Sir Ed Davey has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats after securing 63.5% of the vote, compared to 36.5% for fellow MP Layla Moran in a vote of the party’s membership.
His election comes eight months after the party’s former leader Jo Swinson stepped down from the role after losing her seat in December 2019 general election.
Mr Davey has been a member of the Liberal Democrats for 30 years, and acting leader since December. He was first elected as an MP in 1997 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012-2015 during the coalition government. He lost the seat in the following election in 2015 only to regain it in 2017.
In his acceptance speech, he said the party needed to “wake up and smell the coffee” to rebuild the party and regain national relevance. “Nationally, our party has lost touch with too many voters. Yes, we are powerful advocates locally. Our campaigners listen to local people, work hard for communities and deliver results, but at the national level, we have to face the facts of three disappointing general election results,” he said.
“The truth is voters don't believe that the Liberal Democrats want to help ordinary people get on in life. Voters don't believe we share their values. And voters don't believe we are on the side of people like them. Nationally, voters have been sending us a message. But we have not been listening. It is time for us to start listening.”
“Our country is going through one of the most extraordinary and difficult periods for generations,” he added. “The challenge of COVID will affect our country and the world for decades to come. Millions of people are suffering. As leader of the Liberal Democrats, I want to reach out to help you and your community get through this.”
ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen congratulated Mr Davey on his election:
Each member of the Liberal Democrat party was issued with a vote in the leadership election and a record 117,924 ballots were issued - the largest number in its history. Turnout was 57.6% and the margin of victory was the largest for leadership winner since the late Paddy Ashdown secured 71% of his party's vote in 1988.
I am so proud to lead the party that I love. I am determined to rebuild our party, and fight for a greener, fairer and more caring society. Thank you so much! https://t.co/bPvbHRbzub— Ed Davey MP 🔶🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) August 27, 2020
Watch below the video of the announcement (from 18:00 minutes onwards)
Photo credit: (c) Liberal Democrats