Lembit gets serious (and announces next Presidency bid)

by Stephen Tall on August 28, 2007

Lembit Öpik, Lib Dem shadow secretary of state for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, has used an interview in the Financial Times to lay out his thinking on his new portfolio – and to confirm he will stand for the presidency of the party when current incumbent Simon Hughes’s term ends next year.

Full story here; here’s the fillet:

Lembit on Lib Dem business policy:

“I think our policies have been reasonably good, and certainly have improved a lot in the last five years.” But he admitted the Lib Dems had a long way to go. “We have a perception problem in the business community for two reasons. Number one, I’ve heard business people say some of our policies are tokenist to them. Number two, I think business hasn’t always thought of us as very important in parliament in terms of our relative influence. I’d like to change?both?of those things.”

Lembit on whether his celebrity undermines his credibility:

“Business doesn’t say that. Only people in the media ask me that?.?.?.?Industry looks at my record in business and what I say in meetings, not who I’m going out with,” he said. “What a grey world it would be if you can’t be an interesting person and?.?.?.?do an important job.” The MP cited his nine years at Procter & Gamble before entering Westminster in 1997, as well as the small aircraft brokerage firm he set up last year, as evidence of his business credentials.

Lembit on his political ambitions:

Mr Opik last week denied he wanted to be Lib Dem candidate for mayor of London, but he does want to advance in his party. Confirming that he intends to run for president when Simon Hughes’s term in office expires next year, Mr Opik said he harboured no ambitions to succeed Sir Menzies. “I’ll leave the leadership for people who want the leadership as much as I want the presidency.”

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9 comments

So he’s definitely after the leadership then 😛

by Letterman on August 28, 2007 at 3:19 pm. Reply #

So why didn’t he bloody stand for president last time then, like he said he was going to? Some of us were crying out for an ABS candidate.

by James Graham on August 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm. Reply #

Some off us are crying out for an ABS and an ABL candidate!

by Simon on August 28, 2007 at 6:57 pm. Reply #

Well there’s an idea for a thread:

“Your write in candidates for next Party President”.

Can I open the nominations with a vote for Lynne Featherstone?

by Dominic on August 28, 2007 at 10:13 pm. Reply #

… and if we can’t get her as President, London Mayor, or Party Leader, can we please at least give Lynne a decent consolation prize, like making her the Pope? 😉

by Greg Lowis on August 28, 2007 at 10:37 pm. Reply #

I don’t think there is anything wrong in principle with politicians who clown, provided they know where the boundaries are. Politics would be very dull indeed if all its practitioners were colourless men in suits.

In Lembit’s case, I would point out that none of the dreadful publicity that has plagued him in the last 12 months is actually Lembit’s fault. The blame lies with a vindictive woman who has taken it upon herself to ruin Lembit’s career – with the help of the “Daily Mail” and any other illiberal media player willing to publicise her whinings.

by Angus Huck on August 28, 2007 at 11:56 pm. Reply #

Some off us are crying out for an ABS and an ABL candidate!

Last I looked, President doesn’t have to be an MP-feel free.

I reckon Lembit could do good in the role. Unless Charles decided to run, he could possibly do good in the Presidency. Possibly.

by MatGB on August 29, 2007 at 12:05 am. Reply #

Charles has done two terms as President already so would not be elligable to stand.

The Party President doesn’t have to be a parliamentarian at all (let alone an MP).

by Simon on August 29, 2007 at 10:16 am. Reply #

It positively should not be a job for an MP. Given the demands the Presidency post holds at election time, a non-portfolio MP ought to be campaigning rather than doing the media rounds.

by Doug on August 29, 2007 at 5:26 pm. Reply #

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