Regional Workshop 2020

After a bruising general election result last week despite a fantastic campaign by a host of amazing PPCs across the West Midlands, we want to take some time to hear from all our members, new and old, on how we can do better as a region.

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West Midlands Welcomes New Chair

David_Craddock.jpgDavid Craddock selected as the new Chair of the West Midlands Liberal Democrats.

Beverley Nielsen, previous Chair of the West Midlands Liberal Democrats and PPC for West Worcestershire has decided to step down as Chair of the West Midlands to focus on West Worcestershire as the issues in Westminster build, and a General Election is potentially around the corner.

The Regional Executive has, therefore, voted to install David Craddock, formerly Chair of Campaigns into the role, to take us to the end of year, by which a new Chair will be formally voted in at the AGM.

On Beverley's time as Chair, David Craddock said 'Firstly, I'd like to thank Beverley for her tireless and sterling work on behalf of the Lib Dems in the region in recent years. She has put us on the map and I do hope that she will continue to engage and advise myself and the Executive Committee going forward. I would like to build on her work and give our region more of a say within the party centrally.'

David continues: 'The West Midlands is a huge area consisting of over 3 million people, and if the Lib Dems are to get into Government we need to do much better here than we have done in the past. With both disaffected Labour and Conservative supporters coming over to us we have the best opportunity for many years to improve our representation in both local and central government. I am also continuing to lead our campaign plans in preparation for a General Election for this year and hope that we can build on our success in the recent European Elections by installing one or two new MP's in Westminster.'

You can keep up with Beverley's campaign by looking for updates on her website.

About David:

In addition to David's Lib Dem work, David is a Non-Exec Director of an international children’s publishing company and a food security enterprise operating in Africa. He is also a Trustee of a local Mental Health Charity.

Visit Phil Bennion in Brussels

Phil Bennion MEP has organised a trip to the EU Parliament over 8th to 10th October.  
The purpose of the trip is to:
  • give campaigners and supporters the opportunity to learn how the EU works in order to help when campaigning in a general election or peoples vote, both of which seem closer after this week.
  1. to get publicity both in the EU and the UK to demonstrate there is plenty of support in the West Midlands for the UK to stay as full members of the EU with the deal we already have.
The itinerary is as follows:
Tuesday 8th October
  • Depart Birmingham (and one other collection point to be confirmed) early morning.
  • Travel by executive coach with P & O ferry crossing
  • Check into 4* President Brussels Hotel
  • Evening music concert at Parliament with Green Party group
Wednesday 9th October
  • Breakfast at the hotel, then coach to the Parlamentarium
  • Chance to join a pro-Remain demonstration (NB: this may take place Thursday)
  • Official European Parliament Visit and tour with Phil Bennion MEP
  • Evening  at leisure in the Grand Place exploring bars and cafes
Thursday 10 th October

Breakfast at the hotel

  • Morning at leisure – chance to join a pro-Remain demonstration  (NB: this may take place Wednesday morning)
  • PM: Depart to Calais for ferry to Dover then back to coach drop off points.
Cost: £200 per person to include coach travel and two nights accommodation (this is based on 50 people and already takes into account the Parliamentary subsidy)
The date we have booked to visit the Parliament is during a mini plenary session, so there will be action to see and Brussels will be busy, which is good for our objectives. The downside is hotels are booked up and expensive.
However, we have managed through a travel company to get a reasonable deal, which when using Phil’s sponsored places has reduced the cost for everyone. We have approached the Greens but they have already used their spaces. The good news though is they are bringing a group of young people on the same date and we should be able to link up with them on the Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. A concert is organised for Tuesday evening and we are hoping to hold a mini rally in Brussels with members of Pro Europa who are UK citizens in the EU.    
If we can reduce the cost further we will but we now need to make payments to secure the hotel. The booking needs to be made through Rondo travel. Please, can you make sure anyone booking also informs me. Ignore the cut off date of 9th September. If anyone is travelling singly but ok with sharing a room I will match them up with a partner of the same gender. So they should not tick the single supplement or pay extra but let me know they are willing to share.
If anyone has any ideas on how we can make a lot of noise / maximise publicity please let me know! If anyone plays an instrument that could be a start.

More Info

Booking Form

Contact: Izzy Knowles

West Midlands returns Phil Bennion for Lib Dems in EU

The Liberal Democrats in the West Midlands have returned an MEP to the EU, following an increase in vote share in the region. Former, and returning MEP, Phil Bennion, said: 


"This is a fantastic result in the West Midlands, following a successful local election campaign that gave us our biggest ever gains. We appreciate everyone who voted for us - you have all played a part in building our country up, instead of backing others who want to knock it down. I also thank my fellow candidates and the whole campaign team who did an amazing job.


"I can guarantee I will turn up to the European Parliament to do the job I was elected to do; I'm not sure this is a guarantee all newly-elected MEPs can make. I will actively work on bettering the lives of the people in the UK and Europe.


