Political

Meet the 15 people running the Lib Dem elections review

An impressive panel of 15 people is investigating the lessons from the general and European elections for the Liberal Democrats.

They are a mix of people with extensive experience of election campaigning in the UK (but not involved in the decision-making last year), a colleague from a sister liberal party outside the UK and people with relevant expertise from outside the Lib Dems on how organisations should be run and decisions made, such as the former CEO of a German multi-national.

I’ve previously covered the appointment of Dorothy Thornhill to head up the independent review into the general and European elections. Quick pen-portraits of her fourteen colleagues have now been added to the party website:

Carole Ford I joined in 2015 and since then have stood as a council, Scottish parliament and GE candidate. I am the Scottish spokesperson on Children and Young People, and the national Policy Convener.
Rhys Taylor I’ve been a member of the party since 2008, elected as a councillor in 2017 and have previously been a candidate for Welsh Assembly elections and was a candidate in the December election.
Annelou Van Egmond Responsible for strategy, operations and finance which grew vote share from 2% to over 15% for political party Democrats 66 (The Netherlands). Since 2017 Vice-President of ALDE, supporting member parties while preparing for their campaigns through training and sharing of good practices & data, and runs a strategic communication company that specialising in spokesmanship for cabinet ministers and CEOs.
Juergen Maier Former CEO of Siemens UK. UK Industrialist and Government adviser. NED for the Department of BEIS under Vince Cable’s leadership 2014-16. Strong liberal values and responsible capitalist. Passionate about innovation led frontier industries leading a new prosperity revolution for our regions.
Ben Goodwin Stood as Broadland PPC in 2019. 17 years in the RAF, a fighter pilot with stints at the top level of the Ministry of Defence and NATO as a military assistant to the most senior military officer in both organisations.
Justin Ash A long time Liberal Democrat member and financial supporter with wide-ranging experience across a number of businesses.
David Howarth Joined the party in the 1970s, became a councillor, leader of the council, MP, and Electoral Commissioner, and is, professionally, Professor of Law and Public Policy at Cambridge
Roderick Lynch I came to the party in 2004 out of admiration of the work of Jonathon Hunt & Simon Hughes MP were doing in the London Borough of Southwark. Stood for Council elections in 2010. Nationally recognised Entrepreneur Businessman and Non-Exec. Been a local activist and donor. Chair of LDCRE fighting race inequality & diversity. LIB Dem FASC auditor. BAME Liberal to the core.
Sara Bedford A member and activist since student days 35 years ago, I have held posts at all levels of the party. I ‘m now the Leader of Three Rivers District Council and a ‘home and away’ campaigner.
Steve Jolly I joined the party (eventually) in 1998 and since then have had a myriad of roles, from deliverer, to branch chair to Head of National Campaigns for the Federal Party. Whilst I have been a paid staffer over the years, I’m now very much a volunteer activist.
Helena Cole I grew up in a Lib Dem household delivering my first Focus at 4, stood for Parliament in 2000 and am currently the Chair of FASC. Outside politics I am Finance Director in the defence industry with 20 years experience in accountancy.
Andrew Stunell Gained a seat on three different councils, ran ALDC for eight years, candidate in eight general elections, winning four, and in 2019 did posters, leaflets and door-knocking in a target seat. Election geek from the analogue age.
Shaffaq Mohammed Shaffaq Mohammed – Former PPC, Leader of the Lib Dems on Sheffield City Council, Councillor for Ecclesall ward in Sheffield Hallam. Qualified youth worker in Sheffield, helping young people into education and employment in some of the most deprived areas of the city. Former Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber 2019-2020.
Dorothy Thornhill I have been a party member since 1987, became a councillor, elected mayor, peer but have always regarded myself as a campaigner and not a party insider!
Elizabeth Desmond I am relatively new to politics having joined the party in 2016. In my day job, I am a business person and Deputy CEO of a global investment management business. Since joining, I have supported the HQ fundraising effort and campaigned locally for my PPC in the last two elections.

The team are running a consultation session at the York spring conference and I’m looking forward to them producing a rigorous and challenging report

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2 responses to “Meet the 15 people running the Lib Dem elections review”

  1. Thank you for the introductions. I wish them luck in examining our views when consulted, & look forward to learning of their recommendations for the way forward for future elections.

  2. This is an impressive review panel. We now need this group to look forward to how to win seats.

    Harking back is not an option – we all know what went wrong. Reviews from the Remain movement confirm the regional party assemblies’ findings. Just publish and move on.

    It is time to move forward whilst Labour is in disarray and before they do. Bullying and anti Semitism will remain their problem and will undermine them. The Conservatives have begun to self-destruct. Being in denial about the loss of international reputation leaving the EU; absenting themselves from the climate crisis whilst Worcestershire and Herefordshire come to a standstill and the Minister saying he doesn’t think we can save every home (inland – tough ask if several metres of sea rises on the coast); losing a Chancellor just before a budget is a small matter – putting an unelected bureaucrat ahead of an elected MP and principal secretary makes a mockery of the Leave Campaign. Holding them to account and recruiting as people wake will be a pleasure. When can we start?

    To win an election will never be enough to secure a range of parties that people see represent their view – the present system is gladiatorial and turning 21st century society into something nasty with the money and media in this government’s hands. First we must win two thirds of the parliament with like minded democrats who believe that nobody’s vote must be wasted. Going round and round beating ourselves up won’t do. Whether it is from the decade old political outsmarting by the Tories on student loans to today’s 4.6 million voters whose votes were wasted, what has to happen for us to look ahead to winning and planning the tactics needed to fulfil that strategy? 2nd and 3rd are options when we have a fair share of MPs representing our voters in the chamber.

    Besides Elizabeth Desmond’s joining to show us that fundraising is the next first step to scale… What are we going to do to encourage our December voter to become a member to make their vote count and recruit like minded friends and family members, donors and businesses with the same ethics we share? And when?

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