Scott wants strengthened link with Lib Dem grassroots

Liberal Democrat presidential candidate Ros Scott says she will make linking the party’s grassroots with the way it operates a priority if she wins the election.

Speaking to politics.co.uk as the postal ballot between her, Lembit Opik and Chandila Fernando continues, Baroness Scott described the role of the party president as “the connection between the members and the party centrally”.

Lib Dems have until noon on November 7th to submit their votes in the election, which is being administered by the Electoral Reform Society.

Choosing a successor to Simon Hughes, who has been in the role since 2004, comes at a difficult time for Britain’s third party. They must present a united front after axing leaders Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell and struggling in the polls as a result.

The last six months have seen a resurgence under new leader Nick Clegg, but without any clear demonstration of electoral progress. Baroness Scott believes working “more closely with the membership” will play a key part in future successes.

“This is probably not riveting stuff to people outside,” she admitted.

“It’s about making sure all parts of the party are pulling in the same direction. You need someone at the helm who know how to pull all that together.”

Baroness Scott has attracted numerous high-profile endorsements: deputy leader Vince Cable, former leader Paddy Ashdown and Shirley Williams all back her campaign.

So too do 25 MPs, including a sizeable chunk of frontbenchers, and she is well aware of their usefulness.

“What makes the endorsements valuable is that clearly you can’t get round and meet everyone and therefore people like that sense of comfort of people they know and trust saying they know and trust you,” she said.

“That’s the point with endorsements – it’s not about wheeling people out and saying you’ve got to follow their lead.”

When invited to compare herself to rival Mr Opik Baroness Scott rushed to lay out her “external experience”. “I have more of a background in this,” she said, citing her experience on the boards of several major companies including Anglia Television and her time running a council and being in joint control.

But she added: “It’s for other people to judge.”

Voting continues.