In January the Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee (FPC) appointed a manifesto drafting group to start work on the party’s 2015 general election manifesto.
Most of the attention and debate has been over the choice of chair – David Laws – a degree of attention which rather over-states the role that the chair of a drafting group has relative to the rest of the members of a group.
All the more so as the group also includes such knowledgeable experts as Duncan Brack and such strong high profile voices from other wings of the party as Tim Farron. What’s more, it is a drafting group with the manifesto still having to go to the full Federal Policy Committee for agreement.
In as much as any individual on such a group can have a strong influence on the outcome, it’s also worth noting the presence of Julian Huppert – expect a manifesto that is not so embarrassingly thin on policies for the digital age as the 2010 one – and Sharon Bowles – expect plenty of ideas on financial regulation and restructuring.
Overall the committee is far less dominated by men, by people from London and by Parliamentarians than the equivalent bodies in previous Parliaments. A look at the list of names reveals that says rather more about those previous bodies than the current one:
- David Laws MP, Chair
- Sharon Bowles MEP, Vice-Chair
- Duncan Brack, Vice-Chair
- Nick Clegg MP
- Baroness Sal Brinton
- Tim Farron MP
- Duncan Hames MP (Federal Policy Committee Chair)
- Dr Julian Huppert MP
- Lord John Shipley
- Cllr Dr Julie Smith
- Jo Swinson MP
- Jenny Willott MP