I wanted to get in touch immediately to thank everyone who has worked so hard in the elections. This was always going to be a challenging time. For the first time in most of our memories we were fighting as a party of Government – and a government dealing with the economic mess Labour left us in.
But there is no getting away from the fact that this has been a bad set of results - both the election results for the Liberal Democrats and the referendum outcome. I am certainly deeply disappointed. I know many of you are too. I am especially disappointed that so many hardworking and dedicated councillors, MSPs, AMs and campaigners have lost their seats.
I think it is clear that we need to do more to show people in the party and beyond what we are doing in Government and, perhaps more importantly, why. Because we are achieving a great deal. The BBC estimates that we are implementing 75% of the policies of in our manifesto, compared to just 60% of the Conservative manifesto.
Of course, as Liberal Democrats, we are all bitterly disappointed that the referendum on the Alternative Vote has been lost. We will always remain passionate supporters of reform. But we must respect the will of the British people. This time, we were unable to convince them of the merits of this particular change.
We've taken a knock. But I know from experience how resilient we are as a party. For my entire life, people have sought to write off the Liberal Democrats but we've always defied the critics and bounced back. We'll do so again. We'll get back up, we'll dust ourselves down and we'll get on with what we have to do. We have gone into a Coalition Government in the interests of the country. We have a mountain to climb to bring back prosperity, jobs and hope to Britain. But it is a job we've started and it is a job we will finish.