Massive churn rate in Liberal Democrat committee elections

One of the persistent myths about the elections for the national committees which (try to) run the Liberal Democrats is that ‘the same old faces keep on getting elected’. It’s a myth that comes with an obvious warning sign to the savvy: the absence of evidence.

The truth, revealed if you do the maths, is in fact the opposite – churn rates of around half the elected posts, which means if anything we should worry about how high they are, not how low they are.

This time round, the electorate was expanded to all party members and yes, the myth has been spotted in the wild once more. But what does the evidence say – has the new electorate made it true?

  • Federal Board (previously Federal Executive): of the 15 elected in 2014, 40% were elected again in 2016
  • Federal Conference Committee: of the 12 elected in 2014, 42% were elected again in 2016
  • Federal Policy Committee: of the 15 elected in 2014, 20% were elected again in 2016
  • Federal International Relations Committee: of the 5 elected in 2014, 80% were elected again in 2016
  • ALDE Delegation: the results have not yet been published so no calculation possible yet

The conclusion then, is that the myth is still a myth. There’s definitely a lesson in there about particularly needing to encourage people to take part, both as voters (its turnout was also lower) and candidates, in the future Federal International Relations Committee contests. But look across the other three and that’s not a picture of the same old faces dominating. If anything, the challenge FPC will now face is how few old faces it has and how easy it will be for institutional knowledge over key matters such as running a manifesto process to be lost

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