On the eve of the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York the leader since GE2017, Twickenham MP Vince Cable, has announced tonight that he’s stepping thus opening up a leadership contest.
This has not come as a surprise and it was always envisaged that his period as leader would be to bridge the gap following Tim Farron’s exit after GE2017.
Two women head the betting. Layla Moran, who took Oxford West and Abingdon from the Tories two years ago is the early favourite followed by Jo Swinson, who served in the coalition as a minister and returned to the Commons at GE2017.
The party has changed its rules and could conceivably now elect a leader who isn’t even an MP. Gina Miller has been suggested.
As for Moran she has a powerful media presence and has taken a very strong role on Brexit. It has been noticeable how her media appearances have increased in recent months. She’s also the first MP of Palestinian descent.
Swinson was widely tipped in 2017 but she did not want to put herself forward at that stage.
What’s important for the LDs, who have been in the media shadow since GE2015, is that they have a proper leadership contest and they elect a leader who will attracts media coverage. Both Moran and Swinson could do that.
I’m on Layla at 2/1 but I won’t put any more on until she confirms that she’ll run.
If the LDs elect a woman then Labour’s Mr. Corbyn, would be the only male heading a significant UK political party.