Why I'm backing Ming

Ming's supporters explain why they're backing him to lead the Liberal Democrats:

David Laws explains why he is backing Ming Campbell (podcast)

February 25th, 2006

I think the other thing that was striking when you met Ming and saw him in action was to understand the deep passion that he has for a fairer society.

David Laws MPWelcome to the ninth Ming Campbell campaign podcast. In this interview, David Laws MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, explains why he is backing Ming to lead the Liberal Democrats.

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Read a transcript of the ninth podcast »

Shirley Williams: Ming is widely admired for his judgement, his wisdom and his thoughtful championing of fundamental freedoms.

February 22nd, 2006

Baroness Williams of CrosbyI am supporting Ming Campbell to become leader of our Party.

Liberal Democrats can celebrate the commitment, talent and hard work of our MPs and peers. These qualities will take us much further given time and experience. Ming Campbell is the leader we need to guide us through the challenging years ahead. Years in which security and liberty need to be carefully balanced, years in which we need to mobilise people of all races and religions to reject violence while seeking greater social justice here and in the world beyond.

Ming is widely admired for his judgement, his wisdom and his thoughtful championing of fundamental freedoms. He refuses to play the game of spin. He deserves our support.

I hope you will give him your 1st preference vote.

David Steel: the man to lead our party is Menzies Campbell

February 21st, 2006

Lord Steel of AikwoodI believe Menzies Campbell is the best person to take the Party forward.

I have known Campbell since his student days. When fellow Glasgow University students John Smith, Donald Dewar and Derry Irvine were honing their skills with the prospect of sound careers in the Labour Party, Ming – like me in the safer pastures of Edinburgh – joined the Liberals, who had only half a dozen MPs.

His Liberalism has been bold and consistent. In 1970 as the be-medalled “fastest man in Britain”, he used his sporting popularity to help rescue me in the difficult task of opposing the then-racist Springboks’ visit to my constituency in the rugby-mad Scottish Borders. We have been close friends ever since.

Read the rest of this entry »

John Hemming MP: I have decided to endorse Ming Campbell

February 19th, 2006

John Hemming MP (photo: John Hemming)John Hemming MP posted the following endorsement on his blog earlier today:

The West Midlands Hustings for Lib Dem Leader were yesterday. I would be happy if any of the three candidates won. However, in a finally balanced decision I have decided to endorse Ming Campbell.

There were two particular parts of his speech which were clearly distinct from the other two candidates.

Firstly, he made it clear that we should be a campaigning party raising issues from a local to national level.

Secondly, he talked about the 1.6 million families waiting for housing and the 700,000 empty homes.

Compared to Chris Huhne, Ming was clearer about the need to be sensitive in the way in which resource taxation is applied. People will know that I see the practical limits to resource consumption being the availability of resources. Within the context of that debate how one rations out the availability of resources becomes a complex decision that needs to be thought through carefully.

We are not clones of the leader of the party. Party policy will continue to be determined by the party as whole. Another point Ming made was the need to involve more people in this so that the party becomes more interested in politics.

Having consulted within the Birmingham Party, therefore, I have decided to vote for and endorse Menzies Campbell as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Paul Keetch MP: Ming is a passionate advocate of social justice and economic liberalism, which I feel will unite the party at every level.

February 15th, 2006

Paul Keetch MPI know Ming very well and whilst I was Shadow Defence Secretary we worked closely together during the run up to the Iraq War, and I acted as his liaison with the Ministry of Defence during the conflict itself. He commands undoubted authority on foreign affairs and is a passionate advocate of social justice and economic liberalism, which I feel will unite the party at every level.

Mings experience, judgement and credibility will lead the Liberal Democrats to significant new advances. He possesses the gravitas to expose the superficial charms of David Cameron and provide principled liberal opposition to an increasingly illiberal, centralising New Labour Government.

Paul Burstow MP: It should be no surprise that the people who know Ming best, who have worked closest with him over the years are backing him.

