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EXCLUSIVE: Former Business Secretary to launch bid for Liberal Democrat leader. Cable will run to replace outgoing leader Tim Farron. Allies say Cable’s experience makes him ideally placed to lead the party. Party favourite Jo Swinson will run for Deputy Leader.
LONDON – Sir Vince Cable will today announce his bid to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills will officially announce his intention to succeed outgoing leader Tim Farron at around 11:o0 (BST) Tuesday morning, Business Insider can reveal.
Farron announced that he would be stepping down as Lib Dem leader last week after facing weeks of tough questioning during the general election campaign about his views on homosexuality as a devout Christian.
The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale – who was elected the party’s leader in July 2015 – said in a statement that it felt “impossible” to continue as leader of the Liberal Democrats and live “as a faithful Christian”.
Since that announcement, a number of Lib Dem figures have been touted as potential successors, with bookmakers leaning heavily in favour of Cable, MP for East Dunbartonshire Jo Swinson, and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
A well-placed source within the Lib Dems told Business Insider last week that Cable’s experience made him the most obvious choice to succeed Farron, despite speculation that Swinson was the preferred choice among party members.
Swinson announced over the weekend that she intends to run for deputy leader, not leader, and later this morning Cable will release a statement confirming his desire to be elected the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Cable, 74, has dropped not-so-subtle hints that he plans to launch a leadership bid. He said he hadn’t “ruled anything out” in an interview with the Independent last week, and has refused to shoot down rumours of a bid.
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The newly re-elected MP for Twickenham boasts a wealth of political experience and is regarded as a figure who will bring a period of stability to the party as it prepares for life after the contentious exit of its current leader Farron.
He served as the Twickenham MP from 1997 until 2015 before winning the seat back the London seat from the Tories in this month’s election. He was appointed a cabinet minister during the David Cameron-led coalition government and has served both as acting and deputy leader of the Lib Dems. He was also knighted in 2015.
He is not believed to have been involved in what allies of Farron described as the “coup” against him. “Funnily enough, I think this is the first coup that he hasn’t actually been involved with,” one well-placed party source told BI.
Cable is likely to go head to head with Sir Ed Davey and Norman Lamb for the leader position.