The race for the leadership: who’s in, who’s not

by Stephen Tall on October 17, 2007

Here’s the current position as I understand it, with links where I have them.


Chris Huhne
John Hemming

Actively considering:

Nick Clegg
Steve Webb


Charles Kennedy

Ruled out:

Vince Cable
Ed Davey
Lynne Featherstone
Julia Goldsworthy
Simon Hughes
Susan Kramer
David Laws

(For those interested, the current betting prices can be found here.)

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John Hemming??? WTF???

by Laurence Boyce on October 17, 2007 at 5:22 pm. Reply #

He’s declared – whether he can secure enough nominations to stand is another matter. See here.

by Stephen Tall on October 17, 2007 at 5:26 pm. Reply #

Hemming for Leader? Well, lets see how far below 11% we can go…

by Ross on October 17, 2007 at 5:27 pm. Reply #

If John gets it we don’t need to guess how far downwe can go. Just place a big fat 0% in the Lib Dem coloumn and that won’t be far off…God save us from people like this, what is he thinking and why is anyone listening to him??!!

by Big Mak on October 17, 2007 at 5:39 pm. Reply #

Having just written by blog on this situation, I then find almost all my “hopefuls” have rules themselves out!

I’d prefer a race, not a coronation, and I trust that if we have to have this contest (and I would have preferred Ming to have stayed), let us hope and pray it is not John Hemming!

by Winning Here on October 17, 2007 at 6:24 pm. Reply #

Well, I posted this to the previous thread, but it seems that nobody is reading it, anymore.

– Where’s the site for bloggers supporting Nick Clegg?

by Melian on October 17, 2007 at 6:35 pm. Reply #

I genuinely cannot believe that John Hemming will secure the seven (is that correct?) MPs he needs to back his candidature. Didn’t he do this last time, and no-one ended up backing him? Shame about Julia not standing. I guess it’s a straight Huhne v Clegg battle.

by Stuart on October 17, 2007 at 6:37 pm. Reply #

BTW, I wonder which five MPs (so far) have supported Hemming?

by Melian on October 17, 2007 at 6:37 pm. Reply #

Also ruled out is Adrian Sanders, we all knew it already but it’s worth putting it there.

@Melian–understanding is he’s talked to 20% and got 1 backer, ergo he’d get 5 at that rate. So he’s likely to pull out, I think he’s just trying to get attention for some policy ideas he’s got, he must know no one would seriously back him, for once on the leadership Q I concur completely with Mak.

by MatGB on October 17, 2007 at 7:10 pm. Reply #

Guys – John Hemming is not a remotely serious prospect in this election. There is no chance whatsoever of him getting even close to the 7 nominations required. He managed to get a few in 2006, but since the rules have changed and MPs can only now nominate one other person, he is even less of a serious prospect than before.

Part of politics, it seems to me, is balancing self-belief with a realistic assessment of how others see you. Ming Campbell has demonstrated his grasp of this brilliantly over the last few days. Almost all Lib Dem MPs are good at it too…just not quite every last one, it seems.

by Jeremy Hargreaves on October 17, 2007 at 7:21 pm. Reply #

I just heard on the Channel four news that Nick Clegg will “launch his campaign on Friday”, which seems to imply that it is near certain that he will announce his candidacy. All I can say to that, is thank goodness! If it was just the other two, I would just jump the sinking ship and leave the Lib Dems.

by Joseph on October 17, 2007 at 7:22 pm. Reply #

I am not a member of Liberal Democrat Party and therefore you are perfectly entitled ignore anything I write but as someone who is stuck at home/has broadband/is interested in history and politics, I spend alot of time surfing the webb. I read recently that the LibDems were the party least likely to blog. Perhaps you should change that? I have spent the day looking at the blogs of ordinary people [not the great and those that think they are good who are frequently full of rubbish that they later disown] and have been struck by the same theme that comes up again and again [NOT the one that says that you are dead in the water – which I do not accept] but the one where countless people are crying out for a clearly defined left of centre party which will hold Labour to account and in the event of a hung Parliament keep them in line. However I gather your favoured candidate is a right leaning Tory lookie-likie. I don’t get it. The cry on the webb is “that is all we need, another right of centre of party. If you don’t believe me, get blogging.

by Sal on October 17, 2007 at 7:27 pm. Reply #

@ Sal. least likely party to blog? Ah, no, whoever wrotet hat was woefully misinformed, I joined the party after getting involved in reading various Lib Dem Blogs and I found them varied and interesting.

