Paddy Ashdown: why I am supporting Ming Campbell

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-HampdonDear Fellow Member,

Since I was elected leader of our great party, we have grown in size and influence in every year, at every election and at every level.

Now our members must decide who should lead the Liberal Democrats to the next level.

The decision that we take is vitally important. After all, our ambition must be to break the 100 seat barrier and challenge for government.

But to take this step up, to reach this next level, we will need a leader of undisputed authority and credibility.

That is why I am supporting Ming Campbell.

All three candidates have their strengths. But Ming is not just a party leader, he is also a national leader. He is a politician with the stature to take on and beat Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

My judgement is that the British public will tire of a politics characterised by flim-flam and modishness. If elected, Ming will offer principled leadership based on values and conviction.

I believe that in the next period of our politics – that will be set against the backdrop of a growing crisis in the Middle East and the challenges of nuclear proliferation – foreign policy will play an unusually large part in the future of our country and the Western world.

Ming Campbell is also the candidate with the greatest experience. Nothing can prepare a person for the challenge of becoming a party leader. What we need is someone with a proven track record in parliament and politics. A leader who has consistently shown the character and judgement to command the confidence of his colleagues.

And crucially, the new leader also needs to be a strong team player. It is no coincidence that Ming has the backing of the overwhelming majority of parliamentarians and members who have worked alongside him. He is also the person who can provide the leadership and professionalism necessary to inspire and unleash a uniquely talented new generation of Liberal Democrats.

So I will be giving my vote to Ming Campbell. But we have a proud democratic tradition in the Liberal Democrats: every member has a vote, and every vote counts equally.

This is an important decision, so do please use your vote.



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