Mark Pack: Why I’m running for Party President

Editor’s Note: The LDV team has invited the three candidates for Party President to write an article for us. 

I eat tofu. I listen to podcasts. I’ve appeared on the BBC. I read The Guardian. I live in north London. Both my parents were immigrants. 

It’s a good thing that Conservative Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers don’t get a vote in our internal elections, as I’m really not the sort of person they like.

And they certainly don’t share my politics… because I want our country to be more liberal, more tolerant, more inclusive, and at the heart of Europe. The more Liberal Democrat policies we get enacted, the better people’s lives are. 

To achieve that, we need to get our strategy and organisation right. We have to have more MPs, more Mayors, more MSPs and MSs, more London Assembly members, more councillors and our first Police and Crime Commissioners.

Since taking up post as President in January 2020, we’ve made real progress implementing the lessons from the independent election review of the 2019 general election. We’ve strengthened our campaign staff, steadied our finances and improved our governance. We’ve focused on reaching diverse groups, engaging our members, and modernising our technology so we can do better in getting our messages across.

We’re winning again at local elections and by-elections – and I’m delighted that by-election winners Helen Morgan and Richard Foord are backing my campaign. 

But we must keep making progress if we want to win more seats and put Liberal Democrat values into practice. 

If you re-elect me, I’ll stay 100% focused on the job of President, continuing to make it my only role in the party. 

The 2019 general election review found we hadn’t properly implemented previous election debriefs. That review found that the roles of President, Leader and Chief Executive were muddled, leading to poor decision-making, with disastrous results. 

The President’s role is to focus on the long-term challenges, to listen to members and to get our party fit for the next general election, for winning at local elections, in Scotland and Wales, on the London Assembly, and in Police Commissioner and Mayor elections. 

I am not running to be our face in the media – that’s for our Leaders, Ed Davey in Westminster, Alex Cole-Hamilton in Scotland and Jane Dodds in Wales – and for our elected public office holders. And I am not running to set our policy – members decide our policies via Conference, supported by our Federal Policy Committee and working groups that any member can join. 

I am running to make sure we have the right strategy and organisation to help more Lib Dems win – a different job from either our Leader or our CEO – because that’s the big lesson from 2019.

And I am running so I can keep listening to members and making sure their voice is heard when it comes to the big decisions – somethingI’ve been doing since you elected me three years ago, and thatI’ll keep doing if you re-elect me. 

I’m proud of my track record over the past three years. Proud of the new Stellar Programme for PPCs from ethnic minority backgrounds. Proud of standing up for and investing in our staff. Proud of our great by-election wins and showing Boris Johnson the door! 

But there’s so much more to do.  If you re-elect me, this will be my only role in the Party – focused 100% on the long-term changes that will keep the party winning at all levels.  I’ll be focused on:      

  • More campaign support for our grassroots – to win more target wards, councils and constituencies 
  • Improving diversity and inclusion – including making this a responsibility of the full Federal Board 
  • Continuing investment in data and tools, and in supporting and developing all our staff
  • Growing and engaging our members and supporters, and doing more for candidates at every level. 

PPCs, Council Group Leaders, MPs and Chairs of Party Bodies are backing my campaign because they know I’m the candidate that will help them win:


You can find out more about my campaign at or email me on [email protected].  

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Anthony Acton 2nd Nov '22 - 8:11pm

    How do I get a ballot form?

  • I am very much in favour of the core vote strategy you set out in the past. However, that doesn’t seem to be the direction the party is headed in. Is anything being done on that or is it outside if the President’s remit?

  • John Lib Dem 2nd Nov '22 - 11:41pm

    If re-elected, when will you be revoking the party’s unlawful transphobia definition? We have had two pieces of legal advice, and you are allegedly sat on a third, highlighting the serious problems with the definition – which as well as being unlawful is also highly illiberal.

  • Julian ingram 3rd Nov '22 - 9:50am

    Thanks Mark,
    We are all voting for you here. For the avoidance of doubt you coming to Beaconsfield boosted the canvass in central ward, motivated the exhausted team to keep going and run a full GOTV and gave us that narrow win. That’s a real record of action you should be proud of.

  • David Robert Warren 3rd Nov '22 - 11:19am

    You say that you are a full time President Mark. To do that you must have a source of income that means you can carry out a voluntary role in that manner.

    My question to you is. Doesn’t this mean that the post of President is effectively not an option for the majority of Liberals who have to work in a job to earn a living?

  • I thank Mark for his reply but it seems to me that in 2019 we were starting to build a core vote of economically moderate remainers with a high education level (and achieved 21% of the remain vote, more than the Tories) but according to polls now stand to lose half of that vote to Labour.

