Tag Archives: northern liberal network

You are cordially invited to a gathering of North of England Liberal Democrats…

When the York Conference was cancelled, I was annoyed, not because I love conference per se, but because I’d been involved in planning the launch of a new organisation – Northern Liberal Network – which had to be cancelled.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised when 140 people signed up for the digital launch of the organisation on Zoom a couple of weeks’ later. And for the breadth of attendance from every corner of the NE, NW and Yorks and Humber.

The enthusiasm at the launch confirmed what the founders of the organisation had instinctively felt. That there was something distinctive in policy …

Posted in Events | 1 Comment

Winning in the North: Your chance to help make it happen

It was around 3am at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield when our worst fears were confirmed. Nick had lost. He was the better candidate and had served his constituency, our Party and our country with distinction. It was a crushing feeling for all of us who were there and had worked so hard over the previous weeks to re-elect our former leader as the MP for Sheffield Hallam.

Two and a half years later it was me up there on the stage at the Harrogate Convention Centre having stood as the candidate for Harrogate & Knaresborough. It remains a seat with a strong liberal tradition, not least thanks to the incredible hard work of Lord Willis who was our Lib Dem MP between 1997 and 2010. Phil Willis was the epitome of a great constituency MP, having successfully led the local Council before being elected to Parliament. He linked our proud traditions of community politics and campaigning at the national level for our liberal values.

I was up against a beatable Conservative candidate in an area that, unusually for our region, had voted to remain in the EU. On that same night in December last year, my friend Laura Gordon was the candidate facing a beatable Labour candidate in Sheffield Hallam. It was a similar story for other strong candidates in our region like Lisa Smart in Hazel Grove and Tom Morrison in Cheadle.

Why was our movement not able to win these seats despite strong local campaigns and investment of resources from across the country?

We didn’t always struggle to do this.  From Withington to Westmorland and Burnley to Berwick, in 2010 we elected Lib Dem MPs all over the north of England, but now we only have Tim Farron representing our cause at Westminster.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

The launch of the Northern Liberal Network

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For Blair and Brown there was the famous Granita Pact. For Laura and Lisa there was the Hope Pact. Earlier in the year, Laura Gordon posted on Lib Dem Voice to announce the launch of the Northern Liberal Network. The formal launch will be at Spring Conference, which appropriately is being held in York.

Upon seeing the original post by Laura, I knew I had to get involved. I grew up in Redcar, a seat described by some as one of the keystones of the Red Wall. What a lot of people fail to realise is that the Lib Dems held the seat between 2010 and 2015. Other Red Wall seats include Bradford East and Burnley – another two seats that used to be held by the Lib Dems.

Our party has a lot to offer places like these. They deserve better than a Conservative government which won’t care about them and they deserve better than a Labour party which has ran councils across the North in a way that should disgust everyone involved in politics. The problem wasn’t our policies which would have helped provide an additional £50 billion in capital investment, extra money for bus services and further devolution. It was that we failed to make a clear offer to voters in the North. The Northern Liberal Network will work tirelessly to make sure this does not happen again.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments
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