Sam Gyimah MP joins party at thrilling conference rally

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I have been staggering along to more conference rallies than I care to remember. But tonight’s conference opener was the most thrilling rally I have been to.

Hard on the heels of Sal’s fantastic presidential swan song, Tim Farron was on fire as he started it.

We then had a great speech from Jane Dodds which particularly celebrated all the hard work done by hundreds of volunteers at Brecon and Radnorshire.

Laura Gordon gave us a remarkably poised and spirited speech inviting us to go to Sheffield Hallam to help.

We then saw the new Lib Dem MEPs on stage complete with “Stop Brexit” tee shirts (which had “Bollocks to Brexit” on their reverse sides).

We then had the surprise figure of Guy Verhofstadt, who gave a phenomenally passionate and punchy speech.

Jo Swinson gave a remarkably rousing speech which ended with a major surprise. She introduced our “latest Liberal Democrat MP”, saying that they had risked deselection to support same-sex marriage and were prepared to lose their party whip rather than support Johnson’s reckless Brexit plans.

I don’t think there were many people in the auditorium who expected Jo’s next words, which were:

Sam Gyimah.

Sam came on stage to one of the most sustained standing ovations I have seen, with many hands in the air applauding. It was electrifying.

Sam then talked us through his remarkable journey, from his birth in Britain to his troubled upbringing in Ghana and then on to being a British government minister. He told us how he stood to be leader of his party but that he concluded that his “One Nation” part of his party was on its way out.

He spoke of discussions with Jo, a friend for ten years, which finally led him to be on our stage in Bournemouth.

It was one heck of a rally. All I can say is:

Welcome Sam!

Featured photo at top of home page is by the British High Commission New Delhi on Flickr CCL

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • This is excellent news, and even watching online from afar it did seem like this rally was a bit special. I wish I had been there.
    Now, lots of LibDem haters are colonising Twitter at the moment saying Sam is homophobic because he filibustered the bill on Turing’s Law. The real story is here:
    And as the article above says he was a strong supporter of same sex marriage, even at the risk of deselection. So lets not allow anyone to spread these lies. He is a great catch.

  • Great to see Sam on board I think he’ll be a fantastic recruit. Also good to see the Lib Dem’s looking so much more diverse these days.

  • And further to my previous post, if anyone tells you Sam G is homophobic, refer them to this:

  • I am pleased to see that the Liberal Democrats are becoming the broad-minded, open-tent, diverse party that we were always meant to be, both in terms of representation by women and BAME MPs but also by welcoming recruits from both left and right who, despite having been on opposing benches, together believe in the promise of a tolerant, open, Liberal and Democratic country that is eager to be a world leader through participating in all international institutions where we can have real influence. As Labour and the Conservatives and various nationalists seek the extremes, it falls to the Liberal Democrats to carry a banner that represents the true heart of the country: and this we have done and will continue to do.

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