Presidential Candidates’ Emails to party members

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderLast night, emails from all 3 candidates for party president were sent to party members. Ballot papers have started arriving on the doorsteps of the party’s 44,000 members. Members have the choice of either sending their ballot paper back in the reply paid envelope provided or voting online. You can’t do both, obviously. Checks are in place to ensure that people only vote once.

Here are the emails in full with links to the candidates’ websites:

Sal Brinton

Dear Fellow Liberal Democrats,

We as a Party will be making a very important decision very soon. We will decide who is to be the new President of the Liberal Democrats.

I’ve known Sal Brinton for over 20 years, and have seen her working in every aspect of the party. She is an experienced campaigner and an excellent advocate for the Liberal Democrats and participating democracy. Her greatest strengths lie in listening to Party members, getting things done, and tackling difficult issues. She uses her experience as a former senior manager in business and as Bursar of a Cambridge College to make things happen.

For example after ten years mentoring and training women parliamentary candidates, Sal created the Leadership Programme to give women, BAME candidates, and other under-represented groups the skills they need to be selected and to fight in winnable Parliamentary seats on their own merits.

As a result of her hard work, five out of seven candidates who are standing in seats where our MPs are retiring are members of the Leadership Programme.

I urge you to give Sal your first preference vote.

Thank you,

Shirley Williams

Daisy Cooper

It is tough being the sole MEP representing our Party. In the next six months we will face the fight of our lives – and in the next two years we may have to fight to keep the UK in Europe. As we face the tasks ahead we are being asked to choose our new President to lead that fight.

We need a new, young face for the future – with passion and drive.

In a climate where euro-scepticism has become the vogue and in the fall out of the Scottish referendum, we need someone who will rally our members and rebuild our Party internally; someone who will help me re-establish our base for the European Parliament and who will lead our local revival to make sure that Liberal values continue to be heard – in Europe, local government and at Westminster.

For me, that is Daisy Cooper.

Daisy is passionate about the UK’s deep liberal roots. She talks with pride about our record on home rule, introducing the welfare state and delivering equal marriage. She understands where our Party comes from and where it needs to go.

Daisy is the independent voice we need.

She has already shown leadership in speaking up for what is right. Whether it’s calling for One Member One Vote in internal elections, holding our Party leadership to account, or calling out our disciplinary processes where they’ve been found wanting, Daisy has proved herself to be an independent voice for the members.

And Daisy is an internationalist.

At the Commonwealth Secretariat, she was the driving force behind budget and governance reforms that improved transparency on how tax-payers’ money was being used.

As Director of an independent Commonwealth think tank, she challenged countries as diverse as Sri Lanka and Canada on their human rights records. And drawing on this experience Daisy was an active member of the International Development Policy Working Group that wrote that section of our 2010 manifesto.

As the British public moves to decide Britain’s place in the world, I want them to know that it is the Liberal Democrats and our commitment to being in a reformed and more effective Europe, that is the best choice – the only choice – for our country’s future.

With Daisy at the helm, our Party will be the face of the future.

This is your vote. Your voice. Your President.

Please give Daisy your first preference vote.

Warm regards,

Catherine Beader Signature

Catherine Bearder MEP

Liz Lynne

 The last four years have been a rollercoaster for us all. Many of our key Liberal Democrat policies to promote a fairer society have become law. We have our first Cabinet members for generations helping to ensure that the economy has started to recover. With these successes have come some tough decisions, many of us have found some of these difficult to accept, and on occasions our party structures have been found wanting.

My path to become a Liberal Democrat started many years ago. My early life was difficult which taught me to speak up for those without a voice. The Liberal Democrats speak out for the people who struggle to be heard. We stand-up for tolerant, internationalist, decent liberal values and as your President I will ensure that we continue to do that.

I understand our party and have experienced it at every level. As an activist in London I fought my first Council election. Next, in the 80s I became a Parliamentary Candidate in the East of England with only a small team of helpers so I know what it’s like to fight and lose.

But I prefer to fight and win!

That’s what I did, with the help of a larger team I became an MP in Labour’s North West heartland. After Westminster, I was the first ever Liberal Democrat MEP in the West Midlands. I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat, to stand-up for our values and beat Labour, Tories and UKIP alike.

Now I am no longer in the European or Westminster Parliaments I can devote the time needed to visit local parties and meet our members. Indeed I have already been doing just that in Scotland, Wales and the English regions; out knocking on doors, speaking at fund-raisers, encouraging our Local and Parliamentary candidates. It was while I was “out and about” that members suggested I should stand for Party President.

