As Tim Farron observed in his conference speech yesterday, membership of the Liberal Democrats has risen to its highest this century; over 1,000 people joined us in the last ten days alone. Our spring conference also broke records: it was the best attended in party history, with the largest number of first timers ever.
As was often said to me during many conversations I had with both new, old and returning members, the concept of “a newbie” is a state of mind. Being a newbie could just as easily describe the renewed energy and confidence amongst our members which has led us to win 34 seats in council by-elections since the general election, along with the election of Sarah Olney, a newbie herself, in Richmond Park last year.
What is now clear is that the newbies have the potential to drive this party back into government, perhaps even in their own right, and, as Tim said yesterday, this should be our aim.
As part of that aim, we want to give our members, particularly our newbies, the chance to share their views. As can be seen from our policy debates at conference, we are an open party where opinions can be shared and respected. Not only that, but ideas from our members can become law. The increase in personal tax allowance, which is now enjoyed by every income tax payer in the country, came from an ordinary member of the Liberal Democrats.
So if you’re interested in contributing to our Monday Member blog, we are taking submissions.
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We look forward to hearing from you.