We Lib Dems Won’t Win Trust, And Votes, Until We Shed Our Coalition Baggage

Originally in HuffPost

Our party should be a natural home for those who don’t want to accept things the way that they are. This is how I’d push us forward as leader, writes Lib Dem MP Layla Moran.

I am delighted to have made it onto the ballot paper to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. 

On Tuesday, my colleague Wera Hobhouse MP withdrew from the contest and gave me her support. Wera, Jamie Stone MP and hundreds of more members from local parties up and down the country are backing my campaign to move us forward, together. 

Our party has struggled over the last five years, attempting yet failing to rid ourselves of Coalition baggage. Elected to Parliament in 2017, I wasn’t part of the Coalition government – and I want to move us forward, once and for all. Not to diminish the achievements we succeeded in, but to throw off the cloak which makes us inaccessible to many voters.

In the post-coronavirus United Kingdom, we will have the opportunity to change things for good. To rebuild our society and economy in a way that gives people more flexibility and more dignity in the care they receive. We have shown that as a nation, we are caring and compassionate, and that there is a demand for politicians at the frontline, who not only understand but exhibit those qualities that we have all sought solidarity in.

The Liberal Democrats are the natural home for those who want to see things work differently, who don’t want to accept things the way that they are, or have always been. We know that change comes from people, driving it through to government.  And we don’t have to be in power to see progress – as an effective opposition party, we can push this Conservative government every step of the way. Here’s how.

A teacher before I went into politics, I know the difference that a world-class education can make. I know how we’re currently falling short, and I know we need to reimagine how education works, giving children from all backgrounds the chance to enter schooling on a level playing field. We must empower our teachers to design a world-leading curriculum with a greater emphasis on allowing our children to be ready to take on the world – not just their next exam. 

On our climate crisis, we must be braver. Britain shouldn’t just be carbon-neutral; it should be carbon-negative. We can achieve this by investing in green and affordable public transport, by using market forces to incentivise the purchasing of electric cars and the scrapping of polluting diesels and by guaranteeing that every single spending decision is taken with the environment in mind. We must champion biodiversity and green spaces – make it clear that everyone has the right to breathe clean air. And we will transform former industrial heartlands across the UK into world-leading hubs of green technology.

In all, my plan for the economy will put people first – whether that’s ensuring everyone can live in dignity by introducing a Universal Basic Income, or by stopping the emphasis on unsustainable growth, instead focusing on putting people’s wellbeing first. We must properly invest in our key public services, and fight so that the heroes who deliver them are never let down again.

That is what sits at the heart of my vision for our country and every one of its people. And to deliver on this vision, the Lib Dems need to move forward too, so that we can build trust and start winning again. Only then can we deliver for the communities we represent up and down the country.

If you, like Wera, Jamie and all the members who have nominated me in this race, want to move forward as a country and party, join us. Let’s move forward, together.