"My priorities are clear - that we tackle the climate emergency. Public services and jobs will be improved and - if we can stop brexit - they will be protected. Supporting sustainable farming, balancing data & security with civil liberties and tackling crime are all things we can do better, now that Liberal Democrats have more seats at the table in the EU.


"The people have voted on a clear mandate - that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to Stop Brexit, and work with our European colleagues to tackle the big challenges of our time."

Climate Change crisis demands European response



The Climate crisis can only be stopped by Europe-wide action, the Liberal Democrats said today, as they called for Europe to adopt a "net zero greenhouse gas emissions target" by 2050. 
Liberal Democrats in government, led by former Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP, led the successful Europe-wide negotiations on the current 2030 target, and said "anyone who wants to stop our climate crisis should vote to stop Brexit".
The Liberal Democrats are calling for a UK target of net zero emissions by 2045 - and believe the EU must adopt a target of at least net zero by 2050, a key policy in their forthcoming manifesto for the European elections to be unveiled this Thursday.

West Midlands EU Election Candidate and spokesperson on Climate Change, Jeanie Falconer, said:

"Liberal Democrats have long led on the issue of protecting and improving our environment, so the key question is - how do we solve the climate change crisis? Stopping Brexit would be a big step forward.
"The EU has been leading climate action internationally, but it was Liberal Democrat Ministers in coalition that got Britain to push the EU to be more ambitious about our tackling our climate change crisis.
"If Britain leaves the EU, we cannot influence 27 other countries on climate change without a seat at the table, and we will watch on as our power to influence is reduced on the world stage. 
"So for anyone who wants to stop our climate change crisis, it's clear they need to vote to for Lib Dem MEPs in the EU elections. After the local election results last Thursday, it's also clear that to stop Brexit, people need to vote Liberal Democrat."



Ed Davey led the UK's international negotiations on climate change between 2012 and 2015 at the EU and UN, and won legally binding targets on all 28 EU countries, for cutting greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030. This 2014 Liberal Democrat climate victory was critical for achieving the UN global Paris Climate Treaty in 2015.015.

Best ever gains in local elections


The Liberal Democrats have secured the highest gains for the Party in local elections, that were held on May 2.

Gaining over 700 Lib Dem councillors nationally, May 2019 delivered the highest number of gains in the history of the Party. With an increase of 30 councillors in the West Midlands, the region accounts for 5% of the increase, with an increase in vote share for areas we didn't win this time.

These significant results are bolstered by taking control of Town councils in Stratford and Ross-on-Wye and many more Lib Dems being elected to Parish councils too.

Newly-elected Councillor for Malvern Hills (Priory) and EU Election Candidate, Beverley Nielsen, said:

“Standing up for local people by building our council base is what the Lib Dems are proud to be known for. Many people have told us they are very upset with the tired and split Conservative and Labour parties, and it's time for something different.

"People know that locally, nationally and through the European Union - Liberal Democrats demand better, and deliver better. 

"I'm looking forward to representing the great people of Malvern and showing them that electing Lib Dems gets things done!"

Former MEP and candidate 1 on the West Midlands Lib Dem list for the EU Elections, Phil Bennion, said:

"This is a great set of results for the Liberal Democrats and a fantastic springboard for the EU Elections on May 23.

"Having been part of the Liberal Democrat team in Europe and personally leading on important issues in the European Parliament, I realise how important it is to have Lib Dems in the EU. We change people's lives for the better, which we will continue to do in the areas that have elected Lib Dem councillors.

"The West Midlands deserves better and with the Lib Dems leading the charge for remain, we can deliver better for the people of our fantastic region.

"Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to Stop Brexit."

Full results:

Area - Total returned (change)

Bromsgrove - 3 (+3)
East Staffordshire - 1 (0)
Herefordshire - 6 (+4)
Lichfield - 1 (0)
Malvern Hills - 9 (+5)
Rugby - 9 (0)
Solihull - 6 (+2)
Staff Moorlands - 1 (-1)
Stratford-upon-Avon - 11 (+8)
Telford & Wrekin - 4 (+1)
Walsall - 2 (0)
Warwick - 9 (+7)
Wychavon - 6 (+1)
Wyre Forrest - 3 (+1)


Candidates selected for EU Elections

We are happy to announce our 7 candidates for the EU Parliament elections on the 23rd May 2019:

Our West Midlands Euro Candidates are:

1. Phillip Bennion
2. Ade N. Adeyemo
3. Jeanie Falconer
4. Jenny Wilkinson
5. Jennifer Gray
6. Beverley Nielsen
7. Lee Dargue

More details about our candidates can be found here.

