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Well, that's embarrassing for the SNP 😳

by Liberal Democrats on Wed, 16 Oct 2019

The news just broke: turns out that the SNP spent more on the recent Shetland by-election than in the entire EU referendum campaign.

It seems that the SNP just see Brexit as a golden opportunity to push independence at the price of our country's well-being.

Shocker

The party spent £99,000 on the Shetland by-election (of a spending limit of £100,000), compared to just over £90,000 in the 2016 referendum (13% of the limit)

This is what our chief whip, Alistair Carmichael, had to say about the news. 

"The fact that the SNP spent more on the by-election in Shetland than in the entire EU referendum campaign speaks volumes. It is disappointing but hardly surprising, considering how much lucre they flashed around in the Northern Isles over the summer.

"Apparently one more vote for independence in Holyrood was worth more to the nationalists than their European values. It's a shame they don't put their money where their mouth is.

"It shows the cynicism of the SNP leadership's position on the EU. They tell their supporters one story on Europe, but their actions tell another. They back the EU with words, but the truth is that they see Brexit as a golden opportunity to push independence at the price of our country's well-being."

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

With her conference speech today Nicola Sturgeon has shown that she has given up on all the people across the UK trying to stop Brexit.

The momentum is with us. We can win this, if we stick together.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Our new CEO

by Sal Brinton on Tue, 15 Oct 2019

Mike joins us from his current position as Chief Executive of Addaction, a mental health, drug, alcohol and young persons charity, and was previously Assistant Chief Executive at Citizens Advice and through both of which he has extensive experience of managing member-style organisations.

I am delighted Mike will be taking on this crucial role at such an exciting time for the Liberal Democrats. Mike's experience in senior management and at leading organisations will be hugely valuable to the continuing growth of the party off the back of successive election campaigns which have put the Liberal Democrats back in a strong position in UK politics.

Mike Dixon has said in our press release:

“I’m delighted to take on this role. We’ve just had our best ever European election results and new members are joining all the time, taking us to record levels of membership.

Millions of people want the country to stop Brexit and focus on things like the climate emergency, investing in schools and people’s mental health. I’m looking forward to getting started next week.

We’ve got a great team, inspirational political leadership and a thriving, inclusive party. If you want change, join us today.”

He and our outgoing Chief Executive, Sir Nick Harvey have already started working together to ensure a smooth handover, and Nick will be around to support Mike over the next few weeks.

I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my personal thanks to Sir Nick for all he has done for the party as Chief Executive over the last two years, picking us up after the difficult 2017 election.

He ensured the party was ready for the brilliant successes we have had in the local government elections and in the European Elections this year, as well as getting us ready for a possible snap General Election.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

What would it be like?

by Christine Jardine on Tue, 15 Oct 2019

I know it’s tempting fate and that I shouldn’t really, but this week I have not been able to resist the temptation to think what life might be like if I were to win the Presidency.

So I decided to think what a week might be like in this possible future, combining my job as MP with the job of President. 

I hope you enjoy this reading about this imaginary week as much as I did thinking about it - I think it looks like fun.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

A winning plan for the Liberal Democrats

by Mark Pack on Tue, 15 Oct 2019

During the recent online hustings, the chair Lorely Burt produced a horribly complicated diagram from a few years back showing how the Liberal Democrats are structured. It’s a good point – our organisation can be complicated, confusing and even hazardous to navigate.

Looking at the diagram, I did a quick mental tally of how many of the bodies shown on it I’ve served on at some point in my many years as a party staffer, including running the party’s digital operation for Charles Kennedy, and as a volunteer, as a local party officer, regional officer, English party committee member and federal committee member.

There’s a serious, very relevant point here.

There’s an urgency in the battle against Brexit. An urgency to protect our climate for cataclysmic change. An urgency to reduce inequality and heal the divisions in our society.

Which means there’s an urgency in us stepping up, winning bigger and better than ever before.

