The Liberal Democrats are set to hold a leadership election closer to the originally intended timetable after their chief executive body, Federal Board, was overruled last week.
Since the loss of Jo Swinson’s seat at the 2019 general election, the party has been due to hold a leadership election. It was originally timetabled for May 2020 by Federal Board, but this was punted all the way until May 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move elicited significant backlash from Lib Dem members, with around 85% of respondents to a Torch survey saying they disapproved of the decision.
Last week, the Federal Appeals Panel, the chief constitutional panel of the party, overruled the Federal Board despite representations from Mark Pack, the party’s president. The Panel found that Federal Board’s decision was unconstitutional, and that a leadership election should be held as soon as the emergency lockdown was over.
“The Appeals Panel’s decision is good news,” said one source from the party. “It means we’ll be able to get on and have a discussion about the future of our party sooner rather than later. With Keir Starmer in his honeymoon period, and Boris Johnson buoyed by his response to the pandemic, we were at risk of being frozen out otherwise.”