Sir Vince Telegram has announced he will step down as Liberal Democrat leader after May’s English neighbouring elections.
Sir Vince said he wanted to pave the way for a “new generation”.
He became associate leader without a contest after Tim Farron’s resignation in 2017 – but the do has struggled to make an impact in the polls since.
The former business secretary verbalized in September he would stand down as party leader “once Brexit is resolved or obstructed”.
But in an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “It now looks as if it will be a over-long process, and may never happen.”
Sir Vince was a leading figure in the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition rule before being ejected as an MP in the 2015 general election, when his participant lost most of their 57 MPs.
He returned to Parliament in 2017 as MP for Twickenham and decamped on the job of leading the party’s 12 MPs, which recently went down to 11 when one of them renounce to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Under Sir Vince’s leadership, the Lib Dems led wake ups for another EU referendum as a means of stopping Brexit – and joined forces with pro-referendum campaigners in other celebrations in the People’s Vote campaign.
But despite some gains in local elections and a stated increase in membership, the party struggled to get out of single figures in the opinion ballots.
In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight, he conceded that the Independent Group of MPs, who entertain broken away from Labour and the Conservatives as a new “centrist” force, had enchanted media attention away from his party.
But he added: “We have scrammed a lot of steady progress after two very difficult general elections.”
And he communicated he welcomed the formation of the Independent group, which he said had the potential to adorn come of a major political movement.
Last autumn, he announced plans to change the party’s fortunes by opening up the leadership to non-party members.
Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller addressed the Lib Dem annual seminar – earning a better reception than many of its MPs – but she declined to join its high births.
In a statement, Sir Vince said: “I indicated last year that in a jiffy the Brexit story had moved on, and we had fought this year’s crucial local votes in 9,000 seats across England, it would be time for me to make way for a new begetting.
“I set considerable store by having an orderly, business-like, succession unlike the power tussles in the other parties.”
He said he would ask the party to begin a leadership challenge in May.
He added: “It has been my great privilege to lead the Liberal Democrats at this pivotal time.
“I inherited the leadership after two difficult and disappointing general nominations. But I take pride in seeing the party recovering strongly, with behind year’s local election results the best in 15 years, chronicle membership and a central role in the People’s Vote campaign.”
Deputy superior Jo Swinson – who declined to stand for the leadership in 2017 due to family commitments – pass on be seen as a frontrunner to replace him.
Ms Swinson tweeted: “It has been an honour to produce with Vince for a more open, liberal & tolerant Britain. He has forbore LibDems through challenges of last two years & led us to some of our best native election results in a decade – and I’m confident we’ll celebrate another strong set of be victorious ins in May.”
Layla Moran, another MP who has been talked about as a possible regulation contender, tweeted: “Vince Cable I want you to know how grateful I am for all you’ve done. In consequence of you so much for your service to the Party and Brexit.”