Layla Moran to stand for Liberal Democrat leadership

Oxford West MP is second candidate to throw her hat into the ring in contest to succeed Jo Swinson

Layla Moran announces she’s standing for the Lib Dem leadership

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has announced she will stand in the upcoming contest to choose the party’s new leader.

Ms Moran is the second contender, alongside energy spokesperson Wera Hobhouse, to throw her hat into the ring to succeed Jo Swinson in July.

Also expected to run are acting leader Ed Davey and the party’s home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine.

In an apparent swipe at the more experienced Davey’s role in the coalition cabinet with Conservatives, Ms Moran said she would “move the party on from the last decade” as leader.

Ms Moran told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I will be standing for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats. I believe it’s time that we move on as a party and offer a positive vision for the country, and I’m the right person to lead that change.”

The Oxford West and Abingdon MP said she believed that Ms Swinson’s election promise to revoke Brexit was “a big mistake” and said the Lib Dems now need to earn back voters’ trust.

She said it was “really important that we listen and understand where we’ve been going wrong, adding: “They come back and say in the election [that] revoke was a big mistake because it felt very top-down, and actually co-operation is a key part of what we believe as Liberal Democrats and we need to earn their trust again.”

Ms Moran acknowledged that she had not argued against the revoke policy at the time of the election. “I did not, no, and actually I have been reflecting on how we make decisions in the party,” she said.

“In the rooms where these decisions were being discussed – and I do not absolve myself from responsibility at all in this – there weren’t enough dissenting voices, so it became very clear that we were surrounded by Remain seats, people who had campaigned ardently for that Remain position and to move away from the People’s Vote, which I think would have worked in many parts of the country, was partly led by a lack of diversity of voices in that room.”

She also said the 2010-15 coalition government – in which Ed Davey served as employment minister and energy secretary – had “eroded trust” in the Lib Dems.

“I think what the coalition did was it eroded trust in the party,” said Ms Moran. “But I don’t just look at the coalition as the problem, I actually also look at the last five years and the fact that since then, since we haven’t been in government, we haven’t been able to positively put forward what we are for.

“So, talking about public services, education, the NHS – these are things that people want us to talk about… if we can present a party that has moved on, that has moved on afresh, has the vision, has the policies that speak to people for them and their families, then I do think that will win us success again.”

Liberal Democrat MPs including Layla Moran (middle row, second from left), Christine Jardine (middle row, third from left), Wera Hobhouse (middle row, furthest right) and Ed Davey (front and centre).

She said she welcomed the Labour leadership candidates’ support for electoral reform: “One of the big things that is very clear is under the first past the post system for the third party to then pull through, that’s very difficult and electoral reform I think is one of the things we need to keep pushing. I am very heartened by the fact that the Labour Party leadership candidates have been starting to talk about this and I do hope this might be the moment that we achieve electoral reform in this country.”

And she did not rule out supporting the UK eventually re-joining the EU. “If there is a way to move that door open so that one day, with public consent, we go back then I would be first in line,” she said.

A former maths and physics teacher, Ms Moran entered the House of Commons in 2017 and is currently Lib Dem education spokesperson. Aged 37, she is the first MP of Palestinian descent and the first female Lib Dem MP from an ethnic minority background. In January, she became the first MP to come out as pansexual, after she announced she was in a relationship with another woman.

Nominations for the leadership contest formally open on 11 May and close on 28 May, with a postal vote of party members beginning on 18 June and concluding on 15 July.

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