Category Archives: Party Presidency

Susan Kramer answers 10 questions about her campaign for Party President

Susan Kramer and Tim Farron were both asked the same ten questions about their bid to be LibDem President and given the option to reply in whatever format and at whatever length they wished. Susan’s answers are below and you can find Tim’s answers here. My own commentary on the answers and race more generally is here.

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Tim Farron answers 10 questions about his campaign for Party President

Susan Kramer and Tim Farron were both asked the same ten questions about their bid to be LibDem President and given the option to reply in whatever format and at whatever length they wished. Tim’s answers are below and you can find Susan’s answers here. My own commentary on the answers and race more generally is here.

1. Many parts of the Bones Commission were deferred until after the 2010 general election. Now that it has happened, what would your plans be for implementing, modifying or mothballing those outstanding parts?

The Bones report was insightful and a lot of thought …

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Farron and Kramer: party should retain long-term aim of abolishing tuition fees

Both of the candidates to be the next Liberal Democrat President have expressed their support for the party retaining a long-term aim of abolishing tuition fees.

Tomorrow Liberal Democrat Voice will publish in full the answers from Susan Kramer and Tim Farron to a set of questions Lib Dem Voice has posed them. Their answers paint two different views on what the role should be of the Party President and how they would approach it. But on several issues they both agree, including on tuition fees:

Do you believe the party should have a long-term commitment to the abolition of tuition fees?

Kramer:

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Liblink: Liberal Vision grills Kramer and Farron

Liberal Vision have published interviews conducted with each of the candidates for the Liberal Democrat presidency: Susan Kramer and Tim Farron.

Read the Farron interview here and the Kramer interview here.

As a taster:

Liberal Vision: In one sentence why should people who read our blog back your campaign?

Susan Kramer: Overwhelmingly it’s to be the voice for the grass roots of the party, creating that two-way connection between the grass roots and the leadership, and keeping us unified. We shouldn’t let other pull us apart

Tim Farron: Because they want the Liberal Democrats to win, and because

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Liblink: Liberator interviews the presidential hopefuls

Liberator magazine has asked the two Lib Dem presidential contenders those tough questions – read their responses here.

A taster to whet your appetite:

Q5: How will you ensure that you gain regular and meaningful access to the party leader?

Farron: He won’t be able to get rid of me. Being an MP gives me direct access to the media to get our message across and it also gives me close access to Nick. I’ll be a critical friend to the coalition and a candid friend to Nick. As President, I would carry a mandate from the members to ensure that the

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LDVideo: Susan Kramer and Tim Farron’s online Presidential hustings

Tim Farron and Susan Kramer took part in an online hustings this week, taking questions from a live and online audience. Play the video below to watch the two candidates explain why they want to be Party President and discuss what they would do in the role.

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Farron and Kramer: their email pitches for President

Party members have been receiving emails today from Tim Farron and Susan Kramer setting out their pitches for party president. Of course, the emails can only go to party members for whom the party has an accurate email address. So I’ve reproduced the emails below – and if you’ve missed out but would like to get future party emails, get in touch with Membership Services on [email protected]

If reading these messages moves you to want to ask the candidates a question, don’t forget the online hustings coming up.

Susan Kramer

Dear Mark,

We in the Liberal Democrats are facing a time of …

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Online presidential hustings this week: send in your questions

This Wednesday the two candidates for Liberal Democrat President will take part in the official Federal online hustings at party headquarters in Cowley Street, London.

Susan Kramer and Tim Farron will answer questions which have been submitted online, and a video of the event will be posted afterwards on YouTube for all party members to refer to.

I’ll be chairing the hustings, so please submit your questions via email to [email protected] or in the comments thread below by 5pm Wednesday.

If you’d like to attend in person, a limited number of places are available. It’s on Wednesday 20 October at 7pm. …

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Tim Farron: why you should back me for Party President

Party President candidate Tim Farron was asked what his election would do for Scotland:

Much has changed in politics in the last few months, but the political process didn’t stop with the formation of the Westminster Government.  In Scotland, it’s time to get those shoes re-soled and dig out that delivery bag and those clip boards – we’ve just a few months until elections to Holyrood and the fairer votes referendum, and then just one year until Scotland-wide council elections.

