Making the most of May

8 Mar 2024

Why we need more council candidates

When we debate party policy, strategy or election tactics, questions about what might attract or put off voters often – and rightly – come up.

But there’s one sure-fire, 100% guaranteed, rock-solid way of repelling voters from us, and it’s one we use far too often.

It’s not having a Liberal Democrat on the ballot paper. Zero votes for the party guaranteed.

Both Labour and the Conservatives, for example, get very close now to having a full slate of candidates in local elections. We don’t. 

But, since we’ve collectively started focusing on really raising our candidate numbers in council contests, we’ve made good progress. We’ve even got positive media coverage out of it too.

Standing candidates isn’t only about credibility and relevance. It’s also the way to get more people into the habit of regularly voting for the Liberal Democrats – a crucial step in building the sort of larger core vote for the party that will help us succeed more often.

With a Westminster general election nearing, continuing that progress in candidate numbers is even more important this year.

If you have local elections coming up in your area, there are great training materials and supporting documents on how to increase your candidate numbers, and how to run a proper approval process. Drop me a line if you need help finding the support you need.

Good luck!


A Budget of desperation

Ed Davey nicely summed up the Budget: “This Budget offers no relief for the widespread pain under the Conservative government ... A last-ditch effort by a government neglecting the NHS, wrecking the economy, and reducing living standards. Time for a general election.”

There’s a striking contrast between the Conservative obsession with tax cuts paid for by finding every dodge possible to bend their fiscal rules and the sort of credible, costed and fair plan that we set out in our For A Fair Deal plan.


Help us make the right contingency plans for this Autumn

We have a dilemma with our plans for the autumn federal conference due in Brighton this September. 

Our party conferences are a vital part of our democratic process, an important training event and a great opportunity to engage with the outside world via media coverage, the exhibition and fringes. And we all really enjoy them!

But this year we could have a general election campaign kicking off just before, just after or even during our conference. That poses many challenges and is why we are asking for your views as we work through what will best support our electoral ambitions this year, respect our internal democratic processes and be financially prudent.

You can read more about the issues, and take part in a consultation survey, here.


Tackling antisemitism and Islamophobia

We're sadly all too familiar with the increase in antisemitism and Islamophobia seen in the last few months. Both are abhorrent and at odds with our values.

In order to help us all do our best to uphold those values in how the party operates, the party has recently started a programme of training for staff and key volunteers. We’ve also been giving this issue particular attention in messages to members, with reminders of our Code of Conduct, and of both the support available to members and to how to make a complaint if you are on the receiving end, or witness, unacceptable behaviour. 


Explaining our latest changes to the complaints process

At our York spring conference, the Federal Board will be reporting on a new set of changes to our independent complaints process. We’ve taken a slightly different approach this time to explaining the changes in advance, with a detailed description of them all available via the party website.

If you have any questions about them, you can  send me an email. Likewise, any feedback would be greatly appreciated on whether this format - which goes into more detail but at the expense of the explanations being much longer - is something you would find useful to see repeated in future. 


Welcome to…

Two new federal committee members have just taken up posts. Jim Williams joined the Federal Finance and Resources Committee (FFRC) to fill a casual vacancy.

Callum Robertson joins the Federal Board, replacing Joyce Onstad who was suspended by the party’s independent complaints system over her social media posts, and then resigned from the party. 


Did you get the email about the party’s strategy?

If you're a party member, you should have got in the first week of March an email titled, "Explainer: our strategy for the General Election". As the subject line says, it’s packed full of important information about our plan for 2024. If you've not seen it and it's not in your spam/junk, pop an email to and they can check what's up with your email / opt out information in our membership records

Do you have questions on any of this report, or other Lib Dem matters? Then please drop me a line on Do also get in touch if you would like to invite me to do a Zoom call with your local party or party body.




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