Kingston and Surbiton's long-standing MP Ed Davey has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, defeating his only challenger Layla Moran MP by a healthy margin.

Davey, who has stood in as acting leader for the party since Jo Swinson lost her seat at the 2019 general election, defeated Moran to win the leadership by 42,756 votes to 24,564.

Enthusiasm for the party remains low nationally, with the Lib Dems currently polling at around six per cent with voters, while the turn out among party members for the leadership election was just 57.6 per cent.

The former Cabinet minister said the Lib Dems have to "wake up and smell the coffee" after a series of disappointing general election results in 2017 and 2019.

"We have to wake up and smell the coffee. Nationally our party has lost touch with too many voters," the Kingston and Surbiton MP said in his victory speech.

"Yes, we are powerful advocates locally. Our campaigners listen to local people, work hard for communities and deliver results," he added.

"But at the national level, we have to face the facts of three disappointing general election results.

"The truth is: voters don't believe the Liberal Democrats want to help ordinary people get on in life.

"Voters don't believe we share their values. And voters don't believe we are on the side of people like them."

Since ex-leader Nick Clegg joined forces with David Cameron's Conservatives, the traditional foe of British liberals, to form the coalition government in 2010 the party has slumped in Westminster elections.

Lib Dems won 62 seats in 2005 and 57 in 2010 but in 2015 they were reduced to a rump of just eight MPs, in 2017 that rose to 12 but fell back to 11 in 2019.

Moran, who lost by more than 18,000 votes, congratulated the new leader and said: "I look forward to working with him to campaign for a better future for Britain."