Tag Archives: english party

Why we need the English State Party of the Liberal Democrats

Is there any point to the English State Party of the Liberal Democrats?”

A recent article asked this question, and it’s a good question, and one asked by many people over the years.

In some ways the English layer of the Lib Dems is there because we are a Federal Party with the Party in Scotland and Wales who are the constituent parts of the party, and there has to be something at an English level.

For the last three months I’ve been Chair of the Party in England. I don’t like calling it the English Party, as one of our Bangladeshi members in Portsmouth saw that I had got this new role and was worried that I had joined some right wing fringe party.

The Party in England has done good, behind the scenes work, over the last few years. It provides the framework for the approval and selection of parliamentary candidates so that we have the same standards across England. It has also run the disciplinary function in England for many years. For individual members this is now being done by the Federal Party, whilst the Party in England will try to resolve problems in Local Parties and Council Groups.

There are many functions that the Party in England could do, but it has decided its better done at a different layer of the Party. During the Covid 19 crisis we have seen the different nations of the UK make different decisions on lockdown etc. That’s because health is a devolved issue. The list of functions that the UK wide Government does are limited. Defence, foreign affairs, pensions, social security and abortion rights. So policy on education, transport, farming, environment, energy, health etc are all decided at the state level (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England). So developing policy on these areas should be done by the Party in England as it is by the Scottish and Welsh Lib Dems. But we have taken the pragmatic decision that we will leave the policy creation work for these devolved subject areas with the Federal Party HQ. So there is no English Policy Committee, as this would be duplication. The same is true of the bits of Party Conference looking at devolved issues etc.

So what does the Party in England do? In my view no institution has the right to exist unless it is doing something useful and adding value.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Further reflections on the English Party

Embed from Getty Images

Recently, as a new member, I became flummoxed when trying to work out what the English Party is, does and who makes up its committees. I wrote up my frustrations here at Lib Dem Voice. Having started with no axe to grind, I have become near axe-wielding now that responses have come in from that article. Members of as long as thirty-five years have admitted not knowing anything about the English Party and others have pointed out how it resists change or even blocks progress. Yet, there is an alternative and one that may help kick-start the reform that our recent Election Review has called for.

My main gripe with the English Party had been that they didn’t appear to have a website (it turns out that they do but it says so little about what the English Party is and does that in Google rankings terms, it’s basically on the ‘dark web.’) And they didn’t have social media or the other indicators of transparency and openness one might expect from a liberal, political institution.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 23 Comments

A way forward for the English Party

Since late 2016, the English Party has been reviewing its structure and governance. This was initiated following the consultation conducted by the Federal Party following the 2015 General Election, which revealed some considerable criticism of the English Party for a lack of transparency and accountability.

The English Party established the English Review Group towards the end of 2016, with members drawn from each of the 11 English Regions. This is chaired by Sally Symington, who has not previously been a member of any of the English Party committees. She was recommended for her common-sense approach, her fresh eye, and her experience …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

The future of the English Party

The English Party has set out its governance review, with the aim of making it accessible to members and easy to engage with, whilst providing least distraction from current campaigning and the fighting of elections and by-elections. We recognise the importance of ensuring the party in England is relevant and accountable to members, has clarity of purpose and operation and is effective and efficient and have worked hard to embrace these ideals in the range of proposals being put to members.

The options for the future of the party in England have been complied by a review group set up in autumn 2016 by the English Council Executive and comprising representatives from all eleven regions. The members of the English Review Group, as we are known, come to the process with a range of professional and party experience, including both long-standing and relatively new members. Within the group, we have differing opinions regarding the future shape of the English Party but have all have worked together to come up with a range of proposals for consultation.

The proposals outline four options for how the future party in England might look and function, they include:

Posted in News | 15 Comments

English Party election results and good news on the Membership Incentive Scheme

There was good news for local parties from yesterday’s English Council meeting .The proposals we told you about to retain the Membership Incentive Scheme were passed. This means:

  • Net growth of between 1 and 10 members will qualify local parties to receive 18% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter. 
  • Net growth of more than 10 members will qualify local parties to receive 33% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter.  

The following results of the English Party elections were announced.

Chair of English Party

Steve Jarvis

Chair of English Candidates Committee

Richard Brett

English Council Executive

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Speaking for England – a reply to Chris White

Chris White’s article “Speaking for England” rightly invited people to share their views with the Federal Executive’s review of party governance but wrongly made a number of express or implied criticisms of the English Liberal Democrats that are incorrect and unjust.

Chris writes “most members think they… can vote for the committees which look after campaigning”. Indeed, they can. Local parties are chiefly responsible for local campaigning. National party strategy is constitutionally the responsibility of the Federal Executive, of which both Chris and I are members.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 41 Comments

Dear English Party, is there something you’ve forgotten to do?

