The Leader

key_vince_cable.jpgThe Leader of the Liberal Democrats is the main public face of the party in parliament, the media and the country. They are elected by all party members in a one-member-one-vote ballot.

Although the Party Leader does not have the power to decide or change policy by themselves, they still have the ability to voice their opinion and lead the party - especially on issues that crop up suddenly.

Party rules state that the Leader must be an MP and at least 10% of Lib Dem MPs must nominate a candidate for them to be eligible to stand.


Vince Cable MP


Twitter: @VinceCable

Vince was born in York in 1943, studied at Cambridge and Glasgow University before working as an economic adviser to the Government of Kenya in the 1960s and to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in the 1970s and 80s. He worked for the fuel company Shell in the 1990s, becoming their Chief Economist in 1995.

Despite joining the Liberal Society at university, Vince was a Labour Party member from 1966-1982, including four years as a Glasgow City Councillor. He joined the new Social Democratic Party in 1982, which merged to form the Lib Dems in 1988.

Vince became MP for Twickenham in 1997, winning the seat from the Conservatives. Since then he has served as Lib Dem shadow chancellor and become a widely respected voice on the economy across parliament and the media. He was a cabinet minister - Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills - from 2010 to 2015 and, after two years out of parliament, became Leader of the Liberal Democrats following the 2017 general election.

Outside politics, Vince Cable is a keen ballroom dancer - having appeared on BBC Strictly Come Dancing - an author and Chair of HCT Group, a Hackney-based social enterprise company you may have seen running local bus services.

Past Leaders

Tim Farron (2015-2017)

Nick Clegg (2007-2015)

Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell (2006-2007)

Charles Kennedy (1999-2006)

Paddy Ashdown (1988-1999)

Vince's Deputy

_jo_swinson.JPGThere is no official Deputy Leader of the party, but Lib Dem MPs elect someone to be Deputy Leader of the group in the House of Commons.

At present, this is Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire in central Scotland. Jo was first elected in 2005 and served in the coalition government as a junior minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She has been a vocal campaigner on gender equality, including equal pay and parental leave; consumer protection and the environment - particularly excess and non-recyclable packaging.


Twitter: @joswinson