Exclusive: Senior Lib Dems begin to discuss who should replace Vince Cable


Sir Vince Cable

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable is under pressure to make an impact at next month’s local elections.
The party is stagnant in the polls and largely excluded from national policy debates.
Party figures are considering who could succeed Cable and turn the party around.
Jo Swinson and Layla Moran are the early favourites, party sources tell BI.

LONDON — Conversations are already underway among senior figures in the Liberal Democrats about who should take over from Sir Vince Cable, as the former Business Secretary struggles to make an impact at Westminster.

As the party heads to a difficult set of local elections, multiple sources have told Business Insider that senior party figures are considering replacing Cable, who has had a rocky start to his leadership.

The election of Cable — a seasoned MP with Cabinet experience and plenty of respect across the House of Commons — was supposed to be the dawn of a new era for the Liberal Democrats, in which it would attract new support from voters put off by Theresa May’s hard Brexit Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

However, the party remains stagnant in the polls ahead of local elections on May 3, while Labour and the Tories continue to dictate the political weather in Westminster.

Senior party figures have their eyes fixed on next month’s local elections, where potential candidates to replace Cable are being discussed should the 74-year-old fail to deliver positive results at the polling stations.

One of the names being considered is Jo Swinson, the party’s deputy leader. Swinson was among the favourites to take over following the resignation of Tim Farron last year, but for personal reasons opted not to go for the top job.

Rumours that Swinson is preparing for a run for the leadership are swirling among insiders, with some pointing to the fact that she has recently expanded her team by hiring a new advisor.

“She’s been trying to prepare distinctive policies as she realised she didn’t have any,” one party insider told BI.

However, while Swinson was the favourite among the party membership to succeed former leader Tim Farron, the picture has recently changed. “She’s not done a good job and has pissed off a lot of people,” one well-placed source said.

Another party insider confirmed this, telling BI that the MP for East Dunbartonshire had developed a reputation for being “demanding” and abrasive.

Another figure whose status in the party has surged in recent months is Layla Moran. The 35-year-old MP for Oxford West and Abingdon has only been in the House Of Commons for less than a year but it is widely regarded as a rising star in the party.

So much so that some senior party figures have already placed bets on Moran replacing Cable.

However, the party is likely to favour an open contest rather than a coup to replace Cable.

“They need a contest this time for many reasons – the main ones being fundraising, membership renewals and party participation,” one insider told BI.

“Breaking point”

Last month, BI revealed growing unrest at the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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