We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Welcome to High Peak Liberal Democrats!

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

High Peak Liberal Democrats thank candidates and voters

Dont get mad

On a difficult night for the Liberal Democrats nationwide the picture was not much different here in High Peak, with the Liberal Democrats Stephen Worrall being beaten into 4th place by UKIP and narrowly missing out on retaining his deposit. There was slightly more positive news in the local elections with both sitting Borough Councillors, Ray Atkins and David Lomax retaining their seats for High Peak Liberal Democrats. The situation was similar at Parish and Town Council level with Stephen Worrall retaining his Charlesworth Parish Council seat in the election and joining David Lomax and Barrie Taylor who were elected unopposd to Whaley Bridge Town Council.

There were also many hard working candidates who were unsuccesful in their attempt to win their Borough Council Wards and the local party wishes to thank them for all of their efforts which were greatly appreciated by the party, its members and those who voted for them.

We also wish to thank the thousands of people who did vote Liberal Democrat in this election, whether in the General, Borough or Parish elections. We will all work hard to represent you in the coming weeks, months and years.

Finally, membership of the party has been increasing markedly in the days after these elections and we welcome these new members with open arms. If you too feel that we need to "build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity" then don't get mad. Get active. Join now!

The Constituency Party of the High Peak Liberal Democrats is managed by an Executive Committee which is elected annually. It manages the affairs of the party within the High Peak.

The Executive consists of a Constituency President, Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Data Officer and Ordinary members. Meetings are held regularly please contact the secretary at secretary@highpeaklibdems.org.uk for more information.

We are one of the six counties which make up the East Midlands Region of the Liberal Democrats. It oversees matters like the selection of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

Like all constituencies of the Liberal Democrat Party we follow national policies which are voted on at conference, taking our lead from the party headquarters at Cowley Street in London.

Recent updates

  • Mark Pack
    Article: Oct 22, 2016
    By Mark Pack

    Unfinished business from Governance Review

    There are three significant pieces of unfinished business from the Governance Review which was voted through at the federal autumn conference in Brighton.

    One is simply that changing rules does not in itself change that much. People need to follow them. They need to be implemented with enthusiasm, competence and a clear purpose. Cultural change does not automatically follow.

    So whilst there is much good in the Governance Review, including the improvements to the way the party makes strategy, as I wrote in the last Liberal Democrat Newswire, it is crucial we get the right people elected to the Federal Board and other committees to properly implement the changes. (That's also why this time round rather than running for the Federal Policy Committee again, I'll be running for the Federal Board. Here's a flavour of what I'd be pushing for on the body.)

    English Party reform

    The second is the problem that is currently the English Party. Tactically it made absolute sense for Party President Sal Brinton and others to pursue a package of reform which could be voted through by federal conference alone. But that meant no changes to the relative powers of the state parties, as that would have also required votes of agreement in their own bodies too.

    Hence that meant very little to address the multiple issues around the English Party such as its hugely indirect version of democracy, the deeply ingrained culture of barely communicating with members and the way it can in effect unilaterally force decisions on Scotland and Wales.

    It's significant, therefore, than in her Facebook posting setting out priorities for re-election as Party President, Sal Brinton put reform of the English Party down as one of her three priorities. Meanwhile, the English Party itself recently put off its latest reform package pending further thought, with a plan to come back with new reform plans of its own next year.

    Ken Macdonald to review disciplinary process

    Then thirdly there is the problem with the party's disciplinary processes. These are numerous in form, but really boil down to two, one widely acknowledged and one which is usually overlooked.

    The widely acknowledged one is that when put to the test in a controversial case, the processes have often resulted in rulings being made and then overturned on grounds of flawed procedure. That ends up with long-drawn out sagas without closure. They serve all sides badly, and the party itself too.

    Therefore the news that the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, is to head up a review is very good.

    Two traditions Lib Dems need to abandon

    It will be important that the review includes the area which is usually overlooked. It is that the party's disciplinary processes have their roots in two basic approaches, both of which have become frayed and neither of which are appropriate now, even if they ever were.

    One is that the decision for Liberal Democrat groups about who can have the party's whip are decisions for that group alone. That is deeply problematic because who holds the Liberal Democrat whip is about who has the right to use the party's name in public - and that is a matter for the whole party, not just the particular group of councillors, Parliamentarians or others to whom that specific whip applies.

