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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.

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of fairness. Many of the most fundamental components of our modern society were created by Liberals, such as the introduction of state pensions, unemployment benefits, health insurance and free secondary education.It is now hard to imagine what this country would be like without those things, but when Liberals introduced them they were regarded as radical ideas that threatened the status quo. More recently Liberal Democrats have continued to challenge both Labour and the Conservatives on crucial matters such as the invasion of Iraq and "plans" (using the term loosely) for a Hard Brexit, that even on the Government's own figures will incur long-lasting damange to the British economy.

But today's Liberal Democrats are much more than just a collection of anti-Brexit campaigners. We want to help make this country into a stronger, fairer society. The Liberal Democrats, through the work of MPs such as Lynn Featherstone, Danny Alexander, Stephen Webb and David Laws were able to introduce Same-sex Marriages, greatly raised Income Tax thresolds (freeing many of our least well-paid workers from paying Income Tax), pension reforms and free, nutritious school meals for all infant school pupils and a Pupil Premium to provide targeted help to ensure children from poorer families aren't held back.

The Liberal Democrats are unafraid to champion less fashionable causes. We speak up for those who who struggle to have their voice heard. Norman Lamb has campaigned for many years for mental health funding to be increased. Sadly the Conservative government too often selects mental health facilities as the first to be cut back, as has happened to Spencer Ward in Buxton's Cavendish Hospital this year. Only the Liberal Democrats are honest enough to admit that providing the NHS we need will mean that we have to pay a bit more in tax to fund it.

If you want to help make Britain a fairer, more tolerant and more successful society, please join us. We are fighting to keep Britain in the EU which helps ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for us and our children. We are fighting to ensure proper, sustainable funding for the NHS. We are fighting homelessness and believe nobody should have to sleep rough.

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, which oversees matters such as the selection of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

In common with 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

  • Cable and Liberal Democrats
    Article: Jun 14, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election in Liberal Democrat Newswire

    The mechanics of a registered supporter system are important and can be controversial - especially if they involve questions of internal democracy. They are, however, not the whole picture and indeed in the past, such as during Charles Kennedy's time as leader, muted discussions about opening up the party to a wider network of supporters quickly got sucked into an internal, mechanistic focus.

    That isn't the whole picture, as consideration of why you're a member or supporter of any other organisations quickly shows. Sometimes we sign up for what we get. I used to be a member of the British Film Institute to get cheaper cinema tickets and when my visits dropped off, I ceased. I didn't join to cast a vote for BFI internal contests, even though membership gave me that. (In fact, even as someone who reads all the bits of paper they are sent, I found them quite baffling. What were all those coded references to choices of building really about?)

    But often we sign up to express support. That's why I am (I think) a member of the friends of a local green space - I wanted to support them, I gave them a donation and I'm happy to occasionally amplify their messages online. It's about showing support for a good cause.

    Likewise, a registered supporters scheme needs to be more than those dull words indicate (and why I've toyed with calling it a 'friends of…' scheme). Rather it needs branding as an outward-looking, welcoming and new way of involving people in fighting for the causes that are important to them.

    A good related example of the power of branding an initiative effectively has been Your Liberal Britain's collaboration with former party leader Paddy Ashdown for the Ashdown Prize for Radical Thought. The mechanics at the heart of the prize are little different from the support the party offers to anyone to submit a conference motion. If anything, the Ashdown Prize is a more convoluted process. However, the presentation of the scheme meant that while there are usually well under 100 motions submitted to a federal conference, the Ashdown Prize generated 1,140 suggestions. As a rough calculation, having a differently presented way of submitting ideas generated in one go more submissions than a decade of federal conferences have secured.

    We already do a bit to involve registered supporters. Those emails with 'exclusive' early opportunities to view the next party political broadcast, for example, have not always been member-only. Those are baby steps for what could be possible.

    Thinking more like a broader supporter organisation would be necessary. A chance to pose questions for Nick Clegg to ask in his next podcast? A book club featuring the likes of Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone? That's the sort of content we would need to experiment with.

    As such content takes time to think of, create and manage it enhances the value of having a registered supporters scheme that is one the whole party contributes to, rather than one which simply places more pressure on a small number of staff.

  • Cable and Liberal Democrats
    Article: Jun 13, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election in Liberal Democrat Newswire

    There's also another reason to create a proper registered supporters scheme. The party has unintentionally created one already, and it's large: it has around 200,000 people in it, double the party's current membership.

    This creation wasn't a deliberate plan. No conference motion was passed. No party committee gave it the green light. What's more, most people in the party don't even know it exists.

