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Layla Moran interview: ‘major concerns’ about Vince Cable’s reforms

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Layla Moran
Layla Moran has been
tipped as the next leader of the Liberal
Democrats

Dan Kitwood/Getty
Images


  • Exclusive: Lib Dem leadership frontrunner Layla Moran
    speaks to Business Insider about the problems facing the
    party.
  • Moran attacks current leader Vince Cable’s plans to
    reform the party.
  • She says there are “major concerns” about allowing
    non-politicians to lead the party.
  • She does not rule out running for leader before
    2020.

BRIGHTON — One of the frontrunners to replace Vince Cable as
Liberal Democrat leader has told Business Insider that she has
“major concerns” about his plans to reform the party.

Cable this month unveiled plans to allow non-MPs such as
anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, to lead the Liberal Democrats
once he resigns, as expected next year.

However, Layla Moran, who is a favourite among activists to
succeed him, told BI that she was worried about the prospect of
outsiders leading the party.

Moran said that while she supported “really well-respected”
non-MPs from inside the movement leading the party — like
councillors, or parliamentarians from Scotland or Wales  —
she did not want a “celebrity” to get the job.

“I have concerns about a celebrity coming into the party and
saying they’re going to lead us to the promised land,” she said.

I have concerns about a celebrity coming into the party and
saying they’re going to lead us to the promised land. If they
weren’t a Lib Dem before, why the hell would they want to be now?

“The party, in general, would be really sceptical if that
happened.”

Asked whether she would support an MP formerly of another party
taking control of the Lib Dems — like Labour’s Chuka Umunna, who
is frequently tipped to walk away from his party — Moran said:
“Absolutely not.”

She said: “I admire the stuff that Chuka has been doing on the
People’s Vote but there is plenty that I completely disagree with
him on. From what I am hearing in conference, that is one of the
major concerns.”

Moran also poured cold water on recent suggestions that the party
ought to change its name, saying it’s “the last thing we need to
do.”

She added: “Our problems are well-defined and substantial but can
be fixed. We should be focusing on that. Rebranding to me sounds
like colouring the walls of the halls when we need to reinforce
its foundations.”

Lib Dems need to “say less, more often”


Layla Moran Nick Clegg
Moran agrees with former
leader Nick Clegg that they should stop apologising for their
role in coalition with the Conservatives

Dan Kitwood/Getty

Moran also said her party of has become “very bad” at
communicating its policies.

“People on the doorstep say ‘what on Earth do you stand for?’ and
I’ve got some sympathy for that,” she said.

She added: “Lib Dems are really good at making very detailed
policies but very bad are communicating the core values that
drive those policies. I’d like us to say less but more often. We
need to focus on a few themes and go hard on them.”

Moran is currently second favourite in the betting markets to
replace Cable, behind her colleague Jo Swinson MP. Swinson hit
the headlines at this week’s Liberal Democrat conference for
suggesting that the party should “own the failures” of their time
in coalition with the Conservatives.

Every time that someone tries to explain what happened [in
Coalition] I just get bored.

However, Moran appeared to take a different position, saying that
the party should stop apologising for the past.

“Do we still have baggage? Of course we do,” she said. “But it’s
not about policies, it’s about trust.

“I don’t think that to keep apologising for what we did in
Coalition is necessarily going to fix it… Every time that
someone tries to explain what happened [in Coalition] I just get
bored.

“The electorate is bored of talking about the past. They are much
more interested in the future.”

Moran rules out immediate leadership bid


Layla Moran Chuka Umunna Caroline Lucas People's Vote
Layla Moran alongside
Chuka Umunna and Caroline Lucas.

REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Despite having been an MP for less than two years, Moran is
tipped as a potential successor to Cable, who has confirmed that he
plans to stand down before the next election. A source close to
Cable told BI that the current leader — who said his party was
“male and pale” in his conference speech — would prefer his
successor to be a woman.

Moran said she was flattered by the support she has received from
party members, but is “not giving it very much thought” and
focusing on her role as the party’s education spokesperson.

“If you pushed me right now into giving an answer, I’d say no. I
am so new in my seat and I am still finding my feet, and I’m
really intent on changing the terms of debate around education,”
she said.

However, she was happy to “leave the door open” to a future
leadership bid, adding: “Can I speak for how I am going to feel a
few years time? In 2020? No. Frankly, four years ago I didn’t
expect to be an MP. So who knows?”

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