Liberal Democrats honoured in the Queen’s 90th birthday list

Many congratulations to all the Liberal Democrats honoured in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list.

Dave Hodgson, our Mayor of Bedford, becomes an MBE for services to Local Government. Elected to Bedford Borough Council in 2002, Dave became only our second directly elected Mayor in 2009. He was elected a third time in May 2015. Dave has long been a superb recruiter of new party members and has trained many of us in the skills of signing up new people.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader, London Borough of Sutton, receives an OBE for services to Local Government and London. Featured in 2011 in our “Liberal Heroes” series, we wrote of Ruth then:

The bigger purpose for Ruth is that campaigning “has got to be all about community politics” – “it’s about what is happening outside people’s front doors”. Sutton’s Liberal Democrats made much in the mid-1980s of trying to restore a sense of pride in the local community, and it is an approach she still relishes, seeing a job for local politicians in helping to nourish and support local communities. Her time in Italy gave her a strong belief that life is not just about the individual and the state; faced with a failing state people made good use of other networks, especially those of family and neighbours.

Long-standing councillor and former leader of Portsmouth City council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson becomes an “Ordinary Commander of the Civil Division of the…Most Excellent Order – a Commander of the British Empire”: “For services to Local Government”. Gerald has had a long and illustrious career as one of the party’s key campaign organisers and trainers. As leader of Portsmouth City Council, he skilfully navigated cross-party consensus, bringing forward improvements for Portsmouth in a conciliatory way. Gerald’s formal citation has to be savoured (and it took a while for us to work out that it was actually our Gerald):

Robert Gerald van Cortlandt VERNON-JACKSON, Councillor, Portsmouth City Council. For services to Local Government.

Merlene Toh Emerson is awarded an MBE for “political and public service”. Merlene was the Liberal Democrat Candidate for the London Assembly, West Central Constituency in 2008 and was third on our London list this year. She was also Parliamentary Candidate for Hammersmith in May 2010. A City solicitor turned mediator, Merlene is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of the World Traders livery company and has been on a number of official visits to China, Hongkong and Central Asia as a British Chinese politician. She is on the executive of Liberal International British Group and serves on the Liberal Democrat International Relations Committee. Merlene has a very interesting blog here.

Jen Yockney becomes an MBE “for services to the Bisexual Community”. On her website, Jen is described as:

…one of the most prominent bisexual community activists in the UK, having worked on giving bisexual communities support and voice for the past twenty-plus years…She is active in many levels of community work: frontline support at the UK’s oldest bisexual support group; publications and policy-making such as initiating meetings between the bi volunteer / activist community and GEO; and as a mentor actively reaching out to new volunteers to help bi groups and projects around the country blossom.

Nigel Bliss “Director, Finance and Operations, Liberal Democrats” receives an MBE “for political and public service”. Nigel, until his well-deserved retirement earlier this year, headed up the part of our HQ which looks after finance, payroll, HR, compliance and HQ admin.

Paul Marshall, Chairman, ARK Schools and Lead Non-Executive Board Member, Department for Education. Paul receives a knighthood for services to Education and Philanthropy. As related by Wikipedia:

(Paul) Marshall has a longstanding involvement with Britain’s Liberal Democrats Party. He was research assistant to Charles Kennedy, MP, former leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1985 and stood for Parliament for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in Fulham in 1987. He has made appearances on current affairs programmes such as BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions. In 2004 Marshall co-edited ‘The Orange Book’ with David Laws, MP.

Bristol Councillor Simon Cook has been awarded an MBE for services to culture. Thanks to Andrew Brown for that information. From the Bristol Lib Dem website:

Simon was elected to Bristol City Council in 1999 and has been re-elected four times since, serving as an Executive Member and as Deputy Leader in the Liberal Democrat administrations of 2005-7 and 2009 until the present. He also served as the city’s Lord Mayor for the municipal year 2004-5.
Simon is a leading advocate for the cultural life of Bristol and sits on the Boards of the Bristol Old Vic, @Bristol and the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. He is also sits on the Regional Council of Arts Council England and Bristol University Council. He is married with two children.
Simon (was) a member of George Ferguson’s cross party cabinet holding the portfolio for culture, sport and capital programmes.

Heather Bisset, a councillor in Aberdeenshire and long-term supporter of girl guiding and education – MBE

Jean-Francois Burford, a councillor in Richmond and chair of Kew Park Rangers Football Club – BEM

Lionel King BEM for community services with Balsall Parish Council, Warwickshire. Lionel has been a party member and activist continuously since October 1959 in the West Midlands, since 2004 with Solihull & Meriden LDA.

Congratulations to them all!

Hat-tip to Mark Pack.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News.


  • R Uduwerage-Perera 11th Jun '16 - 7:43am

    Dear Sisters, Brothers, Friends, Membes and Supporters,

    Congratulations to all the recipients of these honours.

    I wish to pass on specifically the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats sincerest congratulations to Sister Merlene Toh Emerson, executive member of EMLD, who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

    Sister Merlene works tirelessly, and has done so for many years, for the Party, for the Chinese community and as an advocate for equality and diversity.

    I very much hope that this small appreciation is followed by further baubles in the future.

    I for one am immensely proud of Merlene, and I am sure that I speak for many many people.

    Have a great day, and future Merlene.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
    Chair – Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats

  • Conor McGovern 11th Jun '16 - 9:14am

    Archaic and undemocratic, the Queen’s really milking this birthday!

  • Tahir Maher tahir Maher 11th Jun '16 - 9:57am

    I am happy for everyone but especially Gerald, Merlene and Nigel (who I know well). Well deserved.

  • Jen Yockney YAY!

  • Piers Allen 11th Jun '16 - 8:32pm

    Congratulations to them all, particularly my predecessor as Chair of Twickenham & Richmond Lib Dems, Merlene, and to our long-standing colleague Gerald who has trail-blazed and trained so many Lib Dem colleagues.

  • The Professor 15th Jun '16 - 9:29pm

    And to the Lib Dems, a mighty hand clap from all of those voting Leave, for being totally irrelevant to the great EU referendum debate.

    The only involvement I have seen so far is a Mr Farron standing in front of a yellow mini standing shoulder to shoulder with a Mr Cameron. What was that photo-op all about?

    Please send for that nice honest Mr Nicholas “I expect the EU in the next 10 years to be unchanged” Clegg!

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Ruth Bright
    I liked what Daisy Cooper did about the D-Day/Rishi controversy. Reading from her Grandpa's war diary was high risk because it is so easy to sound mawkish - but...
  • Jenny Barnes
    "Every member will have had many communications by now asking them to prioritise their efforts in a specific seat." No, I haven't had any, let alone many....
  • nvelope2003
    Whatever the reason for the move to the right in some states maybe the British have seen where this leads and will reverse the trend here. One can but hope....
  • expats
    The Conservative manifesto launch was far more like the funeral for an unpopular corpse than a christening... Little about past achievements much on 'future sna...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Simon R: Comments like these are populist right-wing tropes: "The liberal left has become a shill for a failed EU establishment…" ...