Coalition bigwigs Vince Cable, Simon Hughes and Ed Davey prepare to stand again for the Liberal Democrats
Senior Liberal Democrat figures from the Coalition era are set to try to win back their seats in the upcoming general election.
In London, former Cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Ed Davey are putting themselves forward as candidates, while the party’s former deputy leader Simon Hughes will stand in his former constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark.
All three lost their seats in 2015, when the party was reduced to just eight seats.
Since then, they have won one parliamentary by-election, in Richmond Park, and have posted a string of impressive performances in local council contests after taking a robustly pro-EU position after the Brexit referendum.
Dr Cable, the former business secretary, will try to take the Twickenham constituency, which he held from 1997 to 2015, from Tory MP Tania Mathias.
Former energy secretary Mr Davey was defeated by another Conservative MP, James Berry, in Kingston and Surbiton in 2015.
And Mr Hughes, who was MP from 1983 to 2015, will challenge Labour MP Neil Coyle in the south-east London seat.
He said the Liberal Democrats had “as good a chance of winning again as we ever had”, and highlighted his potential Labour opponent’s ongoing battles with Jeremy Corbyn.
“Labour are not a credible party of government nationally, and locally Bermondsey and Southwark voters need an MP again who will concentrate on fighting for the people of our borough all the year round rather than spending huge amounts of time on fighting internal battles in the Labour party,” he said.
Their candidacies are subject to confirmation by the local parties.
Former leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will also stand again in Sheffield Hallam.
Meanwhile, the party has said it has had 2,500 new members since Mrs May’s announcement this morning, with total membership up to 91,110 – more than double its size in 2015.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron commented: “This election is a chance to change the direction of our country and thousands are joining our fight.
“If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the single market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.
“Thousands of people up and down the country are joining the Liberal Democrats so that we can send a message to Theresa May and the Conservative Brexit Government that we do not want a hard Brexit.
“In this general election it is clear that only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”