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Monday, May 31, 2010

And now the contest for Deputy Leader

I would love to publicly announce who I am voting for in the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leadership contest but apparently I do not have a vote.

The electorate is an exclusive one. It is the 57 MPs and that is it. Therefore campaigning activity is likely to be limited.

This is despite the fact that the role is absolutely crucial in liaising between the Government, the rest of the Parliamentary Party and the party at large. A job that cannot be done by the Party President alone.

If I had a vote I would be backing Simon Hughes. I think it is a disgrace that he has been overlooked for a government post and yet despite that he has been loyal to an extreme. Not only did he deliver a barn-storming speech to the special party conference that overwhelmingly endorsed the coalition but in the first week he appeared on programme after programme robustly defending the deal against some very abusive comments.

He has also been Party President and is widely respected and liked throughout the party both for his principles and his commitment. It seems to me that he is the ideal successor to Vince Cable in these changed times.
I used to laugh about the campaign some tories had to bring democracy to their party - do we need it now, perhaps?
I think there is an argument that the Deputy Leader should represent the party, more so now than at any time, to ensure the party keeps it's separate identity during the Coalition and to act as a spokesperson for separate policy which defines us. Therefore, I think the exclusivity of the MPs' vote might not seem to generate this result. These are unique times.

Simon would also get my vote, though. He speech at the SC was fantastic.
Simon Hughes seems the right candidate especially now, he seems to have a lot of integrety to his values and it is crucial we have a deputy who speaks for the left of the party (the same reason he isn't in the cabinet) which isn't obviously represented in government.
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