Sir Ed Davey flags he will run for Liberal Democrats leadership

Sir Ed Davey (left) applauds Jo Swinson after she was announced as the leader of the Liberal Democrats
Sir Ed Davey (left) applauds Jo Swinson after she was announced as the leader of the Liberal Democrats
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Sir Ed Davey has hinted that he will run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

Jo Swinson was forced to resign as leader when she lost her East Dunbartonshire seat at the general election, having begun the party's campaign with the claim that she could be the next prime minister.

Former Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson

Former Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson

Sir Ed, who was Lib Dem deputy leader, and party president Sal Brinton are joint acting leaders until a leadership election in the new year.

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Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if he would run for leader, he said: "I've got a job to do as acting leader, I'm going to do that."

He added: "Let me help you: I'm not ruling it out."

Sir Ed was a hopeful in the last leadership contest, held only six months ago when Sir Vince Cable stepped down.

It saw Sir Ed and Ms Swinson - the only two contenders - face a postal ballot of the party's membership, with Ms Swinson beating Sir Ed by 47,997 votes to 28,021.

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Sir Ed has been the MP for Kingston and Surbiton since the 2017 general election and, apart from a brief spell of Tory rule in the constituency between 2015 and 2017, he has held the seat since 1997.

He told Today his party knows it "made mistakes" in the election campaign, but added: "The evidence we have from around the country, particularly in the seats we were fighting, was that people were voting for the Conservatives with a washing line of clothes pegs on their nose because they were opting to stop Corbyn rather than what they also wanted to stop, which was Brexit."

Looking ahead to his party's future, Sir Ed said: "I think we need to bring liberalism to life for people, by proving, for example, our passion for social justice."

Other leadership contenders include Layla Moran, Wera Hobhouse and Christine Jardine.