Baroness Ros Scott writes…Up for the new challenge

Liberals from across Europe have been meeting in Budapest for the annual Congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe,  including a sizeable delegation of Lib Dems led by Party President Sal Brinton.

ALDE has 55 member parties from across the continent,  49 members of the European Parliament, 5  European Commissioners and 7 Prime Ministers. There’s also a local government group in the shape of Committee of the Regions, and a network of Liberal Mayors.

A recent decision to trial an individual membership scheme has gone from strength to strength, with over 1,500 joining up already.

On Saturday, after a intense campaign, I was lucky enough, and honoured, to be elected as one of the new Vice-Presidents of ALDE,  which means serving as a member of governing body, the Bureau.

At the core of my campaign was a commitment to bring ALDE closer to home, that is, to link it more effectively to the work of its member parties, including the Liberal Democrats. That means better communication of what ALDE does,  exchange of best campaigning practice, and support to build capacity across a range of activities including policy making, fundraising and member recruitment.

I also want to link up the work of liberal politicians in the European Parliament with that of their colleagues in national and local government, to make Europe relevant to its citizens, and it’s benefits clearer-  something which will be key in keeping the United Kingdom in Europe.

Finally, I want greater transparency in the workings of the ALDE Party, so that, in two years time, delegates to the annual Congress will know what the Bureau has done, and that we can be held accountable.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank some of those who made my election possible. The team in our International Office, led by Iain Gill, lobbied delegates, made sure that I met key individuals, created a wonderful stall for the “meet the candidates” event and ensured that the campaign was enthusiastic and energetic. Robert Woodthorpe Browne, Chair of our International Relations Committee, negotiated with his fellow delegation leaders to maximise my vote, and kept our delegation informed throughout, whilst a number of our delegation spoke to friends amongst our sister parties to persuade them to support me.

Sal Brinton was tireless and got really stuck into the process of agreeing policy resolutions and  chairing sessions.

So now, my task is to represent ALDE’s member parties from Armenia to Iceland, from Estonia to Gibraltar, building something that supports the emergence of a truly liberal Europe. I look forward to the challenge.

* Baroness Ros Scott is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, a former Party President and now President of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and Op-eds.


  • Who pays for the Lib Dem delegation at this event, and what, if any, is the total cost to the Party , please?

  • Mick Taylor 23rd Nov '15 - 2:06pm

    No-one pays. We all pay for ourselves to go to Congress. Official representatives of the party at the ALDE council get part of their travel reimbursed (above €70) by the ALDE party, but pay their own accommodation. Even official representatives of FE – like me – pay their own way. The actual congress is paid for by a range of sponsors. So the actual cost to the Liberal Democrats is nil.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 23rd Nov '15 - 3:51pm

    @ David,

    As a member of the ALDE Party’s Financial Advisory Conmittee, I can confirm the accuracy of Mick Taylor’s answer. Mind you, your comment does imply a level of personal cynicism that does trouble me…

  • Sadie Smith 23rd Nov '15 - 4:37pm

    Delighted, Ros. Pity the comments have been about money rather than opportunity.

  • Congratulations Ros. I think they elected the right person
    (May be a tad biased)

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Nov '15 - 7:33pm

    Baroness Ros Scott | Mon 23rd November 2015 – 11:58 am
    The date of the EU referendum is important to the planning of local parties which have borough council elections in May 2016. Any clues please?
    At Bournemouth conference Catherine Bearder said April 2016, a view shared by Times columnist Matthew Parris on Saturday 21/11/2015.

  • Joyce Onstad 24th Nov '15 - 3:46pm


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