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Members back Hemming

I now have the final results from the opinion poll on the Lib Dem Leadership Election.

There were a large number of questions asked in the poll, but I particularly needed to know whether or not I should progress my candidature given that we now have a contest.

A large number of people contacted me directly to support my campaign and expressed a view that they preferred me to the other potential candidates.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I initially declared as a candidate to ensure that there would be a contest. The good news is that 64% of members think I was right to do this. 27% think not and the rest don't know. However, only 14% of members believe I have the right experience to lead the party (70% do not). That does not surprise me as I have always been marginal about this. A few more years experience is really needed in parliament. As a consequence 58% of members believe that I should withdraw.

The good news for me is that 31% of members believe that I should continue to fight a campaign and that in a final election (of those who have decided what to do) I would get 8% of the vote. That bodes well for a future election campaign. Three of the four candidates in this election are, in fact, older than me.

Clearly, however, the members believe that I should withdraw from this election. This, therefore, shows that members back my decision to not further my candidature ... this time.

I would like to thank those people who supported my campaign (even those who did it 'tongue in cheek'). It has been a fun campaign so far, but now is the end of this particular campaign.


Andy said…
John -

I think you're making the right decision. My first reaction to your plans to stand was amusement, followed by a little resentment that *no-one* in the press thought you were worth mentioning and were asking 'will anyone stand against Ming' while you were making your plans.

Now you get the credit for being prepared to stop a coronation, without the derision that would have followed a crushing defeat. Astonishingly, you even manages to come out of it looking a bit statesmanlike.

Good luck in the future.
James said…
Are you going to publish the full results from your poll John?
Richard Allen said…
If nothing else you have certainly raised your profile during the last week.

If I was being cynical I might think that that was your only real objective.
PoliticalHack said…

What a terrible thing to suggest that this was all a vanity project to feed Cllr Hemming's ego.

Hemming was the right man to lead the Liberal Democrats and they'll rue the day he decided to abandon his leadership run. Still, there's always next time.
Richard Allen said…

I think you misunderstand.

I certainly don't think that this was about vanity or ego, heaven forbid.

I do however think that John may have been motivated by raising his profile, something that could result is a front bench role under the new leader.

Consider also that this is a rotten time to become Lib Dem leader. They are about to be squezed from both sides. Without the Iraq war to run on and with Gordon Brown leading Labour the Lib Dem's will lose left wing votes in the inner cities while David Cameron will win back some of the rural and suburban voters that the conservatives have lost to the Lib Dem's.

It makes sense for John to bide his time until 2009. After the Lib Dem's go down to a terrible defeat they will realise that John is the only man who can save them. More importantly he will only need 3 or 4 MP's as backers to reach the 10% threashold.
john said…
It was about making sure there was a contest.
Welcome back to the Stop Silent Calls Campaign (amongst others) John. Many will be glad that your attention will not be distracted over the coming few weeks.

You played a valid role in helping to ensure that there is a serious contest. The party must have all its resources best deployed to be ready to win the battles to come.
Battersea Boy said…
Thanks, John, for the wonderful idea of rigging a poll to let you off the hook so gracefully.

I must admit, it would never have occurred to me and, even now that you have demonstrated how it easily it can be done, I'm still not sure that I would be dishonest enough to use the technique. But thanks, anyway. It's supposed to be good to know your enemy.
john said…
The poll details will be published on the Yougov website probably by the end of Feb and maybe earlier.

Peter Kellner is going on holiday soon and the issues will be resolved when he returns.

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