Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Congratulations to Nick Clegg

Live blog - latest updates at the top

14:54 Nick walks out in a media scrum. Live Blog closed.

14:51 An unprecendented time of opportunity for our party - creed of our time - no more business as usual - today will mark a new beginning - a liberal future for Britain.

14:49 We must define a liberal Britain - I will hold regular public town hall meetings (excellent)One day every week outside Westminster - network of families to tell me (Nick) priorities

14:46 Liberalism is the thread that holds the whole of this country togerther. Fair play, social justice.

14:45 Text from Chris Rennard says Nick Clegg got 50.6%

14:44 Nick thanks Vince - a wit, a politician and a dancer. Nick thanks Ming Campbell "on behalf of the whole party". You restored stability and professionalism.

14:43 Nick talks about ambition and change. Renewed ambition to reach out to millions who share our values but don't vote for us. We want to change politics and Britain. Very measured speaking. Thanks Chris for warm and generous words. We are colleagues once again and I am really looking forward to working with you for the sake of liberalism in Britain.

14:41 Chris Huhne makes some very generous remarks about Nick and thanks his (Chris') campaign team. He speech is calm and measured. "We've elected a leader who is going to take us from strength to strength, good luck Nick, congratulations and God's speed", says Chris.

14:40 Numbers:

41465 votes cast
Chirs Huhne 20477
Nick Clegg 20988

Crikey! Close or what!

14:39 Many congratulations to Nick Clegg on being elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Commiserations to Chris Huhne.

The leadership election has been energetic and thorough. So, Nick has won fair and square. Well done to him and his campaign team.

I also think Chris Huhne fought a campaign which was exemplary in many ways, so well done to Chris and his team.

I am confident that the Liberal Democrats can, after such a model contest, go forward with renewed vigour and confidence.

As I wrote after I interviewed him with other bloggers, I was extremely impressed by Nick Clegg when I met him. He has remarkable intellectually agility, wide knowledge and an infectious enthusiasm for liberalism. I was particularly impressed by his passion for foreign affairs. Also, I was entranced by his yearning for ingenuity in public services. He has a mode of speaking which relates well with people generally.

As I also wrote early in the campaign, Nick has displayed some rough edges, but there were very encouraging signs during the campaign that he has the right attitude to grow stronger as a leader.

I unequivocally congratulate Nick and look forward to an exciting future for the Liberal Democrats under his leadership.

14:38 Vince talks about a fiercely fought contest and asks the two candidates to come up.

14:36 Vince talks about leadership, pointing out the "three" former leaders of our party in the room - a few people also pointed out David Steel, but Vince said "that was before the merger".

14:34 They've obviously booked a bigger hall than the Cowley Street meeting room, which is good. I also see Chris the Rennard sitting down.

14:32 I can see a jovial Charlie Kennedy talking to Ming, David and Paddy. Also Shirl the Whirl is there with a highly visible Brian Paddick (smart move). Nicol Stephen is just behind the former leaders, who make a resplendent bunch, I have to say. We're very wealthy in the former leader department now!

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