Jo Hayes – why I am a candidate for Federal Party President

I was a founding member of the Liberal Democrats and have worked for it as a volunteer ever since. Over 30 years, I have done everything from deliver leaflets to chairing the Women Liberal Democrats and serving on the Federal Policy Committee, the Federal Executive, the International Relations Committee and the ALDE Council delegation. I’ve been a Borough Councillor and stood in General and European elections. I am currently Chair of the East of England Region. I think you could say I’m a Liberal Democrat to my bones.

I am also a barrister, practising from the same chambers I shared with the late Lord Willie Goodhart, one of the main draftsmen of our Party constitution. I have spent my career and Lib Dem life fighting for people’s constitutional rights. I am a fighter who uses the law and rules the way they are designed to work, for the people. I used equality laws to force Tony Blair’s Attorney-General to abandon the system of patronage used to appoint barristers for government work, and adopt a fairer, more transparent system.

Some of you may know me for my Remainer’s Diary blog. If so, you’ll know of my tenacity and dedication to the Remain cause. I want to see our party in government and then help Jo Swinson rebuild our nation, both democratically and socially. That is why I’m throwing my hat into the Presidential ring now.

A President’s role is not, primarily, a campaigning one, but a strong President provides the governance that makes our campaigning more effective, governance that guides and protects the party from top to bottom. It is our proud boast that the Liberal Democrats Party belongs to its members, all of them. As President, I will work to ensure everyone in party feels they have a stake in our movement, that they are heard and that their talents are embraced.

As President, I want to safeguard our values in practice, seeking to make our Party organisation a happier place. For example, I want to:

  • Devolve decision-making to as near the grassroots level as practicable.
  • Ensure transparency over appointments, complaints, outcomes and Appeals Panel rulings.
  • Ensure each component body in the party carries out its responsibilities without interference.
  • Bring in the advice and expertise when we need it, to avoid mistakes.

The Liberal Democrats are growing in numbers as other parties shrink. We have over 120,000 members with a vast array of skills and ideas to bring to the table. We thrive on our huge volunteer base, people who care so much about what’s right that they have dedicated their time and money to the benefit of the community. I have done almost every task in the Party that there is to be done by volunteers. I know what it is like. I know the Party inside out. I have the background and experience to be President. I am the right person for the job.

* Jo Hayes is a party activist, a member of the party's Federal Board and Regional Candidates' Chair for the East of England

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Richard Underhill 21st Sep '19 - 5:08pm

    An impressive CV.
    How much time would you be able to provide for the task?
    Would there be conflicts of priorities?

  • Good to see a wide field of candidates for Federal Party President – 5 so far, as far as I’m aware. Are there any more to follow, or have we now heard from them all?

  • Tony Greaves 22nd Sep '19 - 3:30pm

    Good luck, Jo. (If you win will they call our leadership Jo-Jo?)

  • Richard: the presidential role is unpaid, and I don’t think it should be restricted to those with independent means. I don’t have, so I’d continue in legal practice. I’ve juggled that and the role of regional chair (which is very time-consuming) for getting on for three years; before that I did the same whilst a councillor. I believe the President and Vice-Presidents should operate as a team, so someone is always minding the shop so to speak.
    Sean: I don’t know. We must wait and see.
    Tony: thank you for your good wishes. I like the Jo-Jo idea!
    BTW, anyone who’d like to email me can do so on [email protected]

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