  • Mark,
    What will you do address dangerous misinformation being propagated by those in the party who view themselves as champions of trans rights, but are actually proposing that the party ignore the law, the advice and guidance given to medical staff in their push to allow medicalisation of children without parental input?

  • Neil Fawcett 3rd Nov '22 - 2:18pm

    @John Lib Dem – the legal advice you refer to actually said that it was lawful for the party to agree its own Definition of Transphobia. It said, in effect, that it is how you use it that matters legally.

  • Jason Connor 3rd Nov '22 - 2:52pm

    Are we? I would like to read the articles from the other two candidates. Hopefully some non Guardian readers from working class backgrounds, council tenants even.

  • Mick Taylor 3rd Nov '22 - 2:57pm

    @John Lib Dem. Were there not similar arguments about girls being prescribed contraception without parental consent? Surely the principle that matters is JS Mill’s dictum of ‘no harm’.Parental rights have to be tempered by what is right for the child. It isn’t so long, within my lifetime, that it was believed that it was right to physically chastise a child and not so long before that that men were assumed too have the right to beat their wives. Trans rights are now controversial but the Liberal approach is that people should be able to be what they want to be and not to put impossible barriers in the way of recognising a change of gender and accepting the choices made by individuals.

  • Mick Taylor 3rd Nov '22 - 3:04pm

    @John Hall. It is easy to be absolutist about Palestine. The problem is that there are two groups of people who can claim rights to live in Palestine, neither of whom will accept the right of the other to do so and both of whom are willing to kill and maim in support of their belief and both of whom sabotage peace talks before they get off the ground. Tolerance is sadly lacking on both sides.
    I wouldn’t claim to know how to stop the recurring cycle of violence, but until both sides sit around a table with no preconditions there is zero chance of resolution.

  • nvelope2003 3rd Nov '22 - 3:33pm

    Mick Taylor: After the new Prime Minister’s victory in the recent election and with his new partners in the Government I think we know how the issue of the Palestinians will be resolved. I don’t expect the US will be sending the Palestinians many weapons.

  • John Lib Dem 3rd Nov '22 - 5:51pm

    Neil Fawcett – The party can come up with whatever definition it likes, but if it can’t actually apply it without breaking the law then yes it is an unlawful definition. The definition makes practically anything transphobic, it is absurd.

    Mick Taylor – contraceptives are not the same as irreversible hormones and surgery. No serious political party should be advocating for children to undergo such extreme medical pathways without the support and guidance of their parents. Liberalism should also be about reason and evidence – something distinctly lacking in the party’s approach to trans issues.

    Mark Pack – why don’t you release the legal advice the party has received? I’m going to take a guess and say it matches the advice already commissioned.

  • Mick Taylor 3rd Nov '22 - 6:34pm

    @Jason Connor. What’s class and renting got to do with being Party President? In my young Liberal days, someone coined the phrase playing prolier than thou. (I think it was now Professor Lawrence Friedman), when people tried to pretend that they had working class backgrounds. I long ago decided that I couldn’t pretend that I’m not middle class (professional son of professional parents and grandparents on both sides) and frankly I don’t think it matters what background you have, it’s what you do and stand for that counts.

  • Jason Connor 3rd Nov '22 - 8:59pm

    I can’t see where I mentioned renting on this thread. I would like to see more people like myself represented at all levels in the party whether it be as Party President, Councillors, MPs etc. not just the middle classes. When it comes to social status and background the party should be embracing inclusion and diversity even if you’re not so that the Party reflects society. Now back to my point, I look forward to reading the articles from the other candidates.

  • David Evans 4th Nov '22 - 2:18pm

    Hello Mark,
    Firstly, Congratulations on a very professional video and leaflet. Clearly you have learned a lot about campaigning from your time as party president. However, one disadvantage of being an incumbent is that you have a track record you can be quizzed about, and this is where I would like to ask a question of you.

    In your article, you mention that you are responsible for strategy and organisation and have a video setting out your Record of Action and a promise of more. However, since you became party president, membership has collapsed from over 126,000 at the start of 2020 to around 74,000 currently.

    2020 was a high point, largely as a result of new Lib Dems joining due to our principled stance opposing Brexit, but since then little if anything approximating to a strategy has been apparent and next to nothing sent to help and guide local parties to retain and ultimately embed these new members in the party. As a result, it would seem most of them have now been lost.

    So the question is “What was your strategy for member retention over your period in office, and why has it been so unsuccessful?”



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