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Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform

Voter empowerment lies at the heart of electoral reform

LDER Chair, Keith Sharp, recently contributed an article for the Centre think tank, where he argues that fair and equal votes are key to a healthy liberal society. Empowering voters and communities drives the Liberal Democrat commitment to electoral reform.


  • Article: Dec 16, 2022
    By LDER executive

    In this newletter...

    • 2022 and the year ahead

    • Our ally Compass: Launch of "Win As One" campaign

    • Electoral Commission consultation: Making voting accessible to the disabled

    2022 and the year ahead

    2023 could prove the make or break year for electoral reform. This past year we have seen:

    • Powerful speeches by our leader Ed Davey on the importance of fair, equal votes for General Elections. His November 30 speech is here.

  • Article: Oct 29, 2022
    By LDER executive

    It's been a big year for advocates of electoral reform, with the real possibility of change before us.

    What better time to test your reform credentials by taking our quiz today?

    There are ten questions and 21 answers. To win, you'll need to give more correct answers than anyone else. Take our quiz by 5pm on Saturday 12th November. Answers and winners will be announced in our next newsletter. Good luck!

  • Article: Oct 25, 2022

    Christine Jardine MP and Wendy Chamberlain MP speak on:

    'Turning turmoil to our advantage - threats and opportunities for electoral reformers'

    November 1, from 7.30pm

    Click here to register - everyone is invited to this timely and crucial debate.

    Once again, LDER is combining its AGM with an address to us by party leadership guest speakers, with the chance for questions and answers.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2022
    By LDER executive

    We're looking for:

    • Volunteer help and
    • Funding

    to help us increase our campaigning to bring about - this time - proportional representation for UK public elections.

    Whether it's

    • Maximising involvement in national grassroots action days for fair and equal votes
    • Supporting our MPs and peers in opposing the anti-democratic agenda of the Tory Government (such as the Elections Act)
    • Staging member zoom and party fringe meetings
    • Boosting our online presence
    • Networking with other parties and cross-party reform organisations
  • Article: May 24, 2022
    By LDER executive

    There's still time to register for our National Grassroots Action PR zoom briefing with:

    Hina Bokhari, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member and dedicated campaigner for fair and equal votes;


    Surrinder Chera, Local Groups & Diversity Lead for Make Votes Matter (MVM).

    On May 26, 2022 at 7pm

    Click here to sign up.

  • Article: May 13, 2022
    By LDER executive

    ** Congratulations to everyone who helped the party achieve such a great result in the May 5 elections. Gains of 180+ Council seats build our stature and keep us on course for taking those crucial 'blue wall' seats off the Conservatives at the next election - a 'hung' parliament is our best chance to achieve PR for the House of Commons**

  • Article: Apr 18, 2022
    By LDER executive

    Elections Bill - the fight is still on

    Thank you to everyone who has backed our anti-Elections Bill campaign by lobbying MPs and peers at key stages of the bill's passage through Parliament.

    In this newsletter, as well as some upcoming news, we concentrate on:

    • What impact is our campaigning having?

    • What is the next important step for us to take?

  • Article: Apr 13, 2022
    By Chris Rennard in North West Bylines
    Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Chris Rennard, has written a 'where we are' report on the passage of the Elections Bill through the Lords. We've of course been supporting our Lords' opposition to the bill - and there will be at least one more round of lobbying coming up in late April.
    Click here to read the article.
  • Article: Apr 4, 2022
    By LDER executive

    Following a thorough, motivating zoom meeting with Lord Newby, our Leader in the Lords, on March 15, the fight against the anti-democratic Elections Bill is still very much on!

    This week, the Lords move to voting on the bill. - and there are two actions we should take:

    1. Lord Newby has asked us to:

      - between the key dates of April 4-7, write to as many of these peers as possible. This targetted list consists of cross bench and independent peers; all selected by our Lords team as the priority ones to lobby.

  • Article: Mar 27, 2022
    By LDER executive

    Our online Spring Conference saw two well-attended, information-filled fringe meetings.

    On Saturday March 12, LDER President Wendy Chamberlain MP hosted "Linking PR to what really matters," with panellists Wera Hobhouse MP, London Assembly member Hina Bokhari and two of our target seat PPCs, Josh Babarinde (Eastbourne) and Monica Harding (Esher and Walton). A recording will be available shortly, and we will contact you with details when it's ready to view.

