What we’ve done together

For the last four years, the Liberal Democrats have proudly fought to stop Brexit.

I am immensely proud of everything we did. We stood up for our values. We campaigned so hard. But I also accept that at 11pm tonight, we will no longer be members of the European Union.

Our European story is not over. Tomorrow our fight continues, to make sure Britain has the closest possible relationship with our allies in Europe.

Today, I want to take stock of everything we did achieve in our fight to stop Brexit.

When the results of the European referendum were announced on that sad day in June 2016, we knew that something must be done. Our leader at the time, Tim Farron, did not wait to say that we deserved a vote on the final Brexit deal.

We were a lone voice at first. But more and more people joined our cause, to call for a People’s Vote on the final deal.

Our membership surged to the highest numbers in our party’s history.

We backed the cross-party People’s Vote campaign. Its rallies attracted hundreds of thousands of people, making them the biggest marches since the protests against the Iraq war.

Our MPs worked across parties in the Commons and the Lords to inflict more than 30 defeats on the Conservative government’s Brexit bills.

We stopped a catastrophic no deal and we stopped the government charging EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK.

Last year, we went into the European elections with an unapologetic message on Brexit.

I’m so proud of that campaign. We fought unashamedly for our liberal, progressive values, and we made a strong case for why the UK should continue to be members of the EU.

We beat both Labour and the Conservatives – something we had not done since 1910! – , and we went from 1 to 16 Members of the European Parliament.

Our MEPs may have only been in Brussels for six months, but they’ve achieved so much and flown the flag for British European values.

To Catherine, Caroline, Antony, Barbara, Bill, Chris, Dinesh, Irina, Jane, Judith, Louisa, Lucy, Martin, Phil, Shaffaq and Shelia, thank you. You are all superstars.

In the following months, eight courageous MPs left the safety of a large political party to stand with us, and stand up for our place in the EU.

To Chuka, Angela, Luciana, Sam, Heidi, Sarah, Philip and Antoinette – thank you. You will all go down in Liberal Democrat history.

Brexit was never just about Europe. It was about who we are. Who we aspire to be. What we want our country to become.

And in between all that, we won by-elections in Brecon and Radnorshire and Shetland, and we also saw our best ever local election results, gaining over 700 seats and taking control of 11 councils around the country last Spring.

Through all those successes one thing was constant: we couldn’t have done it without you.

So the biggest thank you of all must go to you. Our members have been tirelessly fighting to stop Brexit, and you made all of this possible.

And you give me hope for the future.

Brexit was never just about Europe. It was about who we are. Who we aspire to be. What we want our country to become.

So let’s be part of shaping that future together.

In the coming months, our party will be making big decisions on what comes next. We will pick our next leader, launch new campaigns and set out what we want Britain’s new relationship with Europe to look like.

You’ve been a core part of our party’s story and success, and I want you with us, as our party makes these important choices for our future.

Will you join the Liberal Democrats today?

Could you be a Lib Dem candidate?

Being a Liberal Democrat candidate is a rewarding way to make a difference anywhere from your local town council to nationally in Westminster. Our new candidates process makes it far easier to get the ball rolling on your application. If you’re thinking of standing, we have just made it easier for you to apply! There is a link to a short form below that you can use to express interest.

Our candidates process is designed to be inclusive and transparent. You won’t be judged based on who you know or what qualifications you have. We’re more interested in your skills and capabilities, which can come from your political, work, voluntary or social life!

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Expressing interest in becoming a councillor

You can use the form below to express interest in being a council candidate – your local party will receive a notification that you’re interested and will be in touch with further details. With your permission, your information will also be shared with the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC), who can offer guidance and advice on how to become a Lib Dem councillor.

Expressing interest in becoming a Parliamentary or Assembly candidate

Becoming a parliamentary or assembly candidate is a three-stage process. Firstly, you should register your interest using the same form below. with various Lib Dem groups like the Parliamentary Candidates Association and the Campaign for Gender Balance where relevant, who can provide support with your application.

