Meet your new Federal committee members – internal election results declared

Last night, after a long day of hard work by brilliant LDHQ staff, the Federal Committee results were declared.

Party members had been voting for 3 weeks to choose members of the Federal Board, Federal Policy Committee, Federal Conference Committee, Federal International Relations Committee and ALDE Council delegations. Principal councillor reps to Federal Board and Federal Policy Committee, the English rep to the Federal Board and Scottish reps to both Committees were also chosen.

You can see the full results including all the STV tables here.

Those elected were:

Federal Board

Alice Thomas
April Preston
Candy Piercy
Caron Lindsay
Elaine Bagshaw
Gerald Vernon-Jackson
James Gurling
Jo Hayes
Joyce Onstad
Kishan Devani*
Luke Cawley-Harrison
Neil Fawcett
Roisin Miller
Ruby Chow
Simon McGrath

* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to gender diversity requirements.

English Rep to Federal Board

Lisa-Maria Bornemann

Scottish Rep to Federal Board

Cllr Kevin Lang

Principal Councillor rep to Federal Board

Cllr Chris White

Federal Policy Committee

Alisdair Calder-McGregor
Alyssa Gilbert
Aria Babu
Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Catherine Royce
Christine Cheng
Duncan Brack
Elizabeth Jewkes
Helen Cross
Jeremy Hargreaves
Mohsin Khan
Richard Cole
Robert Harrison*
Sally Burnell
Tara Copeland
* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to gender diversity requirements.

Scottish Rep to Federal Policy Committee

Elinor Anderson

Principal Councillor reps to Federal Policy Committee

Cllr Peter Thornton
Cllr Susan Juned

Federal Conference Committee

Bex Scott
Cara Jenkinson
Chris Adams
Chris Maines
Geoff Payne
Liz Lynne
Joe Otten
John Bridges
Jon Ball
Joe Toovey*
Nick da Costa
Rachelle Shepherd-Dubey
* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to ability diversity requirements.

Federal International Relations Committee

Doreen Huddart
Hannah Bettsworth
Jonathan Fryer
Phillipa Leslie-Jones
Phil Bennion
Ruth Coleman Taylor

ALDE Council

Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Hannah Bettsworth
Jonathan Fryer
Joyce Onstad
Merlene Emmerson
Phillip Bennion

Congratulations to everyone who was elected and commiserations to those who missed out this time.

Some quick observations on the results.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am the only directly elected member of FB, FPC or FCC who comes from outside England. I know that there are Scottish and Welsh reps but is that something we need to address? In fact, Federal Board is incredibly London-centric. Eight of its fifteen members actually come from London and only April and I could be described as beyond the Home Counties.

The party adopted diversity measures to ensure that our party bodies reflect the society we live in.

These can be found in Article 2 of the Federal Constitution

2.5 Whenever this Constitution provides for the election by party members to a Federal Committee, not less than 40% or, if 40% is not a whole number, the whole number nearest to but not exceeding 40% of those elected shall self- identify as men or non-binary people, and self-identify as women or non-binary people respectively.

2.6 Whenever this Constitution provides for the election by party members of ten or more persons to any Federal Committee or other Federal body:
(a) not less than 10% or, if 10% is not a whole number, the whole number nearest to but not exceeding 10% shall be from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds;
(b) not less than 10% or, if 10% is not a whole number, the whole number nearest to but not exceeding 10% shall be disabled people; and
(c) not less than 10% or, if 10% is not a whole number, the whole number
nearest to but not exceeding 10% shall be people from under-represented sexual orientations and gender identities, including trans and non-binary identities.

These measures were used three times in this election – twice on gender requirements and both to promote male candidates which is not the situation you might have found in the past and a welcome sign that the culture in the party is changing.

The turnout was also quite small. Only about 10% of members took part which is, I think, a small improvement on 2017. The general election coinciding with the voting period probably didn’t help, but we need to look at ways of encouraging more people to participate in future elections.

The Federal Board is required to review the election regulations after every set of elections so we can have a good look at what worked and where improvements need to be made to the online system.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • I would expect a low turnout as, unless you are a very active member, only a few names will be familiar, either local or active on LDV or social media. I only found a few I could vote for with sufficient knowledge.

  • Re: “The turnout was also quite small. Only about 10% of members took part which is, I think, a small improvement on 2017. The general election coinciding with the voting period probably didn’t help, but we need to look at ways of encouraging more people to participate in future elections.” – there was an awful lot of reading that had to be done for those of us who didn’t already know all the candidates in all the elections. I didn’t get through all of it, and that is part of the reason I didn’t vote in all the contests (I did vote in some). The structure of the voting and prospectus pages meant that a diligent elector had to open dozens of new tabs for each election in order to compare the various candidates.
    Perhaps a list of candidates with a + box to drop down a text-only version of their prospectus next to each would be an improvement.

