Sir Vince Standing at 74

74 year-old Vince Cable has announced he is running for LibDem leader. Ming Campbell was 66 when he was forced out because he was too old…

Tom Brake has suggested that he is out of the running, tweeting: “Thanks for your kind words of support & encouragement, but my focus remains on local issues & serving the people of Carshalton & Wallington”. Cable, Davey and Lamb left. The field narrows…

LibDem Leadership Latest

The bookies’ favourite Jo Swinson has decided not to stand, noting “most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot”. Indeed she has a point, the remaining field is a bunch of boring bald, grey or balding, grey blokes ready to lead the LibDems into mediocrity. 

  • Norman Lamb: The new bookies’ favourite, probably because he has been so loudly taking soundings about whether he should run.
  • Sir Ed Davey: LibDems are increasingly tipping Davey as the most likely next leader. Has a growing online band of supporters sharing stories about how he saved a woman’s life. Wants it badly.
  • Sir Vince Cable: Now the third favourite, Vince’s odds have moved out over the last few days as LibDems look for a younger option. Though his supporters will argue Swinson stepping aside could see him as a two-year caretaker option.
  • Tom Brake: Not grey or bald but human beige. Still hasn’t ruled himself out. Probably should. 

At least Swinson would have been a relative breath of fresh air.

LibDem Leadership Runners and Riders

The LibDems have 12 MPs, and it is entirely possible a third of the parliamentary party could put themselves forwards as leadership candidates to replace Tim Farron. And there will be more knights running than women. Guido brings you your runners and riders…

  • Jo Swinson: The early favourite. Won her seat back in East Dunbartonshire, at 37 her allies say she is the youngest, freshest candidate and more exciting than Vince Cable, who would take the party “from Dad to Grandad“. But are the LibDems ready for a woman leader?
  • Sir Vince Cable: He has always harboured ambitions and his allies say he could be an interim “Brexit leader” who would run the party for two years before stepping aside and allowing Swinson to fight an election. Though Vince has gone a bit funny recently, his Diane Abbott moment during the campaign will not inspire the confidence of members.
  • Sir Ed Davey: No secret he’s always fancied the job, he began scheming against Farron as soon as he won his seat back. His irritable personality isn’t exactly endearing and he was the Energy Secretary who struck the “worst ever” deal for Hinckley Point, and then took a job as a paid lobbyist for a firm representing the successful bidder. Is that really the sort of person the LibDems want?
  • Norman Lamb: Held his seat against the odds and now the bookies make him second favourite to be leader. Last night he told Question Time that he was thinking about running. Seems a more decent bloke than some of the others on this list, though that isn’t hard. Sensible enough to defy Farron and abstain on the Article 50 vote rather than vote against.
  • Tom Brake: Tipped by the Guardian to the amusement of LibDem colleagues. He is known in LibDem circles as “human beige”. Mired in all sorts of murky goings on in his rotten borough of Carshalton. Those local stories would soon go national if he were leader.
  • Alastair Carmichael: Proven liar, but since when has that ever stopped a LibDem? Has ruled himself out.

What a choice…

++ FARRON QUITS ++

Tim Farron is resigning as LibDem leader, “I have found myself torn, living as a faithful Christian and leading a political party in the current environment…” Seems a private commitment to Christian values is incompatible with modern liberal values. How intolerant.

Expect it to be Swinson versus Cable or Davey for next leader…

Farron Coup Underway

There have been murmurings of a leadership challenge against Tim Farron being mooted over the last few days. Now Brian Paddick has resigned citing concerns “about the leader’s views on various issues that were highlighted during GE17”. It ain’t his views on spaniels that’s the problem…

Jo Swinson, who won back East Dunbartonshire last week, is the name doing the rounds as a potential challenger. Will Farron survive the summer?