February 14th, 2006

Paul Burstow MPAs a backbencher and as a former colleague in the shadow cabinet I have no doubt that Ming is the person best equipped to take on Brown and Cameron and give the party a distinctive and authentic liberal cutting edge.

Ming’s mastery of foreign affairs and his leadership on Iraq mark him out as a statesman with the experience that counts. I believe his skill as a parliamentary debater and his ability to communicate the party’s message in the media are assets that he would bring to the leadership of our party.

It should be no surprise that the people who know Ming best, who have worked closest with him over the years are backing him. He inspires loyalty and respect from colleagues. I have no doubt he will give our party a renewed sense of purpose and build the team in Parliament and the country to capitalise on the Dunfermline result and achieve further success in the May council elections.

I like the fact that Ming has made his campaign about values. He is right to say that people don’t want another management company competing over how best to run the status quo, lets leave that to Labour and the Conservatives. His instincts are liberal, his passion is for social justice.

Alistair Carmichael MP: I am excited and inspired by the idea of having Ming as our leader.

February 13th, 2006

Alistair Carmichael MPI remember the first time that I met Ming Campbell. It was over twenty years ago when I was President of the Glasgow University Liberal Club and we were looking for a Liberal to stand for the rectorship of Glasgow University. This was some years before he was elected as MP for North East Fife and long before he had acquired the national respect and standing that he enjoys today. As soon as I met him, however, I knew that we had found our candidate.

Campaigning with and for Ming has never been a chore. In fact, it is great fun because he is someone you can believe in. He can articulate the liberal vision in a way that few others I have ever known can manage. He has an instinctive feel for the correct liberal view on any issue.

The Liberal Democrats are at their best when they are distinctive and true to their own principles and beliefs. In an age of spin and sound bite Ming Campbell can be a leader of substance and vision. I am excited and inspired by the idea of having him as our leader.

Paddy Ashdown: why I am supporting Ming Campbell

February 9th, 2006

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.



Andrew George MP: Ming’s political judgement has always been impeccable and his knowledge, authority and experience commands tremendous respect

February 9th, 2006

Andrew George MPI have worked with Ming during the last year in the Partys Foreign Affairs Team and have known him as a fellow member of our wider Parliamentary team since May 1997. His political judgement has always been impeccable and his knowledge, authority and experience commands tremendous respect across Parliament and the country.

I am sure that Ming has what it takes to take the Party forward to even greater success than that achieved under the excellent leadership provided to the Party by both Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy and under his leadership we will go on to greater successes and higher achievements in the months and years ahead.

Tom McNally: Ming is uniquely placed to give us the leadership and credibility we need

February 6th, 2006

Tom McNallyI am a regular on the Party’s famous “rubber chicken” circuit. I have a peroration which never fails to bring my audience to life. I list two or three of our Shadow Cabinet and their virtues and then I say “And of course, in Ming Campbell we have the Foreign Secretary the Prime Minister wishes he had.” Like all good political knock about it plays well because the audience know it to be true. Ming passes with flying colours what is so often the killer question for a Party Leader at election time; “Can you see X on the steps of 10 Downing Street ready to take responsibility for Government?”

I have known Ming Campbell since we were sent together to canvass a very rough end of Bootle in the Crosby by-election over twenty years ago. He showed the same grit and determination then which still makes my athletics mad elder brother refer to him as “Menzies Campbell the sprinter” and which made him fight and fight and fight again to secure his seat in Parliament.

Add to those personal characteristics an experience and command of Parliament and the trust of his Parliamentary colleagues and you will understand why I believe that Ming is uniquely placed to give us the leadership and credibility we need now whilst at the same time bringing on the richest crop of new parliamentary talent enjoyed by any Party in recent years.

Fiona Hall MEP: Ming has both the authority and the commitment to lead the Liberal Democrats

February 5th, 2006

Fiona Hall MEPLike all Lib Dems, I have been thinking hard over the last few weeks about who to support in the Leadership contest. I’ve been looking for reassurance that the new Lib Dem leader would not only take forward the party nationally, but would also be behind us in the particular challenges we face in the North East.

