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School of Politics and International Relations

Liberal Democrats: Is targeting the 'yellow halo' key to party's success?

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The election of a new Liberal Democrat leader in less than a month's time will mark another watershed moment for the party. The party's 120,000 or so members, who will start voting on Thursday, have a choice between acting leader and former cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey and rising star Layla Moran. A new study by think tank UK in a Changing Europe, co-authored by Professor Tim Bale from Queen Mary University of London, warns that their current electoral position might possibly be as good as it gets for what used to known as the "third party" in British politics. The influential research body says the party's post-2015 levels of representation in the Commons - which excluding defections have ranged from eight to 13 - bear a clear resemblance to those achieved by the old Liberal Party in the 1950s through to the 1970s, and risk becoming the "new normal".

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Also featured in The Independent (PDF available on request)