Lib Dem leadership battle: a choice between two futures

Norman Lamb

The general election reduced Nick Clegg’s party to just 8 MPs, but the party now has a leadership election which could decide its future.

The Liberal Democrats went from just 57 seats to a small total of eight, but the party is determined to make a comeback, with many people using the hashtag: #LibDemFightback. Since the election the party has gained 10,000 new members and that number is still growing.

Of those 10,000 new members the party claims that 51% are under the age of 35, that 82% have never before been a member of the party, and that 72% have never been part of a local campaign.

This is similar (although to a lesser extent) to the post-referendum SNP surge, in which the party grew to well over 100,000 members.

Furthermore, something similar has happened to Labour, despite the party ending up with even less seats than they achieved in 2010. The party has said that “29,103 people have already joined our party since the election.”

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But back to the Liberal Democrats. Right now the party faces two futures, one led by Tim Farron, former party president, and one led by Norman Lamb, a former government minister. Tim Farron even has a website (Tim2Lead) for his leadership bid.

Norman Lamb entered the leadership contest after Tim Farron. Furthermore, he has received a surprise endorsement for leadership from the rapper Dappy, according to the Guardian.

Farron remained outside the coalition and was one of the 21 Liberal Democrat MPs who voted against the increase in tuition fees, whist Lamb was inside the coalition as a minister and was one of the 28 MPs who voted in favour of raising tuition fees.

When Liberal Democrat members, including the 10,000 new ones, choose their new leader they will be choosing between two futures: one which will be associated with the coalition and one which is not.

The leader will be announced on the 16th of July - in just two months time.


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