There’s a simple brutal fact about British politics: LDN #165

Liberal Democrat Newswire #165 came out last week,

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

I confess. After years of self-restraint and holding off retweeting that David Cameron 2015 quote about the choice being between the Conservatives and chaos, I finally weakened.

We’ve got both Conservatives and chaos, which is why, as I write below, we so need to change Britain’s political system.

Who’d have though that when I took up post as Liberal Democrat President at the start of 2020, we’d see three Conservative Prime Ministers before the term ended? I’m hoping, of course, that my term doesn’t come to an end quite yet as I’m running for re-election, on which more below too.

Ballots are due to go out on Tuesday 25 October, and the three official hustings are taking place in the next week. Register to attend and submit your questions here and you can sign up as a supporter of my campaign here. If you are a paid-up member and don’t get your ballot, contact returning.officer@libdems.org.uk

Best wishes,


P.S. If you missed it, last time’s edition – “The Blue Wall’s role in triggering Brexit” – is available here.

How to fix our broken politics

There’s a simple brutal fact about British politics. It’s that the Conservatives win two general elections out of three.

We’re not a conservative country when it comes to people’s views. We’re on a long-term, sustained liberalising trend. Nor are we a conservative country when it comes to vote shares in Westminster general elections.

But we are when it comes to seats in the House of Commons.

Which is why changing its voting system – getting a fair voting system that reflects the views of voters – is so important.

It’s also the route to achieving that long-term Liberal Democrat aim of getting the UK back into the European Union, and staying there. Because with the Conservatives winning two times in three, how welcoming do you think the rest of Europe would be to our return? They’d be worrying that if they agreed to let us back, they’ll just see us leave again a few years later, with all the chaos and confusion that would cause for them too.

With public support for electoral reform at a record high, and Labour Party conference having voted to support electoral reform, there’s a real chance to secure it, and to change our politics.

The crucial Liberal Democrat contribution to that is gaining seats at the next general election. The larger our voice in the House of Commons, the greater our power to ensure the Conservatives are out and to hold Labour to that commitment.

Which is why continuing to implement the lessons from what went wrong in 2019 is so important. That’s been my focus as Party President, and that’s why I’m running for re-election.

I’m not running to be our leader, our chief media spokesperson or to displace conference and our policy committee in our policy making. That would be a waste as we’ve already got people doing all of those things.

Rather, I’m running to concentrate on getting our organisation right.

We need a modern, professional party. One that welcomes diversity and in which staff, members and supporters can feel welcome, safe and supported. One that invests in providing the best data and technology to our campaigners. And one that combines the best of volunteers and staff into winning election campaigns, at all levels, right across the country.

If I’m re-elected, being President will continue to be my only role in the party, 100% concentrating on getting our organisation right so that party members and supporters get their support they have every right to expect.

We’ve seen things starting to come right. Two rounds of net gains in local elections. Continued gains in council by-elections. Three record-breaking Parliamentary by-election wins. The number of Lib Dem run councils back to where it was before coalition. But there is more to do.

My nightmare is that after the next election we have yet another election review which tells us we didn’t properly implement the last one. Avoiding that nightmare has been the task of the last three years, and with your support, it’ll continue to be so.

You can read more in my manifesto and see just some of the many colleagues who are backing me.

You can also donate to my campaign here.

Endorsements for Mark Pack

The Lib Dem plan for our country

My monthly report backs as President to party members appear on the AdLib section of the party website. Here’s my latest one.

It’s been quite remarkable just how quickly Liz Truss wrecked her own party’s popularity and her political career. There wasn’t even an initial polling honeymoon. It was straight on to full nightmare mode followed by swift exit.

But one thing she did get right in the carnage was that our country needs to change. Her version of change is wrong, but in opposing that we mustn’t become a party of the status quo.

Which makes the publication of the party’s policy paper For a Fair Deal particularly timely. It sets out our alternative vision. As the foreword says:

“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to elect a strong local champion who will fight for a fair deal for everyone.

“A fair deal that gives everyone the opportunity to get on in life, wherever they start.

“A fair deal that puts power in your hands, so you can do your bit – for your children, your community, your business and your environment.

“A fair deal that holds the powerful to account, to make sure they do their bit too. Where everyone plays by the same rules.

“That is the fair deal the Liberal Democrats are fighting for.”

You can read it in full here (though note that due to the Queen’s death, it has not yet been debated at party conference, and so has not yet been through the usual process of amendments).

The new party website is nearly here

You may have seen our new federal website coming together at beta.libdems.org.uk, including a revamped page setting out our party’s values.

