Another Knight of the Realm takes the reins of a political party: Sir Ed Davey wins Liberal Democrat leadership race

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Sir Edward Davey along with Sir Keir Starmer both hold the title of 'Knight of the Realm'

Sir Ed Davey has won the race to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Edward Davey along with Sir Keir Starmer both hold the title of ‘Knight of the Realm’

In 2001 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 8 February 2012, giving him the Honorific Title “The Right Honourable” for life. Davey was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for ‘political and public service’.

The acting leader will now take over on a permanent basis after beating his competitor, fellow MP Layla Moran.

Sir Ed Davey secured 63.5% of the vote, compared to 36.5% for Ms Moran.

At an event in London, Sir Ed said it was time for the party to “wake up and smell the coffee” after only securing 12% of the vote in the last general election.

He said it was “time for us to start listening” and to “rebuild the Liberal Democrats to national relevance”.

The result comes eight months after the Lib Dem’s devastating general election crash. The Lib Dems took up a remain position on the EU, with a mantra of ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ the party tumbled leaving its already depleted parliamentary numbers.

Members of the treacherous Change UK party had joined the Lib Dems seats along with former members of the Tory party that had had the whip removed.

Between June and October 2019, the total number of MPs rose from 11 to 21, following eight defections from other parties, one by-election win, and Lloyd retaking the whip. The defections were mainly former MPs of Change UK, with Chuka Umunna and Sarah Wollaston joining directly from the party, whereas Heidi Allen, Luciana Berger, and Angela Smith joined after subsequently being part of The Independents.

The remaining defectors were three of the 21 rebel Conservative MPs who had the whip withdrawn for voting against the government on a piece of legislation which would prevent a no-deal scenario on 31 October 2019: Antoinette Sandbach, Sam Gyimah, and Phillip Lee. The latter physically crossed the floor during the debate on the legislation, effectively removing the majority of the first Johnson government.

Heading into the 2019 general election, the party polled well, with one poll showing the party with 20% (within 4% of Labour) as late as 28 October. Nonetheless, during the campaign period the party’s fortunes dwindled, and leader Jo Swinson received negative reviews.

In the election, the Liberal Democrats lost ten seats from the previous parliament and one from the previous election, returning 11 MPs. Of the nine new MPs who joined between June and October 2019, the eight who contested their seats in the 2019 general election all lost their seats.

Swinson herself lost her East Dunbartonshire constituency to the Scottish National Party’s Amy Callaghan. After losing her seat and seeing the Lib Dems politically crash former leader, Jo Swinson, stepped down from the role as leader. As Deputy Leader Ed Davey and Party President Sal Brinton then jointly assumed the positions of acting co-leaders of the party.

Ms Moran congratulated her opponent on Twitter, saying: “I look forward to working with him to campaign for a better future for Britain.”

#KnightoftheRealm

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