UK Politics

Lib Dem leadership: Runners and riders

The race is on to succeed Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats - here is a rundown of the party's MPs.

Sir Vince Cable

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The twinkle-toed big beast of the Lib Dem jungle is the only declared candidate so far.

Announcing his candidacy on the Lib Dem Voice website, Sir Vince said the "political winds" were moving in the party's direction and it could become a "credible contender" for power, with the Conservatives "in disarray" and Labour still lacking economic credibility.

The former business secretary, who won back his Twickenham seat at the general election, is a former Labour councillor who joined the Lib Dems via the SDP in the 1980s. If the parliament ran its full course, Mr Cable would be 79 at the time of the next election.


Contest timing:

The closing date to enter the contest is 4pm on 20 July. If no-one else enters Sir Vince would become leader, unopposed.


Stephen Lloyd

Won back Eastbourne for the Lib Dems after being unseated by the Conservative candidate in 2015. A former Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ed Davey, he is thought likely to concentrate on constituency issues rather than the party leadership, hence the very long odds on him at the bookies.

Wera Hobhouse

The German-born former teacher won the Lib Dem target seat of Bath at the general election with a passionately pro-European, anti-hard Brexit campaign.

Christine Jardine

The former journalist and university lecturer won the Lib Dem target seat of Edinburgh West at the general election. Like the other newly-elected Lib Dems she may feel it is little early to mount a leadership bid.

Layla Moran

Believed to be the first MP of Palestinian descent to be elected to the Commons, Layla Moran unseated former Tory frontbencher Nicola Blackwood in the Oxford seat of Abingdon West by just 816 votes.


Out of the running

Jo Swinson

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Despite being immediately installed as the bookies' favourite, Ms Swinson ruled herself out of the top job, and has been made the party's deputy leader.

She was a business minister and then a junior equalities minister in the coalition government before being ejected from her East Dunbartonshire seat in the 2015 Lib Dem wipe out, winning it back at the general election with a majority of more than 5,000.

Tom Brake

Image copyright HoC

The longest-serving MP in the Lib Dems' London powerbase has ruled himself out of the leadership - but says he has instead accepted the job as Sir Vince's agent.

"I've decided not to stand. I think Vince, with his experience, both in economics and on Brexit, is the right person to lead the party," he said.

Mr Brake, 55, who has represented Carshalton and Wallington since 1997, was deputy Commons leader in the coalition. He also ruled out himself out of party leadership contests in the past.

Norman Lamb

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The former health minister was beaten by Tim Farron in the last leadership contest, but has ruled himself out of seeking the job this time.

The 59-year-old North Norfolk MP told the Guardian his decision followed a "gruelling" election period.

Sir Ed Davey

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The former cabinet minister, who held the climate change brief in the coalition government, was another who was tipped for a leadership job.

But he too has ruled himself out, saying he wants to put his family first.

The 51-year-old won back his Kingston and Surbiton seat from his Tory opponent on 8 June.

Jamie Stone

Image copyright Jamie Stone

The Caithness, Sutherland and East Ross MP, 63, says he has "absolutely no intention of standing for the leadership", adding: "I feel that Vince Cable will make a most capable leader, one with a very high public recognition factor."

Mr Stone was a long-serving local councillor in the Highlands, and a former member of the Scottish Parliament, before he became one of three Lib Dems to gain seats from the SNP at the general election.

Alistair Carmichael

He was Secretary of State for Scotland during the coalition years and survived the 2015 election as the only Lib Dem MP in Scotland, briefly taking charge of the party after Nick Clegg's resignation.

The MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2001 told his local paper he would not contest the leadership and is now the party's chief whip.

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