Tim Gordon writes….Announcing the internal election results

Today is a historic day for our Party – we have now completed the first ever set of internal elections for Party Committees under One Member One Vote, and with the most progressive set of diversity criteria used by any political party.

I am proud to say that members overwhelmingly made choices in line with the diversity quotas passed at Conference, with more women than men elected to the Federal Board, for example. The full results can be found here. Many congratulations to all the successful candidates, and I sincerely hope that those who were unsuccessful will continue to contribute to the Party in other ways. Thank you to all those who took part, to the Electoral Reform Society and to the team at LDHQ who took on and met the challenge of running a complex set of OMOV elections.

Following this round of elections, a second round will be held in January to elect members of the Federal People Development Committee and the Federal Finance and Resources Committee among others. More information about this will be circulated in January.

In the meantime, I hope that everyone will be taking a well-deserved break this winter.

Tim Gordon

Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer

Ps: Thank you as well to everyone who donated to the Democracy Fund, and helped make this possible.

* Tim Gordon is Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Alisdair McGregor 17th Dec '16 - 3:21pm

    Thank you to everyone who voted for me.

  • Brian Stokes 17th Dec '16 - 3:57pm

    Is there any idea when the ALDE Delegate result will be announced or is it impossible to put a time on this?

    Well done on getting the results counted so quickly.

  • Chris Rennard 17th Dec '16 - 4:22pm

    Congratulations to all elected! Sorry to see some people lose their places.
    Pleased to see at least six people that I was responsible for employing (directly or indirectly) on the Federal Board.
    Disappointing turnout (just below 10%?)
    The Councillor elections are of course from Principal Councils (ie major local authorities) as opposed to what are described as Principle Councils.

  • Jennie Rigg 17th Dec '16 - 5:59pm

    Thank you to everyone who voted for me.
    I’ll endeavour to be worthy of your votes.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Dec '16 - 6:13pm

    Congratulations to you Jennie , and keep at it !

  • I didn’t vote, nor am I likely to in future. I don’t believe in on-line voting, or, for this sort of election, in OMOV.

  • Tony Greaves 17th Dec '16 - 10:49pm

    Am I alone in finding the whole of these new procedures faintly ridiculous?

  • Stephen Harte 18th Dec '16 - 2:20am

    As I rarely have time to go to Conference, I have never put myself forward for election as a conference rep. This makes OMOV my first chance to consider and vote for internal party candidates.

    The online voting process I found easy to use and I devoted an hour earlier this week to considering candidates (clicking on manifestos was no problem for me) and voting. I didn’t have to make sure I kept the original papers (I have just moved cities) and the time for voting was longer than it would have been for paper ballots.

    Many of the comments above are negative. Fair enough – we all have different views. My experience as a first time voter was different and wholly positive. Thank you to those who decided to allow long time members like me (I joined the Scottish liberal party in 1987) vote and created a process that was user friendly for me and cheapercti administer for the party.

  • Congratulations to everyone elected.

    It is disappointing if the turnout was only 10%. It is shame Tim didn’t give the turnout. There were 7347 valid votes for the Board (with 140 invalid) but only 5932 valid votes for the Conference Committee (with 138 invalid) and only 5387 (with 311 invalid) for the International Relations Committee. I suppose some of the invalid votes were for only people who had withdrawn.

    In 2014 it seems there were only 690 returned ballot papers with 677 valid votes for the Federal Executive Committee (and 13 invalid) [http://www.rosenstiel.co.uk/ldelections]. Therefore the number of members voting for the Federal Board has increased more than tenfold from the Federal Executive, while for Conference Committee by a factor of over 9.2.

  • Nom de Plume 18th Dec '16 - 7:45am

    I voted. It did take some time to read through all the manifestos, but gives me some insight into the background of the people making up the committees. I like the process. I support OMOV.

  • Maureen Rigg 18th Dec '16 - 8:50am

    I did vote, but very much at the last minute because I didn’t have a little pile of paper getting in the way and reminding me to do something about it, so a learning point for me about making sure I flag up some time in my diary for online voting in future! I did wonder, when discussing with another member who’s been historically less active than i and who didn’t vote because it was all too daunting to read, whether a reminder in the email that it’s not imperative to vote in every ballot nor to rank everyone would help those who felt it was just too much to wade through the whole thing.
    Also, to include somewhere in the information the relevant bits about diversity rather than expecting people either to remember them from conference or to look them up for themselves.
    I’m also wondering whether there could be some thought given to setting up a mailing list of people who opt in to letting candidates email them with campaign statements/pleas for votes/endorsements from SOs and such like. It might make for a higher turnout if people had more ways to get to know something about the people standing for election. Just a thought for future elections.
    Overall, I’m relieved that we’ve gone to OMOV and willing to be patient to allow the system to bed in and become established.