It will be my job, if elected your party president, to inspire members and activists to go out and fight the coming …

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Susan Kramer: why you should back me for Party President

Party President candidate Susan Kramer was asked what her election would do for Scotland:

Nick Clegg and others have argued effectively that the benefits of coalition will be evident in time for the General Election in 2015.  But Scotland has elections in seven months. We have to move rapidly to the front foot to argue that the coalition is putting key Liberal Democrat policies in place and to do that we need the ammunition.

Communication is absolutely key.  This is why I will criss-cross the country not just to join local campaigns but to listen and make sure that grassroots voices are …

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Susan Kramer unlikely to re-stand in Richmond Park

From the Kingston Guardian today:

The chances of a repeat of this year’s bitter election battle between Zac Goldsmith and Susan Kramer receded this week as the former MP indicated she was unlikely to contest the seat at the next election.

Mrs Kramer officially remains Liberal Democrat candidate for Richmond Park until six months after the election, but when asked whether she would seek the nomination again she said it was not on her agenda.

She said: “I think you move on and you don’t constantly try to replay the past. I would have liked the chance to do another

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Tim Farron: my six commitments to the Liberal Democrats

Elections like this one should carry a health warning about the rash promises that are made often but rarely kept. So I’ve thought carefully about what we need from our President at this unique time for the Liberal Democrats. I’ve also asked others what they think. I reflected carefully on my strengths and what I can do to help build our Party’s profile, engage new supporters and develop our strength. So here are my 6 clear commitments to you and the Party.

As Ros Scott rightly said we need our President to fulfill a different role to the normal one. We …

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Liberal Youth support Farron for Prez

The Liberal Youth Executive has voted to support Tim Farron in his bid to become the next President of the Liberal Democrats. Tim’s campaign was launched in the wake of the announcement by current President Baroness Ros Scott that she would not be seeking re-election.

Commenting, National Chair Martin Shapland said: ”On behalf of the Liberal Youth Executive I am delighted to declare our support for Tim Farron. He is a first class campaigner, a fantastic public speaker, and is an entirely approachable character. He understands the fundamental importance of youth participation in politics, and has a strong desire to work …

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LDV survey: what party members want from the Lib Dem president

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’re currently publishing the full results.

With the election for party president in the offing, Lib Dem Voice asked our sample of party members: What do you think the main role of the President should be?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 16% – To become a known face in the media representing the Lib Dem position on the TV and

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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 …

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Jason Zadrozny pulls out, gets behind Kramer

Hours after making his case to be Lib Dem party President, Jason Zadrozny has whipped his hat back out of the ring and thrown his political weight behind Susan Kramer.

Jason has sent out this email:

I wanted you to be one of the first people to know that I have today decided to withdraw from my campaign to become President of the Liberal Democrats and have thrown my weight behind efforts to elect Susan Kramer.

I think the role of Party President is vital for the future of our party. I firmly believe that whoever holds the position should consider the party’s

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LibLink: Tim Farron – Why I want to be president of the Liberal Democrats

Over at The Guardian’s Comment is Free website, Lib Dem MP and party presidential hopeful Tim Farron writes about his aim to inspire members to be proud of our party and work hard for elections and for the referendum. Here’s an excerpt:

When I read people telling us that this coalition government is “turning the clock back to the 1980s” because of the cuts, I know that this is witless rubbish – but I’ll be honest with you, those barbs really hurt me. I was brought up by a single mum, in significant poverty in Lancashire in Thatcher’s Britain. I went

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Susan Kramer: Party members are my number one priority

This is a time of great opportunity for our party. Whether through establishing the pupil premium for disadvantaged children, increasing tax relief for low income families, restoring vital civil liberties or putting the environment at the forefront of all we do, our values are at the heart of British government for the first time in generations. Britain is better off with Liberal Democrats in Cabinet.

A strong and unified party is needed to hold the Coalition Government to account, however, and division within the party will only make this job harder.

If elected as party President, I will use the role to …

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Conference: the half-time score

At the start of conference, I blogged the ten issues that I thought would shape conference. Half-way through, how are things looking on the ten?