I value my independence. I am not part of any particular group, I want our party to flourish and for all of us to have ownership of our party. My independence also means I can work with the Leader on behalf of all members and not just for the loudest voices.

This is a crucial year for us. Our immediate focus must be on the elections next May and getting the best possible Liberal Democrat result. Then, whatever the outcome, we will need to reflect and re-energise. I have the drive and experience to help our party do that. All party members must be involved in deciding our best way forward in becoming more democratic, transparent, accountable and effective.

We also need to communicate a strong, clear and distinctive Liberal Democrat case. As President I will also use my extensive media experience of appearing regularly on programmes like Newsnight and Question Time to do that.
Since I first joined our party we have achieved an incredible amount. Together we will continue to amaze and frustrate those who predict our demise. Our liberal values have never been needed more than they are today. As your President, I will work tirelessly to promote them and to move the party further forward. Please support me.

Liz Lynne Signature

Thank you,

Liz Lynne

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  • Callum Leslie 2nd Nov '14 - 12:07pm

    I voted yesterday morning when the ballot paper came through – still haven’t got these…

  • Helen Tedcastle 2nd Nov '14 - 12:40pm

    @ Caracatus
    ‘ … another glossing over losing her seats as MP and MEP’

    I presume that’s reference to Liz Lynne. Liz retired from her role as MEP for the West Midlands after a decade of hard work and speaking up for the region; so she did not lose her seat in the general wipe out last Spring.

    At least Liz made the effort to write her own email to members – communication with members is a key part of being the President.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Nov '14 - 12:48pm

    LDV is remaining neutral in this election. I do feel it necessary as site editor, though, to point out that it’s not fair to cast blame for people losing seats. Do you blame the Scottish Liberal Democrats who lost their seats in 2011 despite not being culpable for the reasons for the party’s unpopularity at the time? Good people lose in democracies. And of course as Helen has pointed out. Liz retired in 2012.

    By the same token, we as a party use popular local figures to write endorsements for our candidates in elections and I don’t think it’s fair to criticise people for doing the same.

  • Stephen Hesketh 2nd Nov '14 - 12:53pm

    Callum Leslie 2nd Nov ’14 – 12:07pm

    Interesting, I too have the postal literature but not the emails!

  • No e-mails received by either member in this house.
    We Independently came to our own conclusion of how to vote and filled in our paper ballots this morning.
    So that is two first preferences for Liz Lynne, two second preferences for Daisy Cooper.

    Would an e-mail have made any difference? No.
    But someone “up there” must know how many e-mail addressees these were sent to.
    So if we have in excess of 40,000 members, how many e-mail addressees are there?

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Nov '14 - 2:44pm

    I wish I thought one of the candidates were an excellent choice, but I don’t. How can people like John Tilley be preferring the same candidate as people like me and Nick Thornsby?

    Liz Lynne was the only person who I thought might be excellent, but there are question marks over her too. If I were a member I’d probably spoil my ballot. I take no pleasure in pointing that out.

  • These all seem to say that they are nice people with good intentions. Which is undoubtedly true!

    However all three seem to think that the things they want to happen (eg implement the Morissey report which, disappointingly, none of them make reference to) will just happen if they wish them to.

  • Liz Lynne appears to have visited more key seats than the other two candidates.

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Nov ’14 – 2:44pm
    “….,..John Tilley be preferring the same candidate as people like me and Nick Thornsby?”

    Well Eddie, it’s possible that Liz Lynne meets therequirement of a good President — to be able to appeal to all wings of the party.

    Or it could be that either Nick Thornsby or I have made a mistake. Or maybe both of us think that a candidate who is not totally identified with the South East of England might be best for the party. That was certainly a factor in my thinking. The party needs to build up again in places like the West Mids and North West after the desolation of the last 8 years.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Nov '14 - 4:40pm

    Any basis for that Sesenco? Although it’s hardly surprising given that she had quite a head start. Daisy only announced her candidacy at the end of August.

  • Helen Tedcastle 2nd Nov '14 - 4:59pm

    ‘ I stand corrected. Liz Lynne stood down as an MEP…

    Yes, in 2012 after twelve or so years.

    and then we lost all but one MEP seat.’

    Two years later. The second half of your statement cannot follow the first. How can someone who retired from her role as MEP in 2012, be accused of ‘glossing over’ something in 2014 that she had no part in bringing about?

