Acting Lib Dem leader vows the party will come back stronger from the election

Sir Ed Davey speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday. Picture: Sky

Sir Ed Davey speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday. Picture: Sky - Credit: Archant

Joint acting Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said the party had to focus on ensuring they learned the lessons from the general election before moving forwards and electing a new leader.

Jo Swinson resigned from her position as leader of the Liberal Democrats after being voted out of her own constituency in East Dunbartonshire.

The pro-remain party only managed to secure 11 seats in the December 12 general election.

Speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, joint acting Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said the party would "review the general election properly" when asked whether he will stand to replace Jo Swinson as leader.

He said: "We've got to focus on ensuring we learn the lessons properly in a quite a deep, profound way.

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"One of the lessons I have to say is it can be very difficult for the Liberal Democrats to make progress when there is a hard-left leader of the Labour Party - we found that in 1983 with Michael Foot, we found it in spades in 2019 with Jeremy Corbyn.

"If you look at the Conservative leaflets in Liberal Democrat constituencies, it wasn't so much 'get Brexit done' they were talking about, they were saying if you vote Liberal Democrat you'll get Jeremy Corbyn and that fear factor was a massive issue in the general election."

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He added that "no stone will be left unturned" when it comes to the election review.

"I think we didn't get the other messages over about what the Liberal Democrats stand for," said Sir Ed. "We've also got a very strong position on climate change. In many ways tackling climate change was more important than stopping Brexit.

"I think one of the challenges we failed to manage was making sure people understood the Liberal Democrats aren't just the stop Brexit party."

He also said of the government: "I do not believe they can get Brexit done in the next year as they said they would do."

Sir Ed told Ridge that it was "too early" to rule himself out as the next permanent leader and that there were "glimmers of hope" for his party.

He added: "Our voter share went up in this election. I think the Liberal Democrats can rebuild. I think we can come back strong."

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