Who is Sir Ed Davey? Will he be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats?

SIR Ed Davey hopes to defeat rival Jo Swinson to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Vince Cable's successor will be announced next week, at the same time as the Tory party elect the new prime minister.

Who is Sir Ed Davey?

Sir Ed played an important role in the Conservative-led government under David Cameron and became energy and climate change secretary in 2012.

In 2015 he was defeated in his Kingston and Surbiton seat after 18 years as an MP, but won it back from the Conservatives in 2017.

He has ruled out any future coalition with Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson and has described a no-deal Brexit as a "nuclear option".

If that did come to pass, Sir Ed said he would push for the Lib Dems to form a temporary government with other parties.

He said: "That would just be a temporary government for one purpose and one purpose alone – to pass the legislation for a people's vote".

In June Sir Ed was criticised by his leadership rival after he suggested his electoral strategy could "decapitate that blonde head" of Mr Johnson, favourite to become the next PM.

After the criticism, Davey tweeted he regretted the use of violent language.

He said: “I recognise this wasn’t an acceptable choice of phrase and I’m sorry. This was careless use of language, meant in electoral sense and in no way literally. While we should be robust in our opposition, we do have to carefully consider impact of our words and I failed to do that."

Questioned if his leadership prospects have been damaged by his prominent role in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, during which he was Energy Secretary, he insisted this was not the case.

He said: "No, because I fought the Tories day in, day out.

"We stopped them putting even heavier welfare cuts, we stopped them cutting education."

Who is Jo Swinson?

Jo Swinson has been Sir Vince's deputy for two years, and speaks for the party on foreign affairs.

In the 2015 general election she lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the Scottish National Party, but won it back two years later.

She also said there is no immediate prospect of becoming allied with either the Tories and Labour as both are currently "led by Brexiteers".

On Brexit, Ms Swinson wants to block a no-deal scenario – an outcome she compares "to planning for your house to burn down" and will do "whatever it takes" to stop Brexit.
Ms Swinson, who would become the first female leader of the Lib Dems if she wins the leadership race, believes the party has its best chance to fundamentally change British politics.

"We have had in our history of the Liberal Democrats and predecessor parties, various points at which it has been tantalising close to totally breaking the mould of British politics; during the 1980s," she said.

"We have an even better opportunity now and that's what we absolutely do need to grab hold of."

The 39-year-old said this is "ambitious" and she does not "underestimate" the challenge of the Lib Dems needing to boost their 12 MPs by 300 to form the next government.

She has put equality and diversity at the heart of her campaign, while Sir Ed has championed decarbonisation.

Who gets to choose the leader?

The leader will be chosen by Lib Dem party members. Just over 106,000 people have been sent ballot papers.

The Lib Dems have been led by Sir Vince after Tim Farron resigned in June 2017, saying he felt "remaining faithful to Christ" was incompatible with leading his party.

Around 90 per cent of Lib Dem members voted Remain in the referendum and most are relaxed about immigration.

The poll will close on June 22.

That's also the day the new PM is expected to be revealed.

This has meant the exact timing for the announcement of the next Lib Dem leader is yet to be set.

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