  1. Strategy: the party’s official line of loving our coalition partners in public has been firmly stuck to by the party’s senior figures, and argued for by Nick Clegg during Q+A at the weekend. Bubbling under the surface are many questions about whether this is the right strategy and if the party could and would be better if it more often made public its disagreements, such as over the opting out of the EU directive

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Jason Zadrozny: I could be a strong grass roots voice as Lib Dem President

I believe that the President of the Liberal Democrats should be elected.

On Thursday I declared my intention to stand as Party President. I believe it is so important for our Party to have a President who is not an MP.

In Nick Clegg we have an exceptional Leader who is at the heart of Government. In Simon Hughes we have an outstanding Deputy Leader representing our Parliamentary Party at the highest level.

What we need is a President who can represent the grass roots. The Party President is the highest representative of the grass roots and should be elected by the grass …

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Tim Farron: I’ll be a distinctive voice as President

The Liberal Democrats are getting a huge amount out of being in government: protection for the lowest paid, the most ambitious political reforms since universal suffrage, restoration of civil liberties… in fact the only thing we’re not getting is the credit we deserve!

That’s why I’ve decided to run to be President of the Liberal Democrats.

It’s not easy being in Government. As part of the Coalition, our distinctive message has often got buried, what we stand for has got blurred and our ability to campaign is blunted.

I’m not having that.

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Party Presidency, rumour-mill update

It’s less than a week since Baroness (Ros) Scott announced she would not be standing for a second term as President of the Lib Dems, the only post directly elected by all party members other than that of Leader.

But with nominations closing in less than a fortnight — and 200 nominations to be secured from conference representatives of at least 20 local parties — those looking to contest the position are going to be scrambling to get their supporter networks up and running.

I’ve heard from one in-the-know source that Jason Zadrozny, a district and county councillor in …

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Who do you think should stand for the Lib Dem presidency (and what should they do if elected)?

Ros Scott’s announcement that she is standing down from the position of party president has come as a surprise to Lib Dem members.

First, because it has become almost traditional for party presidents to serve two terms — Ros’s three predecessors, Simon Hughes, Lord Dholakia and Lord Maclennan all served two terms each, unchallenged. Secondly, because Ros herself is popular among the party’s grassroots. Though her authority took something of a knock during the MPs’ expenses scandal, the Voice’s most recent survey of party members showed she had a very good net effectiveness rating of +30%.

And, thirdly, because …

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Ros Scott not standing again for Lib Dem President: “The time has come to pass on the baton”

Liberal Democrat Party President Ros Scott has announced that she does not intend to stand again for the office, despite being eligible to stand for a second term.

In an article today for Lib Dem News, Ros explains that she feels it is time “to pass on the baton”, to “a strong media performer and tough campaigner” who will articulate the Liberal Democrats’ distinctive values and identity.

Here is Ros Scott’s article in full:

All right, I know it’s a cliché, but time really does fly when you’re having fun! My two year term as Party President is coming towards its close, and the hectic schedule of meetings, conferences, Party business and local Party visits has ensured that I’ve been kept pretty busy. With the European and local elections of 2009, the General Election of 2010, and the amazing aftermath which saw Liberal Democrats in national Government for the first time in decades, it’s been pretty eventful.

There’s no job description for the Party President, and each incumbent has done the job differently, depending on their own areas of interest and expertise, and the political climate at the time. When I ran for election two years ago I didn’t make extravagant pledges but focussed on the areas where I knew the Party President could really deliver and where my experience in local government and business could make a difference. In the run up to the General Election, I felt that internal Party development was a key priority for us, and I have concentrated my efforts on that aspect of the job.

I’m pleased at what we have achieved together.

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Ros Scott writes … Party President’s report to members, January ’10

In the two months since my last report, the election campaign has started in all but name.

After a phenomenal amount of work by the manifesto team – led by Danny Alexander, the party’s policy unit headed by Christian Moon, and the Federal Policy Committee – we have now established the broad outlines of our campaign:

  • Reform of the tax system to create a fairer base,
  • introducing the pupil premium to give all children a fairer start in life,
  • creating sustainable housing and jobs and
  • political reform to bring in a fairer voting system, and

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Ros Scott writes… Party President’s report to members, October ‘09

October was a month which began for me in India and ended in Cairo. I had been invited to India by the Indian High Commission along with a small delegation of Parliamentarians who are “Liberal Democrat Friends of India”. We were led by Lord John Alderdice through a week’s visit which was split between Delhi and Pune and included a number of meeting and visits to reflect India today, politically, socially and economically.

