Tag Archives: party membership

5-6 September 2019 – two days of press releases

Gosh, that’s embarrassing. Yesterday evening, I came home from a meeting of my County Association of Local Councils and felt the urge to both write it up for my blog and produce a report for my Parish Council and clean forgot about Liberal Democrat Voice. And so, you get a bumper(ish) edition at the end of what has been an utterly bewildering week…

  • Luciana Berger MP joins the Liberal Democrats (covered here)
  • Lib Dem membership rises to over 120,000
  • Bill to stop no-deal passes through the Lords
  • Lib Dem membership rises to over 120,000

    The Liberal Democrats have today announced that there are

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7 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Rise in school exclusions is the symptom of broken schools system

Responding to today’s publication of Edward Timpson’s report into school exclusions, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

Exclusion, whether temporary or permanent, should always be a last resort. And it should never be done under the radar.

But this report does nothing to address the reasons why headteachers consider excluding the pupils they find difficult. Off-rolling pupils is not the cause of our problems. It’s the symptom. The result of the perverse incentive to secure a better Ofsted grade or climb up the league tables.

This problem can’t be dealt with

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Open up the Leadership and relax the rules

The current political climate, with the two main political Parties further apart in their ideologies and policies than they have been for many years, together with the division engendered by Brexit, afford a great opportunity for the party to reinvigorate its place and image with the electorate.

To date, the Party has not persuaded the electorate that its Liberal values and principles make it their natural political home. Supporting Remain has not delivered a magical formula. The spectre of a new independent party should be a wake-up call to all Liberal Democrats.

The Party is too often seen as excluded from the battleground of British politics, not a vibrant and existing choice for disillusioned voters. The Party presents as a monochrome image of middle England. Labour is the party that has captured the passion of the youth vote. Local parties run as retirement pastimes or as an alternative to the allotment, will not make the Liberal Democrats the voice for the centre ground voter.

I agree with the proposals to open up membership and the leadership of the Party. At a recent International Women’s Day event Liberal Democrat peer, Floella Benjamin, made the point that no one group of people have a preserve over politics and that it is for everyone. Opening the pool of persons eligible to stand as Leader gives the Party the best chance of attracting a potentially exceptional leader. We need to focus on persons who can ignite Liberal democracy in the mindset of voters.

Love or loathe his politics, Nigel Farage has managed to secure a prominence and influence on the political landscape which any Lib Dem politician would die for. Vibrant and in-touch leadership is crucial. Gina Miller is an example of the type of leader the Party needs in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and diverse society that the UK in the 21st century has become. We need to be led by a leader who mirrors our society as it is today and one who can send the message of inclusivity that is at our core; one who can bestride the global stage with true credibility to propel the Party to a position akin to Justin Trudeau of the Canadian Liberal Party.

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Why we need the Supporters’ Scheme

On Saturday I was at a Lib Dem Women event for International Women’s Day, and in a few of the excellent breakout sessions, found myself sitting next to a highly engaged and articulate woman who I presumed was a Councillor or PPC. It transpired that she was not even a member of the Lib Dems, but “still considering” whether to join, due to time constraints and not being sure if she was ready to commit. When I mentioned the prospect of a Supporters’ Scheme her eyes lit up. “That sounds ideal,” she said.

It’s not the first time I’ve met someone who considers themselves to be a Lib Dem supporter but doesn’t feel ready to join the party. Indeed, on the doorstep over the past few months, from Streatham to St Albans, I have spoken to countless people who have told me they will deliver leaflets, perhaps consider coming along for a canvassing session, and certainly vote Lib Dem – but they’re not actually members, and they’re not ready to be. Making that commitment to joining just seems like a step too far for those who consider themselves to be politically aware but are time poor, or maybe just not quite ready to stand up and say they’re a Lib Dem.

There are then numerous reasons to endorse the Supporters’ Scheme. It’s been well documented that I was previously a Labour supporter – I didn’t join the Lib Dems until last August. But in the two years leading up to that decision, even though I was leaning towards the Lib Dems and am very much a Liberal in every sense, shaking off the tribalism that had been part of my life since I was old enough to understand that people had different political views felt like an enormous step.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Extremist moderates, now is the time for us to lead!

This was a title that just grew at the Brighton Conference. Paddy Ashdown started it by remarking at one of the huge Consultation sessions on Vince’s new ideas,“You’re all extremists! Or you wouldn’t be here!” By the end of Conference, extremism had attached itself to the formerly scorned idea that we activists are moderates, adherents of the Centre ground where the majority of the British public live. So, we are happy to admit a connection to the moderate majority, so long as it is known that we are extremists too!