We welcome applications from people from all walks of life: there is no such thing as a typical Lib Dem candidate

You will then receive an email about the candidate application process, which will also contain an application form for you to tell us about yourself. After completing this form, you will be invited to a Candidate Assessment Day, where you’ll take part in a mix of written and spoken exercises, and a panel of impartial assessors will let you know how you did within two weeks.

That might sound quite intimidating, but the friendly staff in the Diversity, Candidates and Talent Support team are here to help. You can chat to them about the process and what to expect, and they can answer any questions you might have about being a candidate.

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The Liberal Democrats are committed to representing the diversity of our communities. There is specific support available for applicants from under-represented groups, to help you through the process and beyond, if you become an approved candidate. We welcome applications from people from all walks of life: there is no such thing as a typical Lib Dem candidate. We want you to bring your unique background, talents and experiences to the party.

It couldn’t be easier to start your candidate journey. Simply fill out this short form to let us know a bit about you and which role(s) you’d like to apply for and we’ll be in touch about getting your application going!

Apply now

We fought the good fight – now what next?

Good morning.

For the last four years, the Liberal Democrats fought to stop Brexit.

We held street stalls, town hall meetings and we marched in our millions.

Today we stand strong in the knowledge that we did everything we could.

Our pro-Europeanism is built on our patriotism

Tens of thousands of people got involved with our campaign. People who had never campaigned before. And old hands, campaigning harder than they ever had before.

We fought with good humour and great energy. We fought because we love our country.

Our pro-Europeanism is built on our patriotism.

So I will always be proud of the campaigners, candidates, activists and members of our movement who had the courage to stand up for what we believe in.

And though ultimately we did not succeed in stopping Brexit, I am immensely proud of all that we did achieve.

We built the largest pro-European movement this country has ever seen.

Prevented a catastrophic no-deal Brexit – not once, not twice but three times.

I am determined that pro-Europeans can and must play a leading role in our country’s future

Defended the rights of EU citizens, and forced the government to scrap the Settled Status fee.

And as I accept that tomorrow at 11pm our campaign to stop Brexit is over, I do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the millions of pro-Europeans I have campaigned with over the past four years.

Tomorrow will be a celebration for some, but for us it will be a heart-breaking day.

Whilst some may relish this Tory Brexit experiment, many will be anxious and upset.

Worried about what the future holds for them – their families, communities and businesses.

But as I share your sadness. And as I share your unease. My aim today is to offer some hope to all pro-Europeans. And to all who thirst for a fairer, greener country.

For I am determined that pro-Europeans can and must play a leading role in our country’s future.

Britain’s European story does not end tomorrow.

Liberal Democrats will never stop fighting for liberal, progressive ideals

We may no longer be members of the European Union, but the UK will always be part of Europe.

Our futures, like our histories, inevitably intertwined.

And the Liberal Democrats will always be a pro-European, internationalist party.

We will never stop fighting for Britain to have the closest possible relationship with our European friends.

Here in Manchester, I’m reminded of the Manchester Liberals who fought the Tories in the 19th century. When Tory Corn Laws made food too expensive for working people.

That Liberal fight for free trade took years – but the Conservatives were eventually defeated.

And with that Liberal trade victory, came reduced food prices, more employment and a fairer society.

And in the 21st century, Liberal Democrats will never stop fighting for liberal, progressive ideals.

Liberal Democrats did not drop our values, our beliefs, our principles. Just because we lost the referendum in 2016. And we will not drop them now.

We believe the United Kingdom is stronger when we work closely with other nations. And when we work with other progressives across our own country.

We will work with anyone within our United Kingdom who shares our values, to re-unite our country.

We will work with anyone within our United Kingdom who shares our values, to re-unite our country.

For I am determined that the UK’s response to the huge challenges now before us must not be defined by Boris Johnson and the others who are responsible for Brexit, but by us: progressives, together.

Through pain comes wisdom, and the immense pain we feel tomorrow should at least remind us of one important truth:

That which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.

That is true whether “us” is the United Kingdom, Europe or humankind.

And it is also true of “us” as progressives.

