Why I am backing Mark Pack to be President of the Liberal Democrats

Mark has a wisdom, experience and detailed knowledge about the Party. He knows the party at all levels: federal, state, regional and local. He understands the different issues facing Wales, Scotland, England – he gets devolution and is hungry to support local government across the UK. I know Mark will understand the need to listen to members and not assume he knows best.

I’m am invariably involved running campaigns, advising on strategy, mentoring candidates as well as delivering leaflets and knocking on doors. In by-elections over ten, twenty years and in every General Election since 1992 Mark has also been involved offering advice, sharing knowledge, providing training.  His commitment to the success of the Party is total.  And I trust his judgement.

Mark is one of the people I ring for advice. I have been an activist for thirty years and have known Mark since 1992. I know that when I ring him, text him, email him he responds thoughtfully, honestly and helpfully. He teaches and leads – his leadership is faithful, genuine and sincere and I value that.

I have been a parliamentary candidate in a black hole seat, in a target seat, a councillor, a candidate, I have run and led parliamentary by-elections, been an agent – at every step of the way I have learnt from Mark, Sharing knowledge with him brings within it the energy and the spark of a new idea,  When I speak to Mark, work with Mark, ask for advice, I learn something new and explore a new avenue and am more successful and more innovative.

Mark will be the President first and foremost able to operate and work hard during a general election. He will not be distracted by being a parliamentary candidate or having to defend his seat – he will be able to put the Party first at a time when MP’s and candidates are under pressure.

When we fought for marriage equality – Mark was in the front line – not just next standing next to us, but advising, suggesting and adding value. He makes a difference.

As students at Nottingham and York Universities respectively we were involved in the Youth and Student wing of the Party, as campaigners we met at important elections, at conference we were often training each other or even together, as staff members in the Campaigns and Elections Department we worked together – and over those 30 years I have learnt from him, thoughts about problems differently, been more constructive, able to step back and pause.

Mark is a friend. He became my friend over many years in the Liberal Democrats and I am a better liberal and a stronger democrat for knowing him.

We need him.

The Party needs him.

He will serve us well.

On Party issues that matter I trust him.

Please give him your support. I know I will. (And Sparky the Husky is supporting Mark too!)


* Ed Fordham is a councillor on Chesterfield Borough Council and runs Brockwell Books of Chesterfield, selling many thanks, not least ephemera he bought from Liber Books over the last 25 years.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Laura Sykes 11th Oct '19 - 6:32pm

    Well said, Ed!

    I enjoyed reading your piece, and although I have known Mark for less than a year (and only met him at Conference & on the Guildford hustings) I found so many things you said resonating with me also.

    Mark’s experience goes without saying: the wisdom that he has gained from it is exceptional.

    ‘He is hungry to support’- yes! Mark is a man with a plan, a clear idea of the benefits he can bring to the party, and a hunger to see his plan enacted.

    Your description of working with Mark is one I can readily imagine – he will be a president who metaphorically rolls up his shirt sleeves and works with his colleagues. But only metaphorically, because Mark is always immaculate, always visually ready for a photograph or interview. He doesn’t have bad hair days!

    ‘The Party needs him’. That’s for sure.
    ‘He will serve us well’. Yes indeed.

  • Just deviating: since the Leaders debate in Canada most polls show support slipping away from the Liberals and Trudeau. Still over a week to go but the NDP, Greens and BlockQ seem to have gained support and it is currently holding. We may be looking at a Liberal NDP coalition or even a Conservative minority goverrnment.

  • Richard Underhill. 11th Oct '19 - 10:10pm

    Mark will be the President first and foremost able to operate and work hard during a general election. He will not be distracted by being a parliamentary candidate or having to defend his seat – he will be able to put the Party first at a time when MP’s and candidates are under pressure.

  • Martin Land 12th Oct '19 - 9:57am


  • Theakes.
    Agreed on the trends in the Canadian General Election, although earlier this week the Liberals were leading in CBCs poll tracker.
    CBCs daily briefings are a useful source of information on this. Yesterday they had a great video on how to check for fake news, etc, something we could have found useful in 2016.
    Apologies for hijacking Ed’s posting!

  • theakes – I expect Ontario votes to swing back to Liberals following the introduction of Cons’ 53-billion cut platform which resembles Doug Ford’s platform last year. In fact, certain pollsters have hinted such a trend.

    Trudeau’s English debate performance was weak and thus leading to declining polling stats in recent days, but his latest French debate performance imo was good enough to stop BQ’s rise.

    I mean, we will know the winner within the next 4 days, after the impacts of the last French debate and the Conservative 53-billion-dollar-cut platform are fully integrated.

  • theakes, Andy Hyde – IMO, in terms of charisma, Trudeau is comparable with Obama, and more charismatic than Kennedy, Clegg and Swinson combined.

    Trudeau, however, is an idiot and lacks Obama and Macron’s intellectually capacity and substance; well, you don’t expect much from a drama teacher.
    But to be fair, Obama is a generational talent and arguably the most telented and brilliant politician I have ever seen in my lifetime. He is a once-in-a-generation political figure, but the limitations in his ideology (growing up in a middle-class family in red Kansas perhaps is a shaping factor) prevented him from being a second Lincoln/Theodore Roosevelt/FDR, a truly transformational leader. You will not see another Obama soon, at least within the next 5 years.

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