    As I wrote previously:

    Traditionally the Liberal Democrats have left the decision about who gets to call themselves a Liberal Democrat after election to the rest of the group to which they've been elected or, in the case of the House of Lords, appointed. Someone can stand as a Liberal Democrat with the party's backing, but it's up to the colleagues in their group as to whether they can continue to act as a Liberal Democrat once there.

    Given the experience of the Labour Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it is understandable how many of those involved in forming the merged party were happy to stick with tradition - a tradition that the Liberal Party too had followed.

    But politics has moved on from the battles of the early 1980s, and we face new problems now.

    As an embarrassingly large number of cases have demonstrated in the last few years, leaving decisions over who gets the whip to a smaller group has served the party, its elected/appointed representatives and people with a complaint against them all badly.

    One problem is one of power. The smaller the group, the easier it is for someone to exercise disproportionate and undue influence over their colleagues. The smaller the group, the bigger the risk that decisions about who should or should not have the whip are not decisions made well or in line with our values.

    Another is that the Liberal Democrats are one organisation in the eyes of the public. Although the public does not hold the behaviour of every individual against the party as whole, it does do so to some degree an awful lot. The decision that one group makes has an impact on the rest of us too.

    The other problematic tradition is the idea that outside of giving/withholding the whip, the only level of sanction in the party is to expel someone from membership. That also really doesn't work because it is far from unknown for party members to do something wrong that fall short of explusion level of offence but also should not be left completely unpunished:

    Partly at my instigation the English Party a few years ago introduced a wider range of more modest sanctions, such as banning people from holding office in the party, which could be applied in some cases. For example, if a local party treasurer regularly failed to file regulatory reports on time, expelling them from the party might be too harsh but banning them from being a local party officer appropriate. (Indeed, my involvement in instigating this change came from frustration at seeing several people who had behaved wrongly not facing sanction because the only sanction available was too severe.)

    A sensible … review of the party's expected standards of its members and disciplinary rules should include expanding that range of 'not serious enough for expulsion but serious enough for other sanction' offences.

    It would need to be clearly defined, so it isn't used as an excuse to, for example, exclude out of favour troublemakers from a party committee, but it would also be the right thing to do.

    Only if the Macdonald review also tackles these two long-standing traditions will it have a fighting chance of producing the sort of new processes which are fair to all sides and which protect the party's own reputation - a key part of its electoral appeal.

  • Liz Leffman and Lib Dem Campaigners
    Article: Oct 22, 2016

    Alongside the Witney and Batley & Spen Parliamentary by-elections, twelve council by-elections have also taken place this week.

    Witney by-election result

    • Liberal Democrats move up from 4th to 2nd

    • 19.3% swing from Tories to Lib Dems

    • Lib Dem vote up 23.4% to 30.2%

    • Conservative majority cut by over 20,000

    • Biggest Lib Dem vote increase in a Parliamentary by-election for twelve years (since Hartlepool in 2004)

    • Highest Lib Dem vote in the constituency this century

    • Labour falls back to 3rd

    • Greens and Ukip lose their deposits

    The key test for Liz Leffman and the Liberal Democrats in Witney was whether the party could move back into second, the sort of result which would suggest the Lib Dems can return large parts of southern England to being Lib Dem versus Conservative contests… and that's a test the Liberal Democrats passed. For more on how to judge the Lib Dem Witney result see here.

    Elsewhere some promising signs for the Liberal Democrats too with a win and a hold.

    Denis Healy has been a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary and Police and Crime Commissioner candidate. Now he's won a council by-election in a three-member ward that was split and returned some Lib Dems in 2003 and 2007, before the party slipped to third in 2011 and then fourth in 2015.

    Congratulations to Ellie Hudspith and the local team for a solid defence in St Albans in a ward that stayed with the party all through coalition:

    The loss of a Ukip council seat to the Tories will be rare case of a Conservative victory that many Liberal Democrats will be quite happy with, I suspect:

    Worth noting here that it's a ward where Labour used to sometimes split the ward, but is the Conservatives rather than Labour who gained the seat at Ukip's expense.

