Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey admits he intentionally fell off a paddleboard during election campaign stunt in Lake District

Sir Ed Davey has fallen off a paddleboard multiple times during a campaign stunt in Windermere - admitting one of his plunges into the water was intentional.

The Liberal Democrat leader said his leap into the cold waters of the Lake District was for the benefit of the cameras - but he "just kept falling in" after that.

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Sir Ed squeezed himself into a wetsuit before taking questions from journalists while on the campaign trail.

Despite the footage causing a splash online, he stressed there was a "serious message" behind the stunt.

"Lakes like Lake Windermere are so precious," he said. "Our environment and our wonderful country is so critical to so many people.

"It's important for public health, it's important for the environment, it's important for the tourist economy."

Windermere is the largest lake in England but has also been the site of sewage dumping - with United Utilities releasing more than 27,000 hours of untreated sewage since 2020, according to analysis of Environment Agency (EA) data by campaign group Save Windermere.

The sewage crisis is set to be a key campaign issue for the Lib Dems as they seek to woo Tory voters who are disillusioned with the state of the UK's rivers and seas.

According to the Environment Agency, sewage spills into England's waterways more than doubled in 2023 with 3.6 million hours - equal to about 400 years - compared with 1.75 million hours in 2022.

Water companies can legally do this in emergencies to prevent sewage backing up elsewhere, but the proliferation of discharges has raised questions about whether they are doing this routinely.

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Sir Ed has unveiled a raft of policies aimed at tackling the issue, including that local environmental experts should be represented on water company boards to "improve public accountability and transparency".

His party has also proposed abolishing Ofwat and creating a new regulator, as well as banning bonuses for the CEOs of water companies.

The visit to Windermere is just one of many elections stunts that the Lib Dems have held over the years to capture the public's attention and compete with Labour and the Tories for election headlines.

Throughout the years they have come up with novel ways to celebrate election victories - including a fake cannon emblazoned with the words "get these clowns out of No 10" following the party's win the Somerset and Frome by-election, and knocking down a blue brick wall to signify defeating the Tories in the Chesham and Amersham by-election.