What do do if you haven’t had a ballot paper in the party Presidential Election

Over the last few months, the party has had the best Presidential election contest it’s had in years, with first four, then three candidates travelling the length of the country to meet and engage with members and answer their questions.

Now it’s almost over. Voting closes tomorrow at noon.

Ballot papers were sent out at the end of October to all members by post. Each member had an option of returning the green ballot paper, or using the unique information in it to vote by post.

Some members are saying that they have not had their ballot papers. This is not a new phenomenon. I still bear a decade-long grudge from Simon Hughes’ first presidential election where I didn’t get one and was told, pretty much, “tough” by Party HQ. These days, though, the matter should be more easily resolved. If you email [email protected], then you should be able to have a unique link sent to you by email.

Act today so that there’s time to sort it out and try and pass on to any members who don’t spend their lives reading the internet and social media.

Last night, the three presidential candidates made their last-minute pitch for votes in emails to members. Here, in alphabetical order, is what they said.

Sal Brinton

Dear fellow Liberal Democrat,

I have found it inspiring and enjoyable meeting so many members over the last few months. Their interest, commitment and determination has been a joy. I have been on the campaign trail, including at a number of social events, at Federal Conference and the 14 hustings around the country. I have travelled up and down the UK from farthest Aberdeen to Aberystwyth and from Newcastle to Exeter.

Thank you for your time, your views and your suggestions for the future of the party. You’ve told me that you find the party remote – apart from plenty of emails! – and needs to make members feel more valued.

If you haven’t already voted, there are only a couple of days left to do it. Ballot papers have to be returned by midday on Wednesday 26 November. You can also vote online by following the instructions on your ballot paper.

I am standing to be President of the Liberal Democrats because I care about Liberal values. I care about the future of the Lib Dems and the role we play in politics in the UK. Most important of all, I care about making our Party democratic transparent and accountable to all our members. We all know that we face a very challenging time ahead. I believe as your President that I can make a real difference and help rebuild the Party to be a strong and effective Liberal voice in British politics.

A strong Liberal Democratic party is needed now as never before. We must lead the way, standing up to UKIP and the Eurosceptics. We must counter the slide to the right by the Tories and Labour. We must speak up for liberty, social justice and for Europe.
In the last 40 years since I joined the Liberals, I have done many things from deliverer, councillor, parliamentary candidate for Watford. I am now a backbencher in the House of Lords, as well as serving on Federal Policy Committee, Federal Conference Committee and Chairing the Diversity Engagement Group until March this year. I’ve also had experience outside the party, managing and leading organisations in business, charities and local government.

That’s why I am prepared for anything that the General Election throws at us next year. I will be ready to start our Liberal Democrat revival, helping the party grow in members, councillors and MPs again. I have outlined my action plan for the first 6 months on my website at www.salbrinton.co.uk

Together we can and will bring the Lib Dems back to winning ways. Please give me your first preference vote and join me in the revival of the party we love.

Yours sincerely


Sal Brinton

Daisy Cooper

Hi Caron,

I want to take this opportunity to thank those I have met on the campaign trail for their hospitality and support. I have been blown away by the level of commitment of our activists.  The media is telling us that it is ‘game over’ for the party but I see something different. I see resilient and committed activists, councillors, MPs, AMs and MSPs, and our one MEP, fighting in the toughest of circumstances for the future of our party.

I want to lead our members in that fight. I want to breathe life back into depressed local parties and help every member experience winning.

We are less than six months away from a General Election that will define the future of our party. Commentators expect us to bury our heads in the sand, I will lead us into battle. We have excellent local MPs and a strong track record in local government to defend. We can and we must. As your President, I would move quickly to help raise an army of candidates and activists so that we can put up a strong fight.

If we find ourselves headed into coalition again, I will ensure the voice of Liberal Democrat members and councillors is heard by those leading the negotiations. Whatever the outcome of the election, I will ensure that our party is – and is seen to be – a strong political force for individual freedom, social justice and localism.

