Mini election

Tim Farron interview: what I will do as Lib Dem leader

Tim Farron is a confident man. By this time Thursday, he will be announced as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats — if the bookies are to be believed. Ladbrokes currently say he is a ‘huge odds-on certainty’ to win at 1/33, compared to 12/1 for his rival Norman Lamb. Farron graced the front seat of my Mini this morning to discuss his agenda as leader. His first job on Friday morning is to underline the point that Lib Dems can no longer be orientated around representation in parliament. ‘Organisationally for the Liberal Democrats, the leader’s office has traditionally been in Westminster in the Houses of Parliament,’ he says. ‘Frankly

Norman Lamb interview: we are living in ‘the liberal age’

In 48 hours, either Tim Farron or Norman Lamb will be announced as the next leader of Liberal Democrats. Lamb kindly agreed to hop in my Mini for a chat about the leadership contest two weeks ago (during the hottest day of the year) — you can watch the highlights from our chat above. If you haven’t been following the contest, Lamb is the 57-year-old Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk. During the coalition government, he served as PPS to Nick Clegg, employment minister, care minister and is currently the Lib Dem’s spokesman on the economy. Despite the endorsement of Paddy Ashdown, Ming Campbell and the rapper Dappy, Lamb has consistently

Mini Election: what’s on the mind of Scottish nationalists?

The Scottish nationalists are in a buoyant mood. At last weekend’s spring conference in Glasgow, the 3,000-odd SNPers had two main issues for the upcoming general election: fighting both the Westminster establishment and the coalition’s austerity programme. In the latest Mini Election video, watch above, I spoke to some SNP supporters to find out what’s on their minds. When the conference opened on Saturday morning, the crowd were asked if they were new SNP members or first time attendees of an SNP conference. The majority of those represent in the hall raised their hands, showing just how much the party has grown since the referendum in September. Most of  Nats I spoke to

Mini Election: Sajid Javid on appealing to ethnic minorities and negative campaigning

The Conservative party still doesn’t attract enough ethnic minorities. In this week’s Mini Election video, I visit Essex to speak to the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid about what the Tories have done to increase their appeal to non-white voters. He thinks Baroness Warsi is wrong and believes that the Conservatives are not ‘set to lose’ the Muslim vote in May. We discussed whether Lord Bates’ comments about immigrant mothers having too many babies were likely to turn voters away. Javid acknowledged that there are real concerns about immigration that need to be addressed but did not explicitly say he disagreed with Bates’ remarks. With the proper campaign just one week away, is Javid at all concerned that

Mini Election: Quilliam’s Maajid Nawaz discusses fighting a three way marginal

Will the Liberal Democrats make any gains in the London suburbs at the upcoming election? In the latest Mini Election video, I went to Hampstead & Kilburn to speak to Maajid Nawaz, the Liberal Democrat candidate and head of counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, to discuss his campaign to win this seat, which was a three-way marginal at the last election. Nawaz discusses how his work with Quilliam has strengthened his reputation locally when the Liberal Democrats’ national reputation has taken a beating. Given the publicity surrounding his involvement in the Jesus and Mo cartoons furore and calls for him to be deselected, Nawaz said he still thinks the recognition makes it

Mini Election: Jacob Rees-Mogg on re-election in North East Somerset and being a Tory stereotype

Is Jacob Rees-Mogg confident about reelection in North East Somerset? For the latest Mini Election video, I visited the West Country to speak to Jacob (and his son Peter) about his efforts to hold onto his marginal seat in the upcoming election. Although he was victorious in 2010 with a comfortable majority of 4,91,  the constituency was held by Labour — albeit under different boundaries — so he has been campaigning almost non-stop for the last few years. Does he think that British elections are generally becoming too American? We also discussed his long-held belief that the Conservative Party needs to have an electoral pact with Ukip and whether it is

Mini Election: Patrick O’Flynn on the economy, party tribes and the importance of Farage

Has Ukip found a set of credible economic policies? In the latest Mini Election video, I discuss the party’s spring conference with Patrick O’Flynn, MEP for the East of England and Ukip’s economic spokesman. As the man responsible for producing a plan of spending and cuts for the party, how does he intend to ‘hold the Tories’ feet to the fire’ and how important is the economy to Ukip’s overall message? We also chatted about the rapturous response to Nigel Farage’s keynote speech, and whether the party relies too much on just one man. And if Ukip is also splintering into different tribes with different agendas, does O’Flynn find himself on the left of

Mini Election: Tim Aker on Ukip’s election strategy and winning in Thurrock

Tim Aker is one of Ukip’s most recognisable figures. At just 29, he is already an MEP for the East of England, a local councillor in Aveley and, until recently, head of the party’s policy unit. He left the latter role earlier this year to focus on his battle to become the MP for Thurrock. I chatted with Aker in Canvey Island, Essex, where Ukip kicked off its general election campaign last week. He revealed the thinking behind the party’s ‘Believe in Britain’ campaign slogan, the ‘positive’ message Ukip hopes to put across over the next few months, his chances of beating Labour and the Conservatives in Thurrock and whether

Mini Election: Nicola Blackwood on fighting to hold one of the most marginal seats

If the Liberal Democrats stand any chance of making gains at the Conservatives expense, then Nicola Blackwood is precisely the sort of MP they need to depose. She won her seat, Oxford West and Abingdon, with a gossamer majority of 176 and its in the top three Lib Dem targets. Perhaps for that reason she has been in campaigning mode ever since she was elected. Vital statistics Seat Oxford West and Abingdon Party Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood Main opponent Liberal Democrats Majority 176 Latest Ashcroft poll 4% Lib Dem-Con swing Given Blackwood’s majority, few in 2010 would have expected her to hold onto the seat this time around. But since