Author Archives: James Gurling

James Gurling writes…The Unite to Remain Agreement

Our Party is deservedly recognised as the UK’s lead Party of Remain.  Today we have announced a series of agreements – facilitated by the independent “Unite to Remain” group – designed to maximise the number of Remain supporting MPs at the coming snap election.

Unite to Remain is comprised of the three unequivocally pro-Remain parties with MPs elected in the House of Commons:- Plaid Cymru, Greens and ourselves.

In some seats, we have agreed that our candidate will stand aside to allow another Party to  have a clearer run in the election. In other seats, either Plaid Cymru or the Green candidate (sometimes both) will stand aside for us as the Remain candidate.

It is the sort of arrangement we successfully arrived at in Brecon & Radnorshire and which enabled our Welsh Leader, Jane Dodds, to defeat the pro Brexit Conservative and bring Welsh Liberal Democrat representation back to the House of Commons. 

These negotiations have been extremely complex and cover 60 seats between the three Parties – each with their own priorities and internal accountabilities. Significant amounts of time have been dedicated to this cause by Party President Sal Brinton, Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael and Director of Campaigns Shaun Roberts.  Together we have battled to ensure the best outcome both for the Party and for the cause of Remain.  Were that it had been possible to achieve this outcome without any seat Lib Dem seat being given up! Equally we would have dearly loved to have been able to expand the agreement to include more of our seats as beneficiaries.  But negotiations are not like that, and time has been of the essence.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Report into the 2015 General Election

General Election Review coverIn the aftermath of the May 2015 election, the FE tasked the Campaigns and Communications Committee with conducting a review. Today we are publishing our report and you can read it here.

Made up of myself, Sal Brinton, Candy Piercy, Martin Tod, Neil Fawcett, Tim Razzall, Jo Foster, and David Green, the review group received feedback from over 7500 party members.

In addition we conducted interviews with a wide range of people from MPs and former MPs to senior staff, PPCs, field organisers, agents and members of the House of Lords.

The size of the response was overwhelming, and despite the difficult subject matter, we witnessed a huge amount of optimism, hope, and belief in the capacity of the Party to sustain and rebuild itself in the months and years to come.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 87 Comments

London memorial for Charles Kennedy confirmed

Charles KennedyMany people, particularly those who weren’t able to make it to the Glasgow University event earlier in the summer, have expressed an interest in paying their respects to Charles if a London based event were also to be held.  This has now been arranged and the details are:

3.30pm, Tuesday November 3rd, St George’s Cathedral, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HR

The event is open to all although, as seating may be limited, attendees are asked to confirm in advance by applying at:[email protected]

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Review of 2014 European and Local Election Campaign

Election count progressingAfter the elections in May, the Leader tasked a group with reviewing the elections, assessing what worked and what didn’t, and produce recommendations to improve our campaigning for the future.

On Monday, the Review Group presented our findings to the Leader and later to the Federal Executive. I am pleased to say that they endorsed both the report and its recommendations, and we will now set about putting them into practice well in advance of next year’s elections.

In what was the most-read Party email in some time, more than 700 …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 69 Comments

Local and European campaign review

Fortis Green by-election 2004: volunteers at work stuffing envelopesAs Chair of the Party’s democratically-elected Campaigns & Communications Committee, Nick Clegg has asked me to conduct a review into the Local and European election campaign and result. I will be joined in doing this work for Nick by a small group comprised of Cllr. Abi Bell of Hull City Council, Cllr Ruth Dombey – Leader of Sutton Borough Council, and George Lyon – former MEP for Scotland.

I have spoken to Nick and we have agreed that this review will be a full …

Posted in Campaign Corner, News and Party policy and internal matters | 51 Comments

The future of Lib Dem Spring conference – how to have your say by 29th November

As part of the budget setting process, earlier this year, the Federal Executive were asked to look at how the Party runs its Spring Conference and the costs it incurs. With pressures on Party finances as they are, the challenge was therefore to look at how to make spring conference, at worst, a ‘break-even’ event.

From the start, FE recognised that answering this challenge involved potentially significant changes to Spring Conference, and produced a paper which looks at three broad options – continuing as we do with a two day spring conference (and seeking to make cost …

Posted in Conference and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 15 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn B 15th Nov - 8:11am
    Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. You may have been tongue in cheek, but many on LDV seem to have a naïve view about working with...
  • User AvatarJonathan Maltz 15th Nov - 12:48am
    John B: my comment was tongue-in-cheek. All Labour can offer given their well-known intransigence is to guarantee that the Tories will be the largest party...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 14th Nov - 11:42pm
    Jo Swinson says that the party "must give voters a genuine remain option" in the election. Quite right. The problem is that the party is...
  • User Avatarcrewegwyn 14th Nov - 11:30pm
    Thanks Mark.
  • User AvatarGaryE 14th Nov - 11:04pm
    David makes a valid point for seats with few resources and low membership. If central funds can pay deposits then £500 pays for 15,000 A4...
  • User AvatarDavid Sheppard 14th Nov - 9:20pm
    Thanks Mark for thinking of those not so well packed full of Liberals places like mine. We have had to fund from our own meagre...