'Work to do'
Davey elected fourth LibDem leader in five years
Ed Davey: ‘we need to listen to voters’
Sir Ed Davey has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, and immediately admitted the party had work to do in order to win back voters.
He secured victory with 42,756 votes to beat his backbench rival Layla Moran who received 24,564 votes.
The 54-year-old father of two becomes the party’s fourth permanent leader in the past five years.
It was Sir Ed’s second attempt at the leadership after he lost last year to Jo Swinson who won comfortably but was forced to resign just six months later after losing her seat in the December general election.
“We have to wake up and smell the coffee,” the Kingston and Surbiton MP told party members, after his success was confirmed at mid-day. “Nationally, our party has lost touch with too many voters.”
Jo Swinson was forced to resign after just six months
He takes over a party trailing its rivals with just 6% support in recent polls, a 50 year low.
However, membership remains at a record high of 120,000, providing a base on which to build on its 11 seats. This compares to the party’s time in coalition with the Tories in 2010-2015 when it had 57 MPs.
The pandemic meant the campaign has been conducted almost entirely online.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Ed Davey will be a great new leader of the Liberal Democrats. He has the determination to get us a winning again.
“Ed Davey marks a change for the Liberal Democrats and he is determined to listen very carefully to what the voters have to say.”
Sir Ed worked under Nick Clegg in the coalition, becoming Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
He lost his seat to Conservative candidate James Berry in 2015, but won it back in 2017, and has co-led the party with Baroness Sal Brinton since Ms Swinson stepped down.
Ms Moran only entered the Commons in 2017 and became the party’s spokesman for education. She had a career as a maths and physics teacher at several schools, including the International School of Brussels.