Thank you all very much for coming today. I’m very pleased to be able welcome you to the launch of Ming Campbell’s campaign. It’s an exciting campaign – we all know that Ming will be a superb leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Now I’m sure you’re all impatient to hear from the man himself, but just before you do, a few of us want to share with you why we’re supporting Ming.
Like many Lib Dems, I have always admired Ming. You know that feeling when the credits roll for Question Time, and David Dimbleby introduces the panel? When you hear it’s Ming Campbell representing the Lib Dems it always makes you feel relaxed and happy, knowing it’ll be an enjoyable programme. He’s one of those politicians you’re always delighted to see fighting your political corner. Whatever the subject, he communicates with such clarity, leaving you thinking: yes, that’s exactly how I feel, he’s absolutely right.
And he was right about Iraq.
Ming has been a formidable critic of the war in Iraq, speaking up for millions of people across the country. When Blair refused to listen to the people, Ming was the voice expressing their views in Parliament. His authority and statesmanship are admired by every one of his Parliamentary colleagues, recognised by the media and feared and respected by our political opponents.
Yesterday Ming put the Prime Minister on the spot not once, but twice, on the issue of sex offenders in schools. As our leader Ming has the stature and experience to challenge Blair and Brown.
And they do need challenging.
Ming is an extraordinary politician. Having campaigned for the liberal cause in good times and bad, we know he is a man of conviction, motivated by genuine principles. What a welcome contrast to New Labour’s spin, and Cameron’s chameleon gloss.
Ming is already one of the most recognised faces of the Liberal Democrats, and for good reason.
He has a unique blend of statesmanship, warmth, and determination to win.
No wonder more MPs are backing Ming that his rivals put together.
And it’s not just MPs. Members of the House of Lords, Councillors, activists and members up and down the country are joining Ming’s campaign.
More than most, Ming knows that Lib Dem achievements come from the grassroots. Winning North East Fife started with local government success.
In recent years, Liverpool City Council has been a beacon of what Lib Dems can do for local people. I’d now like to introduce to share his thoughts with you, the leader of the liberal revolution in Liverpool, Mike Storey.