First, from this BBC News story, Öpik stated at the time of Charles Kennedy's fall:
They've got what they wanted and we lose the most successful party leader we've had for 83 years...And yet the Lib Dems only had 62 MPs at that point, when there were 72 Liberal MPs elected in 1931.
Now traditionally the excuse is made that in 1931 the Liberals were split in three and that only those following Sir Herbert Samuel were the "official Liberals". Any other MPs with "Liberal" in their description would be ignored, including Clement Davies, then MP for what is now Öpik's seat. But a scan of the Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats website shows that this line of reasoning is not followed by Öpik and his local party when they triumphantly proclaim:
The area has been represented by a Liberal/Liberal Democrat MP for over a hundred years except for a four-year period (1979-83).So Davies was considered a Liberal throughout his political career. Therefore the National Liberals could be counted as Liberals, and presumably also the four members of Lloyd George's family who decided to sit the National Government out completely from this point, meaning that in 1931 there were more than 62 Liberal MPs elected - 72 in total (and proportionally even more in a smaller House of Commons). And 1931 was only 75 years ago, not 83!
Clement Davies (1929-1962)
So are the Lib Dems unable to count or are they selective about which parts of their history they will and will not acknowledge? Or will they just say whatever will benefit them at the time?