After an initial conversation with each of the candidates, I sent an open email, jointly with the Regional Chair Eileen Blakey, explaining the North East’s special position as the region with the second largest percentage of the Liberal Democrat vote in the country (in both 2004 and 2005). I asked each of the candidates how as leader they would help us realise our unique potential as a Lib Dem strong-hold.

In the light of the responses I received and further conversations, I am delighted to announce today that I’ll be voting for Ming.

Ming told me:

As the gloss goes off Labour, people will be turning to us in areas like the North East, not to the Conservatives. It is a critical region for us in the future. We need to think about how we invest our resources nationally when we can see this sort of potential.

While it is of course the Campaigns Department who decide how to support local parties, the mood music coming out of the Leader’s office is vital. Ming’s vision extends beyond London and the South East. I also believe that Ming has both the authority and the commitment to lead the Liberal Democrats in the present challenging circumstances.

Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C.: conversation, ideas and laughter

February 5th, 2006

Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C.Between 1983 and 1997 I was a Liberal Democrat MP. From 1987 Ming Campbell, I and Cyril Smith shared an office in a turret of the Houses of Parliament. At the top of a narrow spiral staircase we enjoyed conversation, ideas, laughter, and the frustrations of daily political life.

In that time I discovered Ming as a thoughtful, clever, judicious, wise and principled person. He is a Liberal to the core, a person of principle and values but never sanctimonious. He has the ability to lead the nation, not just the Party. He will win wide respect across the political spectrum.

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP: authority and commitment

February 3rd, 2006

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPMing has both the authority and the commitment to lead the Liberal Democrats in the present challenging circumstances. He combines passion for Liberal values with a grasp of how to translate those into advances for the party.

As he rightly says, ‘to be a Liberal Democrat is to be a moderniser’. His intention to draw on all strands of liberalism in marking out distinctive territory in British politics will ensure that the party pulls strongly together in the quest for greater electoral success.

Norman Lamb MP: it is no surprise that so many Members of Parliament are supporting Ming

February 2nd, 2006

Norman Lamb MPI have held the view for several years that Ming Campbell is one of the pre-eminent opposition politicians in this country. His articulation of the case against the war in Iraq was brilliant. But there have been very many other causes that he has fought with clarity and power.

From a personal point of view, Ming was incredibly supportive following my election in 2001. I spent the first 12 months as deputy spokesperson on International Development within Ming’s Foreign Affairs team. He always had time for advice and guidance. It is no surprise that so many Members of Parliament are supporting Ming. We have all witnessed his remarkable skills, his humour, his natural authority and the respect with which he is held. He is a genuine, deeply committed Liberal and a democrat. We are very fortunate to have chance to elect Ming as our leader. What a brilliant contrast to the inexperienced, untested David Cameron.

Sajjad Karim MEP: best chance of uniting the party at every level

January 31st, 2006

Sajjad Karim MEP

Sir Menzies is well respected by members of the public, the media and politicians across all parties. His extensive experience of local and international politics gives him the best chance of uniting the party at every level and provides the North West with a perspective that is not overly Londocentric.

I will enjoy working alongside Sir Campbell and feel confident that the party will recognise him as a solid pair of hands to take us forward.

Jo Swinson MP: Ming’s authenticity is in stark contrast with Cameron’s opportunistic lip-service approach

January 27th, 2006

Jo Swinson MPI think Ming is the ideal candidate to bring credibility to our party – someone the voters can actually imagine in number 10.

On a wide range of issues Ming has a strong track record. He has relentlessly kept the government running on Iraq, on Guantanamo Bay and international human rights abuses. We need this tenacity now. His commitment to tackling poverty is important at a time when Labour have deserted their roots. On subjects such as the environment his authenticity is in stark contrast with Cameron’s opportunistic lip-service approach.

Ming is one of the most experienced and authoritative performers in the House of Commons. It’s only one part of the job, but we do need someone who can perform well in this often bear-pit-like environment, and hold the PM to account.

I want us to be a loud, confident liberal voice in British politics, heard and taken seriously. I believe Ming is the best candidate to do that as leader of our party.

