Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sir Menzies Campbell CBE QC MP elected Liberal Democrat leader

Sir Menzies Campbell CBE QC MP has been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, taking over from Charles Kennedy.

The full results of the all-member postal ballot were:

First round
Menzies Campbell 23,264 45%
Simon Hughes 12,081 23%
Chris Huhne 16,691 32%

Second round
Menzies Campbell 29,697 58%
Chris Huhne 21,628 42%

Turnout 52,036 72% (1999: 62%)

In his acceptance speech Ming Campbell said the challenge for Liberal Democrats now was to lead the party back towards government at the next general election. He said today was a victory, not just for him, but for all Liberal Democrats because in the last few weeks they had once again confounded the critics and commentators who once again wrote them off by winning in Dunfermline and West Fife.

He praised his predecessor saying the victory underlined "the remarkable legacy of Charles Kennedy. The party will be always in his debt."

He promised to modernise the party to make a reality of three party politics in Britain. He said he would ensure the Liberal Democrats are the party of innovation in Britain. He will encourage the brightest and the best to join our party. He will lead the party in a crusade against poverty.

He said the party would champion freedom, fairness and environment protection, would be a party of democratic revolution, would tackle the secrecy which still pervades far too much of Britain, would be a party which looks beyond our shores, seeking the prosperity, security and sustainable development which is dependent on international action, would be a party which pledges to take power from Westminster and Whitehall to give it to people in their own communities.

Ming said that, under his leadership, precaution and consolidation would not do. He said there were great prizes to be won for liberals and progressives. The task now, he said, is to build a strong effective Liberal Democrat party to fight for a greener, fairer, decent Britain at peace with itself at home and admired abroad. That task, he said, begins now.


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