That’s what I can do if you choose to elect me your President.

I’ve got the experience, the knowledge, the friendships, even a few scars, from working out what needs doing – and then making it happen:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Jo's Response to the Queen's Speech

by Jo Swinson on Mon, 14 Oct 2019

Today, Her Majesty The Queen opened the new parliamentary session. But we have exactly the same problems as we did in the last session: a government with no majority, no leadership and no realistic plan for our country.

I used my speech in Parliament today to give a warning to my fellow MPs.

Here's my speech in full:

On behalf of my colleagues on these ever-expanding Liberal Democrat benches, I’d like to pay tribute to the mover and seconder of the Humble Address. Their wit and good humour have brought us all some light relief at this time of crisis.

The Honourable Member for Truro and Falmouth is a well-respected former Minister, who is liked on all sides of the House for the way she genuinely engages with everyone.

I understand that she was also Head Girl at school, graduated with a history degree from King's College London and then a masters as a Rotary Scholar. So some might call her a girly swot. She should know that, from these benches at least, that is meant as a compliment.

The Honourable Member for North East Derbyshire treated us to a speech that took us on a grand tour from Derbyshire to Venezuela. As a fellow child of the 1980s, I’d like to thank him for confirming that 39 is still considered ‘up-and-coming’

Much of the last three years has felt a bit like Groundhog Day, but there was something about the last week that has felt particularly familiar to me. Then it dawned on me.

We’ve all been sat in meetings where a woman puts forward an idea and it gets shouted down. A little later, a man suggests virtually the same thing and pretends it was his great idea all along.

The Liberal Democrats have been crystal clear about this.

Whether it’s a hard or a soft Brexit.

Whether it comes with a blue rosette or a red rosette. 

Whether it is delivered by the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.

There is no form of Brexit that will be good for our country. And the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to stop Brexit and secure a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the European Union to give the public the final say on Brexit deal.

Because there is no deal that will ever be as good as the one we currently have as members of the European Union.

Mr Speaker, there was nothing in this Queen’s Speech that will bring comfort to the factory worker set to lose their job – or the many thousands who already have.

Nothing to bring comfort to families when they’re having to pay more and more to put food on the table.

Nothing to bring comfort to our young people who are being stripped of the right to live, work, and study in 27 other countries. 

Nothing to bring comfort to our NHS, on the cusp of yet another winter crisis, and having lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years.

Nothing to bring comfort to the cancer patients who fear delays to drugs will mean delays to treatments and risks to their survival.

There is nothing in this Gracious Speech will give the 3 million European citizens any comfort.

Bina is with us today. A Dutch national who moved here in 1999.

After the birth of her second daughter, she decided to go self-employed. But despite paying her taxes just as she should, the Home Office asked her for proof after proof before finally granting her Settled Status.

Weeks of anxiety and uncertainty. Weeks of being treated like a second-class citizen in the place she calls home.

Jennifer is also with us today. Her daughter, now 38-years-old, was born in Strasbourg, severely disabled. In 1986, Jennifer moved her family to the UK where Marie could get far better care and education.

Marie has Settled Status now, because her mother was there to help. Her mother was there to make sure that her daughter’s rights were protected, that her family wasn’t split apart.

But there are so many other vulnerable EU citizens in our country who cannot rely on a family member or friend to help them through the application process.

And, last but not least, Kristin, my constituent, has travelled down with her mother to be with us today too.

Margot moved to the UK 45 years ago from Norway. Two years later, she married Geoff and then Kristin was born. After raising her family, Margot went back to work, paying her taxes every step of the way.

As required, Margot applied for Settled Status, but struggled to get her application approved.

Forty-five years of contributing to our society, our economy, and that’s how this government treated her: like a bureaucratic problem.

Causing unnecessary anxiety and fear to an elderly couple trying to enjoy their retirement years. Their family fearful they’ll be torn apart. 