According to Mark Pack, the English Party is thinking of outsourcing its membership database, currently run in LDHQ, to a private company.

Why has there been quiet talk about how Atos or another similar firm might be asked to take over Liberal Democrat membership services? It is because the English Party has been sounding out options for outsourcing the servicing of membership from party HQ in London (for members of the party in England).

As the strategy paper says, “ consider outsourcing of the management of member (and supporter) recruitment and renewal processing and record keeping, if this can provide improved access to data for all parts of the party at a lower cost.”

Given how little of membership work is done by post now (which used to be outsourced from London back when there was rather more of it), this amounts to outsourcing the party’s membership database and/or the phone bank operation in London.

Sounding out someone like Atos is wise in terms of seeing whether this is practical. It also shows the risks and likely unpopularity of such an approach.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Positive action for women on Westminster shortlists

The English Candidates Committee (ECC) has decided to retain positive action measures to address the under-representation of women in the Parliamentary Party.

Clause 24 in the Westminster Rules for Selection of Parliamentary Candidates stipulates that where the ECC has decided to adopt positive action arrangements which affect a shortlist, those arrangements shall be observed by the Returning Officer and shortlisting committee as if they were contained in this Rule.

The provision is that:

In strategic seats and aspiring strategic seats (those that have ‘opted up’ to the full selection process):

    a shortlist of three candidates must contain a minimum of one woman
    a shortlist of

Posted in News, Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged and | 35 Comments

European selection results – complete

The English Party is today counting the ballot to select our candidates for the nine English Euro Regions for the 2014 Euro elections. The Scottish and Welsh Parties are running their selections separately, and their results will be announced separately.

The results are listed below. The detailed STV results will be available later and we’ll put the web link in when it is available.

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

What’s on the agenda of the English Council’s meeting on 17 November…

There will be a meeting of the Liberal Democrat’s English Council this coming Saturday (17th November) at University College London.

The English Council is the governing body of the Liberal Democrats in England, meets twice a year to consider matters of importance to the English Party.

Alongside the usual reports from officers and representatives of the English Party on other party bodies, and a keynote speech from Stephen Lloyd the MP for Eastbourne, I think there are four items of note on the agenda.

Finances of the English Party

This meeting sees the annual decisions on the finances of the English Party being taken. …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Results of the English Party Elections 2012

Last week the results of the elections for positions within the English Party were emailed to members of the English Council.

Given that for all of these positions, with the exception of the role of representative to the Federal Executive, the number of nominations matched or were less than the places available, all candidates were elected unopposed.

The results were as follows:

Chair of the English Party – Peter Ellis has been re-elected Chair unopposed.
Chair of the English Candidates Committee – Margaret Joachim has been re-elected Chair unopposed.
Representative to the Federal Conference Committee and to the Federal Policy Committee – Geoff Payne has been …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 15 Comments

Chris White writes: Is it possible to change Coalition policy?

Is it possible to change Coalition policy? Council leaders certainly hope so if the letter to today’s Times is to be believed. Over a hundred have supported – and no doubt many more councillors, deputies, backbenchers and the like might have done so had there been more time to hone the message and gather support.

The issue should be core to the localist agenda – although we need to be rather clearer about what we really want.

Not so long ago the police were governed (at least in non-operational terms) by the police committees of county councils. There was not much …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Chris White writes: Approving Police Commissioner candidates

Readers of LDV will have noticed that there is an announcement about Police Commissioner candidates – presumably placed by the English Party.

Of course, none of us want these elections (and most councillors in other parties don’t either) but it’s in the Coalition agreement and so we are to an extent stuck with a particularly silly bit of the Tory manifesto. Such, I guess, is the nature of Coalitions.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that the English Party has decided to play the centralist card: candidates need in essence to be approved like parliamentary candidates.

One of the main …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 6th Aug - 1:58am
    There was the Lib-Lab pact, but generally Labour isn't interested in forming alliances.
  • User AvatarManfarang 6th Aug - 1:54am
    I am more bothered by Trump who isn't joking.
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 6th Aug - 1:15am
    And reps of key groups, but all elected!
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 6th Aug - 1:13am
    Michael I think a lot of the ideas on this are good, yours here too. We v must not forget the disability representation. Its usually...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 6th Aug - 12:44am
    Gordon, if you want a smaller committee of people 'with a strong and direct interest in making it work', I suppose that's what the new...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 5th Aug - 11:22pm
    Many thanks to the authors for sharing this interesting SLF lecture. Clive Lewis is not a tribal ‘Labourite’, but an intelligent, independent-minded and principled Libertarian...