Farron Loses Top Spinner

Guido understands Tim Farron’s top spinner Paul Butters is leaving. This will be a major loss to the LibDem leader, Butters is a page lead wizard with a journalist’s mind who was single-handedly responsible for getting his boss’ name in the paper over the last couple of years. His instantly recognisable catchphrase “mate” will be missed by Lobby hacks struggling for stories in the Red Lion. This election really was the massacre of the contacts…

CLEGG LOSES HIS SEAT

LibDem Phone Bank Based in Egypt

The LibDems are running a phone canvassing operation from Egypt. Phone bank calls received by London voters originate from a +20 number based in the North African country, more than 3,500 miles from Britain. Popular number tracing site Who-Called.co.uk lists dozens of complaints from voters who have also been contacted by the LibDem Egypt operation:

LibDems rang me on this number…from flipping Egypt!”

“Nine times in five days, haven’t answered any of them.”

“LibDems outsourcing canvassing abroad, jokers if they think I would ever vote for them.”

Remainer Ph-arron embracing global markets…

Sarah Olney Reported to Police Over Election Expenses

Richmond LibDem Sarah Olney has been reported to the police over her election expenses. Stuart Coster, a local independent researcher who is not affiliated to any party, has sent a dossier to the Met detailing what he claims is evidence that Olney failed to declare between £5,157 and £15,414 of expenses during last year’s by-election. Olney’s spending return for the Richmond by-election was just £1,030 below the limit.

Coster claims to have found undeclared leaflets, missing freepost address costs, telephone canvassing costs and undervalued services. The LibDems obviously deny any wrongdoing and note the timing is suspicious, but the police have confirmed they are looking into it. In the event this went really badly for Olney there could be another by-election after the election on Thursday. Haven’t the people of Richmond suffered enough?

Mike Smithson’s LibDem Tip Letters

Letters are being sent out to voters in LibDem marginals across the country from former LibDem candidate Mike Smithson – of PoliticalBetting.com fame – explaining the “predictions” he has made based on “what the local data is telling” him. Guido has seen evidence of the missives hitting doormats in Cambridge, East Dunbartonshire and Sheffield Hallam. Wherever they arrive, “the data” outlined in Smithson’s letters always points to voting tactically in support of the Lib Dems. What a shocker!

Will his forecasts do better than Guido’s predictions for Paddy Power’s punters

UPDATE: And another tip…

Farron Worst Performer of All Leaders

Tim Farron was by far the worst performer of all the leaders during the Andrew Neil interviews. He repeatedly tried to filibuster, talk over Brillo, heckle him and refuse to answer his questions. A quite bizarre performance… 

Balaclava-Clad Corbynistas Steal LibDem Placards

Balaclava-clad Corbynistas have been stealing their opponents’ placards in the dead of night. The above photo was posted online by a masked Labour supporter posing with a garden-board belonging to LibDem candidate John Leech. This image posted by a Corbynista calling himself “Raheem Stalin” shows a number of the placards were pilfered:

And a third photo names a John Francis Hay as pictured brandishing one of the garden-boards:

Leech tells Guido:

“We have posters nicked and ‘lost’ in every election – that is not the problem here – but to dress up in balaclavas, driving around at night and stealing from people’s property, at any time, let alone so shortly after the horrific events of last week is just sickening and utterly vile.”

The LibDems have called in the cops…

LibDems Park Campaign Bus Across 4 Disabled Bays

A co-conspirator writes:

“I thought you may be interested to see how the LibDem battle bus took over 4+ disabled parking spaces / bays in Cambridge yesterday evening. There is plenty of normal parking nearby and a coach station 5 minutes away.”

Their campaign might be hobbling along but things aren’t that bad…

UPDATE: The LibDems claim the police told them to park there and that the bay was suspended for the duration of their visit. What’s more important, the rights of the disabled or a photo op for Tim Farron?

Economist Endorses LibDems in Epic Brexit Whinge

The Economist prides itself it being “not read by millions” and true to form they have endorsed the party on 7% in the polls. Their backing for the LibDems is a hugely enjoyable Brexit whinge:

“No party passes with flying colours. But the closest is the Liberal Democrats. Brexit is the main task of the next government and they want membership of the single market and free movement. (Their second referendum would probably come to nothing, as most voters are reconciled to leaving the EU.) They are more honest than the Tories about the need to raise taxes for public services; and more sensible than Labour… against a backward-looking Labour Party and an inward-looking Tory party about to compound its historic mistake over Brexit, they get our vote.