And over the next two years, we must reform and we must re-launch our party. As your President, I would lead a process to overhaul our structures to improve accountability in decision-making, professionalise disciplinary processes and give more support to the regions in order that we continue to grow our smaller parties.

I would also seek to launch a new, ambitious and inclusive nation-wide leadership scheme that will help us grow so that within 20 years we wipe out black holes, be as diverse as the UK, and re-build and empower our local government base and membership from community level up.

You still have a few days to cast your vote in the most important internal election this party has seen for four years.

This is your vote. Your voice. Your President. Please give me your first preference vote.

Warm regards,


Liz Lynne

Hi Caron,

It has been a huge honour meeting so many committed and hard working members over the past few months: thank you for everything you do for the party.

I have travelled the length and breadth of the country campaigning with fellow Liberal Democrats on the doorstep, in parliamentary by-elections and council by-elections. I’ve taken part in many action days and helped in the Scottish Referendum. I have also attended many official and unofficial hustings and social events over the last few weeks. I have visited strong areas and not so strong seats. Targeting is essential but we should never dismiss any area as not being worthy of a visit. We must value our members in non-winnable seats and target seats alike.

What has struck me more than anything is the commitment of our members and the sheer dedication they have to our party. The pundits might be writing us off but they don’t take into account the resilience of our members not to give in and to continue to fight for Liberal Democrat values.

I also have that resilience and a capacity for hardwork, the qualities our new President will need over the next few months. I also have the experience as a successful campaigner and media performer. We may very well have a highly confused political situation after the General Election and may be in discussion with one or more other parties. We need a President that is beholden to no one, who is not associated with any party factions and who has experience as a former MP and MEP.

It is clear many members understand the need for the party to review and reform its structure, immediately after the General Election,  I will initiate that process but will ensure it is inclusive and all members’ views are sought.

There are just a few days left to vote: the polls close on Wednesday at midday, if you have not yet voted, I invite your support. As President I intend listening to your views and will be your voice in communicating them to the centre. If you have voted, Thank you.

Best Wishes

Liz Lynne

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tony Greaves 25th Nov '14 - 4:05pm

    Just sigh and let it pass.

  • Rabi Martins 25th Nov '14 - 10:33pm

    Just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all four (yes I include Linda Jack) people who had the courage and the will to put themselves forward to take on the challenging role of Party President at such a difficult and challenging time for our Party

    And good luck to the three who made it on to the ballot paper
    Whoever wins will need the support of all members to deliver their vision for the Party
    I have little doubt like me they will all be ready and willing to give the new Party President that support and help her revive and rebuild this great Party of ours

  • I continue to hear very little about the whys and wherefores of losing 11 of our 12 MEPs using the slogan ‘We are the party of IN’. We can console ourselves that we were right all along and that one day people will be grateful to us. One day the dust may settle. It is not just the Pope and Nigel Farage (in different ways and for different reasons) who think that the EU needs serious overhaul. As an enthusiastic European, German speaking and with family domiciled in France, I am IN, but not uncritically. EU PR is dreadful or non-existent. Jean-Claude Junker and Luxembourg need very close scrutiny. Free movement among the original 6 was fine, but may need some change among the 28. And how do we feel about hundreds of would-be immigrants drowning in the Med? Paul King

  • Alex Macfie 26th Nov '14 - 8:54am

    @Paul: I agree that the “Party of IN” strategy was wrong, not just because it painted us as uncritical supporters of whatever the EU does, but also because MEPs don’t actually have any role in deciding whether this or any other country stays in or leaves the EU — they legislate for the EU as a whole: they actually help decide law and policy that applies throughout the EU. I was hoping for a campaign led by our MEPs (not by our Dear Leader who was not up for election and who symbolises the Coalition, which does not apply in the European Parliament), about what we as LIBERALS are doing in the European Parliament to make the EU work for its citizens. Not generalised stuff about how great the EU is without saying anything about how Liberal politicians have made it work. Whatever you may think of the Greens, at least they (and to a limited extent Labour) ran a European campaign based on actual European issues that MEPs get to discuss and vote on. How about, as an ostensibly Euro-reformist party, we do the same?

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