Ed Davey tells LBC he doesn’t see himself as future leader of opposition as he says focus is on ‘beating Tory MPs’

25 June 2024, 18:59 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 19:03

Sir Ed Davey says becoming Leader of the Opposition 'genuinely doesn't' enter his mind

By Jenny Medlicott

Ed Davey has said that he hasn't thought about himself as the future leader of the opposition, as he said he’s focused on the ‘task at hand’.

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Asked if it had entered his mind that he may end up as the leader of the opposition party, Sir Ed said: “It genuinely doesn’t, for this reason.

“When I became leader of the Liberal Democrats, we were not in a good place, I had to tell the party we’ve got to wake up and smell the coffee. And I set a target for ourselves of beating lots of Conservative MPs to remove this government - which I regard as the worst government probably in democratic history, it's so bad.

“My job is to make sure we win those and I’m not going to think about what happens after the election.

“The reason is, you’ve probably talked to some of my predecessors, as Liberal Democratic leaders in the past, some of them have fixated about what goes on after the election. And I think it undermines your task in hand, which is to focus on winning those seats and I’m going to go up and down the country trying to help our candidates.”

Several new opinion polls show that Labour is sustaining a large lead over the Conservatives ahead of the election next week.

The polls, from More in Common, Redfield & Wilton, and Deltapoll, also show Reform UK and the Lib Dems making considerable gains.

Read more: Labour candidate suspended for betting against himself says he did it for 'fun' as he issues apology

Read more: General Election LIVE: Labour suspends candidate as Gambling Commission launch investigation

The leader of the Lib Dems says he has put health and social care at the forefront of the party's focuses.
The leader of the Lib Dems says he has put health and social care at the forefront of the party's focuses. Picture: Alamy

Quizzed on how many seats he expects his party to win, Sir Ed responded: “The undecided Conservative vote is huge. I've never known it so big. And so, what we're finding is when we're campaigning people like the health and care package, a lot of those are former Conservative voters. But they're also pretty repelled by the Conservative Party and I've never seen that before…

“I never put numbers on it, but it is fair to say that some of the seats that we hoped we'd win, look more in play than they might have been. But you know, the key thing is, you'll know in elections, Andrew it is the last week of a campaign that is critical.

“There are so many people who haven't yet made up their mind. And my job is not to take them for granted. But to get out there come on shows like yours and put over our core pledges.”

It comes as new polls show Labour sustaining a lead over the Conservatives.
It comes as new polls show Labour sustaining a lead over the Conservatives. Picture: Alamy

It comes as the Conservative party continues to face a gambling scandal over the election, with the Tory candidate Craig Williams at the centre of the scandal today speaking out on the issue.

Craig Williams, standing in Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr, reiterated an apology on his social media today, saying: "I remain on the ballot paper on the 4th of July and I hope to secure your support.

"I committed an error of judgement, not an offence and I want to reiterate my apology directly to you.

"I’m fully cooperating with the routine inquiries of the Gambling Commission and I intend to clear my name."

On Tuesday, it also emerged that a Labour candidate has been suspended after the Gambling Commission announced it had launched an investigation.

Kevin Craig, who is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat, has been suspended by Labour pending the outcome of the investigation.

It's a seat that was previously held by ex-Tory Dan Poulter, who defected to Labour ahead of the election but announced he would not stand again.

A spokeswoman for Labour said the move came after the party was contacted by the Gambling Commission.

It's believed the bet concerned the outcome of the election in his own constituency, more specifically, that Mr Craig was betting against himself to lose the seat.

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