Tag Archives: Mark Pack

The Party in England Responds to the Change in the Party’s Definition of Transphobia

No regular visitor to LDV can have missed the growing debate over trans gender issues. Here we publish the response from the English Party to recent events in full. Given the sensitivity of the subject we will be pre-moderating all comments in line with our editorial policies.

The English Council Executive, meeting last weekend, have agreed two motions in support of trans rights and in response to the Federal Board changing the Party’s definition of transphobia.

  1. A motion of censure for the appalling communications calling for an apology and a plan to make sure nothing like this happens again.
  2. A motion calling on the Board to seek further advice, in consultation with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, and suspend changing the definition until that advice is received and/or Federal Conference can vote.

The motions were passed with strong support from everyone who spoke, and no one spoke or voted against. This represents a wide consensus from regional chairs and members across the country.

Just under two weeks ago, the Federal Board met for the last time and, with Federal elections still under way, chose to amend the Party’s definition of Transphobia.

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Mark Pack: Why I’m running for Party President

Editor’s Note: The LDV team has invited the three candidates for Party President to write an article for us. 

I eat tofu. I listen to podcasts. I’ve appeared on the BBC. I read The Guardian. I live in north London. Both my parents were immigrants. 

It’s a good thing that Conservative Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers don’t get a vote in our internal elections, as I’m really not the sort of person they like.

And they certainly don’t share my politics… because I want our country to be more liberal, more tolerant, more inclusive, and at the heart of Europe. The more Liberal Democrat policies we get enacted, the better people’s lives are. 

To achieve that, we need to get our strategy and organisation right. We have to have more MPs, more Mayors, more MSPs and MSs, more London Assembly members, more councillors and our first Police and Crime Commissioners.

Since taking up post as President in January 2020, we’ve made real progress implementing the lessons from the independent election review of the 2019 general election. We’ve strengthened our campaign staff, steadied our finances and improved our governance. We’ve focused on reaching diverse groups, engaging our members, and modernising our technology so we can do better in getting our messages across.

We’re winning again at local elections and by-elections – and I’m delighted that by-election winners Helen Morgan and Richard Foord are backing my campaign. 

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Meet the candidates for Party President

Update: Since this post was published we understand that the date for the hustings for England will be rearranged. We will update you as soon as we can.

Following on from the Newbies Guide to the party elections we now have the dates for the presidential hustings.

There are three candidates for President of the Liberal Democrats:

  • Lucy Nethsingha
  • Mark Pack
  • Liz Webster

Three online hustings have been arranged, one each for England, Wales and Scotland.

  • England: Sunday 23rd October, 6pm to 8pm  New date Thursday 27th October, 6pm to 8pm
  • Wales: Wednesday 26th October, 6pm to 8pm
  • Scotland: Sunday 30th October, 1.15pm to 2pm.

These meetings are for members only. You do need to book here in order to receive the link to the online event.

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Reactions to the churn

So Kwasi Kwarteng is out and Jeremy Hunt is in. How long can Liz Truss last after today’s extraordinary moves?

Prominent Lib Dems have, of course, been giving us their take on the news:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think we can see a clear message here!

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Why Brighton conference should be in your diary

Mark Pack writes on the party website:

It’s thirty years since my first autumn federal conference, appropriately also in Brighton. That 1992 conference was the start of the most successful electoral run in our party’s history – record-breaking Parliamentary by-election wins, sweeping local government gains and then a huge leap in the size of the Parliamentary Party as a tired, discredited, scandal-riven Conservative Party lost office.

As part of that run of success, two years later, we were back in Brighton again, as you may have seen from the recently rediscovered BBC footage of a younger version of me (more curls, larger

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President’s Report August 2022

The next general election

With a new Conservative Party leader nearly upon us, the range of plausible dates for the general election is wide open. As it now may well be much sooner than seemed likely at the time of our last conference, the Federal Board has been reviewing our general election plans.

Preparations are being stepped up across the party. The pre-manifesto document being debated at conference is an important part of that as is Ed Davey’s announcement of a major new package to help people with their fuel bills this winter – axing the planned increase in the fuel bill cap and providing extra help to those most in need.

