What’s the role of Liberal Democrat Party President?

Here’s the latest piece I’ve done for the party website on my pitch to be the next President of the Liberal Democrats.

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.

The world outside Westminster

What the President can do, however, is what MPs and Peers cannot. Be one step back from the Westminster bubble. Be one step back from the 24-hour news cycle.

A President who is not a member of Parliament will be more able to remain focused on the party’s strategy and organisation. They will be able to work with the Chief Executive so that we give our Parliamentarians and everyone else in the party the best possible support.

Winning at all levels

Remember, building a fair, free and open society isn’t just about Parliament. It is also about wherever Liberal Democrats can be elected to office. Liberal Democrats have a long and proud tradition of leading in local government, and in our devolved governments, and the President needs to focus on their success too.

We need to win bigger in local government, in Mayoral and Police & Crime Commissioner elections, in the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, and in European elections, as well as in Westminster.

The right focus

What the President can do is always make sure we remember that: the bigger picture, the longer-term picture, one step away from intense pressures of the Palace of Westminster.

That will be my focus. If you elect me, this will be my only role in the party.

I’ll be absolutely dedicated to getting our organisation and strategy right to support everyone from Jo through to our newest supporter. That way, we’ll win more power and make our country more liberal and democratic.

You can find out more about my five-point plan for transforming the party into a consistently winning force, and my track record of securing change within the party at  www.markpack.org.uk/president.

3 responses to “What’s the role of Liberal Democrat Party President?”

  1. I understand that you would be the Chief Executive’s line manager, but I’m interested in how you would see yourself working with the CE and the Leader to avoid falling over each other and creating confusion

  2. Hi Mark, your newswire articles and number crunching have been great to follow over the years I’ve been subscribed and you clearly practise what you preach on communication so will almost certainly have my vote.

    However it seems to me that the glaring black hole in party engagement is the closed door approach to policy making. What I mean by that is the fact that only those who are able to take the time and spend the money to get to conference get a say on policy. I find this to be incredibly exclusive and as much as a realise that it is tradition and that all the parties do it that way I cannot see why it has to be the case, other than to give a feel good factor for those who are able to attend. If elections can be held for party positions online I can see no reason why key votes can’t be subject to electronic polls, and for the policy announcements to be made a few days after the conference. It is something I would very much like to see changed or discussed because as it stands it simply is not inclusive nor fair. Particularly for those of us who for whatever reason cannot attend.


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