The election followed the resignation of outgoing leader Jo Grimond earlier in the month. The election was conducted amongst the 12 Liberal MPs and 3 candidates came forward, Thorpe, Emlyn Hooson and Eric Lubbock. Concerns were expressed by senior figures outside the parliamentary party at the speed of the election and the lack of involvement of the party beyond Westminster. Although Thorpe was the clear favourite he was not universally popular and in the election Thorpe won 6 votes and Hooson and Lubbock 3 each. A political deadlock was avoided when the other candidates stood aside in favour of Thorpe who was then elected unanimously.