Election 2017 – a missed opportunity?

Analysis of the 2017 general election campaign and its outcome, and the implications for the Liberal Democrats. Speakers: Professor Phil Cowley (co-author of The British General Election of 2017) and James Gurling (Chair, Liberal Democrats Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee). The AGM of the Liberal Democrat History Group will take place first, at 6.30pm, followed […]

Liberals in local government 1967 – 2017

The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC) was founded, as the Association of Liberal Councillors, fifty years ago. At this meeting, organised in conjunction with ALDC, we celebrate its 50th anniversary and discuss the role of Liberals and Liberal Democrats in local government. What has the party achieved in local government? To what extent has […]

The Leadership of Charles Kennedy

Under Charles Kennedy’s leadership, from 1999 to 2006, the Liberal Democrats won a record number of seats in the Commons – but in January 2006 he was forced to resign by the party’s MPs. When he died, in August 2015, he was mourned deeply by the party he once led. This meeting will assess Kennedy’s achievements […]

Who Rules? Parliament, the People or the Prime Minister?

Parliamentary supremacy, hard won in the seventeenth century, is being challenged by the government response to Brexit, placing under question whether Parliament or the executive – or the popular will, expressed through a referendum – should have the ultimate say. Discuss the Liberal approach to who rules with English Civil Wars historian Professor Michael Braddick […]

‘Jeremy is Innocent’ : The Life and Times of Jeremy Thorpe and Marion Thorpe

Jeremy Thorpe led the Liberal Party over three general elections from 1967 to 1976. Immensely charismatic, under his leadership the Liberal vote at general elections more than doubled. Yet following a scandal, his career ended in a criminal court case. Why? On the fiftieth anniversary of Thorpe’s rise to the party leadership, Ronald Porter (obituarist […]

Coalition: Could Liberal Democrats have handled it better?

The 2015 election decisively ended the Liberal Democrats’ participation in government. Did what the party achieved in coalition between 2010 and 2015 justify the damage? Could the party have managed coalition better? The meeting marks the publication of the autumn Journal of Liberal History, a special issue on the policy record of the coalition. Speakers: […]

The legacy of Roy Jenkins

NOTE: START TIME CHANGED TO 7.00pm Roy Jenkins is best remembered in Liberal Democrat circles as one of the ‘Gang of Four’ who established the Social Democratic Party, the SDP’s first leader, and then a staunch supporter of merger with the Liberal Party. But even as a Labour politician he had a liberal record. In […]

The ideas that built the Liberal Democrats

What do Liberal Democrats believe? And what stems from our historical legacy? Against the background of the ‘Agenda 2020’ review of values and beliefs, discuss the party’s ideological inheritance with David Boyle, Teena Lashmore and Nick Thornsby at the History Group’s fringe meeting at the York Liberal Democrat conference. Chair: David Howarth.

Europe: The Liberal commitment

How and why did the Liberal Party, SDP and Liberal Democrats all end up as the strongest supporters of Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community and its successor institutions? Has it helped or hindered the party’s political achievements? Have developments in Europe since the EEC’s founding Treaty of Rome in 1958 reflected the party’s […]

Liberal leaders and leadership

Party leaders matter: they embody a party’s present, while also shaping its future. This is particularly important in the values-based Liberal tradition. A total of twenty-five individuals led the Liberal Party, SDP and Liberal Democrats between Earl Grey’s assumption of the leadership of the Whig opposition in 1828 and Nick Clegg’s resignation in 2015. What did it take to […]

Catastrophe: The 2015 Election Campaign and its Outcome

NOTE VENUE AND START TIME CHANGE The venue of this meeting has changed from the National Liberal Club to the House of Lords (Committee Room 1), and the start time from 6.30pm to 6.45pm. There are several votes in the Lords on Monday, and our chair and one of our speakers are both Liberal Democrat […]

Community politics and the Liberal revival

The famous community politics resolution, adopted by the Liberal Party at its 1970 Assembly, helped to lay the foundations for revival after the party’s loss of half its seats in the 1970 election.

The Liberal-Tory Coalition of 1915

As we enter the final months of the present Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government it is an appropriate time to look back to a previous partnership between the two parties in the 100th anniversary of its formation.

The Liberal Party and the First World War

A one-day conference organised by the Journal of Liberal History and Kings College, London.

Great Liberal thinkers: lessons for the future

To mark the launch of our publication, ‘Liberal Thinkers’, Baroness Liz Barker and MPs Alan Beith, David Laws and John Pugh draw lessons from past Liberal thinkers for the future direction of the Liberal Democrats.

Liberalism, Peace and the First World War

The First World War sent a shockwave through the Liberal Party, permanently affecting its politics, its people and the way it viewed the world and its own place in it. This meeting, jointly organised by the Liberal Democrat History Group and Liberal International British Group and held a hundred years, almost to the day, after […]

Decline and Fall: the Liberal Party and the general elections of 1922, 1923 and 1924

For the Liberal Party, the three general elections of 1922,1923 and 1924 represented a terrible journey from postwar disunity to reunion, and near return to government to dramatic and prolonged decline. Arguably, this was the key period which relegated the Liberals to the third-party status from which they have still never escaped. The Liberal Democrat […]

Survival and success: the first 25 years of the Liberal Democrats

This year, 2013, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Liberal Democrats. From near-annihilation to entry into government, the years since 1988 have been a roller-coaster ride for the party. Discuss which factors were important in the survival and success of the Liberal Democrats, and speculate about the future, with: Duncan Brack (Editor, Journal of Liberal […]

Jo Grimond – the legacy

Jo Grimond, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967, holds a particularly affectionate place in the collective memory of the Liberal Democrats. His charisma, charm, good looks, political courage, intellect and inherent liberalism inspired many to join the Liberal Party in the late 1950s and 1960s and gained him a national reputation as […]