In our most recent meeting, we discussed the fact that the Prime Minister is determined to proceed with the May elections in England (in Scotland and Wales this will be a matter for the State Parliaments).
As a result, we must do everything we can to protect public health, while campaigning as hard as we can.
As a Committee we were pleased to note the heroic volunteer efforts to increase our phone banking work and we continue to investigate ways to assist local parties in funding paid- deliveries for their political leaflets.
These deliveries are necessary because the Conservative Government is attempting to rig the elections in their favour by banning volunteer deliveries (they have fewer volunteers) and allowing paid deliveries (they have more money from big business backers).
For the Tories, this is not about protecting public health. We know that because delivering leaflets by volunteers is still allowed, just not political leaflets. In England it seems you can volunteer to do almost anything except oppose the Conservatives.
Discussing the success of Mara-phone sessions across the country was a real highlight for the committee. Our congratulations to the Manchester team for topping the charts and best of luck to everyone taking part in the next session will be on the 6th of February.
The Carers campaign has been opened to all local parties for Facebook Advertising, and future campaigns will be given the same consideration.
Campaigning is the only way that Liberal Democrats will get elected in the current climate. Do not leave it to others, they may be leaving it to you!
We received a report on the restructuring of the media and messaging team at LDHQ. We are currently recruiting for a new team of specialist officers.
The new direction will improve the party's ability to be heard by the public, focusing our messaging in the spaces where our values speak most powerfully to the issues faced by ordinary people. One particularly exciting change will be a renewed focus on how our Local Government base can be a springboard for our campaigning.
The report that we commissioned into the impact that the management of the 2019 defections was presented to the meeting.
We recognised that there must be buy-in to the protocol from across the party and that whilst individual cases may not be discussed in advance for obvious reasons, there must be a clear understanding in the party that the process is robust, fair, and constitutional.
We also discussed how to better provide pastoral care for our candidates, before, during and, especially, after elections. This is a matter on which we can, and must, do better.
Selections for Westminster seats, which have been made more complicated by Coronavirus-related restrictions, are now set to be under way from February.
The Thornhill review made clear that, particularly in our target seats, candidates need as long as possible to build the foundations of a successful General Election campaign. Our thanks to the volunteers of the Candidates Committees in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as HQ staff, for their hard work in making these processes possible.