It’s also now got the party’s latest UK press releases, making them much more easily accessible to members.

Alongside this site, we’re moving over to new website and email tools for local parties and other parts of our party. Behind these will be much improved data sharing and synchronisation, making it easier to ensure we’re reaching the right people, using our latest information about them – and slashing the number of dreaded spreadsheet uploads required. The upload of new electoral register data is now also working much more smoothly and quickly.

Congratulations to…

Liberal Democrat-run Eastleigh Council won ‘Council of the Year’ in the Association for Public Service Excellence’s 2022 awards. Many congratulations to council leader Keith House and the rest of the team.

Decade after decade, they’re combining that precious duo – improving the lives of their residents through high quality services while also winning council election after council election.

Welcome to…

Robert Laurence was elected by the Federal Board to replace Mike Tuffrey on the Federal Finance and Resources Committee (FFRC) after Mike stood down earlier in the year. Welcome to Robert and thank you Mike for all your work on FFRC, and in many other ways for the party too.

Meanwhile, a recount of the votes at the last election sees Simon Clarke join the Federal Board, replacing Jo Hayes, who has been expelled from the party.

It’s time for a general election: Lib Dems in the news

Ed Davey has been taking to the media to say that general election is the only way out of this Conservative nightmare. (Here’s the Lib Dem petition.)

Wendy Chamberlain had a great success in Parliament, getting the rules changed to stop MPs from voting on misconduct cases about themselves.

Jamie Stone has attacked the government over the 240 Afghans waiting more than six months for UK relocation. NHS waiting lists in Wales have hit three-quarters of a million as the health service is “brought to its knees” says Jane Dodds.

The new Liberal Democrat Cabinet in Stockport has had its 100 days milestone. Lib Dem run Hull City Council is funding police overtime to tackle crime hotspots and in Bath, thanks to the Lib Dems, the first new council homes in over 20 years will be ready this winter.

Tragically, Lib Dem councillor Caroline Page’s cancer was mistaken for long Covid. London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London. Lib Dem regional chair Kamran Hussain has won a criminal lawyer of the year award. Liberal Democrat and military expert Mike Martin has a new book, How to fight a war.

Former MP Simon Hughes is taking the owners of the Daily Mail to court.

PODCAST: Where next for British politics?

A nice easy question for me and Callum Robertson to chew over in the latest episode of Never Mind The Bar Charts.

Here’s what we made of it…

🎧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.

Latest Lib Dem Party Political Broadcasts

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

Watch the latest party political broadcast from England, Wales and Scotland.

No resignation honours for Liz Truss say Lib Dems.

🎊 Four Lib Dem councillors shortlisted in Cllr awards in England.

Lib Dem press releases now appearing on new party website.

One of my most quoted polling findings is no longer true.

A good fortnight for Lib Dem fundraising.

How previous Conservative voter databases went badly wrong.

🐶 Training a dog to find potholes.

Latest from The Week in Polls

Are British or American pollsters better? Find out in the latest edition of my weekly political polling round-up.

What the polls are saying

Latest general election voting intention opinion polls

To give the latest figures some context, here’s an up-to-date poll tracker graph:

Polling graph from Election Maps UK

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’.

Three near misses in council by-elections

Alongside a series of good holds in the last month’s principal authority council by-elections, and some welcome increases in candidate numbers, there have been three different frustratingly close near misses on spectacular gains, along with a gain elsewhere balanced out by a loss.

But there was a fabulous double gain from the Conservatives in town council by-elections in Beaconsfield, with a great pair of new candidates who I had the privilege of going canvassing with.

The increase in candidates is particularly important given the likely change in England, making it easier to stand in local elections.

Overall, both Labour and the Lib Dems are now tied top of the table at a net eight gains since the last May local elections. Full details here.

Elsewhere, a councillor has joined the Lib Dems from the Conservatives on Bath & North East Somerset Council but ones have left the party for independents in South Cambridgeshire, Herefordshire, Tewkesbury and Eastbourne, and one has left the Lib Dem group in Dorset.

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 Steffan Aquarone (North Norfolk), Blaise Baquiche (Uxbridge & South Ruislip), David Chadwick (Brecon & Radnorshire), Victoria Collins (South West Hertfordshire), Geoff Cooper (Romsey & Southampton North), Robert Court (Derbyshire Dales), Will Forster (Woking), Paul Hartshorn (South Leicestershire), Alastair Mitton (Ealing Central and Acton), Alec Sandiford (Stone), and Caroline Voaden (Totnes).

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…

Liberal Democrat campaigners are best at breaking the demographic patterns of wards to win elections.

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,


Parts of this newsletter are 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.

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