The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has launched himself into some attention-grabbing stunts which have pushed his party into the media, while also carrying serious messages. 

Some have criticised the leaders light-hearted and whacky campaign tactics, but the Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson defended Davey’s tactics today, telling LBC Davey had struck a balance between “really serious issues” and “not taking himself too seriously, which I think politicians too often do.”

Here are 10 standout moments from his 2024 election campaign. 

1. Paddleboarding in Lake Windermere

Plunging right into his stunt filled election campaign Ed Davey hit the sewage filled Lake Windermere in the Lake District. He admitted to intentionally falling off his paddleboard the first time for the cameras, but that “he just kept falling in” after. The stunt was to highlight the issue of sewage dumping. 

2. Slip N Slide

Also early on in his campaign Davey hurtled down on a rubber ring in the Ultimate Slip N Slide attraction near Frome, Somerset, cementing the stunt-filled theme of his campaign. 

He defended his antics on the children’s water slide by saying, “I think my belief is that politicians need to take the concerns and interests of voters seriously but I’m not sure they need to take themselves seriously all the time and I’m quite happy to have some fun.” He also highlighted his party’s pledge to improve mental health for young people by taxing social media companies. 

3. Davey shares carers story 

Aside from the stunts, Ed Davey has also led a general election campaign on care and carers as he said health and care were at the heart of the Lib Dem manifesto. The party’s first election broadcast highlighted Ed’s moving personal story of caring for his teenage son John, who is disabled, and focused on the work of carers. 

4. Interview on the teacups

After the launch of his party’s manifesto, Ed Davey headed to the Thorpe Park theme park where he gave an interview about the UK rejoining the single market, while spinning around in a teacup. At one amusing point the camera appears to lose their teacup and just go with another group, before picking them up again. 

Ed Davey has just done an interview about the UK rejoining the single market whilst on the teacups

— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) June 10, 2024

Ed Davey has just done an interview about the UK rejoining the single market whilst on the teacups

— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) June 10, 2024

5. Giant ‘blue wall’ Jenga game

Ed Davey played a giant game of blue Jenga, signifying the fall of the Tory party’s ‘blue wall’ that the Lib Dems are hoping to smash, on a visit to Bramall Hall in Stockport. A playful warning to the Conservative party that the Lib Dems could be on course to literally topple them in traditional Tory heartlands. 

6. Interview while playing tennis

Another unorthodox interview also saw Davey demonstrate his personal fitness levels as he answered questions from a presenter whilst knocking forehands across a tennis court in a park. His focused was on health, the environment and leisure, as he vowed to put £50m into maintaining three new national parks.

7. Skidding downhill in Wales

Launching the party’s campaign in Wales, Sir Davey donned a helmet and hit the cobbled streets of Knighton in Wales on a bicycle with two Welsh Lib Dem politicians. He skidded downhill with his legs up in the campaign stunt. Although the exact message of this stunt was not clear, his party is hoping to win the key battleground seat of Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe. 

8. The bungee jump

Bungee jumping from a crane Ed Davey managed to get out his message to voters whilst plunging downward, “vote Liberal Democrat.. do something you’ve never done before” he yelled, “take the plunge, you know you want to”. It was undeniably a novel way to get the message across. 

9. Zumba dancing 

Right after bungee jumping Davey impressed viewers by going on to embrace a high energy class of Zumba. The workout in Wokingham Berkshire on Monday (1 July) did hold a serious message as he explained the class was about “supporting bereaved families so they can live life to the full”.

10. Attempting to surf

In the final days of his campaign journey, Ed Davey visited North Cornwall on a South West tour where he attempted to tackle the waves in Bude. Video footage shows a valiant attempt that mainly consists of Ed’s flailing limbs in the choppy waters. However the activity pushed home one of the Lib Dems key messages this election about water pollution. 

The anti-sewage charity Surfers Against Sewage commented: “Because we love a stunt our CEO Giles helped to teach Ed to surf today. And whilst it was a lot of fun, our message is clear. 

“This is the #EndSewagePollution Election! In the final sprint before people go to the poll all parties must recognise the impact sewage pollution has on coastal communities and commit to take real and concerted action to End Sewage Pollution if elected!”

Image credit: Sky News / YouTube screenshot

The post 10 best moments from Ed Davey’s election campaign appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.


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