We cannot let small disagreements or tribal labels stand in the way of our common values: Compassion. Fairness. Equality. Internationalism.

To defend these values – and to start winning again – we must regroup.

And as our movement regroups, remember we are larger than ever.

Our party was founded back in the 1980s, by people who left the safety of a large political party to put the national interest first.

We cannot let small disagreements or tribal labels stand in the way of our common values: Compassion. Fairness. Equality. Internationalism.

In that same tradition, I was proud to stand with courageous MPs like Chuka, Angela, Luciana, Sam, Heidi, Sarah, Philip and Antoinette in the last Parliament.

They and thousands more joined the Liberal Democrats from the Conservatives and Labour.

And we’ve seen thousands more get active for the first time ever.

That’s why I’m delighted to be here in Manchester, where thousands of new members have joined our party and where Liberal Democrat councillors – led by the formidable John Leech – are the only opposition on Manchester City Council.

What John and his team have accomplished in the past four years has been remarkable, and I am confident that Liberal Democrats will win bigger than ever in Manchester this year.

This huge growth in members and supporters of the Liberal Democrats gives me hope.

For them and for so many of us, Brexit wasn’t just about Europe. Or the European Union.

It was about who we are. Who we aspire to be. What we want our country to become.

In talking to Liberal Democrat members from across the UK, one theme is clear. They want the UK to become fairer.

We must no longer be a country that is divided by leave and remain, but that means we must heal our country’s other divisions too.

For if Brexit has taught us anything, it is that there are many serious divisions to fix.

The UK is divided by inequality. Inequality of opportunity, of wealth, of power. Inequality of hope.

We must no longer be a country that is divided by leave and remain, but that means we must heal our country’s other divisions too

And the forces of English and Scottish nationalism unleashed by these divisions, cannot bring our fractured country together: by their very nature they seek to divide our family of nations even further.

Only progressive parties like the Liberal Democrats will fight to disperse power and wealth across our country, and to create opportunity for every child, in every community.

From our mission to overhaul Britain’s democracy, to our radical vision of a fairer, greener economy, Liberal Democrats offer real change that can truly unite our country.

So let me say this to those who voted to leave the EU.

If you voted for Brexit because your communities have been let down for decades.

Because Governments have ignored you.

Because too much wealth has stayed in the hands of the always wealthy.

And too much power has stayed in the hands of the already powerful.

Because you and your children have been denied the opportunities afforded those who were born into privilege

You are right. We agree.

We share your frustration – and your impatience for change.

But we have no faith in the Conservatives’ willingness to address your frustrations. Or to deliver that change.

And if your votes are instead used by this Government to feather their own nest.

We have no faith in the Conservatives’ willingness to address your frustrations. Or to deliver change

To discriminate; To impoverish; To divide our communities with racism and hatred –

The Liberal Democrats will fight this Government every step of the way.

So today I have a special message for Boris Johnson.

From Johnson’s articles on straight bananas to make his name in journalism, to his last-minute decision to get on the Brexit bus to take himself to Downing Street. Our Prime Minister tops the long list of Conservatives who are responsible for tomorrow.

But if progressives don’t fight, I fear there may be even worse to come.

For when it comes to tough choices on taxation and spending, this Conservative Prime Minister looks set to protect the wealthy than the vulnerable.

Boris Johnson’s idea of reforming democracy is to attack the courts and make it more difficult for people to vote.

Boris Johnson’s idea of uniting the country has been to tell half of the country to give up their beliefs.

Boris Johnson’s idea of a new role for Britain in the world, is to ring the White House for his orders.

We cannot leave Britain’s future in the hands of a Prime Minister who only cares about himself, and has never once put the national interest ahead of his own career.

We must stand together as progressives against these forces that have done so much harm, to prevent them doing even more.

So as our country forges its future outside the European Union, we must campaign for a future that reflects the best of our United Kingdom.

Where those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.

Where workers are protected. And consumers and human rights are respected.

This fight for a progressive Britain starts with our campaign to prevent a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020.

But this fight for a progressive Britain starts with our campaign to prevent a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020.