    Elsewhere, Labour both lost and gained a seat

    Bodmin Town Council, 20th October

    LD Leigh Frost 362 [69.1%]

    Labour 162 [30.8%]

    LD Gain

    Turnout 15.3%

    St Albans BC, Clarence - 20th October 2016

    LD Ellie Hudspith 916 [56.9%; +6.0%]

    Conservative 388 [24.0%; +2.8%]

    Labour 193 [12.0%; -5.2%]

    Green 98 [6.1%; -3.7%]

    UKIP 16 [1.0; +1.0%]

    [TUSC [0.0%; -1.0%]

    Majority: 528

    LD hold

    Percentage change since 2016

    East Riding of Yorkshire UA, St Mary's - 20th October 2016

    LD Denis Healy 1497 [40.5%; +29.2%]

    Conservative 947 [25.6%; -3.0%]

    Labour 689 [21.3%; +3.6%]

    UKIP 101 [2.7%; -10.8%]

    The Beverley Party 364 [9.8% -1.1%]

    Independent 141 [3.7%; +3.7%]

    [Green [0.0%; -8.5%]

    [Independent [0.0%; -6.1%]

    [Independent [0.0%; -3.7%]

    Majority: 550

    LD gain from Conservatives

    Percentage change since 2015

    Kings Lynn & West Norfolk BC, Heacham - 20th October 2016

    Independent 400 [37.7%; +37.7%]

    Conservative 342 [32.2%; +23.6%]

    LD Rob Colwell 83 [7.8%; +7.8%]

    UKIP 83 [7.8%; -37.9%]

    Independent 79 [7.4%; +7.4%]

    Labour 74 [7.0%; -38.6%]

    Majority: 58

    Turnout: 26.3%

    Independent gain from Conservative

    Percentage change since 2016

    Braintree DC, Bumpstead - 20th October 2016

    Conservative 350 [64.6%; +2.7%]

    UKIP 84 [15.5%; -4.1%]

    Labour 45 [8.3%; -10.3%]

    LD Steve Bolter 40 [7.4%; +7.4%]

    Green 23 [4.2%; +4.2%]

    Majority 266

    Conservative hold

    Percentage change since 2015

    Conservative seat.

    Cause: resignation

    Middlesbrough UA, Central - 20th October 2016

    Labour 732 [72.9%; +17.3%]

    Independent 149 [14.8%; +14.8%]

    Conservative 70 [7.0%; +7.0%]

    LD Elliott Sabin-Motson 53 [5.3%; +5.3%]

    [Independent [0.0%; -17.6%]

    [Independent [0.0%; -17.6%]

    [UKIP [0.0%; -15.8%]

    Majority: 583

    Turnout: 18.6%

    Labour hold

    Percentage change since 2015

    Kettering BC, Rothwell - 20th October 2016

    Conservative 700 [48.3%; +11.1%]

    Labour 498 [34.4%; -7.1%]

    UKIP 108 [7.5%; -8.7%]

    Green 75 [5.2%; 0.0%]

    LD Malcolm Paul Adcock 67 [4.6%; +4.6%]

    Turnout: 22.8%

    Majority: 202

    Conservative gain from Labour

    Percentage change since 2015

    Braintree DC, Witham North - 20th October 2016

    Labour 339 [37.5%; +6.1%]

    Conservative 308 [34.0%; -4.8%]

    Green 227 [25.1%; +4.7%]

    LD Mark Thomas Scott 31[3.4%; -5.9%]

    Majority: 31

    Labour gain from Conservative

    Percentage change since 2015

    Medway UA, Strood South - 20th October 2016

    Conservative 724 [38.4%; +3.4%]

    Labour 521 [27.7%; 3.4%]

    UKIP 480 [25.5%; -13.2%]

    Green 74 [3.9%; +3.9%]

    LD Isabelle Cherry 62 [3.3%; +3.3%]

    English Democrats 23 [1.2%; +1.2%]

    [TUSC [0.0%; -2.2%]

    Majority: 203

    Turnout: 16.7%

    Conservative gain from UKIP

    Percentage change since 2015

    Bracknell UA, Central Sandhurst - 20th October 2016

    Conservative 476 [69.3%; +6.3%]

    Labour 211 [30.7%; 10.5%]

    [Liberal Democrat [0.0%; -16.7%]

    Majority: 265

    Conservative hold

    Percentage change since 2015

    Conwy UA, Abergele Pensarn - 20th October 2016

    Independent 170 [31.5%; +31.5%]

    Independent 146 [27.1%; +27.1%]

    Labour 136 [25.2%; -29.9%]

    Conservative 87 [16.1%; -3.5%]

