EXCLUSIVE: Lib Dem party presidency – first poll of Lib Dem members

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of the early race for the party presidency, the London mayoral selection, Trident, and the Labour leadership. Over 400 party members have responded, and we’ll be publishing the full results of our survey in the next couple of days.

A fortnight ago, in a surprise announcement, Baroness (Ros) Scott said she would not seek a second term as Lib Dem party president, the only party post other than the Leader directly elected by Lib Dem members. Ever since there has been much speculation about who might contest the election, and take on the role of ‘champion of the membership’ while the Lib Dems are in Coalition.

First up, we asked: Some people have suggested the next President should not be a Parliamentarian (either from the Commons or Lords) in order to ensure they represent the party membership. Others believe the President needs the media profile and party experience that comes with being a Parliamentarian. Do you think the next President should be a Parliamentarian?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 13% – Yes, s/he should be a Parliamentarian
  • 18% – No, s/he should not be a Parliamentarian
  • 65% – It entirely depends on the person
  • 4% – Don’t know / No opinion

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two-thirds of Lib Dem party members in our sample did not want to define whether an individual could make a good or bad party president on the basis of the position they hold. Indeed, although 18% of members stated the president should not be a Parliamentarian, it’s interesting that 13% reckoned it would be an advantage: a pretty even split.

Of course, it’s early days, and the arguments have yet to be played out: it’s clear that as the only Parliamentarian in the running, Tim Farron will face the charge that (i) he won’t have the time to do the job in the way other candidates could, and (ii) as a member of the Coalition government, albeit a backbencher, he won’t have the same freedom to speak out. His team in return will, of course, point to his tireless campaigning, and that he is rarely seen as someone unable to speak his mind if he disagrees with the Coalition. Whether party members’ opinions of the ability of a Parliamentarian to do the job change in the next couple of months may be crucial indeciding the election.

Lib Dem Voice next asked: Four individuals, listed below, have so far publicly stated their intention of standing as Party President. Who would you be most likely to vote for as President?

Here’s what our sample of 400+ party members said:

  • 2% – Jason Zadrozny
  • 7% – Jennie Rigg
  • 30% – Susan Kramer
  • 27% – Tim Farron
  • 3% – Other
  • 32% – Don’t know / No opinion

What’s most obvious — both from the headline results, but also from the comments of respondents — is that this race is still wide open. Some 35% of those we polled either didn’t know, or had no opinion, or named a candidate who is unlikely to stand. And even among those who did choose one of the four named candidates, many stated that this was their current preference and might change. So I think it would be unwise to over-read this first poll — especially as, even since asking the question, one of the candidates (Jason Zadrozny) has dropped out, and is now endorsing Susan Kramer.

The most that can tentatively be said at this stage is that it seems clear there are two leading candidates, Tim and Susan, who at first glance appear to be pretty much level-pegging among party members. However, there is a long way to go, and Jennie Rigg can be encouraged that, though currently in third place, there are many minds still to be made up, many members who want to hear from all candidates before deciding.

Of those who chose the option ‘Others’, by the way: Evan Harris’s name cropped up more than once, as did Baroness (Floella) Benjamin; while a handful had a preference for an ‘elder states(wo)man’ figure — a Paddy or a Shirley.

Here’s a selection of some of your comments:

  • The role should be filled by an individual who can use the media effectively; but, so long as they’re competent I don’t care where they come from.
  • I recognise and know most of them, but will make a decision on the basis of their manifestos, which are yet to be released.
  • Needs to be a person with some character and charisma, and with something forceful to say
  • I just want the best possible person for the job!
  • I was unsure, but we need someone who is clearly outside the parliamentary party so they can freely criticise the government and not have to worry about parliamentary work
  • I don’t want our President to be a thorn in the side of the governmental element of the LibDems.
  • The role of President is about the members, not the media or other politicians. Respect will come from ability not previous position.
  • In theory any member should be able to be President but the President needs to be able to understand how Parliament works, this cannot easily be done wiothout direct experience and current involvement
  • I’m nowhere close to making a decision until I know who all the runners and riders are, and what they’re standing for.
Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in LDV Members poll and Party Presidency.
Advert

2 Comments

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid-1 25th Jun - 5:55am
    The verb is "to soft-pedal" not "to soft-peddle." It is a metaphor taken from piano playing, where one of the pedals can be used to...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 25th Jun - 5:05am
    Michael BG - We should NOT take orders from UKIP. It is our decision how we react and what we campaign for. We should take...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 25th Jun - 3:18am
    Nick Collins was referring to this particular Trump-owned golf course, which was built, over the objections of the local council, on top of a formerly...
  • User AvatarJamesg 25th Jun - 1:28am
    Good lord the neo-puritans want us to feel guilty about playing golf now. What's next?
  • User AvatarJamesg 25th Jun - 1:20am
    As I recall the EFTA was actually set up by the UK after DeGaulle said non. He said that Britain was too internationalist and independent...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 25th Jun - 12:09am
    @ Laurence Cox I think you have missed my point. Having 71,111 electors per MP is a major factor in the failure of our representative...