Will the Prime Minister have the courage to look Kristin, Margot, Bina and Jennifer in the eye and apologise for the anxiety he has caused them and the 3 million other citizens from the EU 27?

Our country is better than this: we don’t turn our back on those who have come over to be our doctors, nurses, teachers and carers.

We don’t turn our back on our family, friends and loved ones.

We don’t turn our back on those who like the rest of us only want to make our country a better place. That’s not who we are.

There shouldn’t even be a Queen’s Speech.

Mr Speaker, there’s little more British than putting on our glad rags and taking part in pomp and circumstance.

But there is a time and place for that. Today was not it.

Today is a distraction from the fact that our country is fast hurtling towards catastrophe.

That the Prime Minister is more interested in hanging on to power at any price than what is best for our country. 

This hard-line Brexit government has no majority, no plan, no clue and is putting the future of our great country at risk.

Mr Speaker, the benches opposite are clamouring for a General Election, and we’re ready to give them one.

All they need to do is sign a simple letter and secure an extension to Article 50.

I’ve said this before in this House, and I’ll say it again. I relish the opportunity to take on the Prime Minister in a General Election.

And I cannot wait to take to the country the positive alternative vision that people deserve.

A vision for a country where if you work hard and play by the rules, you are rewarded with a decent home and enough to get by and live with dignity.

Where every child and young person is nurtured and supported to become whatever they want to be, no matter who their parents are, how much money they have, or the colour of their skin.

And where the most vulnerable among us can always get the help they need, with no judgement or sanction.

Mr Speaker, we know our country is better than what this Government wants it to be.

I know that we can be open, generous and collaborative. And I know our politics can be one of hope and inclusion, firmly set on the better future we want to create.

But all this Government wants to do is turn us into an insular, closed and selfish country. Trading in fear and division to get their way.

That’s what this Queen’s Speech is all about. And that’s why the Liberal Democrats will not be voting for it. 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The best campaigns are built on personal stories

by Henry Mcmorrow on Sat, 12 Oct 2019

Our experience has taught us that the best campaigns are built on personal stories.

They give an emotional and personal connection beyond cold, hard facts.

So to help our campaign to stop Brexit succeed, we have a very specific request.

Can you tell us how Brexit is personally affecting you and your family?

We want to hear from you if: your medication has already been delayed; you’re a business owner, worried about supply chains or staffing or you work in the NHS and you’re worried of the impact on patient care… to name but a few!

So, will you share your story?

How is Brexit affecting you

We may want to use your stories at events, in our literature and online – please do indicate which ones you’d be comfortable with on the page.

Remember, the most impactful stories are those that are personal – those aspects of Brexit that will directly affect you and your family – not opinions and views, so please bear this in mind when making your submission.

Thank you for all you do.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Why get a postal vote?

by Claire Halliwell on Sat, 12 Oct 2019

Parliament is in deadlock and we are preparing for a GE to be held soon. The Liberal Democrats will go into any election campaigning to win, fighting for our place in the European Union, where we can work internationally to tackle the Climate Emergency. 

Help us make that happen.

Be ready to vote for the Lib Dems by registering for a postal vote now. 

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have proved they are not fit for office. Now is the time for Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to take centre stage.

Organising a postal vote is a brilliant way of supporting us, it means your vote can be cast in advance of polling day in your own time. 

It means that if you are campaigning with us on polling day, you know your vote is already in the bag. 

And even if you aren’t, it means that our campaigners have one less door to knock on on polling day. 

After every election I speak to people who planned to vote but couldn't in the end because something came up on the day - they got ill or were away unexpectedly. But when the country is teetering on the brink of another General Election, I don’t want you to miss out.

The next general election will dictate the course of our country, at a chaotic and busy time, it is important to make sure your vote is counted. 

We are expected to make significant gains across the country as we build on our recent electoral success. Having made strides in the local and European elections, we continue to stand up for an open, inclusive and progressive UK in the upcoming General Election.

