Razzall and Littlewood on Ming’s future

by Stephen Tall on July 16, 2007

The Guardian reports on today’s BBC World at One interviews with former Lib Dem campaign manager, Lord Tim Razzall, and former head of communications, Mark Littlewood, here. Both suggest Ming Campbell’s future would come under the spotlight if the party were to under-perform in the Ealing Southall and Sedgefield by-elections this Thursday.

Here are the quotes the Guardian’s pulled out:

Lord Razzall: “There are clearly some people in the party who are complaining about Ming as leader and I think a lot of them are using the Ealing byelection as a sort of catalyst to bring things to a head. My own view is that would be a serious mistake. We would look silly if we were to attempt to change the leader and a lot of the criticisms of Ming are unfair.”

Mark Littlewood: “The truth of the matter is that over the last year or so, the Liberal Democrats’ electoral performance has been somewhat underwhelming. Ealing Southall is by no means home turf for the Liberal Democrats, but if you wanted the sort of electoral test in which you would expect the party to do well, surely this is it.”

And here’s the response from Ed Davey MP, Ming’s chief-of-staff: “The future of the party and the leadership doesn’t depend on one byelection. That would be absurd. What it depends on is clear policies and clear principles, and Ming has ensured that the party has a clear, distinctive and principled position.”

Chris Black and Paul Walter have both posted to their blogs on the subject of whether Ming’s leadership will depend on Thursday’s results.


Even if Lib Dems wouldn’t succeed in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield, would it be wise to sack Ming now, when it is possible that Gordon will call General Elections? Would the Lib Dems really like to choose a new leader in the middle of an election campaign?

by N on July 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm. Reply #

There is no point in debating it until we have the result in on Thursday.
Although I have said my piece (that Ming should resign) I have nonetheless done my bit by campaigning in Southall and encouraging others to go.

by Geoffrey Payne on July 16, 2007 at 9:46 pm. Reply #

Can’t talk for Razzall – though I did see him in Southall at the weekend – but Mark is an old friend. He’s great fun and has a pretty good political brain but I think it’s fair to say that the ground war has never been one of his strong points. I don’t think he has much of a feel for what’s going on in Southall …

by - on July 16, 2007 at 10:58 pm. Reply #

I’ve commented on Chris Black’s story, with which I agree. I didn’t vote for Ming just as I didn’t vote for Charles, yet am strangely loyal to both (or maybe so conservative at heart that change scares me!).

Above all, I would personally like to find a way in which we are not identified solely by the person who happens to be the leader of the parliamentary party. Some kind of “leadership of all the talents” perhaps…:) The natural desire of liberals to give away executive power should be reflected in the promotion to “leadership” positions of people from outside the “bubble”.

But on the substantive issue, I think the likes of Razzall and Littlewood should keep their own counsel really. This sort of speculation is not helpful and is redolent of what went on in the run up to Charles being pushed. What next? Ben Ramm doing a poll in his little vanity-mag?

by jockox3 on July 16, 2007 at 11:31 pm. Reply #

In a weird way, I’d say Ming is MORE likely to go if we win on Thursday. It would be terrible for the party to be seen as ditching the leader in the wake of electoral disaster, but even so, even those of us who rate Ming highly can see the writing on the wall: The commentators have decided Ming is not going to be allowed to succeed and the prophesy is self-fulfilling.

If Ming is in any doubt whatsoever that he can lead our party into the next General Election then immediately after being vindicated at the polls would be the ideal time to step aside for someone who can. Leave them on a high.

by Benjamin on July 17, 2007 at 3:30 pm. Reply #

IF we are to be seeking a new leader at any point in the foreseeable future, which I hope we will not be, it must be on the basis of the current leader leaving entirely of his own volition – and without the aid of any of the half-witted MPs who so gamely grasped at their 3 minutes on Sky at the time of Mr Kennedy’s departure.

by Paul on July 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm. Reply #

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