The Blue Wall’s role in triggering Brexit: LDN #164

Liberal Democrat Newswire #164 came out last week, including the role of the Blue Wall in triggering Brexit, why I’m running for re-election as Liberal Democrat Federal Party President, what the latest polls say, and more.

You can now read the updated version in full below, but if you’d like the convenience of getting it direct by email in future just sign up for it here.

Since I sent out this month’s Lib Dem Newswire I’ve had quite a few questions about the party’s big round of once-every-three-years internal elections. So here are the key links:

As I mention below, I’m running for re-election as Federal Party President. If you haven’t yet, you can nominate me online here – and I’d be very grateful if you do!

An update too on something I reported on in my November 2021 report back to party members. Treating our staff well is part of being a professional, effective organisation and is a priority of mine. We’ve made changes like providing those who work out of our London HQ a massively improved office, one that is now actually pleasant to work in.

Regrettably, last year the Federal Board had to vote to remove a Board member from one of our meetings because of their behaviour towards a member of staff. The Federal Appeals Panel has just published its ruling on this case, and it upheld the decision of the Board to act. I hope this reassures both staff and members that the party is committed to providing staff with a professional working experience with us.

Below also you’ll find the full September edition of Lib Dem Newswire, in case you haven’t yet had a chance to read it.


I was hoping to be meeting many readers in person at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, but this had to be cancelled following the death of the Queen. (See the explanation here and information about hotel and travel refunds here.)

Also, it’s a little change from the usual monthly newsletter this time, with the news that I’m going to be re-standing for Party President in our internal elections which kicked off this week.

Read on to find out why… and if you think another three years of me is a good idea, please do reply to this email to let me know and also nominate me online.

You will need to give your name and your email address – ideally the one to which you usually receive party emails. You will then receive an email to confirm that your request has been received, shortly followed by an email containing your nomination code and a link to make your nomination. Click on the link, enter or copy and paste your nomination code. Confirm your email address. Select Mark Pack for President from the drop down menu – note that all federal positions are up for nomination so you have to scroll a fair bit. (Nominations are all being done online only for this election and I need 200 members from 20 different local parties to nominate me.)

Likewise, do hit reply if you’ve got any questions for me.

Best wishes,


P.S. If you missed it, last time’s edition – “How to persuade voters to change their mind” – is available here, and my latest report back to party members – “What’s happening in the party? September update“ is here.

The last three years…

Well… the last three years certainly weren’t what I was expecting when I ran for Party President in 2019. The result of the general election that year, and then the Covid lockdowns, produced many unexpected challenges.

But all through it, I’ve stayed focused on the priorities that I set out back then:

  • Supporting our grassroots campaigning

  • Investing in our data and technology

  • Improving our record on diversity and inclusion

  • Getting our finances right

  • And, most importantly, ensuring that the voice of party members is heard in all our key decision making

I’ve been in the very unusual situation that in some ways lockdown made my role easier. It’s possible to do a couple of local party Zoom calls all around the country in an evening and still be done and at home by 9pm. So much easier than the midnight return on the last train from having done just the one event in an evening!

There have been big, difficult decisions to get right – and I’ve been lucky to have a fantastic team of colleagues, both volunteers and staff, to work with. Anything I’ve achieved has been as part of a team working with others.

We made the difficult budget decisions in 2019 that allowed the party to invest in its largest field team of campaign staff all around the country. Our HQ staff team is now better supported, better managed and producing the best results I’ve ever seen.

We’ve modernised our governance structures, moving from a Board of 41 to a new Board of 16, coming into force with this year’s round of internal elections. The post of Vice President responsible for working with ethnic minority communities has been enhanced, now being elected by members and will be a full voting member of the new Board.

We’re moving over to a new, and much improved, website and email system for local parties, giving campaigners the best tools – and keeping the costs for smaller local parties as low as possible.

And there are the results to show for it. Three years ago, questions about our federal party HQ operation in local party Zoom calls were dominated by ‘why isn’t X better?’. Not everything is perfect now, and there’s more to do, but now it’s more common to hear people praising something they’ve seen from our HQ team.

I know party members took a bit of a punt on electing someone who hadn’t been a Parliamentarian as our President. Thank you for taking that punt, and I hope I’ve showed the benefits of having a President who is one step removed from the gravitational pull of the Westminster bubble, able to keep our attention on the wider picture of what we need to do to succeed at all levels.

And the next three…

After the last three years, I hesitate a little to predict politics in the next three… but I’m pretty sure of two things.

One, there will be a general election. All that we’ve started to get right since 2019 needs to be maintained and enhanced for the big test of another Westminster general election. Plus if that results in a hung Parliament, the President will have a crucial role in ensuring the voice of party members from all around the country is properly heard as we decided what to do.

But also, there will be much more to the next three years than just that election. There will be many elections at other levels too. We need to prosper in those, both for their importance in their own right – and the power to improve people’s lives – and for the part each election can play in our growth as a party.

It’s great that there are now as many Liberal Democrat majority councils as there were before we went into coalition in 2010. We need to ensure that over the next three years, we return to – and exceed – our 2010 benchmark in other ways too. We need more Liberal Democrat councillors, more Liberal Democrat members of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd, and more Liberal Democrat Mayors and members of the London Assembly. Not all of those are up for election in the next three years, but for all of them the better we run the party in that time, the better our chances of success.

We need a growing party, and one that is a welcoming and safe home for the full diversity of our party membership. An essential part of campaigning for equality in society is for us to show that in how we operate among ourselves.

That all means keeping our eye on the long-term, making sure we continue to make progress on those longer-term factors that are all so easy and tempting to put to one side in the immediate dash for the next polling day.