We’re most likely to elect Huhne or Clegg according to current polling, early days yet. But I, an open socialist on the notional ‘left’ of the party will be very happy with either as leader having met both in my brief time as a member.

The Lib Dems aren’t moving right of centre, they’re moving more liberal, which is neither left nor right. Don’t let the media simplistic reduction of ‘left vs right’ confuse you, there are other ways to measure things, and support for freedom is an issue that’s neither left nor right wing.

I hope you’re right that countless people are crtying out for a clearly defined left of centre party, because that’s what I feel we are.

It’s just a damned shame the media doesn’t want to cover the actual issues–it’s confusing talking about policies, solutions and actual analysis after all.

My vote is most likely to go to the candidate who gets the media most talking about policy. Because if you can do that, we start winning.

by MatGB on October 17, 2007 at 8:01 pm. Reply #

Hmm, of the possible female candidates only Sarah Teather hasn’t ruled herself out yet.

by Danielle on October 17, 2007 at 8:32 pm. Reply #

Is Evan Harris ruled out?

by Oxford on October 17, 2007 at 8:34 pm. Reply #

Look, look! Is that a REAL person on Lib Dem Voice?

Hello Sal, thanks for dropping by. I too am heartily surprised – where on earth did you read that Lib Dems don’t blog? The blogs are there all right, maybe they just need to be turned outwards a bit more.

Nowt at all to add to Mr Mat’s excellent summary, but if I can temporarily re-adopt the left-right axis for the sake of brevity (sorry!) I think the Lib Dem environmental and tax policies are particularly clearly left-of-centre, should you wish to investigate them (you’ll be ahead of every broadsheet in the land if you do).

Hm, am wondering should there be an FAQ page with Sal’s question and Mat’s answer?

by Alix on October 17, 2007 at 8:43 pm. Reply #

It’s official now, Clegg will be running for leadership.

“The battle for the Liberal Democrat succession was shaping up as home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg announced he would launch his campaign on Friday.”


by Joseph on October 17, 2007 at 8:53 pm. Reply #

Didn’t Lembit promise us last time that he would be standing this time?

by Joe Otten on October 17, 2007 at 9:16 pm. Reply #

14. Sarah Teather has signed up to Nicks facebook Leadersgip page so probably not.

15. yes he did live on Sky yesterday afternoon.

18. If so anyone know where I can get a gun….for myself that is!

by Big Mak on October 17, 2007 at 9:21 pm. Reply #

Re 12 et seq, and all this left/right business.

Newsnight the other night ran two possible Lib Dem adverts, supposedly one leftie and one rightie. Strange thing, I would have been quite happy with both!

Because – in my view – it is quite possible to support social equality, financial moderation (cannot bring myself to use prudence), social responsibility, human rights, peace, etc etc and be a totally consistent Liberal.

I have ALWAYS described myself as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”.

Not left, nor right, but forward with Liberalism.

by crewegwyn on October 17, 2007 at 9:30 pm. Reply #

Jeremy, dont do that. Saying Mr H doesnt stand a chance in THIS election implies he might in a future one…

Still it gives us a start on names for us to spend the next 10 years speculating about as a contestant for the next leader.


by Ed on October 17, 2007 at 9:49 pm. Reply #

Have just listened to John Hemming on Doughty street.

