Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for the Liberal Democrats’ dire general election results, acting leader Sir Ed Davey claims as he says the ‘fear factor’ of a Labour government pushed voters towards the Tories
- Lib Dems had a woeful general election as party lost one seat, ending with 11 MPs
- Jo Swinson lost her seat in Scotland and was forced to step down as party leader
- Party will now face a leadership election in the New Year as it battles to rebuild
- Acting leader Sir Ed Davey today blamed Jeremy Corbyn for the party’s woes
- He said Tories ‘played on the fear’ of a Labour government to squeeze Lib Dems
Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for the Liberal Democrats’ dire general election performance, the acting leader of the party Sir Ed Davey has claimed.
Sir Ed said the ‘fear factor’ of a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn prompted many potential Lib Dem voters to back the Tories instead.
Sir Ed said the Tories had successfully ‘played on the fear of Jeremy Corbyn’ in Conservative/Lib Dem battlegrounds and that was why the party ended up with just 11 MPs, down one on the party’s 2017 haul.
Meanwhile, Sir Ed also refused to say whether he intended to stand in the forthcoming Lib Dem leadership contest.
Jo Swinson was forced to step down as leader after she lost her seat in Scotland with the battle to replace her due to get underway in the New Year.
Sir Ed Davey, appearing on Sky News this morning, said voter ‘fear’ of Jeremy Corbyn cost the Lib Dems seats
Mr Corbyn, pictured in London on December 14, is set to stand down as Labour leader in t he New Year after he led the party to a devastating set of results at the election
Whoever replaces Ms Swinson will face a giant task in trying to turn around the party’s fortunes.
The Lib Dems had entered the election on the up and confident of making big gains because of the party’s anti-Brexit stance.
But Remainers failed to rally to the party’s cause as it actually lost ground at the ballot box.
The party had gone into the election with 21 MPs after a series of high profile defections but it has now been reduced to barely above single digits in the House of Commons.
Sir Ed said the Lib Dems stalled last week because of voter fear of Mr Corbyn.
‘We have got to focus on ensuring we learn the lessons properly in a quite deep, profound way,’ he told Sky News.
‘One of the lessons I have to say is it can be very difficult for the Liberal Democrats to make progress when there is a hard left leader of the Labour Party.
‘We found that in 1983 with Michael Foot. We found that in spades in 2019 with Jeremy Corbyn.
‘If you look at the Conservative leaflets in Liberal Democrat constituencies it wasn’t so much get Brexit done they were talking about, they were saying “if you vote Liberal Democrat you will get Jeremy Corbyn”.
‘That fear factor was a massive issue in the general election.’
He added: ‘The Conservative Party beat us in many seats that we were expecting to win because they played on the fear of Jeremy Corbyn.
‘That is just a fact.’
The Lib Dems are now facing a leadership election in the New Year after Jo Swinson lost her seat on December 12
Sir Ed lost the party’s last leadership contest to Ms Swinson. Today he refused to say whether he intended to stand again for the top job.
‘It is too early for that,’ he said.
‘We have got to focus on learning the lessons properly.’
Under the Liberal Democrat party’s constitution, the leader must be an MP.
The rulebook also states that candidates require the support of 10 per cent of the party’s MPs and 200 grassroots members from at least 20 local parties in order to make it onto the ballot paper.