  • Article: Mar 9, 2022
    By LDER executive

    Sleaze and standards: More Conference events with LDER President Wendy Chamberlain MP

    In recent months there have been a slew of sleaze stories coming out of Government but no resolve by those in power to do anything about it. This won't be the end, with many more stories expected especially in relation to the VIP PPE lane.

    Participate in the debate! Policy motion on political reform to tackle sleaze

    On Friday 11th March at 15:40 - 16:20 in the main auditorium, Conference will vote on a motion tabled by Wendy Chamberlain MP to bring in the needed political reform to tackle sleaze in politics.

    The motion calls for key reforms including:

    • a public inquiry including full disclosure of documents

    • codifying the Ministerial Code with governance independent from the Prime Minister

    • introducing a range of sanctions for those who breach the Code

    • giving MPs more control over House business to give them more power to hold the Government to account.

    Applications to speak in the debate are now open. You can submit your speaker card from now until 16:00 on Thursday 10th March here.

    Wendy Chamberlain MP, President LDER

    Ask a question of our spokespeople! Standards in public life

    On Sunday 13th March from 16:35 - 17:40 on the fringe of Spring Conference Wendy Chamberlain MP and the Rt. Hon. Lord William Wallace of Saltaire will discuss and take questions about the extremely important and topical issue of standards in public life.

    Following the Owen Paterson affair, Wendy successfully hosted the Commons debate on Standards in Public Life. We've now had the partygate scandal and more examples of the disdain this government has for truth and accuracy.

    This wide-reaching conversation will answer your questions about why it is so hard to get the Government to tell the truth, the rules MPs must follow and how they could be made better, and what needs to be done for politicians and politics to be trusted.

    To join these events you must be registered for Conference. There is still time to sign up here.

    Your Spring Conference diary

    There are a number of events that may be of interest to you at Spring Conference. Mark your Conference diary!

    • Friday 11th March, 15:40 - 16:20 F7. Political Reform to Tackle Sleaze (auditorium)

    • Saturday 12th March, 16:35 - 17:40 Linking PR to Real Life Outcomes (LDER fringe)

    • Sunday 13th March, 13:00 - 14:25 The Route to Proportional Representation (Unlock Democracy and LDER fringe)

    • Sunday 13th March, 16:35 - 17:40 Standards in Public Life - Spokesperson Q&A with Wendy Chamberlain MP and Lord Wallace of Saltaire (fringe)

    You can find details of these events and other activity at Conference in the agenda and directory.

    See you there!

  • Article: Mar 4, 2022
    By LDER executive

    Your emails made a difference!

    What's next for the Elections Bill?

    Many thanks to you all for answering our call to write to cross-bench, unaffiliated and Tory peers in advance of the second hearing of the Elections Bill in the House of Lords last week.

    There is no doubt that your emails made a difference.

  • Article: Feb 19, 2022
    By LDER executive

    In only FOUR DAYS' time (23rd February) the dreaded Elections Bill has its second reading in the House of Lords. At this reading, Peers will ask the question: "Do we want this legislation at all?" so this is our time to stop the Bill in its tracks.

    As Liberal Democrats, our answer is clear.

    Together with our cross-party allies, we say NO to the Elections Bill. In fact, all opposition parties are against the Bill.

  • Article: Oct 16, 2021
    By Sarah Lewis

    As Liberal Democrats, electoral reform is in our DNA. That's why we welcome the ongoing efforts of our ally organisations such as the Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Matter, and Unlock Democracy. After all, we know that we cannot bring about the change we want to see by acting alone.

    As Lib Dem members our involvement in cross-party campaign efforts is all to the good. I encourage any who are not yet active in these groups to sign up today! But I believe that we also need to campaign for electoral reform as Liberal Democrats. Why?

  • mailchimp.com/e2a4060b6b1b7fac96640a336/images/1e9e3251-6903-4cdb-b68a-fff8273bad53.jpg
    Article: Mar 10, 2021
    By Andrew Hyett


    Wendy Chamberlain MP becomes LDER President

    We are excited to announce that Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform has a new President - Wendy Chamberlain, our MP for North East Fife.