You can be part of this movement to bring liberal values back to British politics. 

Simply fill in the form and send it to your local council to be added to the postal vote list. 

Get your postal vote

Thank you!

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

What’s the role of Party President?

by Mark Pack on Sat, 12 Oct 2019

Probably the most common question I’ve had so far in this campaign is ‘what’s the role of President?’ It’s an important question because it gets to the heart of what we need to do to be more successful in our ambition to build a fair, free and open society, as it says in our constitution.

One part of the role – being the voice of the grassroots in the room with the party leadership – is one all previous Presidents have taken seriously. But what else they do with the role has varied depending on the circumstances.

Right now, with a new party leader, a new deputy leader and a growing Parliamentary Party, it would be a missed opportunity to see the role of President as another media spokesperson for the party. In our MPs, Peers and our excellent cadre of PPCs we have a great team of those already – and we need them to get all the coverage they can.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Candidates standing for the Federal Conference Committee

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 11 Oct 2019

The Candidates standing for Federal Board

by Liberal Democrats on Thu, 10 Oct 2019

Hear from Christine Jardine

by Christine Jardine on Wed, 09 Oct 2019

Waiting for the outcome of the nomination count for Party President felt a wee bit like that scene from The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon explains about Schrodinger’s Cat.

You know, where as long as the box is closed the cat is both dead and alive?  

The relief when they cat was actually alive, and I was nominated, was huge!  

Now of course is when the work really starts in listening to what you want from your new President, and whether I fit the bill.  

Over the past few years I’ve had a chance to see the role of President close up. I have no illusions about how much work is involved, or what it will take to continue to build the wide movement we all want.  

But I also know how important it is that the membership has a strong, clear, effective voice. A president who speaks for the members, but more importantly, one who listens to what they want and communicates that to the leadership.  

We have a fantastic team at HQ with so many bright, capable people working to fulfil our vision for the party whether it’s in campaigns, fundraising, policy or the press team. 

I see the President’s role there as facilitating what they do.  

Not directing the operation, after all they are the ones with the expertise, but supporting and making sure that they have what they need from the party infrastructure.  

The new chief executive will run the party day to day. I would be there to oversee.  

Most of all I see the President as the link between the members, the staff, the parliamentarians and the public.  

Communication is the key, both within the party and to the outside world.  

If we are going to build a grassroots movement, we have to reach the voters and convince them that we have something to offer.  

We have to create a movement, with a goal and an image that they believe in and want to be part of.  

In the third decade of the 21st Century that will mean mass communication on TV, radio and online.  

As president I think I will have the skills and the platform to convey our message there.  

As the party grows we will increasingly be talking about a national message.

Talking to the country with one voice, as well as to our individual constituencies, both geographic and social.    

We have to use that national exposure to add a new string to our bow. Or rather, return to a string we played well in the past. 

There will always be an important role for our hugely successful door to door grassroots campaigning and delivering.  

But in a General Election we can reach so many more people with an effective social media, TV and radio presence.  

Take an average nightly regional or national new programme like Reporting Scotland. Six hundred thousand people watch it every night.  

When I worked there, Jim Wallace and Charles Kennedy, who was President at the time, were on constantly. We won 15 seats in the Scottish Parliament and had 11 MPs in Scotland because the public heard what we had to say in an effective media message.

And it wasn’t just in Scotland; it worked across the country when Simon was President, they used their existing platform and built a bigger profile as President.  

That’s what I want to do.  

But as well as having a message, we have to make it an attractive proposition to be a member. We need to encourage the people who don’t just want to do something good and make a contribution.  

We need to convince people to see us as a long-term investment and something to be part of and get something from.   

It’s not just about a quick vote and move on. I want people to put down roots in this party.  

I want to make them feel welcome. Make it clear that as members they have a President who will listen to what they say and make sure it gets to the people who need to hear it.  

I want to be a President who listens and then gets it done.  