And to secure a trading relationship that is based on fair rules and liberal values.

And to lead the fight against the forces that do not respect borders, from terrorism to the climate emergency.

So Liberal Democrats will work to maintain the UK’s position in crime-fighting networks such as Europol, Eurojust, and the European Arrest Warrant. To keep Britain safe.

Liberal Democrats will work to protect our place in the Emissions Trading Scheme and Horizon Europe. So that we can tackle the climate emergency together with our closest neighbours.

From saving the opportunity to study across Europe through Erasmus. To protecting free healthcare across Europe with the European Health Insurance Cards.

To accessing ground-breaking medicines through Euratom, and the European Medicines Regulatory Network.

Liberal Democrats will be on a damage limitation exercise to stop a hard Brexit hurting British people.

And likewise, we will continue to be the champions for EU citizens living in this country. We will work tirelessly so the country they have made their home does not turn its back on them.

In the hospital I and my family use – in Kingston Hospital – I’ve seen the amazing contributions doctors and nurses from the EU make to our NHS.

I’ve heard their anguish over Brexit.

My disabled son’s amazing progress against the odds has been partly down to the skills, dedication and commitment of Hungarian healthcare professionals.

So when I want to lift the cloud of uncertainty for them and the millions of other EU citizens who’ve been forced to live under that cloud. For me it’s personal.

As the Conservatives draw up plans to impose a new immigration system on our the country, it is for us to stand up and say unequivocally that this system must not separate children from their families; it must not lock people up indefinitely, and it must not slam the door in the faces of those fleeing unimaginable horror.

My disabled son’s amazing progress against the odds has been partly down to the skills, dedication and commitment of Hungarian healthcare professionals

For these battles ahead, I take strength from our liberal victories of the past.

Let’s remember what progressive reformers have won in recent decades.

Strengthening human rights. Enlarging individual freedom. Reducing inequality.

From Beveridge to Keynes, Liberals have won so many important advances over the years, and I am proud of the Liberal Democrats’ role in building a fairer, more liberal society.

It was liberals who changed the law in Britain to give women control of their own bodies.

It was Liberal Democrats who led the opposition to the Iraq War.

Liberal Democrats who devised and championed the law for same-sex marriage.

Liberal Democrats who trebled renewable power, making the UK the world-leader in offshore wind.

It was a Liberal Democrat MP who moved the clause to abolish the discriminatory section 28.

And a Liberal Democrat MP who introduced the Bill to enshrine UK aid spending in law.

Every time, there were those who stood against us. Those who dismissed our fight. Those who laughed at our efforts.

And at times it felt like progress was out of reach. That swimming against the tide was futile.

But even in the face of relentless opposition, even after devastating setbacks, we kept going.

We stood up for what we believe in, and we won change.

So as I look ahead this year, I remember how Liberals won in the past – against the odds. Against the establishment. Against the Tories.

From Beveridge to Keynes, Liberals have won so many important advances over the years, and I am proud of the Liberal Democrats’ role in building a fairer, more liberal society.

And that gives me hope.

Hope that we can save jobs and save businesses.

Hope that we can keep trading relationships free from barriers that harm jobs and business.

Hope that we can protect what we have won in Europe – some of the highest food, working and living standards anywhere in the world.

In our sadness tomorrow, we cannot lose sight of what is at stake over the next year. Or what’s at stake in the years and decades to come.

Tomorrow is not the end of our story with Europe. Far from it.

I do not ignore the gravity of what it means for the country we all love.

But that makes me all the more determined to fight for the liberal values we all cherish.

The Liberal Democrats have been, and will always be, the home for people who are liberal, pro-European and internationalist.

We know you can only create economic opportunity, achieve social justice and protect our environment by being open, inclusive, outward-looking and optimistic.

That is who we are. That is what we will be. And that is the future we will build.

Let’s make 2020 the year we scrap the Vagrancy Act.

In 2018 a homeless man, Gyula Remes, died in Westminster Tube station. He was one of over 700 homeless people who died that year, and the second to die in Westminster station that year.