This all makes now an even more important time for us all to be out on the doorsteps, recruiting new members and campaign helpers. There’s been a clear pattern in our recent electoral successes at all levels that building up campaign organisations well in advance of the formal election campaign is a central element to success.

A Membership Incentive Scheme is in place, with generous additional payments to local parties who recruit or renew party members locally, especially if it is done on direct debit.

Thanks in particular to our wonderful three Parliamentary by-election wins in the last year, when that general election comes, we’ll be a key part of the route to removing the Conservatives from government in Westminster.

That makes the Parliamentary seats in the (variously and flexibility defined) Blue Wall an increasingly important focus for us as the next general election polling day nears. But the majority of our councillors, our members and our voters are outside the Blue Wall.

So it’s not only the target seats for the next Westminster election we need to prosper at. We also need to be winning at other levels of election more broadly. We need to continue the sort of breadth in our recovery we saw in May’s local elections – amazing progress against the Conservatives in the Blue Wall and continuing recovery elsewhere, including up against Labour and the nationalists. Both of these tracks need to be successful for us to be a growing, national party.

That’s why the Board has continued to prioritise investment in the breadth of our campaigns officers network, supporting not only Parliamentary target seats but also progress in other areas too. Thank you to all the other parts of the party who have cooperated on this, giving us a much larger network of staff supporting grassroots campaigning than we had before.

Could you be a Returning Officer?

With Parliamentary selections picking up across the country, there has never been a better time to volunteer to be a Liberal Democrat Returning Officer.

Every Parliamentary selection is run by a trained Returning Officer – and although it is not a task for everyone, it’s a really valuable role that we need more volunteers for. Returning Officers need to be organised and methodical, to understand and interpret the rules, solve problems and work constructively with people whose perspectives on a situation may differ.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, please contact / ask them to contact your Regional Candidates Chair in England or state Candidates Chair in Scotland and Wales to discuss the role and the availability of training. If you need putting in touch with the relevant person, just drop me a line.

There’s a training session being run on the Sunday morning at Conference, so now is a great time to get people thinking about this role.

Note that a Returning Officer cannot run selections for the local party of which they are a member, but they can help others so that others can help you.

Treating our staff well

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Mark Pack’s monthly report – June 2022

Tiverton and Honiton

We saw last year what a huge boost it gave to the party getting two new excellent MPs elected in Parliamentary by-elections. It’s good for their constituents and also good for the party’s prospects across the whole country.

We’ve also seen this month how Conservative MPs have failed to do what our country needs – to remove Boris Johnson from 10 Downing Street.

Which is why the latest contest in Tiverton and Honiton is so important for us all again. The single most effective thing you can do in the next few weeks to help bring about his demise – and to help the party win in your own patch – is to help Richard Foord get elected on 23 June.

Many of the team have gone straight into this campaign from the May local elections, without the chance to pause for the hoped for break after those. Thank you hugely to everyone who is stretching themselves to give Richard the best of chances of winning.

Thank you too to Jamie Needle and the team in Wakefield, fighting a carefully targeted campaign there which I’m sure will help the continued growth of our council group on Wakefield Council.

Treating our staff well

Some good news to report on party staff: the federal party has been awarded the ‘excellence’ status by the Good Work Standard for how we go beyond legal minimum requirements in looking after staff.
With the amount of change since the 2019 election plus all the strains of lockdowns, it’s been a particularly tough few years for our staff. But standards such as this show how we’re taking seriously making the party a good and happy place to work.

Welcome to Cllr Mike Cox and Chris French

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President’s Update, February 2022, Europe, Party reform, supporting candidates, new Vice President

The next steps in our European policy

There’s a lesson we should learn from Brexiters. It’s that for most of the road to the tragedy of the 2016 referendum they weren’t Brexiters but Euro-sceptics. For most of that time, they weren’t campaigning for Brexit to happen tomorrow, but against a particular aspect of the EU. That is how they built up a broad coalition of support to get Brexit through.

In turn, we need to do the same in reverse – to recognise that even many Remainers are put off by ‘let’s rejoin the EU now!’, but that even those who voted Leave can be won over by campaigning issue by issue on the merits of cooperation with our neighbours.

