How Liberal Democrat local parties have voted re the party’s leadership

As no-one else seems to be keeping a comprehensive public record of which Liberal Democrat local parties are calling for a leadership contest [1], the historian in me if nothing else feels an urge to collate a list. Since first being published, this post has been regularly updated and, as far as I know, is an accurate summary of all the decisions local parties took in the end.

On then to the data. In summary:

  • 18 local parties voted on whether or not there should be a leadership contest: 14 against and 4 in favour a leadership contest
  • 4 local parties consulted members through meetings: 4 against a leadership contest
  • 38 local party executives discussed the party’s leadership and not gone ahead with a motion on having a leadership contest (i.e in effect against a leadership contest)

Here are the results of local party meetings that have held votes on whether or not the Liberal Democrats should hold a leadership contest:

  • Bassetlaw & Sherwood – 4-2 in favour of having a leadership contest
  • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – 25-0 against [3]
  • Bromley – 25-5 against
  • Broxtowe – 9-2 against
  • Calderdale – 12-11 against
  • Cambridge – 45-32 against
  • Erewash – 12-0 against
  • Greenwich – 4-3 against
  • Hackney – 80%-20% against
  • Huntingdonshire: 34-12 against
  • Manchester Gorton – c. 18-0 against [10]
  • North East Cambridgeshire – in favour
  • Nottingham – 12-4 in favour
  • Poole – 19-1 against
  • Ribble Valley – 19-14 in favour [2]
  • Rushcliffe – 9-2 against
  • Salisbury – 32-20 against
  • Walsall – against

In addition, the following local parties held consultation meetings which discussed the party’s leadership but did not hold a formal vote on a constitutionally valid motion:

  • Birmingham – the overall view of the meeting was against having a leadership contest
  • Carlisle – the conclusion was that the local party chair should write a letter in support of Nick Clegg
  • Dulwich & West Norwood – no formal vote was held, but all 15 local party members present spoke, with 10 against a leadership contest and 5 in favour
  • St Austell and Newquay – this was a special general meeting, but it decided not to have a formal vote on the party’s leadership as the view of the meeting was that there should not be a contest

The following local party executives either decided against holding a special general meeting of their local party to debate a motion on having a leadership contest, or had a discussion in which no-one suggested holding a special general meeting: [4]

  • Aberavon & Neath [9]
  • Arun
  • Barnet
  • Basingstoke
  • Batley and Spen
  • Battersea and Tooting
  • Bolton
  • Buckingham
  • Cheltenham
  • Coventry
  • Edinburgh West
  • Enfield
  • Erewash [7]
  • Harborough
  • Hillingdon
  • Horsham and Crawley
  • Kingston
  • Lewisham
  • Liverpool [5]
  • Maidstone
  • Merton
  • Newbury and West Berkshire
  • Newcastle
  • Newton Abbot
  • Northampton
  • Oldham
  • Oxford West and Abingdon
  • Preston and Wyre
  • Putney
  • Spelthorne & Runnymede
  • Stratford
  • Thirsk and Malton [8]
  • Wakefield [11]
  • Wells [6]
  • Welwyn Hatfield
  • Westmorland and Lonsdale
  • Winchester
  • Wycombe

Finally, remember that all errors, omissions and debatable classifications are part of a carefully orchestrated conspiracy because of course I’m infallible, never make any mistakes and that’s the only possible conclusion to come to. (Thank you for the vote of infallibility, by the way.)



[1] Some of the information in this post has also been provided in places where people have a reasonable expectation of its confidentiality. In all cases, to the best of my knowledge, that confidentiality hasn’t been breached as my information has come from elsewhere. There has been an earlier public list on Lib Dem Voice, though it was restricted to cataloguing just the local party meetings with formal votes.

[2] This meeting was held without the usual full notice required for a special general meeting, on the basis that it was an emergency. It’s debatable whether put to the constitutional test this vote would formally count as one that met the requirements for calling a leadership contest, although I’ve not seen anyone suggest that the speed with which it was called significantly altered who attended.

[3] As with [2], there is room for debate over whether this vote would count constitutionally as this was a pre-arranged meeting with the calling notice not having included a motion on the leadership.

[4] This list includes local parties which decided to hold a meeting of members in various forms to discuss the future of the party but which didn’t have the specific motion on calling a leadership contest. A special general meeting can also be called by sufficient local party members requesting it (the rule in England is 20 members, or one-fifth of the local party, if less), even if the local party executive has decided against calling one.

[5] In line with [3], Liverpool held a special general meeting but the calling notice for this did not include the required notice for a motion on holding a leadership contest.

[6] May have been a special general meeting.

[7] The executive decided to call a members meeting, but without the formal motion on the agenda for a leadership contest.

[8] The executive decided not to go ahead with a discussion at the executive.

[9] Decision made after an informal consultation with members via email.

[10] The meeting was 1 person short of the official quorum, so a vote in favour would not technically have counted. There were definitely 0 people in favour and approximately 18 against.

[11] Local party members were asked their views via email and only two wanted a special general meeting to be called, one of whom was not anti-Nick Clegg. As a result, no such meeting was called.

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