2019 Exec Election Results

The results of the 2019 Exec elections are as follows:

Elected Unopposed

  • Chair – Beverley Nielsen
  • Vice-Chair (Urban) – Jennifer Gray
  • Vice-Chair (Rural) – Phillip Bennion
  • Treasurer – Philip How
  • Chair of Candidates Committee – Jock Gallagher
  • Ordinary Members – David Craddock, Slawomir (Adam) Fejfer, Richard Vos, Richard Whelan
  • English Council Representatives – Jennifer Gray, Philip How, Morgan-Ross Inwood, John Kelly, Napier Penlington, Jenny Pinkett, Richard Vos and Hugh Warner
  • Policy Committee Members – David Craddock


  • Chair of Policy Committee - Yeow Poon
    • Votes for Yeow Poon - 153
    • Votes for Morgan Ross Inwood - 76
    • Turnout - 6.5%

Announcing Launchpad West Midlands 2018


Your Regional Conference Committee have adopted a fresh approach this year, planning an innovative, interactive day for participants in our first Launchpad event in the West Midlands. Working closely with Your Liberal Britain, we are giving you the chance to formulate and develop your own forward-thinking policy ideas, providing you with the tools you need to fight Brexit and giving you the chance to question influential figures from across the Region. Alongside the Regional AGM, awards and training sessions, we aim to provide a range of informative sessions, offering something for everyone.


Buy tickets

David Hartley, deputy chair of WM Regional Candidates Committee passes away on 2nd August after a short illness


Memories of David Hartley

Beverley Nielsen, Chair West Midlands Liberal Democrats:

I got to know David Hartley initially on visits to Liberal Democrat meetings in Walsall and the Black Country, but more recently when he joined the West Midlands Executive Committee. Here I began to understand how much David had to offer and what a steady, reliable pair of hands he offered, willingly -- always able to steer us towards useful, meaningful conclusions.

As Local Party Chair he took on a role, often seen as less glamorous and centred about sorting out the nitty gritty and the proper running of AGMs and party functioning. He was brilliant at this. Left to get on with it he started sorting out issues that had previously been considered intractable.

His quiet, unassuming manner was very good where tensions were fraught. He could bring about reconciliation and mediate with aplomb. I was hugely grateful to him for these interventions and the lack of fuss associated with his involvement.

David was in some ways the antithesis of modern cultural norms. Understated, undersold, perhaps shockingly easy to overlook – he did not ‘go on about himself’ ‘big himself up’, ‘expect attention’, but when asked, he would deliver without hesitation and without fuss.

He was a great asset to the party. Someone I came to rely on heavily and I am personally very grateful to him for his tremendous contribution.

He will be sorely missed by me and by those colleagues he worked with.  

Thank you David for all you did for us in the West Midlands. I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear about your illness, one you never mentioned and I am so sorry to hear this news. I send my very best wishes and very sincere sympathies to your family and want them to know how much you will be missed. RIP and thank you again for all you did.


Jock Gallagher, WM Regional Chair of Candidates:

David was one of those amazing characters that our party throws up every now and again. He was quiet and self-deprecating on the outside but full of passions and hidden depths that made him such a delightful colleague.

He came into my small world in a gentle eddy as the chair of Walsall Local Party when we had the shared task of finding a suitable candidate for one of his seats, the far-from-promising Walsall South at the last General Election in 2017. He produced Isabelle Parasram, who immediately agreed to duck out of her barrister practice in London and lit up the regional campaign.

That in a way sums up David. He knew his way around the party and he had contacts in many surprising places across Europe and the Middle East.

Only a few weeks ago he agreed to act as deputy chair of the regional candidates committee and we started making plans to split the workload of finding more than fifty candidates for the next election (whenever it comes).

David’s career was unconventional. Initially I thought he was a retired solicitor. Well, he was but much more besides. For example, when we reminisced about his days in Strathclyde University, where he taught psychology, we were able to swap yarns about life in Cumbernauld, the grim new town to the east of Glasgow.

While I could only bemoan the population density, he reflected on the area’s Roman origins and the Antonine Wall!  He was a scholar and as others attest, a gentleman.

After leaving Nottingham High School in 1962, David went to Oxford’s Hertford College where amongst other things; he was a member of the rowing club…and of course Oxford University Liberal Club.                                    He then spent four years at Harvard, reading experimental psychology and became an associate member of Sigma Xi, the elite honour society for scientists and engineers.

He returned to Nottingham in 1970 and spent three years as a lecturer before moving to Strathclyde. It was there he decided to change horses, left academia and for five years was an articled clerk before rising to partner in the practice.

Three years later, he set up his own high-street legal practice and for six years he was a one-man force in Family Law and Employment Law.

The lure of university life became too strong and in 1991 he returned…as a senior lecturer in the School of Law at what became Birmingham City University. He wad then appointed Programme Director in International Human Rights Law.  

Somewhere along the way, he learned to speak Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian and French.                                                                                             

Walsall LP secretary Carol Fletcher adds: “David had been a member for quite some time, yet no one had noticed him. It was at one of our AGMs that David stood out from the crowd for me as he was a cut above the rest,

He was a gentleman and…knew his stuff about Europe. I was extremely impressed by his knowledge and could have listened to him all day. He was a great ambassador for us and we were so proud he was one of ours.”   

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