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Leadership Elections: Liberal Democrats

Published Thursday, July 16, 2015

This note outlines the rules under which leadership elections are conducted by the Liberal Democrats and provides details of previous leadership contests.

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Liberal Democrat leadership elections take place by a postal ballot of all party members. Candidates need to secure the support of 10% of all Liberal Democrat MPs as well as 200 party members drawn from at least 20 local parties for their nomination.

On 8 May 2015 Nick Clegg resigned as party leader and the timetable for the ensuing leadership elections was announced on 10 May 2015. On 16 July 2015, the Liberal Democrats announced that Tim Farron was elected party leader.

The previous leadership election had taken place in 2007, when Sir Menzies Campbell resigned. He had been elected to succeed Charles Kennedy as party leader on 2 March 2006.

Prior leadership contests took place in 1999 and 1988. The Liberal Democrat Party was launched on 3 March 1988, following a merger between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party. The leaders of these two parties served as joint leaders of the new party until leadership elections were held.

Commons Briefing papers SN03872

Author: Elise Rietveld

Topic: Political parties

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