mr Farron was elected as the party's president in November 2010, winning 53% of the vote and taking over the role in January 2011. He was re-elected unopposed in autumn 2012, until handing over the role at the beginning of January 2015 to Baroness Brinton.

Norman Lamb, Norfolk North

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Norman Lamb was appointed to the Lib Dem general election cabinet as health spokesman

A long-standing Norwich City supporter, Norman Lamb served first as chief parliamentary adviser to Nick Clegg following the 2010 general election and then as a junior minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, before he was promoted to minister of state for care and support at the Department of Health.

In January 2015, he was appointed to the Lib Dem general election cabinet as the party's health spokesperson.

On Friday, he told BBC Radio Norfolk: "I will think carefully about how I can best serve my party".

Mr Lamb has served as Norfolk North's MP since 2001. The son of Hubert Lamb, a leading climatologist, he studied law at Leicester University and, after working as a parliamentary assistant for a Labour MP, built a career as a litigation solicitor, ultimately specialising in employment law.

He was partner of Steeles Solicitors and is the author of 'Remedies in the Employment Tribunal'.

Greg Mulholland, Leeds North West

Image caption Greg Mulholland tweeted that the Lib Dem leadership made three 'fatal errors' in the coalition

Greg Mulholland held his Leeds North West seat, where he has been MP since 2005.

Shortly before Mr Clegg's resignation as party leader on Friday, Mr Mulholland ruled himself out of the leadership contest. When asked, he told ITV News: "No. Very easy answer...My priority is rebuilding [the party] locally."

Following Mr Clegg's resignation later on Friday, Mr Mulholland said on Twitter: "The 2010 failure to ensure no Liberal Democrat MP voted against a rise in [student tuition] fees was catastrophic. Now we need a leader who voted against."

Mr Mulholland was one of the Lib Dems who voted against a fee rise (see the full list of how the Lib Dems voted here).

He continued on Twitter: "In 2010 the party made the right decision to go into Coalition. Then the leadership made 3 fatal errors 1. fees 2. NHS Act 3. bedroom tax.

"It really is time for a realignment of British politics & a voting system that does not grotesquely distort & disenfranchise."

John Pugh, Southport

Image caption John Pugh previously worked with former Business Secretary Vince Cable

MP for Southport since 2005, John Pugh held on to his seat, despite losing 8,055 votes.

Winning with a reduced majority, he said on Friday that it was time for the party to reflect on how it moves forward after devastating losses across the country.

Mr Pugh has previously served as shadow spokesman for transport and health, and, after the election of Nick Clegg as party leader, he worked with Vince Cable as shadow Treasury spokesman.

With the formation of the coalition in 2010 he was appointed as co-chairman of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary committee for health and social care, a position he relinquished at the end of 2013 to focus on producing a report examining the social and economic issues facing the north.

Born in Liverpool, he graduated in philosophy from Durham University before entering the teaching profession - where he taught in the state and independent sectors and was head of philosophy and religious studies at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, prior to his election.

Mark Williams, Ceredigion

Image copyright Liberal Democrats
Image caption Mark Williams was a deputy head teacher before being elected to parliament in 2005

Mark Williams is the only Liberal Democrats MP in Wales, after successfully holding on to his seat in the Ceredigion constituency.

Mr Williams was appointed to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in 2005 before becoming the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Wales, and at varying times has been spokesman on schools and higher education.

Born in Hertford and educated at Aberystwyth University, Mr Williams worked for the Liberal MP for Ceredigion, Geraint Howells, before becoming a research assistant to Liberal Peers in the House of Lords. He later worked as a primary school teacher and deputy head teacher before being elected to parliament in 2005.

Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland

Image caption Alistair Carmichael has previously ruled out a leadership bid

Alistair Carmichael was the only Lib Dem MP to survive the SNP landslide in Scotland - 10 others lost their seats.

Though his Orkney and Shetland seat was considered to be one of the party's safest, his majority was cut from 9,928 to 817, with a 23.9% swing to the SNP.

The safety of his seat has previously led to speculation that the former Scottish secretary could be a potential successor to Mr Clegg.

However, in February he appeared to rule out any bid for the leadership. When asked whether he would like to lead the party, Mr Carmichael said: "No. There's no vacancy and I have the constituency that is furthest away from London.

"I have got a family that still includes school age children. And the commitment that it takes to be party leader in modern politics is enormous.

At the party conference in March, he said liberalism was needed "more than ever".

He told the conference: "In a world where nationalism and populism can seem like attractive options - a world where the power of the state and corporate interests can seem to overwhelm the rights and freedoms of the individual - in a world like that liberalism is needed more than ever before and more than ever before our country needs Liberal Democrat influence in government.

Not standing: Tom Brake, Carshalton Wallington

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tom Brake, now the only Lib Dem MP in London, on the campaign trail with Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake was the only party member to hold his seat in London, in Carshalton and Wallington, beating Tory rival Matthew Maxwell Scott by 1,500 votes.

In every other London seat, the capital is now in the hands of either Labour or the Conservatives.

Mr Brake has held his seat since 1997, when he overturned a Tory majority. In September 2012, he was appointed to his first ministerial position as deputy leader of the House of Commons, having been appointed a privy counsellor in June 2011.

Following Mr Clegg's resignation, Mr Brake told BBC London: "I don't think he should be the fall guy". He confirmed on Sunday Politics he would not be contesting the leadership.

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