'Sir Vince Cable has fired the starting gun on the Liberal Democrat leadership race after announcing he will stand down by the summer.
In a message to activists, the former business secretary said he would be “proud to hand over a bigger, stronger party” to a new leader on 23 July, with nominations closing on 7 June.
His announcement came within hours of Theresa May’s decision to resign, meaning two of the main Westminster parties will have new leaders by the summer recess.
In an email to members, Sir Vince said: “There are major challenges ahead. One is to win, finally, the battle to stop Brexit. Our campaigning has given hope; now we need to secure a referendum in Parliament, and then win it.
“Another is the opportunity created by the conflict and decay within the two main parties to build a powerful, liberal, green, and social democratic force in the centre ground of British politics. We are now in an excellent position to lead such a movement.
“As we do so, I am confident that we will regain ground at Westminster, with a big group of MPs and more influence on the national stage.”
Candidates to succeed Sir Vince have to secure the support of 10 per cent of the parliamentary party – effectively the backing of one MP – and then 200 members from at least 20 local parties.
Deputy leader Jo Swinson will be in the frame to replace Sir Vince, as well as home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey, both of whom served in the coalition government.'
Read more: Vince Cable to step down as Liberal Democrat leader on 23 July
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