Lib Dems reject Vince Cable's proposals to shake up leadership rules

Posted On: 
17th March 2019

The Liberal Democrats have rejected a proposal by Vince Cable to allow non-MPs to become the party leader.

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable
PA Images

Delegates at the Lib Dem spring conference in York also voted against a plan that would have allowed people who pay no membership fees to choose who heads up the movement.

However they did agree to set up a ‘registered supporters scheme’ in a bid to entice activists into the party without forcing them to become full members.

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It comes after the 75-year-old Lib Dem boss announced he would quit as leader of the party in May this year.

Sir Vince proposed the rule changes in a bid to revamp the party - hinting that a high-profile pro-EU campaigner such as Gina Miller could become the Lib Dem boss despite not being an MP.

He had hoped that such a move could change the fortunes of the struggling movement after taking inspiration from Justin Trudeau in Canada and Emmanuel Macron in France.

But conference delegates yesterday voted to reject the proposal: “Should members other than MPs be permitted to stand for party leader?”

They also voted against the proposal: “Should registered supporters be permitted to vote for the party leader?”

However they said ‘registered supporters’ should be able to join as long as they are not members of other parties, and they said supporters should be able to sit on policy working groups.

Today Sir Vince will tell the conference: “Our mission to move from survival to success, from protest back to power, takes place in a world where liberal values are under siege and in retreat.”

On Brexit he will say: “Anyone who imagines that getting Theresa May’s proposed Brexit through Parliament – at the third, fourth, fifth time of asking – will bring closure and stability is suffering from self-delusion.

“If Brexit is a political Everest, this is the Base Camp.  The brief, vague, woolly, Political Declaration doesn’t tell us where the summit is, let alone how to get there.  It promises years and years of frustration and friction.”