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.”   

Layla Moran MP - Dinner

A dinner with guest, Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon. This is for Party members only.

Layla is also the Party's Education spokesperson and recently led the radical overhaul of the Party's policy on Schools and assessment, at the Federal Spring Conference:



Join us to listen and chat with Layla regarding Education, her journey to becoming an MP and what the future holds for British Politics.


Once your booking is confirmed, you will be contacted to confirm your meal options and membership number.

Beverley June Update

June 2018 WMLD News Update

Beverley Nielsen, Chair WM Region

Positive Swing to the Liberal Democrats in Lewisham East!

Great to see Lucy Salek performing so well in the Lewisham East By-Election. Congratulations to all involved in this great and heartening campaign. The Liberal Democrats significantly increased our vote share, recording the largest swing (+19%) from Labour to Lib Dem in over a decade.

Lucy Salek and the Liberal Democrats have fought a proud, pro-European campaign that saw former Labour and Conservative voters switching support and rallying behind our campaign.

This result sends a message to the Labour leadership that it cannot take pro-European voters for granted and demonstrates very clearly the failure of Labour’s leadership in not clearly opposing the Conservatives' hard Brexit.

Liberal Democrats increase Vote Share by +20% in Lewisham East By-Election

Training For Future Success!

I am delighted to report that our first Regional Training and Development day held in Stratford Upon Avon School was a great success. Congratulations & sincere thanks to Jennifer Grey, our recently appointed Training & Development Officer and thanks too to Richard Vos for all his support.

The training included New Member Welcome Session – explaining more about the Party and activities locally, regionally and nationally, provided an Assistant Returning Officer development session led by Ann Morrison and a good discussion on key policy areas led by Regional Vice Chair, Susan Juned. Over 40 members attended with both established and new members participating actively and learning something new! 

The next Member Development event will be in Ludlow on 21st July and will be based on the ALDC ‘Motivate’ training focusing on campaigning development. A further new member session will be held in September in Solihull.  We are looking to include ‘Unconscious Bias’ sessions in future as well as the emphasis on campaigning as we head into 2019 local elections which will be available to all candidates.

Liberal Democrats in high spirits following the first New Member Welcome and Development Event at Stratford School in June 2018 – Next event Ludlow 21st July, Contact Jennifer Gray

Lib Dems Gain!

Local Election Update from Beverley

I am delighted that across the West Midlands we have held 30 Council seats and gained one new seat in these recent, very toughly contested Council elections.  We fielded over 200 candidates in the region and it is great to see that nationally we gained 75 seats - a tremendously positive outcome and only two seats behind Labour Party gains.

As Liberal Democrats nationally we have continued to champion our 'Exit from Brexit' message; however the West Midlands voted Leave as a region in the Referendum and especially in the Metropolitan areas that have just cast their votes. 

In spite of this it's great to see that hard work has paid off with the electorate supporting and reinstating Councillors across the patch --  in Rugby (9 LDs) Birmingham (8 LDs), Solihull (4 LDs) , Newcastle Under Lyme (3 LDs), Wyre Forest (3 LDs), Walsall (2 LDs), Daventry (1 LD), Cannock Chase (1 LD). 

The results have seen 31 Councillors returned in the region's Metropolitan Council seats and this is surely a good base to start building from for the future. As we look ahead to elections in the more rural areas next year we must use the information and insights from all our Councillors and activists across the patch to gain momentum and build greater dialogue with our constituents and residents.

I'm sure you'll join me in congratulating our longest serving Councillors who have given such valued service over the years. I'd like to highlight in particular -- Cllr Paul Tilsley CBE who has served 50 years on Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Shires in Walsall (40 years and counting...!) and Cllr Fran Oborski whose work in Wyre Forest has led to a notable gain for our region. Well done to all our Councillors who have come through successfully in these elections and to all their supporters and hard working teams.  

Thank you all. We must keep building from here and move forward again to 2019 with a strong and positive pace if we are to defend our Liberal values. Promoting local investment into our local communities and a stronger regional inclusive approach remains a priority. Over £34bn of the public's money is spent each year in the West Midlands Combined Authority region alone. By promoting a circular economy - one where we encourage local investment, purchase locally produced goods where possible, we can in turn use the public's money to drive more local jobs for local people.


