Former cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey has launched his campaign to succeed Sir Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats.
A new leader will be in place on July 23 after Sir Vince announced his decision to stand down, with former energy secretary Sir Ed expected to face competition from deputy leader Jo Swinson.
She is yet to launch her campaign but sources close to her told the Press Association she will be running and bookmakers have made her the favourite to succeed Sir Vince.
The party only has 11 MPs but claimed 20% of the vote and won 16 MEPs in the European elections, boosted by a strong pro-EU message.
Sir Ed said: “Strengthened by our election victories, Liberal Democrats will use all our influence to stop Brexit – and focus on the country’s long-term challenges like climate change, the housing crisis and the NHS.”
He said if Theresa May’s successor called a snap election, the Lib Dems would be ready to use their influence in a hung parliament to fight against Brexit.
“A future Conservative prime minister can call an election if they want, but if last week’s results are anything to go by they will not win an overall majority,” he said.
“With a balanced Parliament again on the cards, the Liberal Democrats will use every vote we get to stand up for the millions of people in the country who agree that Britain is better off in the EU.”
The Kingston and Surbiton MP will give further details of his leadership bid on Thursday and is expected to highlight his work under Paddy Ashdown, including developing the plan of putting 1p on income tax to pay for education, which became a Lib Dem signature policy.
Sir Ed will also set out plans to tackle climate change through a plan to “decarbonise capitalism”.
Earlier this month he told the Press Association the financial crash a decade ago would look like a “picnic” when the “carbon bubble” of over-inflated values for polluting industries bursts.