New Liberal Democrat leader elected this August

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.

You can learn more about the leadership election and the new timetable here.

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.