Leadership contenders answer questions on social democracy, social justice and reaching beyond our base

As you can imagine, the various groups within the Party have been keen to question the candidates about their response to the issues that matter more than most to their members. Today, we publish, at their request, the questions put to Jo and Ed by the Social Democrat Group…

The Social Democrat Group are very grateful to the answers that Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, the leadership contenders for the Liberal Democrats, have given to our questions. The letter we sent to them with the questions is below.

At this moment of great opportunity for our party, we would like to thank you for standing to be our leader. These new opportunities come with great challenges and we really appreciate you putting yourself forward.

It is our belief that the party needs to retain and develop its broad coalition of opinions. In this regard we have been concerned by the exclusive use of Liberal to describe the party during your exchanges of opinion. Whilst we honour and respect the great Liberal heritage of the party, we believe that to build a winning coalition it is necessary to acknowledge the other strands of the party’s traditions. In that regard we would appreciate your thoughts on the following questions.

  • How important are Social Democrats and Social Democracy to your vision of the party’s future direction?
  • Do you welcome new members to the party who agree with our constitutional preamble but do not see themselves as Liberals?
  • Where in your priorities does social justice and the reduction of poverty come?
  • How do you intend to reach out and embrace those voters who voted to leave the European Union?

Best wishes
The Social Democrat Group

You can read the answers from Ed Davey here, and from Jo Swinson here.

* The Social Democrat Group is a fringe organisation within the Liberal Democrats which exists to reach out to social democrats beyond the party, and to celebrate and develop our social democrat heritage.

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Jul '19 - 4:01pm

    I am non aligned regarding the strands of philosophy or ideology in our party fabric, I subscribe to the Liberal Reform, Social Liberal Forum and Social Democrat newsfeeds and unless otherwise allowed by some notion of being exclusive, shall continue to do so.

    I say I am a classical liberal re liberty, a social liberal re equality, a social democrat re community.

    Nobody should even consider being wholly one, if of a view that is based on a limited understanding of the chronology as well as variety in thought .

    These answers from our excellent contenders are convincing. Ed does better on detail Jo on direction.

    I shall vote knowing I shall like either.

  • Paul Barker 1st Jul '19 - 4:03pm

    When I call myself a Liberal that is shorthand for Liberal/Social Democrat/Green. There are sometimes tensions between those 3 bit I see them as creative tensions not forced choices.

  • John Littler 1st Jul '19 - 8:18pm

    I cannot be alone in believing in generally liberal values but more Social Democratic values on economic issues. I think not enough was made of Vince’s excellent Active Industrial Strategy in the coalition, which was pure Social Democracy and put New Labour well into the shade. However, it did not look much like the LibDem Economic policy documents I saw 2 years ago, which were more purist free market theories, which as a businessman, I do not believe has much to do with the real world out there.

  • Colin McDougall 2nd Jul '19 - 10:38am

    The SDG executive was very pleased with the candidates responses, which we felt acknowledged the importance of social democratic ideas for the future of the party and the need to really focus on social justice.

    SDG Secretary

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