71% of people think arresting someone for sleeping rough is a waste of police time

There’s a gate in the station – near the entrance to Parliament. It’s designed to push homeless people just a little bit further away. How many times did MPs just walk past him and turn a blind eye?

I see homeless people every day when I arrive at Parliament. It breaks my heart. It makes me absolutely determined that 2020 is the year that we scrap the Vagrancy Act.

The Vagrancy Act makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg on the streets.

It’s a cruel, Dickensian law – brought in to keep veterans of the Napoleonic Wars off the streets. It has no place in modern Britain. Many MPs can find the political will to spend half a million pounds on making a bell chime this Thursday. What’s stopping them finding the will to scrap this law?

71% of people think arresting someone for sleeping rough is a waste of police time. Over half said that it shouldn’t be a crime at all – of course it shouldn’t!

In spite of moving homelessness out of sight in Westminster, the problem hasn’t gone away, out of sight does not mean out of mind. We need to get a grip on this problem and one of the easiest ways to get started is to #ScrapTheAct read more 👇 https://t.co/hXw0TuXUm7

— Layla Moran 🔶 🏳️‍🌈 (@LaylaMoran) January 29, 2020

It’s a mark of national shame that even one person is homeless in 2020 – even more so that we’re prosecuting them for it.

But still, the government’s kicked the decision of repealing the Vagrancy Act it into the long grass and is waiting for their own review. I’ll make it easy for them. Criminalising the homeless does not work. People like Gyula Remes need our help, not prosecution.

In fact, I’ll make it really easy for them. I introduced a Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill into the last Parliament. It could be brought back in a heartbeat. The bill is oven-ready, or whatever odd metaphor Boris Johnson wants to give it. This can be the year we stop criminalising homelessness.

Out of sight, out of mind isn’t good enough. It’s a mark of national shame that even one person is homeless in 2020 – even more so that we’re prosecuting them for it. The problem isn’t going to go away – so let’s make the first step towards solving it together. Let’s scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Getting nominated for a party committee

So, you want to run for a post that’s currently open for nominations (the full list is here) but you’re not sure how to get started?

We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the process and get nominated.

Step 1: Pick the post(s) you’d like to run for and would be best suited for.

Hopefully, you’ll find at least one post that both sounds interesting to you and that you’ve got some good skills or experience for. The Board will particularly be looking for people with relevant knowledge to bring to the team, so it’s worth thinking carefully about this. You can be imaginative too – often skills learnt in one context can be very useful in a very different one!

Step 2: Work out why someone should nominate you.

Write down a short statement on what skills you have that match the role you’re going for and why you’re interested in it. Bear in mind that Federal Board members might be getting a lot of these, so being concise will make it more likely your message gets read!

Step 3: Contact some Board members.

There’s a couple of ways to do this. You can see the full list of people who can nominate here – and if you know some of them already, you’re allowed to speak to them, but please consider using the least intrusive communication method you can. If you’ve got their email address and their phone number, maybe don’t call them. Lots of other people will be contacting Board members asking for nominations and being respectful of that will probably help get you nominated!

If you don’t know any Board members, that’s not a problem!

All you need to do is email returning.officer@libdems.org.uk with which positions you’d like to stand for and the statement you prepared in step 2. Board members might contact you to discuss things, or they might just nominate you.

If you’re standing for Federal Audit & Scrutiny, you don’t need nominations, just a cover letter and a CV.

Step 4: Submit your papers

Next, make sure you can get nominated. Complete your nomination papers (which can be found here).

It’s okay to leave the nominators blank and instead ask Board members to email directly to the Returning Officer their nomination of you.

If you need help completing the form, just email returning.officer@libdems.org.uk and we’ll be happy to help out.

Step 5: Write your manifesto.

Lastly, take the short statement you prepared earlier and make sure it matches the rules for manifestos – which for most posts limit you to 200 words.

If you’re applying for the Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee, then you need to instead submit a CV, so you can be considered for appointment.