    ‘ Really your missing the point that it really is quite extraordinary for a party to be wiped out in the Euro-elections and an ex-MEP not to mention it. ‘

    Not really. The post is President and the case has to be made for fulfilling that role, which includes building up the party, rather than writing an email lamenting losses which have been analysed in detail for months anyway.

  • A Social Liberal 2nd Nov '14 - 5:10pm

    Caron said “LDV is remaining neutral in this election.” and yet whilst I saw an advert for Lynne prominent on the LDV website I did not see one for Cooper or Brinton. Very even handed !

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Nov '14 - 5:10pm

    Glad to see that John Tilley, Nick Thornsby and I are all giving our first preference to Liz. I suspect we all also want a President not afraid to stand up to the party establishment .

  • Caron,

    The answer to your question is “by trawling through the three websites”.

    For me, Sal Brinton and Liz Lynne have a clear advantage over Daisy Cooper, because I know who both of them are. I had never heard of Daisy Cooper until a couple of months ago, so I am unable to judge if she has the mettle for the job. Though I dare say she could persuade me if she tried.

    What I want at this stage is a President who will put a rocket up campaigning. If I am looking for evidence that one of these candidates will do that better than the other two, then a record of visiting key seats is the obvious first port of call.

    Incidentally, do any of the candidates have full-time jobs?

  • Stevan Rose 2nd Nov '14 - 6:14pm

    Sal Brinton and Liz Lynne are the past. We need to appeal to the younger voters and only Daisy can do that.

    Liz Lynne was also glossing over her loss of Rochdale I feel. I had to retrieve it from the recycling but the leaflet was making much of Liz “the winner” for being elected in the North West. Oddly the name of the seat is mentioned nowhere. Why is that? No mention also of losing a seat after 25 years of it being Liberal held. And she was top of the list in a muti seat constituency in 1999 when Lib Dems polled just 11%. When your claim to be a winner is getting 11% of the vote and less than the national Lib Dem share I truly despair. This ridiculous spin is the reason I did not specify a second preference.

  • Sesenco
    You ask if any of the candidates for President has a full time job.

    Baroness Sal Brinton is a working Lib Dem peer.
    I would hope that any member of the House of Lords would regard that as a full time job.
    Many Liberal Democrats have often expressed the view that a priority for our people in the Lords should be to replace it with a democratic Senate.
    Now that the Labour Party have just this week announced a policy for an elected Senate there is an opportunity within the Lords to work with Labour peers and those cross benchers who favour democracy.
    Starting that work now before the General Election would pave the way for a consensus approach whoever the government is after May.

    This might be a big job but we have over 100 Liberal Democrats in the Lords. So maybe even if Sal does not have time perhaps the other 100 could get off their red benches and do something about it?

  • paul barker 2nd Nov '14 - 7:17pm

    I voted for Daisy first, I do hope me saying that does her campaign no harm .

  • Which candidate holds views closest to the those of LibDems4Change as that’s the person I’ll be voting for? It looks like Daisy Copper but can any LD4C sympathisers confirm this? Thanks.

  • Stephen Hesketh 2nd Nov '14 - 8:03pm

    Hi Stevan
    Please believe me when I say I am not intentionally following you round LDV taking up contrary positions to your own but re “No mention also of losing a seat after 25 years of it being Liberal held.”, indeed it was but frighteningly most of this time Rochdale was held by Cyril Smith!

    Smith holding Rochdale shows that the ability to hold a seat is not always related to ability or desirability and that the unsavoury can win while good representatives lose.

    Our own Chris Davies losing his North West Euro seat is a prime example of a brilliant truly mainstream centre-left Lib Dem losing his seat through absolutely no fault of his own. Sadly there going to be a lot more good MP’s in the same position of losing their seats just as, right now, there are many good, long standing, dedicated Lib Dem ex-councillors and ex-MEPs.

    I will however say I am yet to decide who to vote for.

  • Stephen Hesketh 2nd Nov '14 - 8:05pm

    @david 2nd Nov ’14 – 7:42pm

    “… Which candidate holds views closest to the those of LibDems4Change [is] … the person I’ll be voting for …”


  • Martin Land 2nd Nov '14 - 10:23pm

    As an LD4C signatory I shall be voting for Daisy, though I remain appalled by the absence of a male candidate.