I was in Cairo for three days to attend the Congress of Liberal International, which is held every 18 months. The Lib Dem delegation is led by the Party President, but all the work is done by the Chair of the International Relations Committee, who is Robert Woodthorpe Brown. It’s a pretty humbling experience to hear from campaigners who risk their life and liberty for working to make democratic change in oppressive regimes, and certainly puts domestic politics into perspective.

In between the two, Parliament resumed after the summer recess, and I’ve been busy in the Lords with voting, select committee work and a few speeches. The expenses issue continues to rumble.

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Ros Scott’s Party President’s report (August ’09)

July is usually a busy month in Parliament, as there is a rush to complete things before the long Parliamentary recess. This July has been no exception, and there were some long sessions, particularly in dealing with the Parliamentary Standards Bill, a rushed piece of legislation which has needed a considerable amount of work in terms of amendments, in order to make it workable.

As an aside, I have been in discussion with the Electoral Commission on the question of another piece of legislation, the Political Parties and Elections Bill. I am concerned that the burden of bureaucracy placed upon Local Party Treasurers is disproportionate to the amounts of money involved, and am pleased that my suggestion that Local Party Officers be included in the consultation process has been adopted by them.

The work of the Select Committee on Communications, which is currently carrying out an inquiry into the British film industry, does have its upsides – this month in the form of a visit to the Harry Potter film set. It is entirely coincidental that Daniel Radcliffe, whom I met on the visit, publicly declared his support for the Liberal Democrats the following week.

The end-of-term reception for Liberal Democrat peers, hosted by our Leader there, Tom McNally, was graced by the presence of a number of our candidates in target seats, who were in London attending valuable training in support of their ongoing campaigns, as well as by members of our teams in the Commons, the European Parliament and the London Assembly.

I think that it is important that I continue to find time for non-Presidential work.

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Ros Scott’s Federal Executive report (July ’09)

The Federal Executive met on 13 July in an atmosphere somewhat less frenetic than at its previous meeting (18 May). Since then, Chris Rennard has resigned as Chief Executive, and I updated FE on how the process of appointing an interim Chief Executive had been determined and applied.

The successful candidate, Chris Fox, was in attendance and I can announce that he took up his new duties with immediate effect. In October, the FE will discuss the process by which a permanent replacement will be appointed. In carrying out this process, my confidence in our senior management team has been reinforced.

It was decided that the FE should write to Chris Rennard to thank him for the work he had done, and for the commitment he had displayed in his role, a point highlighted by Nick Clegg as part of his report.

In that report, Nick commented on the expenses crisis and its impact, on his stance on Afghanistan, before highlighting the work done by Meral Ece on the launch of the New Generation Initiative, part of efforts to support and develop members from under represented communities. He emphasised the importance of the Norwich North campaign, noting that our Autumn Conference holds great potential, as Conservatives begin to doubt whether Cameron can lead them to a Parliamentary majority and Labour continue to falter.

Also posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 17 Comments

Local elections – Friday open thread

English local election results will be pouring in throughout the day. Lib Dem Voice will try and keep you abreast of what’s happening across the country, as we did throughout Thursday night with our open thread – many thanks in particular to those commenting who were able to break the good news that the Lib Dems had taken majority control of Bristol City Council amid disastrous results for Labour. Please do keep the news coming in from wherever you live.

As at 9.50 am, the BBC results scoreboard is telling me that the Lib Dems are the only party showing …

Also posted in Conference, Europe / International, LDV Awards, News and Parliament | Tagged | 130 Comments

Opinion: what the heck do the Party President and Federal Executive do?

For years the internal workings of the Liberal Democrat party have not been known to many party members. Thousands, in fact. I did think, stupidly as it now turns out, that the election of Ros Scott, who I supported as President and still support wholeheartedly, may make a little change to that. From my PC there seemed to be a chance that I would be able to start to understand what the heck the Federal Executive (FE) does and what the heck the President does.

The ideal opportunity then came along. Our Chief Executive was accused of expenses irregularities. He then …

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