Conclusion – It’s a two horse race around here – a vote for Hemming is a wasted vote.

by Cheltenham Robin on October 17, 2007 at 10:08 pm. Reply #

Sal, there is a left wing of the Liberal Democrats and we need people like you to join us.
In fact if you join the party now, you can have a vote for the leadership.
From a left of centre perspective I would say there is a lot to be said for the Liberal Democrats, and that will continue even under Clegg’s leadership.
The best thing to do to find out is to go to Lib Dem conference, which I appreciate is a big step for a non-member. However I was very impressed when I went and someone explained to me how the “Pupil Premium” works, a very progressive policy that rebalances the education system more in favour of children from poorer backgrounds.
There are right wing “Lib Dem” bloggers who go on about Freidman and Hayek, but I doubt that Clegg will want to encourage that kind of extreme thinking.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 17, 2007 at 10:40 pm. Reply #

crewegwyn: I have ALWAYS described myself as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”.

What you described, sounded to me more like “socially and economically liberal”. 🙂

by Anoymous on October 17, 2007 at 11:18 pm. Reply #

Big mak, it would seem that for angus penetrating the electorate is much like positioning the lib dems firmly up a cows butt hoping the wind that passes will blow voters our way !

by Edddie on October 18, 2007 at 12:40 am. Reply #

“socially liberal and fiscally conservative”: maybe we can define that as libertarian, that is something like “free market and free people”?

by Jujupiter on October 18, 2007 at 1:13 am. Reply #

John Hemming says on his web-blog ‘I do have one person other than myself willing to sign my own paper. However, I can see that there is going to be a challenge getting nominated.’ I also learnt from his web-blog that he likes pictures of kittens.
On a another small matter the Party should still be able to operate effectively during this time and it was a little concerning not to have a speaker at a Westminster Hall debate on arms exports yesterday given that the Party has had lot of distinctive things to say on this topic recently.

by derrick chester on October 18, 2007 at 6:27 am. Reply #

Webb just declared for Clegg according to the BBC

by Andy Mayer on October 18, 2007 at 9:19 am. Reply #

20 & 24:

In UK terms it’d be socially and economically liberal.

In US terms it’d be socially liberal and economically conservative – US ‘liberals’ are economic interventionists (and increasingly social interventionists too – look at Clinton’s crusades against gambling and video games for example).

by Tristan Mills on October 18, 2007 at 9:39 am. Reply #

I have read all your comments with interest and can accept my perspective may be misinformed. Howerver I am rather glad I was wrong about the LibDem tendacy to blog. Political bloggers can be a ferocious breed and any attempt at a discussion seems to decend into insults all too quickly. Had it not been for my ill-informed assumption I

by Sal on October 18, 2007 at 10:32 am. Reply #

….Sorry pressed the wrong button with my arm!!!….
I might not have ventured onto your site.
I will think about all you have kindly taken the time to say. However I believe I read very widely in comparison with most and cannot help feeling that a simpler narrative is already set out and is ready to print.
You must be aware of what it is and I am really not sure how you can shift it.
But I wish you well.

by Sal on October 18, 2007 at 10:40 am. Reply #

Sal, I couldn’t agree more re: narrative. Admittedly, I’ve only been here five minutes and I’m extremely happy on certain policy points that are important to me, but I’m still trying to understand the broad sweep of where the party is coming from myself. If you like, please drop me an email (click on me, my blog has contact details on it).

by Alix on October 18, 2007 at 11:01 am. Reply #

Oh what a shame about Julia Goldsworthy. Now I need to decide who I don’t want and then vote for them – I’ve got it wrong everytime since Paddy – so this time I’m going to use my ‘Kiss of Death’ Vote wisely

by Ian Osborne on October 18, 2007 at 11:19 am. Reply #

Poor Ian. I sympathise. I thought I might join up order to vote, but then, I’d have to vote!
Take consolation in the fact that the big “Whigs” in the party don’t seem to be endowed with any special gifts of forsight on the basis of their past choices.
Maybe you should just vote the opposite way from them? Aren’t the Lib Dems quite an anti-authoritarian lot! I thought Mr Clegg might have been better not to mention that at his launch, given his apparent annointment.

by Sal on October 19, 2007 at 1:39 pm. Reply #

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