That’s why I’d like the chance to be your President again. We’ve seen how getting things right can help us win in the last three years. Now let’s do it again for the next three. It is, you might even say, a record of action and a promise of more…

It would be great if you’re happy to support my re-election. Just hit reply to this email to let me know, and you can nominate me online. You will need to give your name and your email address – ideally the one to which you usually receive party emails.

You will then receive an email to confirm that your request has been received, shortly followed by an email containing your nomination code and a link to make your nomination. Click on the link, enter or copy and paste your nomination code. Confirm your email address. Select Mark Pack for President from the drop down menu – note that all federal positions are up for nomination so you have to scroll a fair bit. (Nominations are all being done online only for this election and I need 200 members from 20 different local parties to nominate me.)

This above is promoted and published on behalf of Mark Pack by Pete Dollimore, both at 96 Uxbridge Road, Hayes, UB4 0JH. Printed (dispatched) by MailChimp, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Suite 5000, Atlanta, GA 30308 USA.

Hospitals with dangerous roofs: Lib Dems in the news

Ed Davey paid tribute to the Queen in Parliament, having previously reacted to the new Prime Minister’s energy cap policy.

Daisy Cooper has discovered that 34 hospital buildings in England have roofs that could collapse. Alistair Carmichael has been taking the government to task over its Rwanda asylum policy.

Bonuses for water bosses in England were up 20% last year despite sewage failures – and Richard Foord isn’t happy at all. Our treasured shellfish, prawn, crayfish, lobsters and crabs, are the forgotten victims of this environmental scandal, says Tim Farron.

Liz Truss has been reported to an official watchdog by Wendy Chamberlain for ‘breaking ministerial code’ over grace-and-favour mansion. Jane Dodds is campaigning for employers to help raise cervical cancer screening rates.

Vince Cable reveals he had a stroke when Liberal Democrat leader, and he also has a new book out about how to be a politician.

Since I became leader, I’ve been having the time of my life: Alex Cole-Hamilton writes for the Edinburgh Evening News.

A Lib Dem council poised to trial a four-day week for staff. The leader of Somerset County Council is aiming to make the county a better place to live and work.

Congratulations to Sal Brinton on becoming the next ambassador for The Rainbow Platform, a pan-European LGBTQI+ campaign group.

PODCAST: It was the Blue Wall, not the Red Wall, that triggered Brexit

Podcast favourite Tim Bale has a new book out about how Brexit happened – both why the referendum was called and then why it was lost. Discussing his book on the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts we get into how the real trigger of Brexit was the Blue Wall, not the Red Wall. Take a listen to find out why…

Take a listen here.

🎧Find all the episodes of Never Mind The Bar Charts here and sign up for an email notification each time a new episode appears here.

📱 Follow Never Mind The Bar Charts on Twitter, give feedback and send in questions or ideas for future shows at @barchartpodcast.

Political come back for the tractor porn ex-MP?

In case you missed them first time, here are a selection of posts from my websites since last time:

“I won’t vote Tory again”: how water crisis is hitting the Conservatives in the Blue Wall.

Sewage dumping monitors missing or broken on a huge scale.

Political come back for the tractor porn ex-MP?

Leave.EU goes into liquidation, leaving debt to data regulator.

Is this the best ballot paper description this year?

Latest from The Week in Polls

Just before she became Prime Minister, I took a look at what the polls say about Liz Truss’s chances of being a success or a failure. Read about it in The Week in Polls here, where you can also sign up to get my weekly polling round up every Sunday.

What the polls are saying

Latest general election voting intention opinion polls

To give the latest figures some context, here’s the latest poll tracker graph from The i newspaper:

Poll tracker from The i

If you’d like to know more about what the polls are saying, how they work and when to trust – or ignore – them, check out my book Polling UnPacked: the history, uses and abuses of political opinion polls or my new weekly round-up ‘The Week in Polls’.

East Riding makes it a hat-trick of dramatic by-election gains

The Liberal Democrat team in East Riding are on quite a role, pulling off their third by-election gain from the Conservatives in recent months. It’s great to see what was one of our smaller local parties getting rolling with such impressive electoral progress.

For the details of this and all the other council by-elections since last time:

Although the Lib Dems continue to be the biggest net gainer of seats in by-elections since May, Labour’s performance against the Conservatives has noticeably improved, with gains no longer being a rarity. Full details here.

Elsewhere, Lib Dem councillors have switched to independents in Tunbridge Wells and in Denbigshire. [Update: apology, originally I also included by mistake a switch from the Conservatives to Lib Dems in Mole Valley but no-one had changed parties. Apologies for the error.]

To get the full council by-election results every week, sign up for my blog posts digest and to be prepared for a council by-election in your patch, see my 7-step guide to getting ready in advance.

Can you help?

Liberal Democrat Newswire is provided for free. Thank you so much to all the kind readers who donate to help cover its costs. It’s quick and easy to sign up for a small regular donation with your debit card using GoCardless:

Thank you! (Other donation options, including by PayPal or cheque, are here.)

Selection news

Parliamentary selections made public since last time include Sunny Virk in Tamworth, Vikki Slade in Mid Dorset and North Poole, Elizabeth Jewkes in Ellesmere Port & Neston, Rob Herd in City of Chester and a pair in Newcastle: Ali Avaei for Newcastle upon Tyne Central along with Aidan King for Newcastle upon Tyne North.

The party has also kicked off selections in several possible by-election seats, including Michael Gove’s.

The party is always in need of more volunteer Returning Officers to help run these selections. Do you know someone who might suit this role?

See all the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) selected and announced so far here. If you’ve spotted a selection I’ve missed and which is public, by all means hit reply and let me know.

And finally…

Here’s a great campaign idea from Liberal Democrats in Epsom.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, why not forward to a friend or let them know they can sign-up here for future editions?

Thank you and best wishes,


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