Best Regards,

Beverley Nielsen

Chair, West Midlands Liberal Democrats

May Update from Beverley

May Update from Beverley

We are all working really hard now in the final push to the local elections this week on Thursday 3rd May. Everywhere around the country I am seeing more Liberal Democrat golden triangles and it is heartening that this result has been solidly reflected in local election results to date which are showing overwhelming gains for Lib Dems:

In the West Midlands we are fielding 211 candidates in the Metropolitan local elections and nationwide the number of Liberal Democrat candidates has never been higher.

Total - 211 Candidates

I have been out and about enjoying 'doing my bit' and meeting our excellent candidates - leafleting in Kidderminster to support our highly experienced Councillor Fran Oborski, canvassing in Newcastle Under Lyme with the excellent Cllr Marion Reddish and Chair Nigel Jones, leafleting with our long serving Cllr Ian Shires in Walsall, who's been working in coalition with Labour, and his great team - good luck to them as they are targeting two new seats there, leafleting for our wonderful Birmingham candidates, including Izzy Knowles and David Farrow in Moseley where we are targeting new Council seats, our youngest candidates Sophie Thornton and Jake Calcutt in Birmingham Bournbrook and Selly Park and in Solihull where we are very grateful to Cllr Martin Hewings who is stepping down after 8 years.

Your support in the run up to the election continues to be vital and is needed wherever and whenever possible. If you are interested in taking part then click here to view ongoing activity and how you can join in.

A very sincere good luck to all our candidates and I wholeheartedly hope these upcoming results will motivate us as we enter early May and start planning for the next round of locals next year!  Following that we have Combined Authority elections for our Mayor in 2020 and if the government survives the next general election is tabled for 2022.

So onwards and upwards - join us to move forward the strong voice of radical moderatism in England, of fair, open, tolerant politics, welcoming of our diverse communities and widespread talent that helps to make this the great country it is and one we are all very proud of.

Best regards,

Beverley Nielsen

Chair, West Midlands Liberal Democrats


March Update From Beverley

New appointment

We are very pleased to announce that Jennifer Gray began working on planning regional training activity this week. She will be coordinating training events throughout the year to respond to the training needs of our members. If you have got a training need, or if you would like to register the requirements of your local party, please send an email to [email protected] with details of the training needs, individuals names and telephone numbers.

Training Events 

An exciting training event is on the way and will take place in Stratford. We shall confirm a date, time and venue details in due course, but we are expecting to offer a New Member Welcome Session, Assistant Returning Officer Training and Selection Committee Training alongside other sessions.  Lunch will be provided, and there will be something for everyone. 

Local elections

Nationally, we are seeing some astonishing successes at the local polls.  Some Lib Dems have won by a swing of over 40%!  Hundreds of seats are up for election on May 3rd this year, and local parties are hard at work designing and delivering leaflets, door knocking and making calls.  It’s all hands on deck, and offers of support are very warmly received.

If you are able to help, please do get in touch with your local party to find out which seats are being targeted – don’t underestimate the impact that you can have! 

Campaign events calendar

Check our new calendar to find out about campaigning events close to you http://www.wmlibdems.org/eventsor and contact [email protected] to add your own local campaign events if they are not listed. 

Are you a Facebook user? Many local parties are advertising their campaigning events through local party groups so please get in touch and help where you can.

Not sure where to begin? No problem. Just contact Jennifer via [email protected] and she will help to put you in touch with people who will be very grateful of your support. 

And finally, from me and all the exec we wish a very happy Easter.

Best regards,

Beverley Nielsen
Chair, West Midlands Liberal Democrats

Spring update from Beverley


As Spring comes upon us again, (even if it does bring flurries of snow!) it’s great to see signs of a Liberal resurgence in these times of extremism and populism in politics.


We’ve had some notable local election wins  in Minehead South (43.2% Gain from Independent), Marine (32.7% Gain from Conservatives) and Dawlish Central & North East (70.6% Gain from Conservatives) and we can look forward to continuing successes in Birmingham and across the West Midlands in the local elections in May. Before then we hope as many of you as possible are able to support Charles Robinson in the Blythe By-Election on 1st March.


