Liberal Democrat leadership race: Who are the two candidates?

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson (L) and Liberal Democrat politician Ed Davey arrive to unveil an election poster slamming opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for helping...

Ed Davey and Jo Swinson go head-to-head in the contest to become the leader of the Lib Dems.

The Conservative Party is not the only party in the middle of a leadership contest. The Liberal Democrat Party is also set for a change of leadership with Vince Cable leaving at the start of June.

Whoever is named as the next Lib Dems leader will assume office in late July. Currently, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson are the only two candidates vying for the top role.

Liberal Democrat MPs have until June 7th to declare their intention to stand for the leadership. However, with only 11 MPs in Westminster, there are limited options. Layla Moran and Alistair Carmichael are among a handful of MPs who have ruled out a leadership bid, suggesting that it could be a two-horse race.

Here, we take a look at both candidates' background, credentials and views ahead of their respective leadership campaigns.

Ed Davey

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey, who has announced he will run to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, speaks to the audience during the first members' hustings in the Liberal...

Twitter handle: @EdwardJDavey 

Constituency: Davey was re-elected as the MP for Kingston and Surbiton at the 2017 snap general election. He had been out of office for two years between 2015 and 2017 and was first elected in 1997. His first majority was just 56 votes.

Current role: Davey is the Lib Dem spokesman for Home Affairs. He is also known as Sir Ed Davey after receiving a knighthood in 2016.

Political background: Davey was in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition cabinet between 2012 and 2015. He served as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. He has previously been the Lib Dem whip, spokesman for London, and Under Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

Views on Brexit: In line with the Liberal Democrat philosophy, Davey is unsurprisingly a strong pro-Remain advocate. 'Stop Brexit' is part of Davey's four-point leadership campaign. He has also confirmed he will write to John Bercow (Speaker in the House of Commons) to request a parliamentary vote if the government tries to deliver a no-deal Brexit.

Other views: 'Decarbonise capitalism' is another key pledge in Davey's leadership campaign; using his environmental expertise in the economic field to make the UK a world leader in the fight against climate change. He believes his main two policies (stopping Brexit and tackling climate change) are intrinsically linked as he has played a role in negotiating European climate targets for 2030. Davey will also promote traditional liberalism while battling against right-wing populism.

Quote: "I'm talking about de-carbonising capitalism, making capitalism turn green so Britain is a world green finance capital. That means being tough on our banks, on the stock exchange, on the pension funds, so they take account of climate risk." (BBC Radio 4's Today programme via BBC News)

Jo Swinson

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who has announced she will run to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, speaks to the audience during the first members' hustings in the Liberal...

Twitter handle: @joswinson

Constituency: Swinson is the MP for East Dunbartonshire in Scotland, where she was first elected in 2005. Like Davey, Swinson lost her seat between 2015 and 2017 after the Lib Dems suffered losses following the coalition government. She regained her seat in 2017 after the snap general election with a strong majority of over 5,000 votes.

Current role: Swinson is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, making her the natural successor to Cable. She was elected unopposed for this role in 2017 when Tim Farron became the leader of the Lib Dems.

Political background: Swinson has held various roles within the Liberal Democrat Party, including junior equalities minister and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Scotland.

Views on Brexit: Swinson has been a leading Lib Dem campaigner for a People's Vote. She firmly believes in the Lib Dem's pro-Europe agenda. Swinson told the BBC's Andrew Marr that a second referendum is the most sensible solution, while a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous.

Other views: Like Davey, Swinson puts environmental policy towards the top of her priorities in her leadership campaign, saying she wants to "build an economy that puts people and the planet first". Swinson considers herself to be very tech-savvy and wants to lead a technological revolution in the UK. She has also been a vocal critic of right-wing populism (like Davey) and nationalism.

Quote: "Planning for no deal, it's like saying you're going to plan for your house to burn down. You might get contents insurance, you're still going to lose all your stuff." (Interview with Andrew Marr on BBC).

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