    Majority: 24

    Independent gain from Labour

    Percentage change since 2012

    Neath Port Talbot UA, Blaengwrach - 20th October 2016

    Plaid Cymru gain from Labour

  • Article: Oct 21, 2016

    Last night saw the results of the Witney by-election - we started the campaign in 4th place as 50/1 outsiders and thanks to the relentless, positive campaign we ran, dented the Conservative majority and secured one of our best by-election results in decades. This is what you need to know:

    1: If this result was repeated across the UK, the Tories would lose their majority

  • What a Liberal Britain means
    Article: Oct 21, 2016
    By Mark Pack

    I've mentioned a few times the excellent grassroots initiative, Your Liberal Britain, which aims to better explain what the Liberal Democrats stand for by drawing together the best ideas from across the party's membership.

    It's latest consultation has just finished, and the full results have now been published.

    Here is the full consultation report from Your Liberal Britain:

    Download this document

  • Liz for Remain vs Brexit
    Article: Oct 21, 2016
    By Margaret Leyton

    The huge swing to an anti Brexit ticket prompts me to say that it is time to go further.

    It is clear that Mrs May and her cohorts have done all in their power to forward and design Brexit, with absolutely lamentable results. This is hardly surprising, since it is an impossible exercise. They have made it worse by upsetting the other 27 more than necessary and ensuring that a "soft" Brexit cannot happen. I can't imagine why.

    The trouble with the referendum which is not often mentioned is that it offered the electorate a choice which does not really exist. A little research before offering the referendum would have shown that departure from the EU would be unavoidably very damaging on any terms. The EU is far from perfect but any sort of departure is far worse. One only has to look at each day's news.

    Mrs May should now tell the electorate that despite her best efforts the task is impossible. That would be honest and statesmanlike. If she will not, the situation is so dire that MPs from all parties should combine to pass a vote of no confidence. Sane Tories most of all, if they don't want to go down with her.

    That doesn't have to precipitate a general election if a new Prime Minister gets a vote of confidence in 14 days. But if there were a GE it would at least mean Mrs May wouldn't be Prime Minister. She must be the most obdurate ignorer of facts ever to be in office, and is certainly not governing in the country's best interests as she should.

  • Mark Pack
    Article: Oct 21, 2016
    By Mark Pack

    Roger Gabb and Sue Inkin have been fined £1,000 each for illegal newspaper advertisements during the 2016 European referendum promoting a Leave vote.

    The newspaper adverts were missing the legally required 'imprint' which reveals who is behind an advert. As the Electoral Commission explains:

    In both cases the campaigners placed advertisements in local newspapers arguing support of a vote to leave the EU. Neither campaigner included their name and address in their advert, meaning that voters could not identify its promoter.

    Following investigations into each campaigner, the Commission has concluded that both campaigners committed an offence by failing to include an imprint in their adverts. Mr Gabb paid the fine on 11 October 2016. Lady Inkin has until 2 November to pay the fine.

    The case is also a reminder to all political campaigners about the importance of including imprints on electoral material - and also a reminder of why it is rather unfortunate that the government has still not acted on the Electoral Commission's recommendations to update imprint rules to better deal with the internet (note that linked post is from 2009!).

  • Witney Result (Getty)
    Article: Oct 21, 2016
    By Frances Perraudin and Jessica Elgot in The Guardian

    At the Witney byelection, the Liberal Democrats saw their biggest swing in two decades, leapfrogging Labour and Ukip to take second place.

    The result in Cameron's former seat was still a comfortable win for Robert Courts, a barrister and local councillor, but his tally was more than 17,000 votes behind those cast for the former prime minister in 2015.

  • Article: Oct 20, 2016

    Liberal Democrat peer, John Sharkey, whose Private Member's Bill was instrumental in securing a pardon for Alan Turing, has reached an agreement with the Government which will grant a posthumous pardon to thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under long abolished sexual offence laws.

    Those similarly convicted but still alive will also receive pardons if they have successfully applied for a disregard or in future successfully apply for a disregard under the Protection of Freedoms Act.

  • Liz Leffman
    Article: Oct 20, 2016
    By Arjun Neil in The Independent

    The Liberal Democrats remain confident hopes of pushing the Conservatives close in the by-election for David Cameron's former constituency of Witney, despite the incumbent party's seemingly unassailable position.

    Liz Leffman, a councillor in West Oxfordshire, is the Lib Dem candidate. She won her council seat with 65 per cent of the vote in 2016, when the Tories came in second place with 22 points.