Once you’re happy with your manifesto, email it to returning.officer@libdems.org.uk

Step 6: Check you can make the hustings.

If you’re running for Chair of Federal Finance & Resources Committee, Registered Treasurer, Party Treasurer, Chair of Federal Communications and Elections Committee, then there’s also a hustings to attend. This is for Board members, so they can hear more from each candidate in more depth.

The hustings will take place on Saturday 15th February, so make sure you can either be in London that day or can join via video conference.

Step 7: Wait!

You’ve now done all you can, you’ve made your pitch and hopefully, at least two board members will think you’re fantastic and nominate you.

If you pass the nomination threshold, you’ll get an email from the Returning Officer confirming that and the next steps.

If you don’t meet the threshold, you’ll get an email after nominations have closed.

You can also email the RO to check how many nominations you need, but please allow at least 1 working day for the RO to respond.

Good luck!

Holocaust Memorial Day

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we pause to remember one of the darkest chapters in human history. We remember a time of unimaginable evil which resulted in the death of 6 million Jewish people and countless others who perished under a state-sponsored policy of hate and systemic violence.

This year marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz which led to the release of 7000 people and exposed the depth of the horrors committed there and elsewhere.

Although time has moved on, the poison of anti-Semitism has not gone away. Across the globe we are witnessing a worrying increase in anti-Semitic violence. When hate crimes against religious communities rise and when people in the Jewish community speak out about the fear they feel, we must all sit up and act, because any pledge to end division rings hollow if it’s not followed by meaningful action.

History has taught us many hard lessons and although we often repeat the admonition “never again”, the pain of genocide has been experienced in many parts of the world since the Holocaust. As we remember the victims of the holocaust and let’s also remember the victims of subsequent genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur.

This year’s theme “Stand Together” is an important reminder that we all have a duty to stand up to hate. We must all challenge any attempts dehumanise, degrade or demean any community, because a failure to do so could have dire consequences.

Finally, let us recognise the strength and resilience of holocaust survivors and let us resolve to preserve their stories and testimonies. And let us never forget.

Ed Davy signing the signing the Holocaust Memorial Day book

Happy Chinese New Year

I would like to send best wishes to everyone celebrating Chinese New Year!

Across the world friends and loved ones will be coming together, to reflect on the year gone by and look ahead to the future.

Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by wonderful traditions that date back thousands of years. Each year they remind us of how alive and vibrant Chinese culture is in Britain today.

As we usher in a new year, let us also celebrate the ongoing contributions of British Chinese communities who have helped to shape the economic, social and cultural identity of our nation.

This year, we enter the Year of the Rat. Rats are known symbols of wealth and new beginnings and those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be resourceful, quick-witted and adaptable.

Liberal Democrats will work to ensure that the Year of the Rat is one marked by success and prosperity for all our communities.

To all those celebrating, I wish you good health and joy this Chinese New Year.

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Liberal Democrats are fighting for EU citizens and child refugees

Today kickstarts an important week in Parliament, with votes taking place on key amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrats.

In our fight to hold this Conservative Government to account on its Brexit agenda, we are fighting to protect EU citizens’ rights as well as those of unaccompanied child refugees.

Last week, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates tabled amendments that would automatically guarantee EU citizens’ rights in law.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Boris Johnson previously promised to guarantee these rights, but has failed to do so. Under his policies, tens of thousands of EU citizens will be left without legal rights in less than 18 months. This puts them at risk of eviction, detention and even deportation.

Unless the Government changes course, tens of thousands of EU citizens will be left without legal rights – at risk of eviction, detention and deportation.

We’re fighting for EU citizens. We’re calling on Boris Johnson to honour his promise by backing our amendments next week. pic.twitter.com/746HZa8snJ

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) January 18, 2020

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Tomorrow we will be voting for another amendment, which would protect the rights of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to be reunited with their families in the UK.

Child refugees who’ve been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we must do all we can to protect them.

Sadly, Conservatives voted to drop the UK’s commitment to support child refugees and their rights to family reunion in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrats know that we should be expanding family reunion rights, not rolling them back. That is why we are continuing to fight for these children.

