Prue Bray writes: Why I am running for President

In all my 25 years in the Liberal Democrats I  never imagined that we would reach a point in 2019 where not just our membership of the EU but parliamentary democracy itself would be under threat, with us as the only UK party offering any sane solutions.  People are flocking to us, as our fantastic local and European election results show.  They are looking to us to provide hope and to stop the mad descent into the nightmare that British politics is rapidly becoming.

It is absolutely crucial that we continue to rise to the challenge.

We have had a huge influx of members.  We welcome them to our army of activists, and now need to harness their skills and enthusiasm alongside the knowledge and experience of our existing members.  If we can succeed, and can equip everyone with the tools they need in the 21stcentury, we will have built an unstoppable fighting force of activists.

To weld the party together, from Penzance to Lerwick, from Cardiff to Margate and everywhere in between, is not an easy task.  We need more multi-way communication, we need to use information better,  we need to spread knowledge and best practice, raise money, and support each other’s campaigning across England, Scotland and Wales.  We need to attract even more members and voters by looking more like the country we wish to represent, and we need as a party to show that we embody our values of fairness, openness and respect for others in our own behaviour and practice.

A president cannot do all that by themselves.  But they can lead the way.  I want to be a president who enables others, who encourages, facilitates, and builds teams.  A president who empathises and listens to individuals but holds the line on rules and procedure, needed to protect us all.   A president who wants decisions at all levels to be based on evidence, sound financial practice, expert knowledge and risk assessments.  A president who ensures that all voices are heard and all views considered.

I have already led a major committee in the party, as well as having had a wide range of roles from Local Party Chair, to Council Group Leader and parliamentary candidate. You can judge my ability to deliver on these aspirations on my record and my past actions and behaviour.

The Preamble to the Federal Constitution says that as a party “we champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.“

We want that for our country.  I want it for our party too.

* Prue Bray (she/her) has been a member of the Lib Dems since 1994. She has been a councillor in Wokingham since 2000. She was the Chair of the Candidates Committee in England during the 2017 and 2019 General Elections and the 2019 European elections, and is currently chair of ALDC and Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrats in England. She writes in a personal capacity.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Gordon Lishman 16th Sep '19 - 9:03am

    Thank you, Prue.

    How will you set about doing the job?

    Indeed, what do you think the job is?

    Hint: for one answer to that, see my piece in Liberator.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Sep '19 - 10:34am

    Having three strong candidates compels the press and media to discard bad habits and realise that the Liberal Democrats elect using the Single Transferable Vote.
    The electorate is smaller than the Presidency of the Republic of Ireland, but as Mary Robinson wrote in her memoirs, you need three candidates.
    Each of the three candidates will probably ask voters to give First Preference votes, but it would be unwise to ignore second preferences.
    I therefore hope that all three candidates who have so far declared reach the minimum threshold to stand.
    When you answer Gordon Lishman’s question, please use the space to report his criteria because some voters are not current subscribers to Liberator, nor currently attending federal conference.

  • To answer Gordon’s point first, I have to confess that I missed your piece in Liberator. That’s probably a lost vote…. However, if you want to point me at it, I will have a look at it and perhaps reply in another LDV piece.
    To answer Ruth, I know this has been an issue for you for some time. It takes a while for things to get through the system. I have in fact taken this issue to the Federal People Development Committee. We felt we needed some proper advice before doing anything, in order to make sure we comply with all the legislation that might apply. We also wanted to look at the rights of PPCs who have other caring responsibilities suddenly thrust upon them. So there is progress and it will happen at some point. I am really sorry you had such a bad experience, and that you feel you cannot stay in the party because of it. Someone with your skills and experience is not just welcome but needed.

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