We are doing all we can to support upcoming local elections and if there are any events that you are running locally and wish us to support and promote for you please let Jordan Quinlan, our new Chair of Communications know so we can lend our weight to your efforts. We look forward to working together over the coming year and driving local election success for the West Midlands in 2018. Jordan has already started compiling a note of our Local Party Officers across the region so we can keep in touch more effectively.

jennifer_gray.jpgJennifer Grey (Vice Chair Urban) has developed a New Member Welcome Session to be launched shortly in Lichfield and she is also in the process of building a Social Media Training Guide. These both form part of a 2018 drive to focus on developing training opportunities to support our local and national candidates. Similarly we are keen to develop a schedule of visits by Vice Chairs (Jennifer GraySusan Juned), Executive Members (Hakil Ahmed, Phillip Bennion, Adam Fejfer, Richard Whelan, Waheed Rafiq) and I look forward to continuing to get out and about as much as possible and I am always happy to visit and speak with you. You can find the latest executive which includes elected members, co-opted member and supporters, below.

beverley_brexit_bus.jpgI was delighted to join the Brexit Bus in Birmingham as it stopped in Northfield on Monday 26th February on a very chilly morning.  A group of brave and dedicated souls gathered to hear speakers including Claire Fielden and myself as well as someone looking rather like Boris Johnson singing a cheerful ditty about his Brexit woes. The Brexit bus is emblazoned with the government's own cost of leaving the EU stated as being £2,000m per week and will be touring the country over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for it!

Throughout March there will be plenty going on with a whole host of events taking place across the region, from a chance to meet Layla Moran, 2nd March, (MP Oxford West and Abingdon) in Leamington Spa to a dinner date with Tom Blake, 11th March (MP for Carshalton & Wallington) in Worcester. There are also action days in Acocks Green on 10th March, Bromsgrove on 24th March and Politics and a Pint in Sutton Coldfield on 13th March. Lord Chris Fox, our Business Spokesperson, is in Birmingham on 15th March, 3-4.30pm. If you are interested to join this event please contact me on [email protected]

The Regional AGM is planned to take place online this year, with votes closing on 20th October with our Regional Conference due to take place in November 2018 when our election results will be announced to those attending.

Best Regards,

Beverley Nielsen
Chair, West Midlands Liberal Democrats

 West Midlands Liberal Democrat Executive as of 27/02/18

  • President Baroness Burt
  • Chair of the Regional Party Beverley Nielsen
  • Vice-Chair (Rural) Susan Juned
  • Vice-Chair (Urban) Jennifer Gray
  • VC Strategy Richard Longman
  • Secretary Chloe Hughes-Cullinan
  • Treasurer Philip How
  • Chair Regional Candidates Committee Jock Gallagher
  • Chair Regional Policy Committee William McGrath
  • Chair Regional Conference Committee Vacant
  • Chair Campaigns Committee Richard Vos
  • Chair of Communications Jordan Quinlan
  • Ordinary Members
    • Hakil Ahmed
    • Phillip Bennion
    • Adam Fejfer
    • Richard Whelan
    • Waheed Rafiq
  • Young Liberals Regional Chair Owen Smith
  • Parliamentary Rep Ade Adeyemo
  • Councillor Rep Cllr Roger Harmer
  • Chair of Local Parties David Hartley
  • Regional Co-ordinator Izzy Knowles
  • Disabilities Carol Fletcher 
  • Chair of Fundraising John Kelly
  • Members responsible for:
    • Data and GDPR Adam Schemmanoff 
    • Newsline Editor Ted Logan 
    • Training Jennifer Gary
    • Diversities Waheed Rafiq
    • Equality Adam Fejfer

Season's Greetings from Beverley


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As another year draws to a close, I have been spending some time reflecting on the past twelve months and looking ahead to all that awaits us in 2018.

Read more

Vince Cable confirmed for Regional Conference


The full line-up of speakers has been announced for the WMLD Regional Conference, 2017. These are:

  • Sir Graham Watson who will be speaking about Europe and answering your questions.
  • Zarah Sultana, Media and Parliamentary Office for MEND.
  • And Sir Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats!

Bookings can be made online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/westmidslibdems. Visit our website (www.wmlibdems.org/conference) and download the Conference Pack. Contact [email protected] directly if you have any questions or suggestions!

Vince: Three reasons to be optimistic

Sir Vince Cable, speaking on July 28 - in a room packed with West Midlands Lib Dems - in Birmingham City University’s Curzon Building (Birmingham Eastside), was warmly welcomed by the 150 members present.


Photo Credit: A. Adeyemo

He spoke of three reasons why he was feeling optimistic as newly appointed Leader of the Lib Dems.

Firstly, there was ayawning gap’ in the centre ground of British politics – with the Conservative Party under the thumb of the ‘Brexit zealots’ and having forged the alliance with the DUP they had wiped out all the work of Cameron to ‘detoxify the Tories’.

