Sir Nick Harvey, former North Devon MP, has been serving as interim chief executive of the Liberal Democrats since August.

Former North Devon MP Nick Harvey has been appointed at the chief executive of the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Harvey, who served as MP for almost a quarter of a century, was appointed as interim chief exec in August.

Today (Wednesday) it was announced the former defence minister will be taking the role up on a permanent basis.

Mr Harvey said: “I am delighted to have been given the job on a permanent basis, and for this vote of confidence by the party.

“Having served in government as a Liberal Democrat and in parliament when we had many more MPs than we do currently, I am determined to help drive the party back where it belongs, in the centre of British politics.

“With Vince Cable an unrivalled authority on the economy and the other two parties growing ever more extreme, the Liberal Democrats have an excellent chance to make more of the political weather.

“Since arriving at party headquarters I have been impressed by the dedication and professionalism of staff.

“But we must also acknowledge that we have had two general elections that have not produced as many MPs as we would like, and we now have to grow and strengthen the organisation to become a formidable fighting machine once more.”

Party president Sal Brinton said: “There is much work to do but Nick inherits a party machine that is on the up with a record membership, good gains in local elections and a more diverse parliamentary party.

“Nick has an incredibly impressive CV and I am convinced he will take us to the next level.”

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable added: “I worked with Nick Harvey in government and I know he will bring considerable authority to the role.

“Having someone of his sound judgement and drive building up the party’s campaigning strength will free me up to take the political fight to our opponents.”