Up to 2012 the Liberal Democrats’ citywide organisation for Leeds was responsible for the panelling of the party’s prospective city council candidates. It placed approved candidates on the panel of candidates for the city, from which the wards could select. There was a rigorous process with a candidate pack of information on the city council and on what it entailed being a Liberal Democrat councillor.
There was also a short statement of the party’s basic philosophy, expanding on the preamble to the party’s constitution. Unfortunately the City Council Liberal Democrat group ended its financing of the organisation out of the levy on councillors’ allowances and for the past eight years there has been no citywide party organisation and, more crucially, no panelling of prospective candidates.
In the hope that panelling will be reinstated the three original authors of the philosophy statement – from Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees – have now revised it for general use, given that there is a lack of such a leaflet. Any colleagues who might wish to see it and, hopefully, use it locally, can find it here: Principles of Liberal Democracy 2020
* Michael Meadowcroft joined the Liberal Party in 1958. He has served at every level of the party organisation. He was a Leeds City Councillor, West Yorkshire Met County Councillor and MP for Leeds West, 1983-87. For 25 years he led or was part of electoral missions to 35 new democracies on four continents.