You can also listen to Jo’s podcast where she explains why she is backing Ming »

Nick Clegg MP: a leader who is able to command loyalty and affection within the party at large

January 27th, 2006

Nick Clegg MPI have admired Ming for a long time, but only got to know him well since I became his deputy in the House of Commons when I became an MP last year. I discovered that Ming is not only a highly accomplished politician, but also extremely friendly and supportive to all those who work for him. That is important to me. I want a leader who is tough, able to take on Cameron and Brown at the next election, but I also want a leader who is able to command loyalty and affection within the party at large. His ability to use his experience to build a strong political team around him will, I believe, be a huge asset to the party.

You can also listen to Nick’s podcast on why he’s backing Ming »

Adrian Sanders MP: I want a Leader who will be different

January 25th, 2006

Adrian Sanders MPWe already have two party leaders attuned to opinion polls and sound bite responses, I want a Leader who will be different. Someone whose instinctive response to events is based on Liberal values and principles. Ming Campbell is that person, and in addition he offers depth, experience and authority.

Ed Davey MP: my reasons for backing Ming: credibility, professionalism, liberalism and personal warmth

January 25th, 2006

Edward Davey MPThere are many immediately obvious reasons for backing Ming – the credibility he brings to the leadership and for the party, the professionalism he shows in managing teams of colleagues and the depth of his liberalism, borne from years of campaigning for our cause when it was decidedly less than fashionable. Yet for those of us privileged to work with Ming, it’s also his personal warmth – how caring he is towards staff, his willingness to listen and his sense of humour. If party members back him, they won’t just be getting one of the most respected voices in British politics today, they’ll discover they’ve elected one of the nicest, most easy to talk to and committed leaders the party has ever had.

You can also listen to Ed’s podcast where he explains why he is backing Ming »

Graham Watson MEP: Ming Campbell… has become the Party’s most consistently impressive MP

January 23rd, 2006

Graham Watson MEPAs leader of the Scottish Young Liberals in 1976 I recall printing lapel badges about Ming Campbell which were unflattering, to say the least. That shows how strong an impression he made on me even 30 years ago. In the meantime Ming has been elected to Parliament and has become the Party’s most consistently impressive MP. I now hold him in high esteem – and will be wearing a more flattering lapel badge to show my support for his bid for the leadership.

Chris Davies MEP: Why I’m backing the pinstriped radical

January 23rd, 2006

Chris Davies MEPChris Davies wrote the following comments for the Liverpool Echo:

It was 10 years ago. Ming Campbell was addressing the Liberal Democrat conference and I was waiting my turn to speak. I saw on the stage an establishment figure dressed in a pinstriped suit, every inch a Scottish barrister. He’s too far to the right for me, I thought.

Then I listened to his words. People often think Ming Campbell talks sense about difficult issues. As the party’s foreign affairs spokesman he has gained respect across the party divide. But what I heard displayed not just wisdom but also passion, a fierce commitment to the promotion of human rights and individual freedom across the world. My kind of Liberal, I thought.

Liberal Democrats have more MPs than at any time since the 1920s but we are still the third party. If we are to grow then our leader has to look like a potential Prime Minister. Campbell fits the bill.

His first priority will be to tackle the most important issue of all, the future of life on this planet. “It’s the environment, the
environment and the environment,” he says, that plus a fight against the poverty that divides and weakens our society.

This is a man who grew up in a tenement. He was lucky, he went to university and became an Olympic athlete. But anyone who grew up in Glasgow during the 1950s knows something about poverty. He thinks it unjust that those on low wages pay proportionately more in tax than high earners.

To move forward on Merseyside our party has to turn its local support into parliamentary victories. Campbell understands the task ahead. He took the Liberals from fourth place to win his North East Fife seat. He knows what it’s like to be a party activist fighting an uphill struggle.

Exactly 100 years ago another Liberal leader called Campbell took the party to its greatest every election victory, and presided over a radical, reforming government whose members included Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill. The present day Campbell possesses authority, wisdom and common sense in abundance. I want him to set his sights just as high.