Lib Dem MP drops out of party leadership election

Vera Hobhouse MP. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Vera Hobhouse MP. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

Wera Hobhouse has bowed out of the Liberal Democrat leadership election - throwing her support behind Layla Moran to become the next leader.

In an announcement, the MP explained to supporters why she had decided to pull out of the race.

She explained: 'There is nothing more lonely or frustrating than feeling unheard. That is why I set out to build a party, and a country, where every single person has an equal opportunity to thrive, regardless of their background or where they live.

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'That means pulling our party firmly to the centre-left, rebuilding our local government base, securing a progressive alliance, and moving effort and resources to our regions. We cannot run as a London-centric party that lets our powerful regional voices go unheard and the Conservatives a free run.

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'That continues to be what I believe in more than anything.

'I feel grateful for the energetic campaign that we built together, and I am proud that we asked the tough questions, dared to dream big and fought for what we believed in, the values we share and the vision we hold.

'That is always the right thing to do.

'But, if my supporters and I really believe in the need for a new direction, then we must accept when we are no longer the best vehicle to deliver that.'

She added: 'I know this will be disappointing for those of you who joined our movement, but this leadership race is more important than any one candidate, and it is vital to the future of our country that we come together to defeat the Conservatives at the next general election.

Hobhouse had called for a progressive alliance between Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens and other parties 'from day one'. She had also called for the party to tack left to end associations with the Tories.

The politician, who has been in the House of Commons since the 2017 election, said that it was Layla Moran who can 'revitalise' the party and bring unity.

She said: 'I am pleased to support Layla Moran and encourage those who joined my campaign to do so too. She represents a new generation with the talent to engage and inspire. She is now the only candidate who can break with our party's damaging legacy from the coalition and adopt a centre-left position to defeat the Conservatives at the next election'.

Layla Moran thanked the MP for her support. She said: 'I am delighted to have Wera's support for my campaign to lead the Liberal Democrats and build a fairer, greener, more compassionate country.

'Wera is a tireless and dedicated campaigner with a clear vision for the future. She has a strong track record of standing up for progressive and liberal values, and she has made a vital contribution to our debate on issues such as protecting the environment, championing local government and empowering the regions.

'I look forward to working side by side as we move forward together as a strong, renewed and united party.'

The new leader will be elected in August, with Davey and Moran set to go head to head for the role.

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