When former Environment Cabinet minister last ran for the Lib Dem leadership just over a year ago he had big obstacle to surmount – his gender. There was a strong view in the party that then was the time for first female leader and my sense was that Davey felt this as well. He went through the motions but at least his decision to run meant that there was a contest.
This time I’ve observed a very different Ed Davey someone I’ve known since well before he was elected an MP for the first time in 1997. He is much more relaxed and confident about this fight and I think he believes that he is in with a good chance of leading what is third biggest party in terms of votes but not in terms of MPs.
The party is hampered at the moment by the curtailing of all local elections until next year because of the pandemic. These always provided a good peg for activity and some electoral success which is not possible at the moment.