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Wed, 21 October 2020

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Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse reveals she's 'considering' run to replace Jo Swinson as party leader

Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse reveals she's 'considering' run to replace Jo Swinson as party leader
3 min read

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has confirmed that she is readying a bid to become the party's next leader.

The MP for Bath - who made headlines in 2018 when she successfully campaigned to ban upskirting - said she wanted to be part of a "big debate" about future of the Lib Dems in the wake of its difficult general election result.

Ms Hobhouse, the first MP to confirm she will enter the race, told Sky News: "I am considering to stand simply because I want to be part of that big debate that we are going to have.

"And I'm preparing my pitch, I'm gathering my team together and I'm looking forward to a good, mature debate.

"The Liberal Democrats actually fight good internal debates, elections and selections, because we actually believe in that discussion, in that open, transparent debate about our future."

Currently the party's environment and transport spokesperson, Ms Hobhouse led the Commons campaign to outlaw the practice of upskirting, pushing to make it illegal for people to take the voyeuristic photos.

The comments from the Bath MP come after the party unveiled the timetable for its contest to replace Jo Swinson.

Ms Swinson lost her seat to the SNP on an election night that saw the party go backwards on its 2017 Commons total and shed every MP who had defected to its ranks from either Labour or the Conservatives.

Others expected to enter the race include Sir Ed Davey, who is currently co-leading the party on an interim basis and unuccessfully ran against Ms Swinson for the leadership last year, education spokesperson Layla Moran and the newly-elected Daisy Cooper.

But the party has confirmed that it will not have a new leader in place until after Labour has picked its successor to Jeremy Corbyn.

Nominations for candidates will open on 11 May and close on 28 May, with members balloted between 18 June and 15 July.

Under Lib Dem rules, candidates hoping to make it onto the ballot must have the support of a Commons colleague and win the backing of at least 200 members across 20 local parties.

A wide-ranging review of its election campaign performance is also being carried out by party chiefs, with Lib Dem insiders saying it will look at the impact of the party's explicitly anti-Brexit stance as well as how it talks about its time in coalition with the Conservatives.

Speaking this weekend, Sir Ed said: “With our party membership at record levels, I urge everyone else who shares our values to join us in the coming days and vote in the leadership election.”



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