It’s an approach that party members overwhelmingly supported in our recent (with a record-breaking response!) consultation.

At our spring federal conference, we’ll be fleshing out the details of what this means when we debate a motion which sets out our comprehensive plan to reconnect our political and trading relationship with Europe.

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Mark Pack’s January report – the plan to build on our success in 2022

In 2021 we achieved something we’ve not achieved since 1993: winning two Parliamentary by-elections in the same year off the Conservatives. We start this new year with a larger Parliamentary Party than any of us would have dared dream of a year ago. (A winning run that has continued with the first council by-election of this year too – congratulations to now councillor Andrew Dunkin who won a seat from Labour from third place.)

The question now is how do we build on that success in 2022, and how do we make the most of our limited resources? Here’s the plan.

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Mark Pack’s November report: North Shropshire beckons…

Our campaign has already got off to a flying start in the by-election caused by Owen Paterson’s disgrace.

The local party had already made impressive progress in this May’s local elections. They secured a clear second place and created many marginal Conservative-Liberal Democrat wards.

Now we have a brilliant opportunity to turbo-charge that growth in our support and to see just how angry voters are about sleaze and sewage. Ed Davey is already on his third visit there.

Whether it’s by helping in person, on the phones or with your wallet, please do help too. You can donate online or sign up to volunteer. Thank you!

Thank you also to Simone Reynolds and Simon Drage, respectively our candidate and agent for the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election. More details here.

Have your say in how the party is run

There are two musts for how our party is run. It must be run in a way that is true to our values, and it must be run in a way that helps us work together to be successful.

Sadly, our 2019 General Election Review (the Thornhill Review) found major flaws in how the party operated. That cost us votes and seats.

Since its publication, the Federal Party has been making many changes in response, as I’ve covered in previous reports. But there is still important work to do.

One of the Review’s key findings was about the Federal Board itself:

There is no clear ‘leadership team’ where the three pillars of the party – political, operational, federal – can make cohesive decisions, simply, quickly, and effectively. The Federal Board – 40+ members – is not, cannot, and should not be that team.

So the Board is consulting on options for Board reform, and will put one or more to Spring Conference for members to make a decision.

As part of this we are running a consultation survey. Please do give your views via the consultation survey here.

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Put your questions to the Federal Board – next Monday evening

Next Monday evening, from 6-7 pm, the Federal Board are having an online q and a session for all party members.

Party President Mark Pack will be taking questions and I’ll be there alongside former Welsh President and AM Bill Powell.

I’d really like to see loads of you there, not least because doing this was my idea and I’ll look like an idiot if nobody turns up. We had some really useful discussions in the Federal Board booth at Federal Conference. In fact, believe it or not, I was even able to give some information about the English Party constitution.

Also, much as I love Mark, I don’t want to spend an hour arguing with him about which is the best type of chocolate.

And finally, my dogs can usually be relied upon to turn up to meetings, so if you have heard about Hazel and Bernie on Twitter, now is your chance to meet them.

Seriously, though, our party democracy is really important to us. We are a member led organisation and all the power structures should be accountable and this, for me, is part of that. It’s also important that our decisions are informed by what members are thinking and we will be having a Board meeting the very next night so what you tell us will be fresh in our minds.

Details of how to register are here:

Mark said:

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Mark Pack’s August update

Only £1 to come to conference

Our autumn federal party conference is being held online in September. There’s a brilliant offer for people who have not come to conference before: you can register for just £1.

Conference will include an important trio of linked debates: on our party’s values, our policy platform and our strategy. Traditionally, we have debated these separately at conference, even years apart. But all three need to fit together in a coherent way – which is one of the lessons from the 2019 election post-mortem. So this time we’re doing things differently.

The values and platform come from our Federal Policy Committee (FPC), while the strategy is being proposed by the Board. It sets out the practical approach which is needed to grow our party and win more elections, securing us more political power to deliver on what we believe.

Among the other conference items is also the latest stage in developing our post-2019 European policy, which you can read about here.

As I mentioned last month, the Board has also put in some important proposals for conference to decide on, including boosting our party bodies with an improved, simpler structure and set of rules. These come from the Party Body Review Group, which has run an extensive consultation with existing party bodies before drawing up the plans.