Lib Dems pay tribute to Lord Robert Maclennan

The Liberal Democrats have today led tributes following the death of Lord Robert Maclennan.

Lord Robert Maclennan of Rogart, known as Bob Maclennan, was the last leader of the Social Democrat Party before it merged with the Liberal Party. He then became joint interim leader of the new party.

Bob Maclennan was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001. Upon stepping down as MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Bob Maclennan was elevated to the House of Lords.

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey said:

“It is with great sadness that we learn our friend and colleague Bob Maclennan has died.

“Bob was the kind of politician we all strive to be. Considerate, honest and hardworking with an uncanny ability to reach out across the political spectrum to find common ground.

“He was also a great servant, over many decades, to his Highland constituents. A passionate advocate of devolution, he campaigned tirelessly for the creation of the Scottish Parliament and wider constitutional reform.

“As Liberal Democrats, we also pay him a huge dept of gratitude. It was his determined leadership and bravery that proved critical in the formation of the movement we know today.

“I personally owe a huge debt to Bob. He advised me through my own career and was a real source of strength and encouragement. His love of the arts and his commitment to a fairer society shone through so many of our conversations.

“Bob made our politics and our country better. He will be sadly missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Dick Newby, added:

“Bob Maclennan was passionate about Europe, constitutional reform and social justice. He saw them all as interconnected and pursued them with energy and determination throughout his political career. I worked with him for almost 40 years and will miss him greatly.”

Leadership timetable, internal elections & election review – an update from Federal Board

At a meeting of the Federal Board today, the new board made decisions on three key events, the timeline for our upcoming leadership election, the timeline for upcoming elections to party posts and committees and finally the appointment of a Chair of the Election Review and a timetable for that.

Jump to: Leadership Election | Internal Elections | Election review

Leadership Election Timetable

At today’s meeting the Board agreed, after carefully considering the pros and cons of different options, the timetable for the Liberal Democrat Leadership election.

Nominations will open on the 11th of May and close on the 28th of May. Thursday 28 May will also be the deadline to register as a member eligible to vote in the election – so a key date to use to encourage members to renew and supporters to join the party.

The ballot will then open on the 18th of June and close on the 15th of July, after which the party will announce the next leader.

In the meantime, Ed Davey MP and I as Party President will continue as joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats.

I want again thank Jo Swinson for her determined leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats are the home for everyone who shares our vision of an outward-looking, caring country that celebrates diversity and benefits from high-quality public services.

With our party membership at record levels, I urge everyone else who shares our values to join us in the coming days and vote in the leadership election.

If you join as a member today, you’ll get a vote in our leadership election. Join now from just £12 a year (that’s £1 a month!):

Join Here

You can also find out more about the leadership election on our dedicated leadership election hub, here: libdems.org.uk/leadership

Internal Elections

We’re looking for the very best of the skills and experience in our membership to rise to the challenge and help run the party.

It’s a great way to get involved in the party and I’m very keen to ensure we use this round of posts to help improve our diversity – so please do also think about who else you might want to encourage to put their name forward – especially those with great skills who might not otherwise think of these posts at all.

Posts up for election include Vice-Chairs of Federal Board, Committee Chairs for Federal Finance & Resources Committee, Federal Communications and Elections committee and Federal People Development Committee and committee members for those committees. A Chair and Committee members for the Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee will also be appointed by the board.

For more information on the posts and how to apply can be found on our internal elections hub at: libdems.org.uk/internal-elections

Election Review

The Board has commissioned a review into both the General election and the European elections.

This review will be run independently of those who ran the elections, with a panel of experts who have a broad range of skills from knowing about grassroots election campaigns through to understanding what the very best decision-making processes in organisations look like.

The Chair is Dorothy Thornhill, who was the elected Mayor of Watford for 16 years, leading a successful turnaround of the council’s administration and quality of services, and was made a Liberal Democrat Peer in 2015.

Watch out for more news soon about how they will be consulting further and there will be many more opportunities for people at all levels to contribute to the review.