Of course, we are not THAT sort of extremist – a rabid Brexiteer of the Right, or fanatical Corbynite of the Left. But we are pretty extreme in our demands from the leadership, not least to be consulted before ideas leak out to the voters we want to attract. Vince admitted in the Saturday Consultative session to being himself “a bit of a Stalinist”, but added wryly that this party would quickly have seen off Stalin.

There will surely always be a conflict between an open-minded, Liberal and democratic party and its leader, when the leader chooses to put forward radical new ideas in ways that attract the media’s attention but annoy the party faithful. For Vince to start talking about stepping down seemed a crazy distraction at first, given his security compared with that of either May or Corbyn, but it got some publicity, especially as the date remained vague. Then his proposing the extraordinary idea that his successor might not be a Lib Dem MP, or even possibly an MP at all, naturally aroused the media while infuriating the non-consulted party. That Gina Miller had been booked to address the Conference also titillated the media to speculate on a possible connection.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 38 Comments

Party membership – let’s get real

All the political parties seem to be having trouble with membership issues at present for different reasons.

Both the Labour and Conservative Parties have problems with factionalism and racism which Liberal Democrats do not. We have little factionalism and are happily united behind Vince, but membership is not big enough and not active enough. However, membership nationally is way over twice what is what in 2012 and in Liverpool is at its highest since the Party was formed more than twenty-five years ago.

Our problem is that not enough of the members are really active. In Liverpool, we have made massive progress …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 33 Comments

Building a movement based on our values

People join political parties because they are interested in politics.

That may seem an obvious thing to say, but those of us engaged in the grind of day-to-day campaigns must regularly remind ourselves. Because, while lots of us are passionate about our community activism, a large majority of our members are more motivated by values and bigger ideas.

If we want to galvanise them into a campaigning force – helping our community campaigns in the process – we need to remind them why they joined. That means talking about our liberal values and giving our members an opportunity to campaign for them.

Think …

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Party membership passes 50,000, with over 5,000 new members since Thursday

Lib Dem membership 50,000About 80 people an hour have been joining the party since the polls closed on Thursday, taking membership levels back up to those last seen in about 2011. Even the 2010 surge following the leaders debate only took membership up to just over 60,000, so if these extraordinary increases continue we may find ourselves completely reversing all the decline that occurred in the first couple of years of the coalition.

Party chief executive Tim Gordon has just emailed members with the timetable for the leadership election that will now take place (see below) and all those who join the party before 3 June will be able to vote.

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45,455

Things continue to look up on the Liberal Democrat membership front. During the first 3 months of this year, there’s been a net gain of 775 members,  bringing us past the 45,000 milestone to the figure you see in the headline.

This is the eighth consecutive quarter in which we have made gains, which is outstanding given our positioning in the polls and the fact that we are in government.

So why are we growing in membership? Well, for a start, we may be concentrating our campaigning in our held seats but we have made it a key priority to give all local parties an incentive for recruiting members. The more their membership grows, the bigger the percentage return for them.

What’s interesting is that these new members are not confined to areas where we are strong. 

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Lib Dem membership up for 15th consecutive month

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKIt’s over a year since we first reported that Lib Dem membership, which plummeted in the aftermath of the formation of the Coalition, had started rising again. That meant the party finished 2013 with more members than it began the year.

Well, the upward trend is continuing, as an email to members tonight notes:

Liberal Democrat membership has once again increased in the previous quarter, which means we’ve now grown continuously for the past 15 months. Membership now stands at

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Lib Dem party membership: the occasional ups and mostly downs since 1988

The Lib Dems published the party’s 2013 accounts this week. The report included the latest membership figures, which showed for the first time since 2010 an increase on the previous year’s: up 2% to 43,451. Here are the Lib Dem membership figures since the modern party’s formation as the successor to the Liberal Party and SDP in 1988:

lib dem membership figs since 1988 - as at july 2014

For interest’s sake, here’s the increase/decrease in party membership under each leader:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

Lib Dems publish latest accounts: £439k surplus and membership up to 43,451

Libby - Some rights reserved by David SpenderThe latest set of accounts for the Lib Dems have been published – I’ve uploaded it at the foot of this post. (You can compare it with last year’s here.) Here are 5 points that struck me I read through the document.

