Former Energy and Climate Change Secretary secures victory in Liberal Democrat leadership election, as he promises to continue to prioritise climate action
Sir Ed Davey has been confirmed as the new Liberal Democrat leader, comfortably defeating his colleague Layla Moran in the party's latest leadership election.
The former Energy and Climate Change Secretary for the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government secured 42,756 votes compared to 24,564 votes for Moran, it was announced this morning.
Speaking following the results, Davey - who had been serving as Acting Leader ever since former Leader Jo Swinson lost her seat at last year's election - said his priorities remained social justice, political reform, equality, and protecting the environment.
Throughout the campaign Davey stressed his support for the Party's goal of delivering net zero emissions by 2045 - five years earlier than the UK's current national target - and highlighted his record in delivering climate action.
During his time in Cabinet, Davey delivered many of the energy market reforms that provided the foundations for the rapid expansion of the UK's clean energy sector in recent years, while also waging what he has described as a constant political battle with Conservative Ministers who want to dilute the government's decarbonisation efforts.
During the leadership campaign Moran had similarly underscored her commitment to climate action and as such the Lib Dems' long-standing support for more ambitious environmental policies was never in serious doubt as a result of the election.
However, Moran had signalled she intended to take a more radical stance on a number of issues and was widely seen as wanting to move the Party to the left.
As such, Davey's victory likely signals that the Lib Dems will continue to adhere to a broadly centrist approach to climate policy, although in his victory speech he also stressed that the Party needed to be open to change, arguing that it needed to "wake up and smell the coffee".
"We have to face the facts of three disappointing general election results," he says. "The truth is voters don't believe the Liberal Democrats want to help ordinary people get on in life... nationally voters have been sending us a message, but we have not been listening. It is time for us to start listening. As leader I am telling you that I have got that message. I am listening now."
The Lib Dems currently number just 11 MPs, but the Party has long had an outsized impact on environmental and climate policy, both through its control of the Department of Energy and Climate Change during the coalition years and its pioneering of ambitious green policies that were later adopted by the two main Parties.
The Party will hope to continue to bring its influence to bear during this Parliament, especially given the majority of the seats in which it came second are currently held by the Conservatives, meaning an uptick in the Party's fortunes will be quickly registered by the government.
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