Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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The Liberal Democrat members elect the United Kingdom Liberal Democrat Leader and the Members of Parliament elect the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader. Under the federal constitution of the Liberal Democrats the leader is required to be a member of the House of Commons.

Before the election of the first federal leader of the party (the Liberal Democrats having a federal structure in their internal party organisation), the leaders of the two parties which merged to form the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Party and the SDP, served as joint interim leaders.

In the event that the leader dies, resigns or loses his or her seat in Parliament, the deputy leader serves as interim leader until a leadership election takes place. This has occurred twice, with Menzies Campbell serving as interim leader following the resignation of Charles Kennedy (Campbell was elected leader in the ensuing election) and Vince Cable serving as interim leader following Campbell's resignation.

List of Leaders and Deputy Leaders of the Liberal Democrats[edit]

Leader Deputy Leader Prime Minister
# Name
Constituency
Portrait Term of Office # Name
Constituency
Portrait Term of Office
1 David Steel 1
MP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale
and
Robert Maclennan 2
MP for Caithness and Sutherland
David Steel, October 2007.jpg 3 March 1988
–16 July 1988
Margaret Thatcher
1979–1990
RobertMacLennan1987 cropped.jpg
2 Paddy Ashdown
MP for Yeovil
Paddy Ashdown 1.jpg 16 July 1988
–9 August 1999
1 Russell Johnston
MP for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
RussellJohnston2 cropped.jpg 16 July 1988
–13 April 1992
John Major
1990–1997
2 Alan Beith
MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed
Alan Beith MP Liverpool.jpg 13 April 1992
–12 February 2003
Tony Blair
1997–2007
3 Charles Kennedy
MP for Ross, Skye and Inverness West until 2005
MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber from 2005
Charles Kennedy.jpg 9 August 1999
–7 January 2006
3 Menzies Campbell
MP for North East Fife
Sir Ming Campbell MP 2008 cropped.jpg 12 February 2003
–2 March 2006
4 Sir Menzies Campbell 3
MP for North East Fife
Sir Ming Campbell MP 2008 cropped.jpg 2 March 2006
–15 October 2007
4 Vincent Cable
MP for Twickenham
VinceCable2.jpg 29 March 2006
–26 May 2010
Vincent Cable (interim4)
MP for Twickenham
VinceCable2.jpg 15 October 2007
–18 December 2007
Gordon Brown
2007–2010
5 Nick Clegg5
MP for Sheffield Hallam
Nick Clegg by the 2009 budget cropped.jpg 18 December 2007
David Cameron
2010–
5 Simon Hughes
MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Simon Hughes3.jpg 9 June 2010
–28 January 2014
6 Sir Malcolm Bruce
MP for Gordon
Malcolm Bruce, September 2009 cropped.jpg 28 January 2014

Notes:-

  • 1 Joint interim leader, as the last leader of the Liberal Party before the merger.
  • 2 Joint interim leader, as the last leader of the Social Democratic Party before the merger.
  • 3 Interim leader between the resignation of Charles Kennedy on 7 January 2006 and his own election as leader on 2 March 2006.
  • 4 Interim leader between the resignation of Menzies Campbell on 15 October 2007 and the election of a new leader on 18 December 2007.
  • 5 Deputy Prime Minister as part of the Liberal - Conservative Coalition.

Liberal Democrat Leaders in the House of Lords[edit]

The Liberal Democrat peers elect the Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords. Until the election of Lord Wallace in October 2013, all previous Leaders were members of Labour Party who left to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981 before merging with the Liberal Party in 1988.

Leader in the House of Lords
# Leader Took office Left office
1 Lord Jenkins of Hillhead
(Roy Jenkins)
Roy Jenkins, Chancellor of Oxford.jpg 16 July 1988 1997
2 Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank
(William Rodgers)
1997 2001
3 Baroness Williams of Crosby
(Shirley Williams)
Shirley Williams at Birmingham 2010.jpg 2001 24 November 2004
4 Lord McNally
(Tom McNally)
Tom McNally at Bournemouth.jpg 24 November 2004 October 2013
5 Lord Wallace
(Jim Wallace)
Jim Wallace.jpg October 2013 present

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Federal Constitution of the Liberal Democrats

External links[edit]

Liberal, Social Democrat and Liberal Democrat leadership elections

Liberals: 1967 | 1976                         SDP: 1982

Liberal Democrats: 1988 | 1999 | 2006 | 2007