- Sir Vince Cable announced his resignation plan in a speech on Friday morning, saying he would trigger a leadership contest once Brexit was “resolved.”
- Cable, who is 75, has been the leader of the Liberal Democrats for just over a year.
- Cable announced plans to open up the leadership contest to non-MPs, in plans to transform the Liberal Democrats and attract more supporters.
- According to the betting markets, Deputy Leader Jo Swinson and Education Spokesperson Layla Moran are favourites to succeed.
LONDON – Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable on Friday announced his plans to resign as leader once Brexit is “stopped or resolved.”
In a speech on plans to modernise the Liberal Democrats and attract more members, Cable said he planned to let non-MPs stand to be leader, and allow people who aren’t fee-paying party members to vote in future leadership contests.
The build-up to Cable’s speech had been dominated by speculation over his future. Business Insider reported last month that Lib Dem insiders believed he would stand down next year.
So who are the most likely candidates to succeed the former Business Secretary.
A step up for Swinson?
With a contest within the next 12 months looking likely, strong candidates are increasingly light on the ground. Deputy Leader Jo Swinson – an impressive media operator who is frequently touted as a potential successor – has just had her second child, and those close to her disagree on whether she’s unlikely to stand.
Swinson’s popularity among Liberal Democrat MPs has also declined somewhat over the last 12 months, according to Lib Dem sources. However, she remains a strong front-runner as things stand.
Moran favoured by insiders
One candidate to look out for is House of Commons newcomer, Layla Moran. The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, who was first elected in 2017, is seen as a capable media performer, and a fresh face in a party which only has three MPs under 50.
Moran is thought to be the favoured candidate of many establishment Liberal Democrats. However, with a majority of only 816, and standing for a party which has only managed to hold four seats continuously since 2010, Moran may be relucatant to stand this time.
A final serious candidate for leader is former energy secretary, Ed Davey.
Davey, who was re-elected as MP for Kingston and Surbiton after five years way from the Commons in 2017, is popular within the party but has yet to declare his hand on whether he harbours ambitions for the leadership
Some Lib Dem insiders suggest Davey would be the likely winner of a contest if he stood, due to the tendency of the party to elect male leaders and his popularity among the party’s core vote.
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