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  1. ITV Report

Cambridgeshire campaigner becomes new President of the Liberal Democrats

Baroness Sal Brinton takes over as President of the Liberal Democrats on 1 January 2015 Photo:

Veteran Liberal Democrat activist Baroness Brinton, who has links with Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, has been elected as the party's new president in a ballot of members.

Lady Brinton defeated Daisy Cooper by 10,188 votes to 6,138 after former MP Liz Lynne was eliminated following the count of first preference votes. She will take over from Tim Farron in January.

A former group leader on Cambridgeshire County Council, Lady Brinton - who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair - is currently the Lib Dem health spokeswoman in the Lords and runs the party's leadership programme supporting candidates from under-represented groups such as women and the disabled.

Baroness Brinton was the Lib Dem group leader on Cambs County Council in the 1990s.

"My first priority will be to move the renowned campaign fighting ability of the Lib Dems into top gear, so that we win more seats in both Westminster and in councils across the UK in the General and Local Elections next year.”

– Baroness Brinton, President-elect of the Liberal Democrats

Baroness Brinton's background

  • Was Lib Dem group leader on Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Was the bursar at Lucy Cavendish College and Selwyn College in Cambridge
  • Founder member of the East of England Development Agency 1998-2004
  • Was a floor manager at the BBC working on programmes like Play School and Doctor Who
  • Stood for parliament in SE Cambs in 1997 and 2001 and for Watford in 2005 and 2010
  • Took her place in the House of Lords in November 2011
  • Daughter of former Conservative MP and ITN newscaster Tim Brinton
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says he's delighted at the election of Baroness Brinton. Credit: Maurizio Gambarini/DPA/Press Association Images

"Sal has a fantastic record as a campaigner in Cambridgeshire and Watford and as an influential member in the House of Lords.

“She has led the way in promoting diversity in the Liberal Democrats through the Leadership programme and brings decades of political experience to the role. She will be a powerful advocate for grassroots activists in what will be a crucial election year and I look forward to working with her.”

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

Once the elections are out of the way, Lady Brinton said she intended to carry out an "overdue" reform of the party's "constitution and processes" which were heavily criticised in the wake of its handling of the complaints of sexual harassment made against former chief executive Lord Rennard.

The peer had his suspension from the party lifted earlier this year after disciplinary action linked to allegations was dropped.

Lady Brinton said: "My role will be to represent the members, and make the changes that they want happen."