  • Although the voting process may well have been tedious, surely the most important thing right now is whether or not these various boards do anything for the Party rather than being a set of talking shops for the irrelevent, as happened from 2010 to 2015. At the moment, besides a few initiatives by Tim Farron, who is working very hard in a situation where we are largely-marginalised by the national media, the only force pushing us forward is a patchy framework of local government campaigns in those relatively-few places where we are working well. It will be the job of our Party centrally to try to create a clear alternative focus for the national party to act as a third string to our bow.

  • Lester Holloway 18th Dec '16 - 10:21am

    Where are the people of African descent? Two on the top committee but none on all the other committees? There’s greater representation of people of Asian descent, which is welcome, but people of colour include African and Caribbeans too. We also have zero men of African heritage anywhere. Very poor.

  • It was a drawn out process to complete the voting, but, not having voted before, it was very satisfying.
    It may be that the actual process used (which I didn’t think was too bad) is being confused with the “OMOV” principle – I guess neither is perfect, perhaps the process can be improved whilst holding to the principle.
    The biggest problem I have is, as ever, that I don’t really know many of the people in any real sense, in fact most had not registered with me at all (not all bad as several were very new and most are based hundreds of miles away). Some I note say they have a record of communicating – well those communications have for most who claimed that, not been getting through to me.
    I must find out what methods of communication I am missing out on (hopefully not Facebook or Twitter).

  • Katharine Pindar 18th Dec '16 - 10:45am

    I voted for Federal Board members for the first time (I mean I hadn’t voted for its predecessor Committee!), and found it a very well thought-out, clear process which I was glad to be able to participate in. The time spent going through all the manifestos and voting was worthwhile, and as a technophobe I was pleased to find it all perfectly accessible. Couldn’t find the time in the end to vote for the committees, and as few of the names are familiar I didn’t mind, but it had been good to read all the histories of the FB candidates and choose for myself. Thank you.

  • Peter Andrews 18th Dec '16 - 10:59am

    I have never been a conference rep so this was the first time in my 15+ years of membership that I felt I could affect who was on these important internal committees. I found the process easy to use although it was rather time consuming to actually go through all the manifestos to decide who to vote for. I was disappointed there was not more internal discussion about these elections and campaigning by candidates. Some articles on LDV about/by candidates would have been good or something like that.

  • Well done Jennie. I am sure you had the “none shall be enslaved by conformity” vote sewn up.

  • Peter Galton 18th Dec '16 - 5:39pm

    I for one did not like voting on line. I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology. Its fine one it works !!. I know that my son and daughter who are very much part of the modern age, have not voted. I voted but found it a work up trying to look at candidates details, so those who were more well know got most of my votes.
    We need to look at this again in the future. Those who did not have a email address should have been sent ballot paper without having to ask.

  • Robert Pinsker 18th Dec '16 - 5:55pm

    There must have been over a hundred candidates in all, each with a leaflet to read. Like most ordinary members I suspect, I did not know any of them in advance, so it would have taken hours to analyse all those documents and decide who was worthy of my vote. Added to which, a paper analysis is always a poor way to decide on people. When you go to a hustings, don’t you normally end up voting for someone different to your expectation? When recruiting an employee, would you ever choose on CV without meeting the candidate? I’m sorry but this system does not make sense. I would prefer to leave the choice to people in the party who actually know who these candidates are.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Dec '16 - 6:08pm


    I have never been a fan of quotas for Liberal groupings because , knowing myself , I presume that in built positive dicrimination , in favour of genuinely underepresented minorities shall happen ! I voted for all BAME candidates in very prominent positioning , where I knew none of them , or did , especially , that was my main vote first. I have always seen that as a default position if ever picking people , usually merit is the first criteria , regardless of ethnic background or gender , but increasingly it is BAME in our party I think needs more exposure . I have to say , I think we overdid the women’s shortlists debate , it showed that actually women are being successful in our party without such lists or techniques . I believe Tim , our leader made a mistake taking the much needed John Alderdice from the Northern Ireland remit , to a taskforce , in my view , which , Floella Benjamin should have chaired with you as vice chair !

  • Nom de Plume 18th Dec '16 - 7:05pm

    I think it is a fair criticism that the information available on a short manifesto may not be sufficient to make an informed choice. Here technology could help: short video presentations, links to other websites or articles by the candidates on LDV could help. Caron has already pointed out how a strong media presence seems to have helped the election chances of some of the candidates. Something to consider for the future. OMOV increases participation in the political process. It is to be encouraged. Apathy is a poor excuse.

  • paul holmes 18th Dec '16 - 7:36pm

    @Lester Holloway. How many stood for election?

  • Lester Holloway 19th Dec '16 - 1:53pm

    @ Paul Holmes – the answer to your question about how many African and Caribbeans stood for election goes far wider than a number. The number is low, and that is the problem which I think the whole party must take responsibility for. Why is it that so few members of African and Caribbean background put themselves forward for internal federal elections in the first place? Is there a problem? Are their barriers and what can we do together to address this?

    I think a ‘friends of’ AO will help, more attention generally to recruiting and encouraging members of African heritage, more interest in issues that disproportionately impact on African and Caribbean communities in the UK, and the Alderdice review should look at this area too.

