Lib Dems will have new leader in place by July

Nadeem Badshah
Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will have a new leader in place in July to succeed Jo Swinson.

The party’s federal board set out a timetable on Saturday that nominations for candidates would open on 11 May and close on 28 May. The ballot for the new leader will start on 18 June and conclude on 15 July.

Swinson resigned after losing her East Dunbartonshire seat in December’s election to the SNP’s Amy Callaghan by 149 votes.

Swinson’s defeat means the party has 11 seats, one fewer than after the 2017 election.

The party says it has more than 100,000 members eligible to take part in the selection process.

The former cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey and the party’s president, Mark Pack, will continue as joint acting leaders of the Lib Dems until the election process is completed, the party said.

Pack said: “I want first to thank Jo Swinson for her determined leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

“The Liberal Democrats are the home for everyone who shares our vision of an outward-looking, caring country that celebrates diversity and benefits from high-quality public services.

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“With our party membership at record levels, I urge everyone else who shares our values to join us in the coming days and vote in the leadership election.”

Swinson became the party’s first female leader last July after beating Davey to succeed Sir Vince Cable.

Davey wrote on Twitter that the decision enables the Lib Dems to “focus on May’s local elections and [the] election review can conclude”.

“As acting leader my priorities will not just be opposing Brexit but fighting for action against climate emergency & providing a strong liberal, progressive voice in parliament.”