    She contested the parliamentary seat of Witney in 2005, coming second to David Cameron with the highest ever share of the vote for both the Lib Dems and any opposition party.

    The Oxfordshire constituency has been a safe Conservative seat since its creation in 1983. It was fleetingly a Labour seat, when former MP Shaun Woodward defected from the Tories to the Labour Party in 1999, until it was retaken in 2001 by David Cameron.

    Now, the Conservatives have fielded councillor and barrister Robert Courts to replace the former prime minister, but with lesser name recognition and lower turnout he is unlikely to do as well as Mr Cameron.

    In normal circumstances, the Conservatives would be expected to easily hold the seat, given their 25,000-vote majority at the last election. However, the Tory government's determination to take Britain out of the European Union is a direction emphatically opposed by many residents of relatively affluent and well-educated West Oxfordshire.

    A total of 57 per cent of voters - likely higher in the town of Witney - voted to remain part of the bloc, making Oxfordshire the most pro-EU county in England.

    It is considered unlikely Theresa May's commitment to a 'hard Brexit' will resonate among many here, with industry based in the area, including motorsports, dependent on close European cooperation.

    The Liberal Democrats under Europhile leader Tim Farron have positioned themselves in the pro-EU centre-ground since the Brexit result.

    While their recovery in national polls has been patchy, a spate of council by-election wins since May has given the party hopes of a more substantial recovery.

    Given the divisions within the party, Labour candidate Duncan Enright is not expected to improve on the 17 per cent of the vote he achieved in 2015.

    Hoping for a good showing for his party, Mr Farron himself promised to spend much of month running up to the election in Witney.

    He believes the Lib Dem ground operation is efficient and well-staffed - and is confident of picking up votes from disaffected Europhiles, social liberals and former Conservatives wary of the new direction of the Government.

    Witney resident Matilda Pillonel, a law student and former Conservative voter, explained why she would be supporting the Lib Dems.

    "I feel let down by the Conservative Government's poor management of Brexit and their regressive grammar school policy," she told The Independent.

    "I admired the liberal wing of the party, but I'm disillusioned with this sudden lurch to the right under Theresa May."

    The betting markets have responded positively, with the Liberal Democrats odds-on to retake at least second place - from fourth in the General Election.

    Lord Ashdown, a former Lib Dem leader, has called for the by-election to be treated as a referendum on the Government's Brexit course.

  • Ipsos MORI On Impact Of Brexit On Personal Standard Of Livi
    Article: Oct 20, 2016
    By Mark Pack

    The latest polling figures from Ipsos-MORI shows a major move in public opinion towards people thinking Brexit will make them worse off.

    Back in May 2016, a net 11% thought Brexit would make their own standard of living worse. By July 2016 this had become a net 15% and now in October it is up to net 25%.

  • John Leech MP
    Article: Oct 20, 2016

    Excellent news that the government is set to accept an amendment put down by the Liberal Democrats to the Police and Crime Bill:

    Big story breaking later - 75,000 gay men to be pardoned for long-abolished sex offences, 59,000 posthumous. A @LibDems victory, congrats.

    Tim Farron has commented,

    The Liberal Democrats continue to be the strongest voice on equality in and out of Parliament.

    This was a manifesto commitment which even in opposition, thanks to the tireless work of John Leech alongside our MPs and peers, we have been able to deliver on.

    The reference to John Leech is to his work as an MP on the campaign to get Alan Turing pardoned and then followed up by turning to the wider pardon campaign. John Sharkey also played a key role in the Turing campaign in the Lords with his Private Member's Bill. He says of the news:

    This is a momentous day for thousands of families up and down the UK who have been campaigning on this issue for decades. I am very grateful for the Government's support and the support of many of my colleagues in Parliament.

    It is a wonderful thing that we have been able to build on the pardon granted to Alan Turing during Coalition by extending it to the thousands of men convicted of sexual offences that existed before homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967 and which would not be crimes today.

  • Nick Clegg
    Article: Oct 19, 2016
    In Liberal Democrat Voice

    Nick Clegg has given a speech at the National Liberal Club today to launch his third report in the Brexit Challenge series. In this one he looks at the impact of hard Brexit on food prices. Here is his speech in full:

    Nearly 4 months on from the vote to leave the European Union, we are finally starting to understand the early consequences of Brexit.