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Heidi Allen: Why I joined the Liberal Democrats

by Heidi Allen on Mon, 07 Oct 2019

When I became an MP in 2015, I could never have imagined we would find ourselves in this position. Through the prudent and practical decisions taken during the coalition years, the economy was recovering and our country was on the up.

Coming from business, joining the Conservative Party seemed the logical thing to do. But two general elections and an EU referendum later, the landscape has shifted beyond all recognition.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Heidi Allen joins the Liberal Democrats

by Jo Swinson on Mon, 07 Oct 2019

I am delighted to announce that Heidi Allen has joined the Liberal Democrats.

I’m delighted to welcome Heidi to the party. She has been a tireless campaigner for a people’s vote and has time and time again put the country’s interests ahead of her own.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Give us seat feedback

by Claire Halliwell on Sun, 06 Oct 2019

Here are the people standing in the party's internal elections

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 04 Oct 2019

We have a fantastic slate of candidates who have received enough nominations to stand for one of our party committees. Find out who is standing here, and our commiserations to everyone who didn't make it.

President

(1 post up for election)

  • Christine Jardine
  • Mark Pack

Federal Board

(15 posts up for election)

  • Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett
  • Alice Thomas
  • Alistair Bigos
  • Anita Lower
  • April Preston
  • Ben Nutland
  • Candy Piercy
  • Caron Lindsay
  • Christine Cheng
  • David Buxton
  • David Craddock
  • David Simpson
  • Elaine Bagshaw
  • Garth Shephard
  • Gerald Vernon-Jackson
  • Graham Neale
  • Humaira Sanders
  • James Gurling
  • Johnny Corbett
  • Josephine Hayes
  • Joyce Onstad
  • Kishan Devani
  • Lisa-Maria Bornemann
  • Luke Cawley-Harrison
  • Neil Fawcett
  • Prue Bray 
  • Rachelle Shepherd Dubey
  • Becky Forrest
  • Roisin Miller
  • Ross Pepper
  • Ross Stalker
  • Ruby Chow
  • Simon Clarke
  • Simon McGrath
  • Theo Butt Philip
  • Zulfiqar Ali

Federal Conference Committee

(12 posts up for election)

  • Adam Bernard
  • Bex Scott
  • Cara Jenkinson
  • Chris Adams
  • Chris Maines
  • Liz Lynne
  • Geoff Payne
  • Joe Otten
  • John Bridges
  • Jon Ball
  • Joseph Toovey
  • Keith Melton
  • Nick da Costa
  • Rachelle Shepherd Dubey
  • Simon Pike
  • Toby Keynes

Federal Policy Committee

(15 posts up for election)

  • Adam Corlett
  • Adam Pilarski
  • Alisdair Calder McGregor
  • Alistair Bigos
  • Alyssa Gilbert
  • Andrew Haldane
  • Aria Babu
  • Belinda Brooks-Gordon
  • Catherine Royce
  • Christa Wiggin
  • Christine Cheng
  • Dennis Pain
  • Duncan Brack
  • Elizabeth Jewkes
  • Gareth Shelton
  • Garth Shephard
  • Gerry Jerome
  • Helen Cross
  • Henrietta Bewley
  • Humaira Sanders
  • Jeremy Hargreaves
  • Johnny Corbett
  • Keith Melton
  • Mark Platt
  • Martha Okigbo
  • Michael Berwick-Gooding
  • Michael Kilpatrick
  • Mohsin Khan
  • Nigel Quinton
  • Oliver Craven
  • Paul Noblet
  • Peter Handford-Styring
  • Rachelle Shepherd Dubey
  • Richard Cole
  • Robert Harrison
  • Ryan Mercer
  • Sally Burnell
  • Susan Juned
  • Tara Copeland
  • Zulfiqar Ali

Federal International Relations Committee

(6 posts up for election)

