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Tue, 27 October 2020

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Ed Davey: Jeremy Corbyn was to blame for Lib Dems' poor election performance

Ed Davey: Jeremy Corbyn was to blame for Lib Dems' poor election performance
2 min read

The "toxicity" of Jeremy Corbyn was one of the main factors behind the Lib Dems' poor election performance, according to the party's interim leader.

Ed Davey, who took on the role after Jo Swinson lost her seat, said voters who would otherwise have backed his party backed the Tories instead to keep the Labour leader out of Downing Street.

He told The Guardian: "In any election there are forces that you can control, and forces you can’t control.

"And there’s no doubt that the toxicity of Jeremy Corbyn to people who might have voted for us was greater than might have been expected."

The Lib Dems only returned 11 MPs on 12 December, down one on 2017, despite initially having high hopes of making major gains.

Sir Ed added: "You had liberals who were centrist but were very worried about a hard left government. This is what happened in 83 with Foot, in 92 with Kinnock."

He said that on the doorstep "we’d get: ‘We really like you guys, we agree with you on “stop Brexit”, but we’ve got to stop Jeremy Corbyn'.There’s no doubt that was a big factor."

Lib Dem bosses agreed at the weekend that Ms Swinson's successor will not be in place until July.

Sir Ed, who lost to Ms Swinson last summer, has thrown his hat into the ring again and said he wanted to show that the Lib Dems were not a "one trick pony" now that Brexit has been confirmed.

He said: "I want to lead a centre-left party who wants to see Britain be way more caring and progressive in how we reach out to people who need help. I want to change the culture and change the debate.

"I now have a disabled son, who’s 12, and one of the things I have learned from that, and from conversations with people, is one of the things you worry about is who is going to care for them when you’re not there.

"Clearly, how you pay for different kinds of care needs to be thought through. For some kinds of care, it’s completely reasonable to ask the individual to make contributions, so I’m not suggesting it all goes on the state. However, there are a whole range of examples where you couldn’t possibly expect people to make provision."


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