When we debate party policy, strategy or election tactics, questions about what might attract or put off voters often - and rightly - come up. But there's one sure-fire, 100% guaranteed, rock-solid way of repelling voters from us, and it's one we use far too often. It's not having a Liberal Democrat on the ballot paper. Zero votes for the party guaranteed.
Boris Johnson's failure to defend our children's education meant that his Government spent the same amount in one month on Eat Out To Help Out as in a whole year for our children's school catch-up.
Imagine a future where our children's education is a priority. Where schools raise their mental well-being and their maths grades. Where they can excel at English and find their talent for music or sport. Where they grow into happy, healthy, adults.
The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 15th January to start its work on the final agenda for Spring 2022 Conference, which will be taking place virtually via the Hopin platform.
If you haven't yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.
We've had a few departures from the FCC in the last few months and welcomed two new members. Jennie Rigg ceased being the English Party's Representative to the FCC and Jenni Lang stepped down as the Scottish Party Representative after becoming the Convenor of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. I would like to place on record our thanks for their service to the FCC, they will be missed, and we would like to wish them all the very best for the future. We welcomed Matt McLaren as our new English Party Rep and Paul McGarry as our new Scottish Party Rep to the committee.
You may remember, last November, taking part in a survey on members' views on Brexitand the party's campaigning on the future of UK-EU relations. Thanks to everyone who participated - 6,500 members, more than any previous survey of this type - and thanks to Greg Foster and Dan Schmeising at party HQ who organised it on behalf of the Federal Policy Committee. This article gives you the results.
After the disappointment and failure of the 2019 general election, an independent post-mortem was carried out into what went wrong. The findings of the Thornhill Review set a broad and challenging reform agenda for the party, which we've made good progress on implementing so far.
On the role of the Federal Board itself, the Thornhill Review found that:
FPC members started the year bright and early with our first meeting last week. We cancelled our December meeting so we could all focus on North Shropshire, so this was our first meeting since November.
Big areas of focus for FPC this year will be further work on our messages and key policies to support them, leading up eventually to the Manifesto for the next General Election; and our substantial programme of working groups developing policies in politically useful areas, to bring to autumn conference.
In 2021 we achieved something we've not achieved since 1993: winning two Parliamentary by-elections in the same year off the Conservatives. We start this new year with a larger Parliamentary Party than any of us would have dared dream of a year ago. (A winning run that has continued with the first council by-election of this year too - congratulations to now councillor Andrew Dunkin who won a seat from Labour from third place.)
Liberal Democrats won a stunning victory in North Shropshire, taking one of the Conservatives' safest seats.
Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan received 17,957 votes, representing a swing of 34% from the Conservatives and giving her a majority of 5,925.
North Shropshire was the 58th safest Conservative seat in the country, with former Conservative MP Owen Paterson having a majority of almost 23,000 votes in 2019. This represents the second biggest majority overcome in a modern by-election, after Christchurch in 1993.
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