    Its data is kept mostly secret from the party's frontline campaigners - and in turn, the party's grassroots campaigning is neither harnessed to recruit people to it nor is it directly aided by the current scheme's incarnation.

    Accidental, top-down, divorced from our grassroots and in effect secret. That doesn't sound ideal and - as I'll go on to detail - it isn't.

    It also means the default, what happens if we do nothing, isn't not to have a registered supporters scheme. It's to carry on with the one we've got.

    The existing list of 200,000 plus people is the incidental side-effect of the very successful efforts to grow the party's membership. A large part of that has been running online campaigns to get people signed up with their email addresses and into a funnel of activity which aims to raise money and turn them into members. The overwhelming focus is on generating members and money - and given that's the remit the different staff working on this over the years were tasked with, it's worth emphasising that it's no criticism that this is just what they did - and did very successfully.

    But the incidental side-effect was to build up this large database of people who have signed up to support at least one campaign (registered their support, one could say) and who don't become members. They get some servicing from party HQ: but it's from a small team whose main priority is money and members.

    What's more, having the whole system reliant on a small number of people in one place greatly reduces its potential benefits. It means that the huge volunteer capacity in local parties and party bodies across the country isn't tapped to help involve and motivate registered supporters - or to recruit more.

    The rest of the party doesn't get to know who they all are, unless you sort of engineer it backwards by looking for petition data added to Connect that you know hasn't come from your own local party. But even then, you don't get to see their email addresses, and it's nothing like as convenient or helpful or complete as having an actual list.

    It also means that this pool of registered supporters is not integrated with the mini-pools that exist all around the party, such as the collections of non-member supporters who different local parties have in their leaflet delivery networks or on their social event invite lists.

    The ability to tell registered supporters about what is happening locally and how they can get involved locally is massively curtailed by this HQ-only approach.

    It is an approach whose roots are understandable. When I've asked HQ staff before about being able to access email addresses for the registered supporters for regional or local campaigning the answer has been that they don't want just anyone in the party contacting these people in case that undermines the effectiveness of the money and membership sells people are taken through.

    Not without logic, for sure, but also a long way short of optimal given the way it pans out: not integrated with the other lists of supporters in the party, not available to directly help grassroots campaigning, only able to be serviced by a small number of over-worked staff and focused overwhelmingly on being a money-raising operation rather than the creation of a grassroots campaigning movement.

    Again, there's a leaf that can be taken from the Canadian Liberal Party's book: they too didn't let just anyone in the party access their new supporters data. But what they did was set a quality standard for their equivalent of local parties: if you demonstrate the ability to run high-quality communications then you get access to the supporter data. That can even be turned into a positive incentive to train, learn and improve - as there's a benefit available to your local party if you do so.

    So how can we take the existing de facto scheme and make it into one that maximises the benefits for the party and fits our organisational priorities:

  • Sir Vince Cable
    Article: Jun 12, 2018
    By Peter Walker Political correspondent in The Guardian

    Lib Dem leader urges Theresa May to stand up to hardline Brexiters in her own party

    A "potentially catastrophic" no-deal Brexit is becoming ever more possible, Vince Cable has warned, saying that if this happened it would be an unprecedented policy disaster.

    As the Liberal Democrats prepare to fight the Lewisham East byelection on Thursday on a platform of guaranteeing a referendum on any eventual deal, the party leader said the longer the government appeared deadlocked over Brexit, the greater the risk the UK would leave the EU without a deal.

  • Ti Luck Thai Takeaway, Sandgate High Street
    Article: Jun 12, 2018
    By David Thorpe in Liberal Democrat Voice

    The death of the great British high street is an event rarely out of the popular press, and it has been so for a decade.

    Mary Portas was appointed in a hail of publicity by David Cameron to find ways to save the high street as far back as 2011, nothing came of that and the problem has become much worse since the increase in business rates introduced last year, the creation of the national living wage and the dent to consumer sentiment caused by the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

  • Cable and Liberal Democrats
    Article: Jun 12, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election in Liberal Democrat Newswire

    Back in 2015 when David Howarth and I wrote our pamphlet setting out how a core vote strategy would give the Liberal Democrats the foundation for durable success, the idea of creating a registered supporters scheme featured for two interlocking reasons.

    First, the concept of being a member of a political party is, despite the recent resurgence in the membership of many parties, still something many people find off-putting. That's why you find not only people who regularly vote for a party passing up on membership, you also find people who regularly put up a poster at election time doing so. And even some who regularly campaign for their chosen party too, most notably by delivering leaflets. That indicates a big missed opportunity to offer people something which better fits with what they want and what they are comfortable with.

