Ming: why I quit

by Stephen Tall on October 16, 2007

Ming Campbell has given a series of interviews this afternoon setting out his reasons for choosing to stand down as Lib Dem leader.

You can watch Ming’s interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson here.

And here are extracts from Ming’s conversation with Sky News’s Adam Boulton:

MC: … at the end of last week I worked out there had been seven consecutive days of reports in national newspapers about leadership and it became clear to me that if the party was going to make the kind of progress which it deserves and the British people need, it could be best done by somebody other than myself leading it.

AB: Was it the case that you counted on the support of senior colleagues and the support wasn’t there?

Not at all. I initiated a series of meetings between me and senior colleagues about policy for the next election. There was no question of me asking for support, nor was there any question of people saying it is time to go. We conducted the meetings on the basis that I was going through until the next General Election and the decision to stand down was mine alone.

AB: Who do you blame?

MC: I suspect a lot of it is an obsession which many of your colleagues have, and in many cases when it came to the Liberal Democrats it became a default story. If there was nothing else to write about, then “let us write about the age of the leader.”
I happen to know one senior journalist on a broadsheet told one of our press team that nothing got into the paper unless it was attacking the Liberal Democrats and the obvious thing to attack was my age. I reached the view that this blanket of pages was going to stop the party making good progress.
I’m proud of the stability since Charles Kennedy’s resignation. The leadership election which was rather colourful in some aspects but I made sure the party was much more professional than it had been before and that I prepared the party for the General Election.