Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nick Clegg wins LibDem leadership contest

Nick Clegg has won the leadership contest for the Liberal Democrat Party. There was a low turnout for the vote, down by a third on that during the previous leadership battle that voted in Ming Campbell. There was also a thin margin between the two contenders. Winning by only 511 votes over Chris Huhne, the new leader made a short speech to assembled party members saying, “my election marks a new beginning of Britain’s Liberal future”. He also called on disillusioned voters to give the Lib Dems a hearing. To a room full of supporters and members of the press the new leader said, “we want to change politics and Britain”. He was critical of both the Labour and Conservative parties saying they had cast civil liberties aside and left families struggling to pay bills. “I’m a Liberal, by temperament, instinct and upbringing” he said, “and we’re a people wary of government interference”. He added that he had one simple ambition “to change Britain into the Liberal country I know people want it to be”.

After his speech Nick Clegg told Sky he had, “Set out themes of ambition" for the party as a whole.

Chris Huhne said he knew it was going to be close but added that Nick would be an excellent leader. “You win some you lose some” he told the BBC . Paddy Ashdown, a former leader of the party, told Sky News’s Adam Bolton, “that was the best leader’s acception speech I have ever heard” and added, “what matters in politics is what people stand for…and people are looking for something fresh”.

The votes were: Nick Clegg 20,988 [50.62%] , Chris Huhne 20,477 [49.38%].

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