    Surely this is something the party needs to address? Men are a minority and we should be ensuring they are at least represented in party elections of this importance.

  • Stevan Rose 2nd Nov '14 - 10:49pm

    @Stephen. Well at the time no-one admits to knowing what Smith was up to, except David Steele by all accounts. So Liz inherited a seat held by a popular (at the time) incumbent Liberal. It had not been Labour for 20 years. So this was not the miracle win in a Labour heartland that Liz makes out in her leaflet. Of all the seats she could have fought this was probably one of the easiest to pull off. It’s the spin I don’t like, especially if you’re spinning to fellow members who see through that kind if nonsense. Selective recall of one’s electoral history does not scream honesty to me. Better not to say anything and concentrate on the future not the past.

  • PaulWalter

    “If you think about a newspaper: the editorial text is written by the editorial team. The adverts are bought and paid for by advertisers.”

    I’m sure there are many types of adverts that would be turned down by LDV and this should be one of them. If LDV want to be neutral they can’t give coverage to one candidate 24 hours a day every day just because they have more money.

  • When I edited ALDC mailings we would offer advertising to candidates in party elections (when it was allowed by the rules). It was a nice little earner as no-one wanted to be the odd one out 🙂

    If the other candidates want to advertise then raise some money. After all one of them has the pitch that she will motivate donors!

  • Matt (Bristol) 3rd Nov '14 - 12:58am

    I have voted, but wasn’t 100% convinced by any of the three, to be honest. I think Daisy Cooper, who is interesting, is going to find it hard to cope with the contradicting hopes people have pinned on her. I think the other 2 candidates, who both have good points and convincing arguments, are damaged by looking too much like part of the machine at a point when people want to give the machine a kicking. Ironically, this is the selfsame problem the party itself has.

  • geoffrey payne 3rd Nov '14 - 5:21am

    I think there are 3 excellent candidates and I am happy whoever wins. However anyone who says a candidate is “in the past” suggests to me they are discriminating on age.

  • Bill Le Breton 3rd Nov '14 - 7:51am

    Just as a matter of interest, did anyone see whether Sal anywhere in her campaign draw attention to the fact that Nick Clegg has chosen her to be one of his most trusted associates as a member of the four person post election negotiating team ? One might have expected her to feature this.

    Or is this the first important example of high profile campaigners distancing themselves from the Leader when fighting an election?

  • Steven Raison 3rd Nov '14 - 7:57am

    Had all Three emails. Voting by post Ballot in box this morning 3rd Nov 2014

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 3rd Nov '14 - 8:16am

    The comments are strange today. I had assumed that members would vote for the candidate who could, as President, best represent the members themselves. I believe the President should be a counter-balancing agent [representing us] to a leadership who seem to have lost their way by being in government with people lacking the principles we admire.

  • geoffrey payne 3rd Nov ’14 – 5:21am
    “……….anyone who says a candidate is “in the past” suggests to me they are discriminating on age.”

    Paul Tyler provides some interesting information on age in a blog _

    People might think Sal Brinton and her supporters are a bit aged.
    In comparison to others Lords and Ladies she is a young slip of a girl.

    Paul Tyler’s Age Analysis of The House of Lords. –

    Age Range
    Number of Peers








    Total number of Peers

    Average age

  • Those who bang on about how many elections they’ve won and how many constituencies they’ve visited are also discriminating on age. As if slogging round doors is even relevant to the voters these days.

    I’m voting for someone who I think will be a breath of fresh air and who has the persona and skills to be a media ambassador for the party.

    Daisy for change!

  • Steven Raison 3rd Nov '14 - 8:49am

    Posted Ballot Paper also voted Daisy. One question Why No Ron or Non of the Above on Ballot? People vote in different ways vote for One Candidate to stop other from being elected etc.

  • Got the ballot paper but no emails.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Nov '14 - 9:06am

    There seems to me to be an inward and an outward job for the Party generally after May.

    Inwardly the lessons from 1918 : when the War Coalition required a ‘next move’ the Party split badly and disastrously and the enmity between the supporters of Lloyd George and those of Asquith kept the party divided and guaranteed decline.

    So job one is to ensure that the big beasts in the party behave themselves and put Party before personal ambition or personal enmity.

    Outwardly: we need to appeal to those who feel excluded – the so-called anti-Westminster people and especially to those we are able to inspire to join the process of campaigning and activity for the first time.

    They are two very different jobs.

