Ed Davey has launched is campaign to become the permanent leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The Lib Dems have been without a permanent leader since Jo Swinson was ousted as an MP in December’s general election.
The new leader will be elected in August and Sir Ed, the acting leader of the party, put efforts to build a ‘caring society’ at the heart of his pitch to Lib Dem members.
The former cabinet minister called for changes to help carers, who currently get a ‘raw deal’, and said he would lead the Lib Dem response to the challenges of Brexit and the looming coroanvirus recession.
His plans would include a citizens’ basis income, although no details of the proposed payment have yet been revealed.
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Sir Ed, who has a disabled son, said: ‘Carers play a tremendous role in our society as we’re seeing so clearly with coronavirus.
‘But far too often carers get a raw deal – as I’ve seen through my own experience caring for close family during my life. I’m determined to change that and build a truly caring society.’
Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse – who were both first elected in 2017 – have also launched leadership bids but Sir Ed’s supporters hope his experience as both an MP and a coalition minister will help his campaign.
The Kingston and Surbiton MP said: ‘These are challenging times for our country – from the deepest recession in 300 years to climate change and Brexit.
‘But I’ve had to rise to challenges before in my life and I’m determined to lead the Liberal Democrats to rise to today’s challenges.
‘Liberal Democrats want a more liberal, greener and more caring society and I believe we can be at the heart of making that happen.’
Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, said: ‘The Liberal Democrats need a leader with the experience, ideas and judgment to take us forward.
‘Someone who has been there, and won. I know that Ed Davey is that leader.’