    Since entering Parliament in 2019, Wendy has made her mark as an articulate, vivid advocate of electoral reform. Through most of 2020, as our Political and Constitutional Reform front bench spokesperson, she led the campaign both inside and outside Parliament. Last June, she initiated an adjournment debate on the need for reform; and in August she urged party members to join a Make Votes Matter (MVM) nationwide 'virtual' Action Day, which saw hundreds of Liberal Democrats get involved.

    A strong believer in linking reform to improving peoples' everyday lives, also last June, Wendy spoke alongside Klina Jordan of MVM at a Green Liberal Democrats' conference session on Electoral Reform and the Environment. In September, she led our virtual fringe meeting, along with the Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Matter and Unite to Reform.

    Now our Parliamentary Chief Whip and Work and Pensions spokesperson, Wendy has maintained her commitment to our cause. In February, she became a Vice Chair of the newly-formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Electoral Reform. (Alistair Carmichael, Wera Hobhouse and Lord Paul Tyler are also APPG members). Wendy is also a member of the APPG on Deliberative Democracy.

    Wendy said: 'In an era of increasing identity politics, place has increasing importance to many. With Covid-19, however, the straining of centralised decision making at Westminster, and better recognition of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, could mean electoral reform's time has come. It's increasingly clear that the fundamental change required to ensure the future of the UK and a representative democracy starts with electoral reform.'

    Wendy has already agreed to host a virtual meeting on Zoom for all LDER members and supporters, setting our the goals as she sees them and of course taking questions and comments. We'll be in touch again shortly with details.
    Don't forget:

    Make Votes Matter 'Lobby Your MP' Action Day - March 12; makevotesmatter.org.uk/lobby
    You can also attend a pre-lobby briefing session with Wendy Chamberlain on March 11: click here for more.

    LDER Fringe - March 21; 13.00- 14.15 with Alistair Carmichael; libdems.org.uk/conference
    LDER Executive
    Website: https://lder.org/
    Twitter: @LibDem4ER
    Email: info@lder.org
  • Article: Sep 11, 2020
    By Andrew Hyett

    The Committee which has been investigating reform of the Welsh Senedd has reached its conclusions, and has recommended that its members should be elected by the Single Transferable Vote system.

    They argue that this will:

    1. Give voters more choice
    2. Maintain clear links between Members and constituencies
    3. Produce more proportional electoral outcomes.
  • IMG_1054
    Article: Mar 5, 2020
    By Andrew Hyett

    At an Islington Liberal Democrats Proportional Representation event in February 2020, Keith Sharp gave a (slightly personalised) account of the liberal fight for equal, proportional voting: the wins, the losses, the lessons and the current opportunities.

    Origins and Beliefs

    Electoral reform has deep, principled roots for Liberal Democrats.

    The Reform Act of 1918 greatly extended the voting franchise (men over 21 were given the vote and women, albeit from age 30, had the vote for the first time). But it also saw the already-existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) narrowly defeat proportional representation (PR) / single transferable vote (STV) as the chosen UK electoral system.

    The Liberal Party's response was swift. Electoral reform (STV) featured in its 1922 election manifesto and has ever since (as the Liberal Democrats since 1988) remained firm, if not always prominent, party policy.

    We talk today of the need for party proportionality - percentages of seats at Westminster should match percentages of overall votes the parties receive. And that's right. Yet, while party proportionality is a vitally important result of a voter centric system, it is not the sole guiding value.

    In a liberal society, power and agency reside primarily with the individual; and with the individual in her/his social context (such as family, neighbourhood, locality or community.) The job of the electoral system is to deliver demo-cracy (demos = people), not state-ocracy or even political party-ocracy. Party proportionality is a welcome result of a voting system which reflects the voters' preferences.

    Of course - a point often made - electoral reform alone isn't a sufficient cure-all for our democratic deficit. Other important proposals include a written constitution, coherent devolution, votes at 16, a defined role for deliberative democracy, proper rules for holding any future referendums, Lords, local government.

    But what can be more critical, in a functioning democracy, than the core relationship between electors and their elected representatives - defined by the way in which we elect and hold them accountable and the complexion of the resulting Parliament (or Council or Assembly)?