The full conference agenda and reports to conference booklet are both now out.

Additional support for the Racial Diversity Campaign (RDC)

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LibLink: Mark Pack’s June report

Party President Mark Pack has written on a number of topics in his monthly report to members for June. Here are some extracts:

Chesham and Amersham

I’m writing this month’s report before we know the result. But we do already know that we’ve had the best candidate in Sarah Green, run the best campaign and had an awesome amount of help from people all around the country.

Westminster selections are up and running

New Parliament, new name: this time around we are ‘tiering’ our seats, so the most winnable seats (aka target seats, aka key seats) are now called Tier 1 seats. Selections have started up, with advertisements going out to people on the approved list and appearing on the members-only section of the main party website.

One of the new things for this Parliament is Project Stellar: a support package for our top candidates from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Anyone selected in a Tier 1 seat from such a background can automatically qualify for this support, and depending on the numbers, we may also be able support candidates in Tier 2 seats in this way too.

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The Party President’s report for February… how is it working for you?

As usual, the Party President has graciously contacted us, asking that we place a spotlight on his monthly report. Equally graciously, we would note that you can read it here.

Mark has been President now for more than a year, and it’s been a pretty eventful term so far. But how has he performed? What, in your opinion, has gone well, and what badly? Has he changed your view on the Party Presidency itself?

For me, the jury is out on whether or not Mark has established a profile outside of the Party’s membership. It’s seldom easy, even for …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 21 Comments

January report from the President

The Party President, Mark Pack, has published his monthly report:

The chaotic incompetence of a government that declares schools safe on a Sunday, sends children back for a day and then closes them is the sort of thing that should be the domain of political fiction.

Sadly and tragically, it’s the government we suffer from in Westminster. It is a reminder about how important it is that we recover as a party, and a spur to our efforts to ensure we do our part in defeating the Conservatives at the ballot box.

The elections due in May across England, Scotland and Wales are an important part of that.

The May Elections

Will the elections be delayed? The simple answer is, we don’t know. But we do know that we need to campaign to do well in them whenever they happen. Other parties can gamble on trying to win an election without much time to campaign beforehand. We can’t.

That is why we need to continue with our preparations and build-up as if the May elections will happen, and treat any extra time as a bonus. Better that than be caught out thinking something wouldn’t happen and then not having time to prepare when it does.

Of course, our work should always take into account coronavirus health risks, and always carefully follow the party’s advice, which is regularly reviewed and updated when necessary.

There is a wide range of free training available to help you hone your campaigning skills and learn how to campaign best in the face of coronavirus. Do take a look at the listings on the party website and on the ALDC site.

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Welsh Liberal Democrats come together virtually

Over 120 Welsh Lib Dem members joined our first ever virtual conference this weekend.

We welcomed Ed Davey virtually to Wales for his first Welsh conference where he spoke to us about the challenges facing the party and his burning desire that we as a nation must come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.

This linked us nicely to our first policy motion: “Wales after COVID” which paid tribute to lives lost and calls for the dial on inequality in Wales to be reset with measures such as social care funding, universal free childcare, debt bonfires, green jobs and investment in housing.

We were then joined by Party President Mark Pack who spoke of how we need to campaign in the years to come, the changes the party is making both federally and in Wales and the exciting future we have in Wales with 16 and 17 year olds now able vote in Senedd elections from 2021 and in local government elections from 2022.

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Mark Pack reports back

Party President, Mark Pack, has issued another report back to members. This time he focuses on the reports that are being presented to the online Autumn Conference at the end of September. You can read the Conference reports pack here.

This year, as a result of a review by the Federal Board on the working of our party’s central committees, there are more reports than usual to Conference. They give an interesting insight into the inner workings of the Liberal Democrats, with contributions, as usual, from the Federal Committees …

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24 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems move to scrap Section 60 Stop and Search
  • Evidence for reopening schools must be published amidst fears of Covid-19 spike
  • Nominations for Lib Dem leader open
  • Lib Dems back health leaders’ push for review into lockdown easing
  • Bank of America criticism of pound performance shows need to extend transition period

Lib Dems move to scrap Section 60 Stop and Search

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to back a new Bill to scrap suspicion-less stop and search in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, which have exposed ingrained institutional racism and discrimination in the UK.

