Political

An ambitious set of plans for the Lib Dems, including a leadership election

Here’s the email going out from me to party members today:

Last week, we published the frank independent review into the 2019 general election. It rightly received plaudits in the media for its candour.

This review challenges us to change as a party and to change the country for the better.

We now need to get on with that work – and that’s what we’ve done with a set of key decisions by your Federal Board.

We’ve set a timetable for electing our next party leader – running from June through to August. With the widespread use of online hustings and online voting, we can make this work even if some elements of the lockdown are still in force. What’s more, with online hustings we can experiment much more with formats, topics and ways for members to get involved.

That new leader will be in place in time for our autumn conference – which we’ve confirmed we want to run online in the biggest event of its sort in British politics. There are some important details to sort about what will be technically possible. But we’re aiming big, including speeches, policy, training and fringe meetings. We want more members than ever before to take part in our annual showcase.

We also need to get our strategy right and in a democratic, grassroots-led party that means it needs to be driven by our members. So we’ll shortly be kicking off a consultation, which will then feed into detailed strategy work when we have our new leader in place. (They may have a thing or two to say on that too!)

We’ve also agreed on the next steps in improving the party’s technology – a vital task to give us the modern tools we need and to give you more ways to get involved and stay informed. The first project will be around the party’s website, and we’ll then be consulting widely on the steps after that.

Alongside all that, we won’t be forgetting last week’s review. The Board has commissioned a detailed implementation plan and will be regularly returning to the topic. It’s vital we get this right.

All in, this is an ambitious plan of work – electing a new leader, our biggest ever conference, involving you in a new strategy and modernising our systems.

But as the election review showed, it’s what we need to do.

Get it right, and our future can be bright.

Best wishes,

Mark

In addition, here’s more detail on the conference plans in a joint note from Geoff Payne (Chair, Federal Conference Committee) and myself:

We’re going to be pathbreakers this autumn – with the biggest online conference in British politics to take the place of our traditional seaside event in September.

This innovation will not only let us continue with our much-cherished conference even in the face of coronavirus. It will also give us an opportunity to experiment with new ways of involving members.

There are some important details to sort about what will be technically possible. But we’re aiming big, including speeches, policy, training and fringe meetings. We want more members than ever before to take part in our annual showcase.

It will run around the same time as we’d previously booked for our conference, though exact timings as yet to be fixed as we will look at the best times of day to schedule key events so the rhythm of the conference may be different from what we’re all used to.

Many thanks to everyone on the conference committee and in the conference office who have worked really hard to put together a workable plan for this.

Watch out for more details to come as we finalise the details.

We hope also that the systems we use may be available for other parts of the party to try out for their own events.

Geoff Payne, FCC Chair
Mark Pack, Party President

 

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6 responses to “An ambitious set of plans for the Lib Dems, including a leadership election”

  1. As a party, we’re quite good about staging major consultations with our members. We’re crap about following that through in a systematic and sustained way: so the end result of a lot of time spent is not very much. Let’s hope this is different.

  2. Simon, we have new people at the top now, so of course it will be different… and especially so when we have our new Leader in place.
    Well done, Federal Board, my membership of the Party will now continue(I wasn’t sure until now)

  3. One thing now that can and must be different is that we must stop trying to be like the two old parties. We must show our radical liberalism and show who we really are.. we must go back to the Charles Kennedy point that we are not to the left of the one lot nor to the right of the other lot, we are out in front! And if we can’t take enough seats to form a government alone(and bring in electoral reform) then we look to individuals across the spectrum to join with us to reform the country.
    No time like the present, especially when there is an almost universal desire to find a new normal. Lets make sure we personify that new normal.

  4. Mark, you’re on record defending the decision to delay the election to 2021 in multiple places. Having the President and FB flip wildly from one position to the polar opposite in a short amount of time looks much more like panic than anything else.

    I appreciate that most members just want to erase the word “acting” from the current leadership’s nameplate, but given the overwhelming theme of the election report was as a condemnation of the persistant institutional dysfunction of the LDs due to an addiction to proceedural solution to everything, this is a severely concerning development.

    I suspect that I’m not the only person who feels like this.

    Add in the obvious problem with legitimacy for any new leader elected in extra-ordinary circumstances like these…

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