Let's be honest with ourselves - we're in a tough spot. Our average polling figure currently stands at 8%, a far cry from the late teens or early 20s we previously enjoyed as recently as last year.
I won Oxford West & Abingdon from the ground up. Nobody knows the potential of Liberal Democrat activists like I do.
But this isn't just because of the coalition, or Brexit, or the 2019 election. A vast array of factors have led us to where we are now, and to turn things around we need change. Not only within the inner workings of the party as a whole, but in our public-facing approach, to ensure that our party can survive and then thrive in the years ahead.
Our country needs a strong liberal voice representing it in Parliament. And there's nobody who can deliver that better than us. I'm standing for leader because I can set us free from the past that's weighing us down. I want to send a clear signal to voters that we have learned from the mistakes of the last decade, and rebuild trust by listening.. I have a positive, inclusive vision - not just for our party, but for our country. We can only deliver it by winning again.
At our heart, we are an organisation that empowers people to make their own decisions in their community. There is a level of trust in the party to control councils in local government that just isn't apparent in the national picture.
We owe it to our country to elect a leader who can enact effective change
I won Oxford West & Abingdon from the ground up. Nobody knows the potential of Liberal Democrat activists like I do. Our team succeeded because we believed in our activists. We gave them the tools they needed to get the job done, and I want to bring that to my leadership.
We can't recover without reaching out to people who don't currently vote for us, too. That's why I went and knocked doors across from Cornwall to Wales, to Yorkshire after the 2019 election, before the pandemic hit. That's the approach I will take in my first year of being leader. I want to ask the electorate how we can win back their trust - rather than tell them. I wanted to listen to our grassroots members who give us so much, too - I've spoken with nearly 300 local parties and party bodies since the start of lockdown. We must learn from them.
I'll level with you. Success will take time. But we owe it to our country to elect a leader who represents a progressive change, who takes a lead on developing our incredible activists and builds a rapport with voters across the UK. I believe I'm the right person for the job - put your trust in me to lead our party, and let's move forward together.