Given the disproportionate impact of current Stop and Search laws on black people in particular, and BAME communities more widely, the Liberal Democrats will today (Wednesday 24 June) introduce a Bill to outlaw suspicion-less Stop and Search, highlighting that the current law “undermines” community trust in police.

The Party is demanding the Government back their proposal. If passed, the law would prohibit Section 60, suspicion-less stop and search, which currently leaves a black person almost 50 times more likely to be stopped than a white person. The party is further calling for a Race Equality Strategy and an end to the Hostile Environment.

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 1)

So many press re;leases today…

  • Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader
  • Govt must drop ‘dog ate my homework’ approach to Prevent review
  • PM backs Lib Dem calls for COVID hero honours round
  • Govt has no answers for Brexit border issues for Northern Ireland

Lib Dems announce digital conference and fresh timetable to elect next leader

The Liberal Democrats have announced a fresh leadership election timetable and plans to hold an online Autumn Conference – the first for any major political party – in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a meeting of the party’s Federal Board last night, the party agreed to holding their leadership election from June through to August. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the contest will make use of online hustings and online voting.

President of the Liberal Democrats Mark Pack, who chairs the Federal Board, also confirmed the Liberal Democrats decision to hold a digital conference in the Autumn follows “careful consideration of the latest expert advice.”

Liberal Democrat Party President Mark Pack said:

Following careful consideration of the latest public health advice concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the Liberal Democrats are planning to run the biggest online conference in British politics.

Conference plays a key role in our democratic party as well as being an important training and information exchange event. I am therefore pleased we will host an online alternative, the first for any major political party.

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The party President writes…Key party decisions coming up at the Federal Board meetings next week

How do we improve as a party and achieve greater success in future elections? That’s the theme running through the bumper set of key decisions the Federal Board is looking at next week at our meeting. (Or rather meetings, as to avoid Zoom fatigue, we’re splitting one long meeting into halves on consecutive nights.)

Included in that will be the Board’s first considerations of the independent election review, headed up by Dorothy Thornhill and coming out later today. Thank you for all their hard work to her, her colleagues and everyone who contributed evidence to the review.

Even without that review, there are some things we already know we need to change, in particular our use of technology. That’s why the Board will also be looking at major plans to overhaul our approach, learning from the best of those outside politics and from politics overseas. A big part of the plan is much better use of volunteer expertise.

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Our President welcomes new and renewed members

Our Party President, Mark Pack, has posted the following upbeat message on Instagram today:

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Leadership election postponed

The Federal Board met remotely yesterday and agreed to postpone the election for the Leader of the party until next year. The party’s President, Mark Pack,  issued this statement:

Not only are we going through what could become the country’s biggest crisis since 1945, but we’re also entering a very new world that will persist once the immediate crisis is over.

I’m proud of what we have achieved so far by championing NHS workers and pressing the Government on issues such as offering a better deal to the self-employed.

Throughout our history, we have always put the national interest first.

Our Federal Board has

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Our President and co-leader writes: How you can get involved in helping to run the party

The Liberal Democrats are about to fill nearly 50 important posts, responsible for everything from oversight of our campaigns through to improving our record on diversity and making sure our finances are in good shape.

Please do both think about going for one of these posts yourself, and also who else you might want to encourage to put their name forward.

We need the best team possible – which means people with brilliant skills, time to do the job properly and a much greater diversity than we often manage with such exercises.

If anyone would like to know more about what a particular post involves, I’m very happy for you to put them in touch with me and I can either directly help or put them in touch with someone with experience of the post.

More details of the posts are over on the party website.

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Our President on the timetable for the leadership election

Our party President and Co-leader, Mark Pack has just commented on the leadership election timetable on his blog:

The Board discussed in some detail different possible options for the timetable, and we carefully considered the pros and cons of, for example, having a leadership election that took place sooner. Considerations such as wanting to get our review of last year’s elections done first and also avoiding distracting key activists from the May elections were weighed against the benefits of having a new leader sooner.