1) Party bounces back from deficit to surplus

Last year, the Lib Dems recorded a deficit of £410k (described then as a “disappointing result”). This year (ie, the year ending 31 Dec 2013), the party has recorded a healthy overall surplus of £439k, with £7.3m of income and £6.9m of expenditure.

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Liberal Democrat membership grows by over 500 in first quarter of 2014

Lib Dems winning hereLiberal Democrat membership hit 44,000 in the first quarter of 2014, a rise of more than 1500 since the beginning of 2013. Parties in government tend not to increase their membership and last year’s results for the Liberal Democrats were the first time in recent history that this had been done.

This is in no small part down to new financial incentives to local parties if they increase their membership. If they have more members, they get more money to spend on their local campaigns. That means that they …

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Lib Dem membership increase confirmed: “Across the country, 75% of our local parties grew in 2013”

We reported here three weeks ago that the Lib Dems finished 2013 with a more members than at the start of the year – “the first governing party in recent history to have increased membership while in power,” as the party put it.

At the time, final figures weren’t known as local parties had still to report their numbers to party HQ – so it’s worth noting this snippet from Lib Dem chief executive Tim Gordon in his latest weekly email:

Congratulations to those local parties that have increased their membership. Parties have been notified this week of the incentives

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Lib Dem HQ tweets: “Dear Twitterbots, we are happy with our 2000 new party members. We do not need your offers of 5000 new followers.”

Those scamps in the Lib Dem press office have clearly had a good Christmas, judging by their Twitter timeline this morning following up on the news that the party’s membership has increased in 2013

Posted in News | 7 Comments

2,000 new Lib Dem members join in last 3 months of 2013: “first governing party in recent history to have increased its membership while in power”

Today’s Independent reports the story that Lib Dem membership is on the up – 2,000 new members joining in the last three months of the year mean the party has recorded a net increase of up to 800 members across 2013:

Much of the success, party sources said, was down to a new incentive scheme for local Lib Dem associations to recruit new members. Under the policy, if they can prove that their membership has grown over a three-month period, they get back 20 per cent of their subscriptions in that time to spend on local campaigning. If it has

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Stephen Lloyd MP writes… 100 Members in 100 Days: The Eastbourne Challenge

Just after I was first elected as MP for Eastbourne, some three years ago (crikey – doesn’t time fly by) I pledged to do everything I could to ensure Eastbourne would buck the economic trend; and it’s worked. We have had a tremendous success in keeping unemployment down locally – it’s actually 30% lower than at the General Election! A key part of that success was to start an apprentice recruitment campaign early on – I was the first new MP to do so after the general election.

Under the banner ‘100 Apprentices in 100 Days’, I set about contacting …

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++ Lib Dem membership UP for first quarter in a decade outside elections

That’s the news just in from the party’s HQ:

Congratulations to all involved, especially those local parties who’ve successfully retained and/or recruited members. Full speed ahead to elections in 2014 and 2015!

PS: anyone know how the Tories’ membership figures are looking? Ah yes.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 35 Comments

Lib Dem publish latest accounts, shows £410k deficit and party membership down to 42,500

The latest set of accounts for the Lib Dems have been published – I’ve uploaded it at the foot of this post. Here are 5 points that struck me I read through the document.

1) The party ended 2012 with a £410k deficit

The party recorded a £410k deficit, with £6m income and £6.4m expenditure. This is noted as a “disappointing result” and ascribed to the late receipt of a substantial legacy donation “which would have brought the result down to something much nearer to break-even”. Yet legacies are by their very nature unpredictable: it’s not something we can rely on this year. Ideally the party needs to break even on its regular incomings/outgoings and then be able to use windfalls for investment.

2) Membership falls again: it’s now 42,501, down 34% since 2010

“As at December 2012 there were 42,501 members of the Party.” This is a further 13% drop since last year, and a massive 35% drop since the heights of Cleggmania in 2010. What’s clear from the chart, though, is that this is in reality a continuation of a decline in membership evident over the past 15 years, which I explored here last year:

lib dem membership figs since 1988

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Opinion: Beyond the membership card – how can we build a sustainable party model?

Liberal Democrat membership formsAs a candidate for next year’s local elections in Rotherhithe, I and my colleagues across Southwark have some excellent targets. They take the form of a campaign grid, which helpfully channels our collective and individual energy as we work towards the finishing line now set for 22 May 2014.

Pioneered in Hull, our grid targets include manageable voter contact numbers, aspirational targets for fundraising and, of course, a core aim of recruiting more members.

