Lizzie Jewkes – why I am standing for Party President

We are in hugely exciting times for the party. Our membership is higher than ever before. We need a President who is capable of meeting the challenge of valuing each and every one of our members and ensuring that whatever their reason for joining, we meet their expectations and encourage them to play an active role in our party. As an employer, I understand the importance of valuing people. I often work with voluntary organisation and always encourage them to value their volunteers more. As a volunteer myself, I know how important it is to be valued. Members join the party because they want to be involved in politics but often all we do is ask them to deliver leaflets. We need to be doing so much more to allow people to be part of what we do. I started Pizza and Politics nights for my local party which were really popular, especially with younger people and the cocktail receptions I organise at Spring and Autumn conferences for Lib Dem Women are becoming legendary. I know we have Lib Dem Pint but am concerned the name is just a bit too male. We need to make sure everything is as welcoming as possible. As a qualified party trainer, I’d like to see more training going on locally to give members the confidence to get out on the streets and doorsteps and talk to people.

When I see something needs doing, I get on and do it. In my work life, I start businesses and help other businesses to be more successful. I politics, I get on and do stuff. I am best known as the person who campaigned within the party for the policy of raising the income tax threshold to the level of the minimum wage. I met opposition from people who told me it couldn’t be done, but I did it anyway. My campaign led to the ‘£!0,000 tax free’ which was on the front cover of our 2010 manifesto and was implemented by the Lib Dems in the Coalition Government.

I’ve been a member of the party for over 35 years. I was an agent in 1987 and that made me realise that I would really prefer to be the candidate so I’ve been a parliamentary candidate since 1992.

I currently chair the Lib Dem Christian Forum and am vice chair of Lib Dem Women. I’m also a member of the Federal Policy Committee and I’ve just been given the Patsy Calton Award. I live just outside Chester with my husband, Kurt and 2 large dogs. I’m a trustee of a local charity and a director of a local CIC. I have 4 adult children, 5 grandchildren and currently own a vintage style tea shop where my favourite occupation is creating fabulous vegan cakes because inclusivity is my great passion.

* Lizzie Jewkes is Vice Chair of Liberal Democrat Women and Chair of the Lib Dem Christian Forum.

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