Who is Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey?

Ed Davey

Ed Davey: The basics

Age: 58

Education: Nottingham High School, University of Oxford, Birkbeck College

Family: Married to Lib Dem councillor Emily Gasson. One son, one daughter

Parliamentary constituency: Kingston and Surbiton from 1997 to 2015 and 2017 to 2024

Who is he?

Born in Nottinghamshire, to solicitor John and teacher Nina, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed has described his childhood as happy and stable.

However, he was only four when his father died and still in his teens when his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The task of caring for their sick mother largely fell to the young Ed and his elder brother. She died when he was 15.

He attended Nottingham High School - a public school he said had "a lot of Tory bias but also a lot of free thinking" - and later Oxford University

He married Lib Dem councillor Emily Gasson in 2005.

The pair have a daughter and a son, who has a neurological condition and learning difficulties.

What was his route to power?

Sir Ed went into politics at a young age and, apart from a five year stint as a consultant, has been there ever since.

Six months after graduating he went to work for Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown as an economic adviser.

In 1997 he contested and won the Greater London constituency of Kingston and Surbiton.

When the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 he was made a junior business minister.

He has recently faced questions over why he didn't do more to help post office sub-masters wrongly convicted in the Horizon scandal.

He rose further in 2012, when he was promoted to the cabinet position of energy and climate change secretary. But he lost his seat in 2015, when his party took an electoral pummelling.

He regained his old seat in 2017 - and three years later became party leader.

Sir Ed has focused on topics he believes will appeal to his party's target voters including the NHS and sewage in rivers.

He has also enthusiastically embraced his party's penchant for attention-grabbing stunts during the election campaign.

General election banner

What are his key pledges?

The Lib Dem manifesto is named For A Fair Deal and includes policies such as:

  • Environment: Fine companies for dumping sewage, ban bonuses for water bosses and replace water services regulator Ofwat - they also say they would achieve Net Zero by 2025, five years earlier than current targets.

  • Healthcare: Create a legal right to see a GP within a week, or 24 hours if urgent, by hiring 8,000 extra GPs.

  • Housing: Build at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year and give local authorities the powers to end the right to buy in their areas.

  • Brexit: Central to manifesto is a vow to "fix the UK's broken relationship with Europe," including a pledge to rejoin the Single Market and ultimately the EU.

  • Public Spending: Spending almost £27bn more a year by 2029, through raising levies on banks, reforming capital gains and cracking down on tax avoidance.

What state are the Lib Dems in?

Before the election was called, the Lib Dems were the fourth-largest party in Parliament after the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP, with 15 MPs.

Their numbers have recently been swelled by a series of by-election victories, often winning in former Tory strongholds.

Since 2020, their polling figures have hovered between six and 12%.

Sir Ed has previously ruled out going into a coalition with the Conservatives, but not with Labour.

BBC News will have a profile on each of the major party leaders running in the 2024 UK general election.