    @ Lorenzo – Unfortunately so far the Alderdice review is being done with minimal in-kind HQ resources, a tight timescale that will severely limit responses, and no panel member expertise on race issues to advise or help Lord Alderdice. In other words its the very poor relation of the Morrissey review, which shows a lack of commitment generally. I hope this will change.

  • paul holmes 19th Dec '16 - 2:51pm

    Lester -is there a problem? Are their barriers? If so tell us what they are, provide some constructive suggestions instead of just hurling criticism all the time.

    Certainly the factual evidence is that whatever someone’s background there are no inherent barriers amongst our members to them getting elected onto Committees/selected as candidates within our Party. There may be practical barriers. What are they -can they be overcome?

    For example, as Duncan Brack has pointed out on another thread about the Committee elections, so few ‘northeners get elected’ because so few put themselves forward not because there is the slightest evidence that our predominantly London/Southern based membership vote against them on the grounds that they come from north of the Watford gap. Why do so few put themselves forward? Perhaps transport issues, perhaps the fact that no one with a full time job (unless self employed or with a very flexible employer) could work all day and get to an evening committee meeting in London as well? Are there practical ways around that?

  • Lester Holloway 19th Dec '16 - 3:24pm

    @ Paul Holmes – when we’ve only two people of African descent across all federal committees, both women (ie no black men) then yes I’d say we’ve got a problem!

  • paul holmes 19th Dec '16 - 3:53pm

    Lester, but do you accept that the problem is that people don’t stand rather than that they don’t get elected when they do stand?

    If so what are your proposed solutions to whatever the barriers to standing are?

  • You would think that if people were motivated enough to actually go out and join a political party, then most of them would vote in internal elections. !0% turn out is really very poor and a serious attempt must be made to improve this next time around. Can I respectfully suggest two possible reasons ?
    Members don’t really know what these committees do. We need more information during the year about the activities of these people and then when elections come around we are more likely to have an opinion about who we want on them.
    Secondly, technology. A number of posters have said that voting on line was time consuming and a bit of a hassle. It certainly defeated me. Pound to a penny if you sent out ballot papers with small leaflet giving candidates details and a return envelope, you would get more than 10% back. Ideally, members should have the option to vote online, or the old paper based way.

  • Lester Holloway 19th Dec '16 - 6:16pm

    @ Paul Holmes – Apologies if I was unclear. I believe the problem is that as a party we have a problem if African and Caribbeans are not putting themselves forward. I’ve suggested four possible solutions above.

  • So many candidates, so many manifestos, so many bodies, so little at stake. And all at this time of year.
    I took 10 minutes over the entire process, in every case making sure the few people I know and approved of were at the top, the few I know and don’t so much approve of were firmly at the bottom and randomly assigning votes to the rest. I suspect I am not atypical. And I am one of the 10% who bothered to vote! Those who got elected, please don’t assume it was on the basis of your carefully-crafted manifestos.

    Sometimes I envy Momentum/Labour for taking their internal Party elections so seriously. I suspect if any of us (other than the candidates) felt any of these bodies ever changed or had an active role in anything visible to the average member, rather than being make-work, more people would vote.

  • The really striking thing about these elections was the focus on identity issues with candidates’ BAME, disability and sexual orientation all highlighted in the voting pages, an emphasis that is continued in the article above and many of the comments. Newsflash: this is (quite rightly) of little interest to the great majority in the country so it suggests a party preoccupied with itself and its members’ concerns.

    Yet other, ultimately more important, ways of balancing the candidates were neglected. According to Gordon Lishman’s tract he was the ONLY member of the departing Federal Executive from outside London and the South East. Unless this has changed very radically with the new Federal Board (which we’re not told) it’s really difficult to see how the FB can possibly reflect the interests of the country as a whole.

    Then there’s the turnout of “just below 10%?”. That’s under two thirds of the widely derided 15.1% national average achieved in the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections in 2012. It’s even below the lowest individual turnout in those elections – 11.6% in Staffordshire. And these elections are an electorate that’s supposed to be super switched-on and engaged.

    These elections amount to a vote of no confidence in the governance of the party.

  • Correction: Gordon Lishman said he was the only member from *ENGLAND* from outside the SE.

  • Clive R Sneddon 22nd Dec '16 - 4:10pm

    I’m torn between the time it took to vote (excessive) and the possibility (which I used) to vote in the evening with no distractions. My wife did not vote because of the time it took, specifically because it involved too many clicks. Why not have a single .pdf file of every candidate for each committee? That would mean only five files to download/read, not over a hundred. I wondered if some of the names for whom no manifesto was offered had thought they were supplying a manifesto for each position they stood for and did not need to send it more than once. If this point were not clear to candidates, there should be more effort next time to make it clear. In terms of deciding whether or not to stand, there may have been self-selection of those who were close enough to London to attend meetings, and/or could afford the cost of travel. We need to be diverse in geography, class and wealth, as well as in the categories of the 2010 Equality Act.

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