New Liberal Democrat leader to be announced

Layla Moran and Ed Davey

The Liberal Democrats are set to announce their new leader later as the contest for the top job comes to an end.

The party’s acting leader, Sir Ed Davey, and one of its MPs, Layla Moran, have been competing in the leadership race since June.

The winner will be the first permanent leader since Jo Swinson, who lost her seat in the 2019 election.

The result will be announced online at 11:30 BST (10:30 GMT).

The contest has been carried out remotely due to the coronavirus, with online campaigning and virtual hustings.

Sir Ed has been acting leader since Ms Swinson stepped down in December, and was a cabinet minister in the coalition government between 2010 and 2015.

In a BBC debate between the candidates, he said he had learnt from his experience of working with former leader Paddy Ashdown to build up the party in the 1990s.

And he said would use the party’s local government base “as a springboard for results in the future”.

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Media captionEd Davey is asked about the Lib Dem party polling falling by half since he became acting party co-leader.

Ms Moran has been an MP since 2017 and now acts as the party’s education spokeswoman.

She said her lack of experience in Parliament would be an asset “at a time when people don’t trust politicians”.

The MP also pointed to her success of overturning “a massive majority” in her Oxford constituency, adding: “We did that by amassing a group of people from all sides of the political spectrum.”

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Media captionLayla Moran: “We need to win back the trust of the electorate, show we have learned from the mistakes of the past.”

The Lib Dems originally planned to delay the contest to succeed Ms Swinson until May 2021.

But the party brought it forward following criticism from party members.

BBC News