Backing the open, free-market centre is not just directed towards this election. We know that this year the Lib Dems are going nowhere. But the whirlwind unleashed by Brexit is unpredictable. Labour has been on the brink of breaking up since Mr Corbyn took over. If Mrs May polls badly or messes up Brexit, the Tories may split, too. Many moderate Conservative and Labour MPs could join a new liberal centre party—just as parts of the left and right have recently in France. So consider a vote for the Lib Dems as a down-payment for the future. Our hope is that they become one element of a party of the radical centre, essential for a thriving, prosperous Britain.”

The FT managed to stay reality-based, the Economist not so much. Bit sad what they have become, really.

LibDem Candidate in 64% Leave Seat: All Brexiters Are F**kwits

This is what you might call a bold election strategy. Former LibDem MP Stephen Gilbert is running again in St Austell and Newquay, a very Brexity seat which voted 64% to leave the EU. A tough seat for a Remainer to win back. Made even tougher by Gilbert’s brave decision to call all Leave voters “f**kwits“.

From Greece, naturally…

LibDem Candidates Loving EU

Two LibDem candidates are taking the whole Remainiac thing a bit far. Hugh Annand, their candidate in Hitchin and Harpenden, is living the LibDem dream by declaring an address in Belgium. He works for the Commission in Brussels, natch. 

Meanwhile Anthony Sycamore, standing in Stockton North, is a musician living in France:

On the doorstep via Skype?

H/T @georgiecalle, @hannachronism

Labour and Greens ‘Lending’ Votes to LibDems

The Progressive Alliance has been spotted at work in Oxford: these two posters show Labour and Green supporters ‘lending’ their votes to the LibDems. They were spotted in Oxford West, where the Tory candidate Nicola Blackwood is facing concerted efforts from Corbynistas and Greens to help her LibDem opponent.

Even more cringe than those placards in Richmond

Another Lying LibDem Leaflet

What is it with the LibDems and telling straight lies on their leaflets? The above was delivered in Hornsey and Wood Green over the weekend, quoting an article in The Times as saying “Only the Lib Dems can stop a hard Brexit”A quick Google reveals this piece was not written by a Times journalist, but instead by the Lib Dem candidate for Manchester Gorton Jackie Pearcey. This leaflet is carrying a straight untruth: these words are from a LibDem candidate and the LibDems are falsely attributing them to the Times. You just can’t trust those lyin’ LibDems…

H/T @philhornbyitv

LibDem Transgender Uproar Over Theresa Farage Poster

Transgender LibDem members have protested to party HQ over their new poster featuring Nigel Farage photoshopped as Theresa May. There was an outpouring of uproar among the LibDem trans community when the poster depicting Farage with the PM’s hair, clothes and pearl necklace was released last week. One member complained:

“I have seen a lot of discussion from other trans LD members and other trans folk in general expressing disquiet, and a marked increase in reluctance to vote LD because of this sh*t… please rest assured that the number of trans folk I’ve spoken to — both members and not — who are deeply exhausted and tired and hurt is a damn sight greater than four.”

A second member added:

“Sometimes I’m really ashamed of this party. Are some of your best friends trans too?”

And another said:

“There’s all sorts of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” lines you could be going for that aren’t ‘hahahahaha it’s a man in a dress’.”

A LibDem source confirmed “mild concerns” have been aired. God forbid anyone asks what Farron thinks…

UPDATE: The chair of LGBT LibDems Jennie Rigg says:

“This is bordering on transphobia, and it would make my job as chair a lot easier of you didn’t do this sort of thing.”

Sarah Olney’s Leafleting Lie

When a candidate knocks on your door and you aren’t in, they often stick an “I called to see you today” leaflet through your letterbox to show they made the effort. In Richmond Park however, LibDem Sarah Olney is being very naughty.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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