It is the latter target that got me thinking… Why join a political party? …

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

A reply to Dan Hodges: why it’s not surprising some Tories aren’t bothered about winning in 2015

dan hodgesThe Telegraph’s token Labour blogger Dan Hodges has a typically punchy post today – Do the Tories actually want to win in 2015? – highlighting the fatalism of some Tory MPs who think victory next time is possible but not worth it:

Hardly worth it? What, just managing to scrape a win at the next election, just managing to govern for another five years, just managing to drive through your agenda on health care reform, welfare reform, education reform, etc?

The Conservative Party is currently in the middle of the biggest

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The Lib Dem membership slump: how it compares and how we can respond

The Lib Dems published its statement of accounts this week, including the most recent membership figure for the calendar year 2011. If you don’t want to know the score, look away now…

As at 31 December, 2011, there were 48,934 Lib Dem members. That’s 25% down on the previous year, 2010, when there were c.65,000 members. True, that figure was inflated by the ‘Cleggmania’ of the 2010 election and the initial excitement of the Coalition, but it is still down 17% compared to the pre-election year, 2009.

Though this is by some way the sharpest recorded decline in the modern party’s membership, …

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“Tory membership in crisis” – Independent

Today’s Independent reports:

Conservative Party logoThree-quarters of local Conservative associations are losing activists as the party suffers a recruitment crisis which has seen membership halve since David Cameron became leader.

The latest estimates put Conservative membership at between 130,000 and 170,000, compared with almost 300,000 shortly after Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard…

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A new member writes… Why I’ve decided to join the Liberal Democrats now

We had news yesterday that a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate has announced his defection to the Labour Party. So I think it only fair to provide a bit of balance: I joined the Lib Dems last week because I believe they offer the best opportunity for providing fair government.

I believe in democracy and I feel that the Lib Dems are the most democratic of the three major parties. The Lib Dem base is, by and large, ordinary people who want their voices heard, not big business and not the unions both of whom want their own agendas …

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Official: 4,500 new Lib Dem members have joined party since election and coalition agreement

Lib Dem party membership is up a remarkable 14% this year, according to official figures released by the party in England. 4,500 new members have joined the party since the election and the coalition agreement was reached, and the party is having greater success in retaining current members than in previous years.

Lib Dem Voice reported last week the anecdotal evidence of one parliamentary candidate, Gareth Epps in Reading East, that Lib Dem membership has been on the increase, with a ratio of 10 new members for every one member leaving.

Well, it’s now clear that the experience in Reading is …

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Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure”

With the Labour party claiming an influx of new recruits, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Reading East at the last election, Gareth Epps, has written to The Guardian pointing out the Lib Dems too have seen a significant increase in new members:

Your report (7 July) of a “surge” in Labour membership makes claims about recruits from the Liberal Democrats. Labour’s claims are Walter Mittyish. My local Lib Dem party has had its most sustained membership boost since the 1988 merger. Since the election, we have had 10 members joining for each departure. As Labour’s crocodile tears continue over cuts

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Lib Dems’ £550k deficit, 8.5% membership drop, and other facts from the party’s annual accounts

The Electoral Commission has just published online the latest sets of financial accounts for the main parties, including the Liberal Democrats, for the year end 31 December 2008. You can read the party’s statement of accounts HERE. For those who don’t want to wade through its 28 pages, though, here are a few of the sexier snippets:

  1. The Liberal Democrats had, by some way, the largest pre-tax deficit of any of the 11 political parties whose income and expenditure figures are published – the party’s income was £5.47 million against expenditure of £6.01m, a pre-tax deficit of £540,700. The report notes, ‘As a general election must be held within the next 12 months, it is vital to build the Party’s fund raising capacity’.
  2. Donations in 2008 accounted for £1.5m of income, against £1.9m in 2007. Income from membership and subscriptions was up very slightly at £808k. Net conference income was up significantly: £558k in 2008, compared with 415k in 2007.
  3. The bulk of the party’s expenditure falls in three main areas: staff costs (£1.75m), campaigning (£1.6m) and premises and office costs (£0.68m).
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Confessions of a ‘Newbie’

I went to the one-day Lib Dem policy conference at the London School of Economics at the weekend. As a fairly new member of the Lib Dems (I joined a few months ago) I was curious to see what happens at these sort of events and was also looking forward to it. I attended with Darren, a fellow member of my local constituency branch in Bracknell, who has been a member for a while longer than myself.

The first thing that struck me was how open everything was. The 300 or so people who were there, who included councillors, …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments
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