Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey tries out waterslide in latest election stunt

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has defended the latest of his election stunts as he rode down a children's water slide in a large rubber ring.

The politician donned swimming shorts and a t-shirt to ride down the Ultimate Slip n Slide attraction near Frome, Somerset.

After getting off the slide, Sir Ed said: "It was great fun, really good fun."

On Wednesday he was photographed riding a bike during a visit to Wales and on Tuesday repeatedly fell from a paddleboard on Lake Windermere in Cumbria.

Speaking afterwards, Sir Ed said: “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.”

The stunt has invited teasing online, with one social media user writing: “I do appreciate how, while the other established parties are outlining new ways to ruin this country, Ed Davey is just travelling around and enjoying himself like he's on holiday.”

Another added: “I feel like Ed Davey was forced to cancel his holiday for the election but found a loophole.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey enjoying a bike ride down a hill during a visit to Knighton in Wales (PA Wire)
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey enjoying a bike ride down a hill during a visit to Knighton in Wales (PA Wire)

Sir Ed was in the constituency of Frome and East Somerset to support the campaign of Liberal Democrat candidate Anna Sabine and highlight his party's pledge to improve mental health support for young people.

The new seat has been created from the parts of the former Somerton & Frome constituency, which was won by Lib Dem Sarah Dyke in a by-election last year.

"However, today we're showing the serious side of our policy making," he said.

"We've got hundreds of thousands of children, young people waiting for treatment for mental health. It's actually appalling.

"If you talk to their parents, talk about teachers, they're worried not just about the health now but what it's going to do to their education in the future, their future life chances, their future opportunities and they want a party to say how are we going to fix that?

"So we've come up talking to experts with this set of ideas to ensure that every school will have a qualified mental health professional to work with the staff so we can have that early intervention and make sure we get the treatment they deserve when they need it.

"We think that will turn things around and we've shown how we're going to pay for it."

Sir Ed said the plan would be funded through an increase to the Digital Services Tax - currently 2% on search engine, social media and online market place companies' revenues.

Speaking to the media at Frome Football Club, the Lib Dem leader also ruled out raising income tax, national insurance or VAT to pay for his party's plans.

"The Conservatives have raised taxes so much to record levels at a time where people are struggling with the cost of living, high energy bills, mortgages and food prices it would be completely wrong to increase taxes anymore," Sir Ed said.