  • David Evershed 17th Nov '19 - 12:03pm

    “You can see the full results including all the STV tables here.”

    Is not working for me.

  • David Becket 17th Nov '19 - 12:29pm

    Voting in all the elections was a time consuming task.
    There were a large number of new faces (all to the good), which made choosing difficult.
    Failing to list in alphabetical order made the process harder. I understand the reason but working through a list of candidates and manifestos listed in random order made the task harder..
    There were problems with on line voting. my wife and myself share the same e mail address, only one of us got a paper.

    The result in our family
    I took the time (half a day) to go through all the lists and completed the vote.
    My wife voted for the President and a few she knew.
    My daughter did not vote.

    I appreciate that listing in alphabetical order favours those at the top, but it would make the task of voting far easier.

    As for London centred. When living in Berkshire I volunteered for a Working Party and stood for election. Living now in North Staffordshire London meetings are too far and too expensive.

    It might be possible to have clever software whereby having read the manifesto you could input a order preference.

  • The only way I can see to improve turnout significantly would be to hold the different Elections at different times, it was just too much to do in one go. A less clunky system would also help.

  • Sue Sutherland 17th Nov '19 - 1:26pm

    I agree with Duncan. I have M.E. which affects my concentration and ability to hold several facts together at the same time. I like to think this is the equivalent of very busy people with lots going on in their lives. It became impossible for me to vote because of having to read lots of information as I didn’t know many of the candidates.
    I think it would be more democratic to elect in thirds if it’s necessary to hold all the elections at the same time. It would provide more continuity as well. I do try to exercise my democratic right to vote because it’s very important. Perhaps the way these elections are conducted should change because we are now a much larger party, so there are lots of members who do not know the candidates either personally or from local or national reputation.
    I noticed that Liberal Reform was recommending several candidates so I hope those candidates were open about this.

  • Duncan Brack 17th Nov '19 - 1:34pm

    It’s worth noting that, for every committee, more women than men were elected, despite the fact that in every case there were more men candidates (the only exception being the FCC, where there were only four women candidates, all of whom were elected). I’m sure that’s never happened before.

    On the turnout point, it is never likely to be more than about 5-10% for these elections. The vast majority of party members will have no idea who any of the candidates are or what the committees they’re standing for do. Reading through all the manifestos will take hours longer than they’re likely to have available. I’m sure the general election didn’t help, but honestly I doubt it made much difference.

  • Yeovil Yokel 17th Nov '19 - 2:12pm

    I’d like to echo the comments made by others above. I only voted in the Presidential election because there was simply too much work to do in wading through the list of unfamiliar candidates for the various committees and attempting to rank them. The Electoral Reform Society has a similar problem in that huge numbers of people stand for election to its governing body and life is too short to spend burning the midnight oil in order to make informed choices.

  • Interesting to note that two places have been given out for ‘gender diversity’ requirements, but that ten of the Federal Board are all based in London with three from the Home Counties. What has happened to the West Country, the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire ?

    Not exactly representative.

  • Laurence Cox 17th Nov '19 - 5:00pm

    David Beckett makes a good point. There is no reason to randomise completely the list of candidates. They could be in alphabetical order but with the starting point randomised with those earlier in the alphabet than the starting point being in alphabetical order at the end of the list.

    I was very disappointed by the lack of interaction of the candidates with questions from members on the Internal Elections Facebook group (presidential candidates excepted). I had one question on policy-making that received a number of ‘likes’ but was ignored by all FCC candidates until I prompted it in response to one candidate’s posting, whereupon I got a response from him (he was elected) and one other. If candidates are in transmit-only mode, they cannot expect members to vote for them.

    @Sue Sutherland
    The Social Liberal Forum also provided a list of social liberals standing for the various committees (both Caron Lindsay and Duncan Brack were on that list).

  • Mick Taylor 17th Nov '19 - 6:05pm

    There are also a number of well known former members of committees who were defeated this time. Not least long-time chair Robert Woodthorpe-Brown, Mark Valadares and Paul Reynolds, all who failed to be re-elected to FIRC. In fact the majority of FIRC members are new. It would be good to thank all of those who were not re-elected for their hard work over the years. Perhaps LDV can identify and thank them all.

  • marcstevens 17th Nov '19 - 7:05pm

    Yes you’re right they should be open about what Liberal Reform stands for otherwise this is very undemocratic and misleading voting party members. I wouldn’t touch the orange bookers with a bargepole as they are anathema to the social liberalism I believe in.