The close of nominations date will also

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LibLink: Our new President/Co-leader on the surprising number of elections coming up in May

Embed from Getty Images

Over on his blog, Mark Pack, our new party President and co-leader, gives us a timely warning about the magnitude of voting opportunities this May:

This year’s round of local council elections are only in England and are the smallest round of that cycle of elections. Which may make you think that it’s a small set of elections and one in which many or even most parts of the country will not be voting.

But…

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Mark Pack writes…The challenges ahead for the party

I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as President of the Liberal Democrats.

The news is overshadowed by the results of the general election where, in amongst the individual brilliant results, there were so many disappointments and tragedies. After such a promising start as our party leader only a few months ago, Jo’s own defeat is particularly saddening.

Our increased share of the vote, more second places and enlarged party membership, added to the fantastic growth in our local government base earlier in the year, does, however, provide us with the foundations to recover from. As does the welcome progress in making our Parliamentary Party more diverse.

It will be a big and challenging agenda for the party’s new leader, supported by us across the party and one I will now have the responsibility of helping shape and deliver as your President.

Thank you especially to everyone who helped get me elected, to my campaign manager and agent, Janet Grauberg and Pete Dollimore, and to the party staff for running the contest at such a busy time. Thank you also to Christine Jardine for a campaign carried out in such good humour.

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Mark Pack writes…Thank you, candidates and agents

As you read this, the final rounds of nomination papers are going in for Liberal Democrat candidates around the country. Between candidates and agents, that is well over a thousand people who have volunteered to add even more burdens, strain and work to the next few weeks above and beyond even what all the rest of us are going to go through.

Even in the most fantastic election result for the Liberal Democrats, at the end of it many hundreds of them will not have a victory to show for it. The party, and our cause, will however, thanks to them, have much to show for it. 

Losing campaigns can still be the step to winning next time – whether that is more victories in the next local government elections, more victories in the Scottish, Welsh and London elections or even moving on to win in the general election after this one. Those campaigns too help spread our message, grow our party and increase our political relevance.

So thank you, those who are leading the political and organisational charge to help achieve that. Especially as you will see, and I am sure understand, so much of the party’s attention, resources and assistance be diverted increasingly tightly to those who are in with a chance of winning.

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Mark Pack writes…Parrots, canvassing and factsheets

Parrots feature more often in canvassing that you might expect. 

A few years back, Kelly-Marie Blundell revealed her canvassing experience one day in Guildford:

“Canvassing flats, often elderly people will call out through the door before opening as a measure of precaution. When I was canvassing some flats in Guildford, I knocked on one such door, or so I thought.

“‘Excuse me, can I help you?’ came the thin, elderly lady’s voice. I replied, ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie Blundell and I am your…’

“But then she repeated it, speaking over me. So I spoke a little louder and clearer, presuming she was hard of hearing. ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie…’ Then I heard it again, ‘Excuse me can I help you?’

“Rather baffled, I started again. ‘My name is Kelly-Marie…’

“And then I heard a squawk. That’s right. The repeated phrase was clearly coming from a parrot!”

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Mark Pack writes…How we can do better than ever before

I’m the son of immigrants, one parent from Germany, the other from Poland. My family history is in miniature the troubled history of Europe, scarred by the horrors of extremism and war – and then my parents making a new home together in our country. 

It’s why our liberal democracy, despite all its flaws, is so precious to me. And why we have to protect it against the extremists and populists. 

To do that, we need to build a grassroots liberal movement, mobilising the millions who share our values. Such a movement can continue our successes this year winning more power, through campaigning and elections.

Winning elections at every level gives us more of that precious power to stop Brexit, to protect our planet, to heal the divisions in our society and to meet the needs of our local communities.

That’s why winning is so important – and that’s why I’ve put helping you win at the heart of my pitch to be President. 

The key task for the next President is to ensure we have the right strategy and the right organisation to win bigger than ever before – in local government, in the London Assembly, in the Welsh and Scottish governments, in Westminster and in future European elections too.

That’s a task well-suited to my record and my skills, including:

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Iain Dale to quiz party president candidates TONIGHT on LBC

Christine Jardine and Mark Pack will face broadcaster Iain Dale on LBC in just over half an hour’s time.

Listen live here.

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