The Labour Party on the other hand, undoubtedly resurgent, (‘we all underestimated them’), were under the control of the hard left and much further to the left than in the era of Michael Foot. Labour Party thinking today was, ‘closer to the Bolivarian Party in Venezuela’. And both parties were, together, committed to an extreme Brexit in an ‘Unholy Alliance’.

“The Labour Party under Corbyn succeeded in attracting large numbers of idealistic young people,” said Vince, “They seduced by the abolition of student debt which they have since abandoned. This is the third time the Labour Party have done a U-Turn and it is the most cynical and the most blatant. They are now firmly under the control of Momentum. This leaves open the middle ground providing an opportunity for us to re-emerge.”

The Second issue was the EU. People hadn’t bought the second referendum as it was still too early in the process. “It’s beginning to happen,” Vince stated, “and will cement our position on what’s right and rationale in the EU. It will happen gradually, it will happen in a manner of ‘slowly rolling in’.”

Living standards were already compressed because of the devalued pound with the consumer feeling this in weekly purchases and other ways. The splurge of consumer credit was unsustainable and investment had largely stalled.

“People will start getting angry and disillusioned. As Brexit starts getting momentum people will being to understand the sheer complexity of what we have embarked upon.”

This could be illustrated by the debate on Euratom. “We need to keep Britain at the forefront of nuclear isotopes, nuclear fusion but all this activity is ruled by the European Court of Justice. Given the government’s line on the sovereignty of our own parliament and not wanting to be subject to the ECJ, this is now crumbling with the whole edifice having to be rebuilt. But this is just about 1% of what is being realigned through Brexit”, said Vince.

Civil Aviation was another area. “The whole basis on which the aviation industry functions, the safety, air traffic, consumer protection, all this is determined by EU Treaties. All this has to be renegotiated within a new framework.  It’s an almighty bloody mess!  Philip Hammond was saying we know it’s going to be a mess. But by proposing a further two year period before any change he is simply postponing the car crash. The more people become aware of it the more they will become attracted to our approach.  We need to stay in the Single Market, stay in the Customs Union, we need access to collaborative research and to maintain the environmental standards. If at the end of the process we lose those then the public have the right to a vote.”

The third reason concerned economic policy.  “Whether we like them or not the leading Tory and Labour party members of the recent past had been economic literati. They understood why the economy needed to be well run. In recent months this has gone out of the window. The Tories had no numbers in their Manifesto – as one person gibed, ‘the only numbers in it were the page numbers’. The Labour Party did have numbers in their Manifesto but they didn’t add up. The IFS and the Economist had chosen the Lib Dems as the only people who understood why sensible economics mattered and continues to matter. We need to fund our public services; we need to have the private and public services working together.

Prime Minister in waiting

“I present myself today as an opposition Prime Minister…and given the opposition I think that is a very credible position. I am not here speaking for a ‘plucky 3rd Party’ that wants to gain a few seats. I didn’t come into Politics to be a moderate, sensible person able to deal in numbers and Balance Sheets operating at the margin. I came into politics to really make a difference. I have a soul as well as a brain.

“Most of you joined because you care about things. One of those things is rising inequality. We have inequality of the classes, between generations and between regions. We do not so much have an inequality of income but we have a real inequality of wealth. If we are serious about fairness then we must do this through tax. Inequality of generations is very significant. If you are a teenager today then you are likely to be poorer than your parents because house prices are out of control and you won’t be able to buy or to rent.

Points of differentiation

“This is an aspect of differentiation for our Party. So is education. Students rallied around Corbyn who captured their imagination. We made a big mistake in promising something we could not deliver. The truth is that although what we did was terrible politics it was sensible. Students don’t pay to go to university, they pay a form of graduate tax. Working classes are going to university but no one is listening. We do need to take a fresh look at how university students are funded. Not through pathetic populism but through a more genuine form of graduate tax and through maintenance payments abandoned by the Tories. We must also not forget about the 60% of young people going to Further Education. They matter – a great deal in fact with Brexit.

“This is your party – I’m just the Leader. I’d like to see the implementation of a Learning Account for young people to choose and decide how best to use it for themselves for their start in life. This would be a positive, visionary approach. It would fire the imagination.

Concluding thought: the alternative PM

“I’d like to finish with one thought. We are credible as a political force. This is why I emphasise my pitch as an alternative Prime Minister. We need to regain our place in local government and to start winning more Parliamentary seats again.  We will only do this if you are mobilised. We need more focus on technical side, on social and conventional media, and on communications of every type, if we are to make the comeback that I believe is possible.”

You can read Beverley Nielsen's thoughts on Vince's visit on her website.

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