THE LibDem leadership race is a battle for the party's survival, candidate Layla Moran has claimed.

Moran is one of two candidates seeking to succeed Jo Swinson, who stepped down after the party's general election disaster.

Swinson, who lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP's Amy Callagan in that contest, had told voters she could knock Boris Johnson out of Number 10.

However, the party returned just 11 MPs, four of whom – Alistair Carmichael, Christine Jardine, Jamie Stone and Wendy Chamberlain – represent Scottish constituencies.

Either Moran or Ed Davey, the acting leader of the party, will be announced the winner of the two horse race on August 27.

Appearing on Sky News today, Moran suggested the "survival" of the party is at stake.

The Oxford West and Abingdon MP said: "It's now been three general elections in a row, we're bumping along at 6% in the polls, change has never been more necessary – in fact, it's essential for the survival of our party.

"What I want to do as leader is to reverse that decline and it starts by having a bold, progressive, liberal agenda that we can show the country and actually coronavirus, as awful as the circumstances are, actually shows us that there should be and could be another way in this country.

"It's exposed the inequalities that we see before our very eyes, and the civil liberties of the individual, the freedom of us all, has come under some strain.

"Now is the time for a revived Liberal Democrat party and that's very much central to my pitch."

Whoever wins the leadership battle will take over as Scotland and Wales prepare to go to the polls in the 2021 devolved parliament elections. Northern Ireland will follow the year after.

Willie Rennie's Scottish LibDems slipped to fifth place in the Scottish Parliament last time, while in Wales the LibDems hold just one Senedd seat.

The party also lost its sole Welsh MP at the last general election.

On Saturday, Moran praised Rennie for having held Holyrood seats as the party's decline from its 2010 high continued.

Under Nick Clegg, it entered a coalition government with David Cameron's Conservatives, with Davey holding the role of Energy and Climate Change Secretary from 2012-15.

Speaking to the Herald, Moran said the upcoming Holyrood election should be used as a way of "deepening federalism".

She said a "local approach to politics" is the LibDems' "USP" (unique selling point), adding: "At a time when people are trying to sow divisions between Scotland and England I would argue this is the time that we should have even closer co-operation.

"Coronavirus has shown us that, actually, we can work effectively together."

Turning on her party's former partners in government as well as the SNP, she went on: "If we are going to fight the Tories effectively and also if we're going to fight the SNP effectively, the Liberal Democrats need to make that emotional argument for the union.

"The way we do that is by really appealing to people's sense of working together, as we have.

"We've always had a completely consistent message on this as liberals.

"If you want to tackle the big issues of the day, the best way you do that is by finding your friends and working with them."

Moran also called for an "emotional case" to be made for the union.

She told the newspaper: "The constitutional question needs to be bigger than what Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson are using against each other."