  • David Chalmers
  • David Hall
  • Doreen Huddart
  • Farshid Sadr-Hashemi
  • Garth Shephard
  • Gary McLelland
  • George Cunningham
  • Hannah Bettsworth
  • Humaira Sanders
  • Iain Smith
  • Jonathan Fryer
  • Mark Valladares
  • Paul Reynolds
  • Philippa Leslie-Jones
  • Phillip Bennion
  • Robert Woodthorpe Browne
  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor
  • Zulfiqar Ali

Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe Council

(6 posts up for election)

  • Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett
  • Andrew Mackinlay
  • Belinda Brooks-Gordon
  • Bob Blezzard
  • David Chalmers
  • Florence Mele
  • George Cunningham
  • Hannah Bettsworth
  • John Elsom
  • Jonathan Fryer
  • Joyce Onstad
  • Luigi Bille
  • Mark Valladares
  • Merlene Emerson
  • Peter Price
  • Phillip Bennion
  • Robert Woodthorpe Browne
  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor

English Party Representative to Federal Board

(1 posts up for election)

  • Lisa-Maria Bornemann
  • Ruby Chow

Want to know more? Our internal election hub has everything you need to know: 

Visit now

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Too many homeless people are dying on our streets

by Layla Moran on Tue, 01 Oct 2019

This morning, the Office for National Statistics published a shocking set of figures. They show that 726 homeless people died in 2018 – a 22% increase since 2017.

This is an epidemic that is claiming far too many lives, and the Conservative Government is completely failing to get to grips with it.

This is an epidemic that is claiming far too many lives

We must protect the most vulnerable people in our society, but instead the Tories are sitting on their hands.

Their “out of sight, out of mind” mentality needs to stop now. People are dying, and we need to take a more compassionate approach to end this homelessness crisis.

The Liberal Democrats demand better.

We need to scrap the Vagrancy Act. It’s a cruel, Dickensian law that criminalises people just for sleeping rough.

That’s why I have brought forward a Private Members’ Bill that would repeal it.

The Vagrancy Act is a cruel, Dickensian law

The Government should be helping vulnerable people out of homelessness, not fining them and locking them up.

The Liberal Democrats will build the social housing and provide the support people need. That’s how we can prevent rough sleeping and stop people dying on our streets.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Black History Month

by Jo Swinson on Tue, 01 Oct 2019

Black History Month is a time to focus our national attention on the history and legacy of black British communities. Each year it is an opportunity to acknowledge the central role that black people have played in transforming the social, political and economic landscape of our country.

Let us empower the next generation of activists and trailblazers and do all we can to ensure that their achievements will never be absent from the history books.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Rosh Hashanah

by Jo Swinson on Sun, 29 Sep 2019

At sunset today, Jewish communities in the UK will come together to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. For the millions observing, this is a time of self-examination, reflection and personal change.

For the millions observing, this is a time of self-examination, reflection and personal change.

For decades, British Jewish communities have profoundly shaped our culture and national way of life. Our country wouldn’t be the success it is today without their ongoing and immeasurable contributions.

Sadly, the pervasiveness of anti-Semitic sentiments is something we cannot ignore. And it is particularly concerning when these attitudes seep into the political mainstream, as witnessed recently. It is our duty to stand up to those who seek to forment and provoke division of any kind. We each have a responsibility to be custodians of kindness and compassion and we must vow to always stand up to the forces of bigotry and hate.

To those celebrating, I wish you a happy and healthy new year. Shana Tova!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

An Overview of the English Party

by Tahir Maher on Sat, 28 Sep 2019

Introduction

The Liberal Democrats are a Federal Party comprising England, Scotland and Wales with all their powers defined by the Party’s Constitution.  This principle embodies one of our most deeply held core values, which is our belief in the devolution of power to the most appropriate level.

Consequently, the separation of power between the Federal and State parties is enshrined in the Constitution, and can only be varied with the agreement of Federal Conference and the Conferences and Conventions of all three state parties.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →