Help! I’ve been selected for Parliament. What do I do next?

There’s a whole set of advice, support and training available for any Liberal Democrat member who wants to become a Parliamentary candidate. Once you are selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC – a piece of jargon explained here), however, it all rather drops away unless you are in a target seat.

So here are my nine tips (updated from an earlier list of eight) on what to do immediately after you’ve been selected.

  1. Congratulate yourself: being a PPC can be difficult, tiring and arduous. It’s also a brilliant service to the party and to liberalism, with a good chance of having fun and success along the way. You’ve done great to be selected and you’ve got a chance to work wonders with your team.
  2. Get an election agent lined-up: they are your key colleague; agents need (prospective) candidates and (prospective) candidates need agents. The sooner the better, especially as that gives you both more time to learn how best to work with each other and how to do your respective roles. Speaking of which…
  3. Get a copy of the latest edition of the general election agents manual: available via the party and also if you email me a photo of yourself holding your membership card.
  4. Update your online biographies: Twitter, Facebook, website, wherever you or the local party is mentioned in a brief bit of profile/about text, add in your new existence as a PPC. (This may sound obvious step, but I often find when I’m checking news about a new PPC something has been missed out, such as them not having updated their own Twitter bio.)
  5. Tell the sites which list candidates: Make sure correct contact information and basic biographical information are on the main websites profiling candidates, especially www.LibDems.org.uk (by emailing candidates@libdems.org.uk), WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk and DemocracyClub.org.uk
  6. Tell the local media: levels of press interest in PPC selections vary hugely, but a local press release can also easily be adapted for use with a local Lib Dem website, an email to members and so on. Get one done, out and up. Ping it over to me too, and I’ll give you a bit of coverage on this site and social media.
  7. Join the best Facebook support groups: I’d particularly recommend Lib Dem CampaignersLib Dem Newbies and the official Parliamentary Candidates group run by HQ. There’s also the support available via the party website.
  8. Make sure you understand the two-way relationship involved in targeting: talk of the need to support the party’s targeting policy will become increasingly intense as polling day nears, so make sure you understand what it’s all about.
  9. And of course, there’s a certain book I could recommend…

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