The governing body of the English Liberal Democrats, or ‘English Party’, is the English Council, which meets twice a year. It is made up of representatives of all the 11 English Regional Parties, who are elected at their regional conferences.
The Council elects the Chair of the English Party and the English Council Executive (ECE) and the English Candidates’ Chair and Committee.
The English Council Executive meet 6 times a year and oversee the running of the English Party between Council Meetings. English Council Executive comprises the Chairs of the 11 English Regions, plus 12 members directly elected from the English Council, as well as representatives to sit on the Federal Board, Federal Policy Committee, Federal People Development Committee and Federal Conference Committee.
The English Council Executive also has two sub-committees: the English Finance & Administration Committee (EFAC) which is chaired by the Treasurer and the Regional Parties Committee (RPC) which is chaired by the Vice-Chair. At the first Executive of the year both the Vice-Chair and Treasurer are elected as well as the members for EFAC and RPC.
You can view the recent minutes of ECE at: https://www.libdems.org.uk/committee_reports
Officers of the English Party
Tahir Maher, Chair of the English Party
Tahir has been a member since 2002 and in that time, he has been a Town Councillor (8 years) and had the pleasure to also lead the Lib Dem Group. Tahir has been chair of Wokingham Constituency, South central Region and now the English Party. Tahir has substantial experience in the party being on English Council, FPC, FCC and was an executive member for LDDA. Tahir is an Accountant and was the Head of Finance for a very large cancer charity and currently works in business transformation. Tahir supports Arsenal and has been trying to learn the saxophone, for ever.
Margaret Joachim Vice-Chair of the English Party and Chair of the Regional Parties Committee
Margaret joined the Liberal Party in 1974, fighting three Parliamentary elections between 1979 and 1987 (including standing against Margaret Thatcher in 1983). She then undertook ‘back-room’ roles, including Returning Officer, English Council Executive member, and London Region and English Party Candidates’ Chair. She has been an Anglican priest since 1995.
Margaret also researches heraldry in medieval manuscripts, volunteers in the herbarium at Kew, helps out with church activities and is a household servant to two cats.
David Hughes, Treasurer of the English Party and Western Counties (Regional Chair)
David is the current Chair of the Western Counties. He has also been a parliamentary candidate three times, and is a former chair of both the party's candidates association and its national students' organisation.
As Treasurer, David also Chairs the English Finance and Administration Committee.
Simon McGrath, English Party Representative on the Federal Board
Simon makes sure the English Party’s voice is heard on the Federal Board, which is the party’s governing board. He is currently a Councillor in Merton Borough.
Lucy Nethsingha, English Party Representative on the Federal Policy Committee
Lucy Nethsingha is Leader of the Lib Dem group on Cambridgeshire County Council, and Deputy Chair on the LGA Children and Young People’s Board. Lucy is a primary school teacher by profession, with a Masters in Education and Psychology, and interests in special needs education, particularly early reading development, and in arts education. Lucy grew up in Cornwall but now lives in Cambridge and is married with 3 children.
Prue Bray, Chair of English Candidates Committee
Prue Bray is chair of the English Candidates Committee which oversees the work of assessing, approving, selecting and supporting candidates for all elections above council level in England. This includes Mayoral, Police and Crime Commissioner as well as Westminster elections. Prue has previously been a candidate in Rochester and Strood, and Chair of the Parliamentary Candidates Association.
Jo Hayes, East of England (Regional Chair)
Jo is Chair of East of England Region. In 2014 she was a running mate of Andrew Duff for the European Parliament. In 2015 and 2017 she contested Witham constituency against Priti Patel. She is a former borough councillor, former member of the Federal Policy Committee and former chair of WLD (now Lib Dem Women). Jo is a barrister specialising in chancery and property cases and is a former chair of the Association of Women Barristers. Her Remainer's Diary blog chronicles the Brexit saga.
Mike Ward, South East (Regional Chair)
Chair of SE Region, active campaigner, actuary & pension scheme trustee. Previously Vice Chair & Treasurer of ALDC and District Councillor 1984-2000. Served as Group Leader and Chair of Housing.
Gail Bones, Devon and Cornwall (Regional Chair)
Gail Bones is Regional Chair for Devon and Cornwall and has been involved with the Liberal Democrats in various roles over the last 25 years or so. Whilst living in Oxford Gail served as a county councillor and was shadow cabinet member for Adult Social&Cultural Services, and a member of the Oxfordshire Fostering Panel amongst other roles. She was the agent/organizer for Oxford East and subsequently for Evan Harris in OXWAB. In Devon she has been a constituency chair and constituency secretary. Until being elected Regional Chair, Gail was on the English Party Appeals Panel and is now in her second year as Regional Chair.
Greg Stone, North East (Regional Chair)
Greg is chair of the North East Liberal Democrats regional party and has served as a Newcastle city councillor for over 20 years including as a senior member of the Lib Dem administration between 2004 and 2011.
He has been a parliamentary candidate on several occasions and was the Lib Dem candidate in in the by-election to replace Tony Blair in Sedgefield in 2007.
Greg's policy interests include transport and urban regeneration, and he is a committee member of NE4EU, the North East's grassroots Remain campaign.
Jack Worrall, Chair English Young Liberals
Jack is new English Young Liberals Chair. His plan over this next year to supercharge the regional Young Liberals and turn them into a campaigning force for local elections.
Jack can be reached on; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruby Chow, Elected Member (London)
Ruby has been an active campaigner from who can regularly be seen on the doorsteps across London for in by-elections. She also currently sits as an executive for Tower Hamlets and London Liberal Democrats, the latter as its by-election coordinator.
Brian Orrell, Elected Member (London)
Brian is currently London Candidates Chair and has overall responsibility for the Approval and Selection of all our Parliamentary Candidates in London for 73 constituencies and 25 London Assembly Candidates & London Mayor. He has done this for five out of the last six General Elections, London Assembly Elections and Euro Elections.
Brian is a former Chair of London Region before going on to be was the inaugural Chair of the English Candidates Committee and later Chair of the English State Party. He also served on the Federal Executive for eight years variously as Federal Vice President, Vice Chair and English Party Representative.