    There is one obvious candidate for job 2. I really don’t think we have a candidate for job 1 which is extremely dangerous for the future sustainability of the Party. Is this a new role? Is it best achieved informally?

  • Helen Tedcastle 3rd Nov '14 - 10:04am

    @ Ann
    ‘ Those who bang on about how many elections they’ve won and how many constituencies they’ve visited are also discriminating on age.’

    It is quite possible to have stood and won in any number of elections by the age of thirty. So it is not ageist to mention experience of having been there and got the t-shirt. It is especially useful when someone has shown that despite their experience they are still independent of factions or undue influence from vested interests.

    ‘ As if slogging round doors is even relevant to the voters these days.’

    Personal interaction will always beat the internet, no matter how much more technology rules people’s lives, because it is real.

  • Ruth Bright 3rd Nov '14 - 10:05am

    What paul barker said!

  • SIMON BANKS 3rd Nov '14 - 11:02am

    They’ve all said more than this on how they’d try to improve the party’s organisation and morale. There were excellent interviews with these three and Linda Jack in “Liberator” and they all have websites.

    Let’s face it, e-mails to party members are reaching out beyond the activists including to people who didn’t know we had a President.

  • @Matt (Bristol) “I have voted, but wasn’t 100% convinced by any of the three, to be honest.”

    Of course, no candidate can be 100% convincing, but there is reason for caution in the case of Daisy Cooper, as Matt further points out after acknowledging that he voted for her. Is this really the candidate whose views are closest to LibDems4Change or will the “Daisy for Change” on paper rapidly peel off the tin?
    I remember talking to Daisy after I had been doing a morning’s canvassing with the local agent. We were at the home of a leading LibDem councillor in Seaford (within the Lewes constituency) and Daisy was regaling several of us with highlights from her parliamentary campaign in Suffolk. Suddenly, she froze and literally switched off as she realised Norman Baker was in the room. No more than hints of ambition or first encounter with a serving government minister perhaps, but on this showing would she really be prepared to stand up for the membership against the party hierarchy?
    In addition, Daisy mentions her adeptness in dealing with a hostile media, but to my knowledge she has yet to leave any mark on ‘Hacked Off’ (if she is still there), as their Operations & Projects Manager.
    Maybe there isn’t much of a choice and it would be as well to vote for an outsider, but I think Tim Farron will prove a hard act to follow as someone who managed expectations so well, at least in terms of the LibDems’ media coverage.

  • matt (Bristol) 3rd Nov '14 - 2:19pm

    There is an element of ‘poisoned chalice’ whoever gets in.
    I don’t believe anyone is that good to resolve the vastly different aspirations people have for the party instantly.
    In the nightmare scenario that Mr Clegg is attacked and de-seated in Sheffield (unlikely, I know, andit would be cynical, cruel and self-defeating to wish for it), after Malcolm Bruce stands down as he will, the President will be for a short season and de facto the only credible figurehead the party has outside of Wales and Scotland. I can see exactly why people have been critical of the recent chain of serving MPs monopolising the role, but now would be a good time for one.

  • matt (Bristol) 3rd Nov ’14 – 2:19pm
    “………….the President will be for a short season and de facto the only credible figurehead the party has ….”

    The hypothetical circumstances you describe is one not unknown to those of us old enough to remember an earlier period of crisis for Liberals in the mid 1970s when Jeremy Thorpe, who had been leader of the party for some years, had to stand down. At that point the excellent and quite unique President of the party was Margaret Wingfield, who I got to know well when she moved to Kingston in later life. Perhaps the party always turns to capable women in times of existential crisis?

    For more about Margaret read —

    My favourite recollection of her (apart from her campaign to open up the NLC to women and her establishment of the first ever crèche at any UK political party annual conference) was a conversation when Paddy Ashdown was cuddling up to Blair in the late 1990s; She was quite elderly by then and she came up to me at a meeting and said in a magisterial voice –” I have been told that you are one of a small bunch who are trying to stop Paddy getting his way!”. I pleaded guilty — wondering what she was going to say next. She came back with — “Bloody good thing too, someone has to.”

  • matt (Bristol) 3rd Nov '14 - 3:35pm

    Thankyou John, very interesting historical footnote for us semi-young’uns to whom Grimond, Thorpe, Smith or Steele are simply names, not active political forces.

    In a less predictable, more chaotic politics such as we seem to be entering into, these kind of sudden interruptions in normal political service may happen more, and not just to this party.

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