Firstly, I want to say two important things to all of you reading this: welcome and thank you.
Welcome, because I know that many of you reading this will be doing so for the first time, being among the thousands of people who have joined the party in the last few weeks.
Thank you, because it is a result of the energy, persuasive skills and shoe leather of so many of you that we’re having this leadership election on the back of our best ever local election results and our best ever European election results, and even top of a national poll!
Westminster voting intention:
LDem: 24% (+6)
Brex: 22% (+4)
Con: 19% (-5)
Lab: 19% (-5)
Grn: 8% (+2)
Chgs. w/ 17 May
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 30 May 2019
It is thanks to you that this contest isn’t about rescuing the party from 8%, but instead about which candidate can help us to break through 20%.
I’ve done several interviews since I announced I was standing to be the next leader of our party, and the opening question is almost always the same. Why? Why do you want to be leader of the party?
My answer is pretty simple.
Our political system is fracturing. The two-party system we’ve fought against for so long is crumbling, as people turn away from the tired, old parties we’ve grown so used to. But in their place, we’re seeing the rise of populism and nationalism, in Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
I believe that our country is crying out for a liberal movement of people who are proud to argue the positive case for our place in the European Union, who say that immigration is a good thing and want to reshape our economy so that it is made to work for our planet, and for people.
Our political system is fracturing. The two-party system we’ve fought against for so long is crumbling
The Liberal Democrats are at the very heart of this liberal movement. To take on Farage and Johnson we also need to reach out beyond our traditional base and capture the hearts of the millions of people in the country who are liberal-minded, but not yet Liberal Democrats.
And I know I’m the person to lead that movement because as the Lib Dem face of the People’s Vote I’ve spent the last several years working to bring together like-minded MPs so that our shared goal of stopping Brexit is a reality, not just a pipe dream.
That journey has been difficult, and plenty of people have told us we would never get as far as we have, but I’m determined that together we stop Brexit. Together, we can build that liberal movement, so we can create a country that is fairer, greener and safer – and with a liberal future, we can feel proud to hand on to the next generation.