by Stephen Tall on September 9, 2014
Imagine the following scenario…
At the next general election, 7th May 2015, there is a hung parliament in which the Lib Dems hold the balance of power. However, the party doesn’t do very well. Nick Clegg resigns as party leader, or at any rate it becomes inevitable that he will do so soon.
The party turns to its Deputy Leader (elected by MPs, not members). Then it remembers that he, Sir Malcolm Bruce, retired the previous day. So there is no longer a Deputy Leader.
The Lib Dems then turn to their Party President — the only post other than that of Leader elected by all members — who will no longer be Tim Farron. He stands down this autumn after four years in post.
In his place will be one of Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, Linda Jack or Liz Lynne, the four candidates currently running for election. Good people, all, in their various ways. But, as Craig Ling puts it here:
The problem any of the candidates to follow him will face is that, with the greatest respect, they aren’t box office in any way. They may get elected to President, but the media will not give them the time of day and the harsh reality is that your average stay-at-home paid-up member (who doesn’t see Conference as the highlight of their year), will simply ask: ‘who are they?’
So my question is a simple one.
In the event that the Lib Dem leader has either resigned or is on the brink of doing so, there is no deputy leader, and the party president is a largely unknown quantity within the party let alone beyond: who will speak for the Lib Dems on 8th May 2015?