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Media captionSir Ed Davey, the newly-elected leader of the Lib Dems, said his party must “start listening”
Sir Ed Davey has won the race to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The acting leader will now take over on a permanent basis after beating his competitor, fellow MP Layla Moran.
Sir Ed secured 63.5% of the vote, compared to 36.5% for Ms Moran.
At an event in London, Sir Ed said it was time for the party to “wake up and smell the coffee” after only securing 12% of the vote in the last general election.
In an email to party members, he said he would launch a “national listening project” to help make the Lib Dems “relevant again”, adding: “We won’t be able to do this unless we show people we share their values and are on their side.”
The result comes eight months after the Lib Dem’s former leader, Jo Swinson, stepped down from the role after losing her seat in 2019 general election.
Ms Moran congratulated her opponent on Twitter, saying: “I look forward to working with him to campaign for a better future for Britain.”
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Sir Ed has been a member of the Liberal Democrats for 30 years, and acting leader since Ms Swinson left the role in December.
He was elected as an MP in 1997, but lost his seat of Kingston and Surbiton in 2015 after his tenure as a cabinet minister in the coalition government.
In the 2017 snap election, Sir Ed returned to Parliament for the same constituency and will now lead the party’s 11 MPs and wider membership.
‘Time to start listening’
In his victory speech, the new leader spoke of the task ahead, with the party only achieving single digit support in the the latest opinion polls.
“Nationally our party has lost touch with too many voters,” he said. “Yes, we are powerful advocates locally. Our campaigners listen to local people, work hard for communities and deliver results.
“But at the national level. We have to face the facts of three disappointing general election results.”
He added: “The truth is, voters don’t believe the Liberal Democrats want to help ordinary people get on in life.
“It is time for us to start listening. And as leader, I have got that message. I am listening now.”
New leader with old ties looking to move on
Analysis by Leila Nathoo, BBC political correspondent
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sir Ed Davey takes over from his predecessor Jo Swinson
This was Sir Ed Davey’s second attempt to win the Liberal Democrat leadership –