Charles, thanks for resigning today. It was an intolerable situation. Thank you also for all that you’ve done for the party in the past – and you’ve done a lot.
It’s sad – hugely sad – that you have stepped down, but it was the right thing to do. A leader can’t carry on without the support of his colleagues. They clearly feel that you can’t now provide the energy and sense of direction and leadership that the party needs. We need a leader on the top of his form, 7 days a week, to face up to Messrs Blair and Cameron.
You now need to devote time to yourself, your family and your constituency.
We’ll miss you.
But eventually we hope to see you back in action on the front benches and representing the Liberal Democrats at elections and programmes like Question time. . . With luck, you have 25 years in politics ahead of you.