  • marccstevens – I don’t understand why you consider orange bookerd to be anathema to the socially liberal? Surely they believe in LGBTQI rights, women’s right to choose, equality legislation, are anti- discriminatory etc ?

  • Johmc You’re confusing the term social liberal i.e. a left wing liberal, with the American term socially liberal for which the correct term in most of the world is just ‘liberal’. But in America liberal means social liberal.

  • Alasdair Brooks 18th Nov '19 - 7:54am

    I voted, put great effort into voting in good conscience, going through all of the candidate statements – which took a fair commitment of time and effort – and then received an e-mail a few days later saying I’d have to do it all again because the party had made a mistake and had failed to post all of the correct candidate statements. That I could never quite find the time to go through the whole process again might well be a failure on my part, but I wonder how many people were impacted by this.

  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor 18th Nov '19 - 12:51pm

    First of all, thanks to everyone who voted for me for FIRC and for ALDE. The number of places on ALDE Council is based on our General Election vote so it is highly likely that several of the ALDE candidates who missed being in the top 6 will in fact become members of the Lib Dem delegation in the New Year.
    Picking up on Caron’s comments, I wonder whether it is time to look at including location within our definition of diversity. Most Federal meetings are held midweek in London which is quite a challenge to people who live and work at a distance. For many of them, attending a meeting will involve both a lengthy journey at peak time and an overnight stay, while for London-based members it is a local journey and getting home the same night.
    We are probably missing out on the contribution of members who live outside London and feel unable to make this commitment, either in time terms or financial terms.

  • Duncan Brack said, “On the turnout point, it is never likely to be more than about 5-10% for these elections. The vast majority of party members will have no idea who any of the candidates are…”

    Just so. In terms of first preferences, only two candidates got above 10% of votes cast for the committee they stood for; Duncan Brack (very narrowly for the FPC), and Liz Lynne (handsomely for the FCC).

    Overall, that means that no member of any committee except Liz Lynne has the support of more than 1% of the membership and the great majority are far, far below that.

    And then there is the diversity dimension. Geographical spread – the usual basis for democratic representation – is ignored because, in practice, only London/London region members can participate, while meticulous attention is paid to achieving perfect balance of the LGBT kind.

    Folks, this is NOT democracy, not even close.

    It’s an approach that now has a 30+ year history of failure and one can see why. On Brexit, for example, the party with its heavily London-centric governance, is and always has been tone deaf to the concerns of those from Leave-voting regions further afield or we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    When are the Lib Dems, the most institutionally conservative of parties, going to wake up and acknowledge that if they want to start winning more than occasional guerilla engagements, they must first overhaul party governance?

  • If we don’t hold meetings in London midweek, which I can see the case against; then what? Leeds at the weekend? Which would probably result in more people having to travel longer overall – bearing in mind the geographical bias of our membership and the vagaries of the road/rail network – and at least an equal chance of decreased participation (to midweek) as family-leaders have child-centered commitments at weekends. There is no right answer (and conference calls is certainly not that answer)

  • For all the desire to decentralise things given the transport networks meetings in London on a weekday evening are likely to be the most accessible for the greatest number of people (eg it’s way quicker to get to London from Cardiff than it is to Manchester). And that’s before you factor in MPs etc and party staff.

    I do have a question about these results though. I made a formal complaint to the Federal Appeals Panel about the decision to disqualify some votes (regardless of any other issues there is no clear authority for the returning officer to do that and that is not a power that should exist without extreme clarity as to how and when it is used). That was forwarded (erroneously I think) to the returning officer on the 11th but hasn’t been responded to. Shouldn’t that have been dealt with before the results were announced?

  • Mark – The Federal Appeals Panel and the Chair of that body are not the same thing though. No sensible system would have the person responsible for an appeal being the person who took the decision (and the election rules pretty much say that which the election rules actually say).

    My email from Nick Harvey said:
    “As a result, these candidates may have been unfairly disadvantaged and in my capacity as Returning Officer for these elections, I have decided to invalidate your vote and ask you to cast it again.”

    There are two aspects (1) did the returning officer have the power to disqualify votes and (2) did they exercise that power properly. Your argument is entirely based around the second part of that but if point (1) isn’t met then the second becomes irrelevant and there is no general or specific power in the rules to cover that.

    Regardless of all that if an appeal was considered you’d kind of expect to be told that.

  • We do need a wider geographical spread of elected members to our committees. Perhaps at least reserved members for the north, midlands, Wales and Scotland. Do we use teleconferencing for members who can’t get to London for your meetings?

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