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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 peers who need to be in Parliament at the time. Entry is via Parliament’s public entrance, opposite Westminster Abbey – tell the police officers you are going to a meeting hosted by Baroness Grender in Committee Room 1, and they will direct you. You should allow at least 20 minutes to go through the security check.

Please also note that the room is smaller than our original venue, and we cannot guarantee to be able to seat everyone; we suggest you turn up early. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

The 2015 election is the most catastrophic in the history of the Liberal Democrats and its predecessor parties; in no other previous election has the party lost such a high proportion of its votes and seats.

Entry into coalition with the Conservative Party in 2010 meant that the party always knew it would lose a good number of those who had voted for it in 2010, but Liberal Democrats hoped that they could replace at least some of them with new supporters who had not previously believed the party had a realistic chance of power. The party also assumed that the incumbency factor would save many of their MPs even though the national vote was falling. Neither of these things happened, despite a campaign that was generally recognised as well organised and well funded. Discuss why everything went wrong with Phil Cowley (Professor of Parliamentary Government, University of Nottingham and co-author of The British General Election of 2010) and Baroness Olly Grender, Paddy Ashdown’s second-in-command on the ‘Wheelhouse Group’ which ran the Liberal Democrat election campaign.

All welcome, whether or not you are a member of the Liberal Democrat History Group.