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Liberal Democrats in Derbyshire

February 14, 2020 12:36 PM
By David Hancock

David Hancock

David Hancock

It is an honour to be able to represent you as Chair of the Derbyshire County Group for 2020. Because the December General Election delayed the AGM, my term will run only the ten months from 1st March to 31st December. During this time we have four main focuses:

Police & Crime Commissioner Elections

In May we have the Police & Crime Commissioner elections. Representing the Liberal Democrats will be Amber Valley's Kate Smith. Many of you will know Kate, she has been a stalwart of the County Group for many years and serves a Parish Councillor in Crich. She is an excellent candidate and we will be working on her manifesto in the coming weeks.

As a party, the Liberal Democrats openly oppose the role of Police & Crime Commissioner. It is a waste of money and lacks the scrutiny that a committee would provide - so there is no secret that, in government, we would abolish the post. But we are not in government. This election will not provide an opportunity to abolish the role, neither should it be a forum for that. We are fielding a strong candidate who would do an excellent job if elected and I want everyone to throw their support behind Kate.

2020 Local Government Elections

While the majority of us had local elections last May; both Derby City and Amber Valley have local government elections in May 2020. For those of us who have a fallow period, Derby and Amber Valley would appreciate whatever support you can offer.

2021 County Elections

Whilst the County Council elections are still more than 12 months away, this is the time to prepare a manifesto so all local parties can hit the ground running next year. Back in 2017 local parties lacked the necessary support because of delays in the County manifesto being produced. We cannot allow that to happen again.

Reform

I've deliberately held off thanking the incumbent Chair until this point. Since being elected as Chair of the County Group, Jonathan Sneade started the much-needed path to give new direction to the Derbyshire Group. He has done a terrific job so far; and we need to complete that work.

The ancient Greeks recognised the failings in their democracy as they simply granted a voice to those who could attend meetings on any given day. In a county as sprawling as Derbyshire, meetings are difficult to attend for anyone who lacks access to personal transport, those who need to arrange childcare cover, or have other caring duties, those who are less able-bodied for whom a lengthy journey can be arduous - effectively, everyone who the Liberal Democrats, and our forefathers the Liberal Party, have stood up to fight for goes unheard; and, as a result, the group loses relevance.

To address that, we need to use modern technology to open our meetings up; and, have the positive impact of reducing our carbon footprint on unnecessary journeys.

We also need to ensure that our actual defined steering group is properly representative of the county as a whole. In my mind, the logical direction is to unite the leaders of each district/borough/city council group (and, a designated person, for those districts where we have no elected councillors).

That ensures the group remains a practical size, while guaranteeing proportionate and proper representation across the county. It also provides a clear countywide mandate for our elected representatives at County Hall; and a much-needed, more direct link with our County Councillors.

Thanks to the hard work of Jonathan and the previous exec, we're part way through those reforms; but we're now entering the third year and we need to complete them, without delay, in order to give us the best fighting chance next year.

We've got a very strong membership across Derbyshire - some truly great people. We're still the only county in the East midlands to produce a Lib Dem MP since WW2 in Chesterfield's Paul Holmes. It's our job now to make sure that Paul is just the first NOT the only one; and together we can do that. Labour are in disarray across the County. We need to maximise on that and hit the Tories' poor performance hard. We need each local party to identify their own target seats and we will make those gains in Derby City and Amber Valley this year and at County Hall in 2021; because, with a strong base, we will get more MPs elected.

Thank you all for your support.


Kind regards

David Hancock
Incoming Chair: Derbyshire County Group

Tel: 07703 437180
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CllrDavidHancock
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NDerbyshireLD
Website: www.nedbd-libdems.com