    Second, having a scheme with very low barriers to entry which people can join is an essential part of how all sorts of organisations build-up loyalty from their supporters, fans, customers or participants. The high churn rate amongst those who vote Liberal Democrat is, as David and I set out, a huge deadweight on the party's success. A wider scheme which can help turn more Lib Dem voters into long-term loyal supporters isn't just a question of maximising revenue or an organisational tactic: it would be a strategic move in the party's rebuilding.

    It's worth noting that opening up their party to the wider public through such a scheme was similarly part of the Canadian Liberal Party's strategy for recovery, one which took them back into government. Indeed, the basic idea of a party setting out to welcome into its structures new people in new ways is a regular feature of political recoveries from across the political spectrum.

    Searching out new people to come and join the movement was also a distinguishing feature of Jo Grimond's highly lauded leadership of the Liberal Party. As The Guardian reported (in its Llandudno Liberal Assembly coverage of 1962): "His first task was to find disciples, to persuade liberal-minded men and women who are in positions of responsibility and authority that they could themselves weaken the element of cynicism in modern society by entering politics themselves."

    All of which are good reasons to turn that registered supporters idea into reality.

  • Exit from Brexit
    Article: Jun 12, 2018
    By Editorial in The Guardian

    The Commons debates on the EU withdrawal bill ought to be the high point of the argument about Brexit. Instead much of the debate is imploding

    In an ideal democracy, it might be possible to treat the process that begins on Tuesday in the House of Commons as a worthy culmination of the long debate on Britain's relationship with Europe after Brexit. For two days, MPs will examine many of the most difficult questions raised by Brexit as they look in detail at the Lords' amendments to the EU withdrawal bill. Issues that have dominated politics for the past two years - such as the Irish border, the customs union, the single market, ministerial powers, EU law, fundamental rights, devolved powers and the final "meaningful" vote when the terms are known - will all come under the microscope.

  • Swinson conference
    Article: Jun 10, 2018
    By Jo Swinson MP in The New European

    JO SWINSON guides you through seven steps you can take to help fight Brexit.

    It's easy to wax lyrical about everything that is going wrong with Brexit. The Conservatives are stumbling their way through the negotiations and the Labour leadership is standing idly by.

    In the meantime, the rest of us are left to ponder doomsday scenarios where we run out of food, medicine and petrol.

  • Roger Roberts
    Article: Jun 10, 2018

    Roger Roberts spoke in the House of Lords this week on resettling vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers.

    Here is his speech:

    I appreciate very much the opportunity to take part in the debate introduced by my noble friend Lord Scriven. We all know that, ultimately, the answer lies in Syria and the Middle East, and somehow bringing together a new understanding there. The whole area is the victim of history. Countries like ours, France, Turkey and now Russia want to impose the most individually advantageous solutions on this part of the world. The United Nations appears impotent in the face of so many vetoes and certain voices that cause great discontent and destruction, as we saw in Gaza in recent weeks.

  • hold
    Article: Jun 9, 2018

    Three previously Conservative held seats in principal authority councils. Two without a Lib Dem candidate last time. All with a Lib Dem candidate this time. And… one dramatic Lib Dem gain and three holds in a town councils


    Yateley TC, Darby Green & Potley Hill - 7th June 2018

    LD Jenny Cole 466 [74.3%]
    Con 161 [25.7%]
    Lib Dem hold
    Turnout 22.0%

  • Jo Swinson
    Article: Jun 8, 2018
    By Kirsten Johnson in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Well done to Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson on introducing her Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements Private Member's Bill in the Commons. Here she is talking about it:

    This bill would require firms which employ more than 250 people to publish their data on parental leave and pay arrangements. As reported in the BBC

  • Vince Cable
    Article: Jun 8, 2018
    By Kirsten Johnson in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Lib Dem leader Vince Cable MP was invited by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Commission on Economic Justice to speak this morning. You can watch the speech here, with Vince's bit from 10:38 in.

    The entire speech is a long-read for lunchtime, from the end of this blog, but here is an overview of what Vince is calling for when it comes to outsourcing public services, which has come under fire in recent months following the collapse of Carillion and the financial woes of Capita.

  • Vince Cable
    Article: Jun 8, 2018
    By TIM WALKER sees the Lib Dems put up a spirited fight in a Labour stronghold in The New European

    The Lib Dems may be starting a long way behind in Lewisham East - 4.4% of the vote against Labour's 67% in last year's general election - but the party is taking the race extremely seriously. Sir Vince Cable's frequent visits to the constituency - and some goading from his local candidate Lucy Salek - certainly appears to be a factor in Jeremy Corbyn's decision to grace it with his presence today, albeit in a way that is going to be very carefully orchestrated.