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Social Liberal Forum

The Social Liberal Forum (often abbreviated to SLF) is a pressure group aligned to the British Liberal Democrats that seeks to promote social liberalism within the party.[1] The Social Liberal Forum represents the centre-left within the Liberal Democrats .[2][3]. Membership of the SLF is not exclusive to the Liberal Democrats and is open to anyone (including members of other progressive parties) who share the values and principles of the SLF.

Social Liberal Forum
Chair Helen Flynn
Founded 2009

Social liberalism

Progressive politics
Political position Centre-left



The SLF was launched in February 2009.[4][5] The book Reinventing the State: Social Liberalism for the 21st Century has been said to be influential on the thinking of those who created the SLF.[6] Although the SLF did not oppose the Coalition Government between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, it campaigned for many changes to Coalition policy on issues such as NHS reforms,[5] economic policy [7] and cuts to welfare spending.[8]

The SLF advances social liberal policies, theory and thought leadership within British politics, often in opposition to free market fundamentalism. It takes inspiration from the political ideas of William Beveridge, John Maynard Keynes, Thomas Hill Green, Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, David Lloyd George, Jo Grimond and Charles Kennedy amongst others. The SLF has supported a wide range of socio-economic policies including the introduction of a universal basic income, opposition to welfare reforms and support for wealth taxation, economic democracy and Keynesian economics.

Every July since 2011, the SLF has held a one day annual conference, this includes a Beveridge Memorial Lecture.[9] Previous people to have given the Beveridge Memorial Lecture include Layla Moran, Vince Cable, Claire Tyler and Tim Farron.


On 9th March 2018, the Social Liberal Forum published a book, edited by Helen Flynn, entitled "Four Go In Search of Big Ideas: Putting Progressive Ideas at the Heart of UK Politics".[10] The book included chapters from a range of social liberal, social democratic and green political thinkers and aimed to build a "progressive alliance of people, ideas and campaigns".[11] The book covered three main policy areas; the economy, welfare and climate change and included contributions from active members of the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party.


The current Chair of the Social Liberal Forum is Helen Flynn, the current Vice Chair is Gordon Lishman and the SLF Director position is currently vacant.[12] Previous Chairs of the SLF have included Naomi Smith, Gareth Epps and David Hall-Matthews.


  1. ^ "What We Stand For". Social Liberal Forum. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  2. ^ "How Lib Dem members describe their own political identity". Lib Dem Voice. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  3. ^ "The Lib Dems are a Centre Left Party". Social Liberal Forum. 
  4. ^ Sowemimo, Matthew (12 February 2009). "Social Liberal Forum launched". Liberal Democrat Voice. 
  5. ^ a b Wintour, Patrick (15 June 2011). "Lib Dem pressure group celebrates NHS rethink". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  6. ^ "Reinventing the State". Social Liberal Forum. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  7. ^ Buch, Prateek. "Economic Plan C". Social Liberal Forum. 
  8. ^ Hall-Matthews, David (14 November 2011). "Osborne's attack on benefits must be moderated". The Guardian. London. 
  9. ^ Lindsay, Caron (29 July 2018). "Big ideas abound at SLF Conference". Lib Dem Voice. 
  10. ^ "Four Go In Search of Big Ideas". Social Liberal Forum. 
  11. ^ Template:Lishman, Gordon (2018). "Introduction" in Four Go In Search of Big Ideas. King's Lynn, Norfolk: Social Liberal Forum. P. 6.
  12. ^ "About". Social Liberal Forum. 

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