Lib Dems suspend leadership contest until May 2021 due to coronavirus ‘fallout’
Ed Davey and Mark Pace will remain interim co-leaders until 2021 (PA)
The Liberal Democrats have postponed their leadership election until May 2021 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The party had been expected to elect Jo Swinson's replacement this summer.
But in a statement on Thursday night, party president Mark Pack said the effects of the pandemic had left them with no choice but to dela the process for nearly a year.
He said: “The country is currently going through our biggest crisis since 1945.
“Our party has decided that we must put all our attention into dealing with fallout from the coronavirus.
“The Liberal Democrats have always put the national interest first and I am proud of the role we have played in championing NHS and care workers, as well as sticking up for the self-employed.
“We will continue to scrutinise government policy and fight for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Ms Swinson stood down after less than six months in the job after losing her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP at the general election.
Deputy leader Ed Davey and Mr Pack were then appointed interim co-leaders.
Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse have both announced their intention to stand for party leader, with Sir Ed, Christine Jardine and Daisy Cooper also expected to stand.
Writing on Twitter, Ms Moran said: “My reasons for running remain the same and I look forward to taking part in it.
“When this is over the country and the Lib Dems will need to move on and create a positive vision for the future. But while coronavirus rages we must focus on that.”