Young Liberals (United Kingdom)
Young Liberals is the youth and student group of the Liberal Democrats, a political party in the United Kingdom. Members of the Liberal Democrats under the age of 26 are automatically members of the Young Liberals, whilst those aged 26–30 can opt to join in addition to their party membership.
|Vice-Chairperson||Elizabeth Barnard & Jack Worrall|
|Honorary President||Tessa Munt|
Union of Liberal Students |
National League of Young Liberals
8–10 Great George Street,|
London SW1P 3AE
|Mother party||Liberal Democrats|
Scottish Young Liberals |
Welsh Young Liberals
English Young Liberals
|International affiliation||International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY)|
|European affiliation||European Liberal Youth (LYMEC)|
Social liberalism, social justice, internationalism and pro-Europeanism are important components of the group's political philosophy. It is financially supported by the party and has offices at the Liberal Democrats' London headquarters.
The constitution of the Liberal Democrats requires an affiliated youth and student wing. Accordingly, Young Liberals is a Specified Associated Organisation (SAO) of the party. It is granted voting rights on important Liberal Democrat committees.
Young Liberals hosts its own annual conference and training weekend, known as Activate, and holds fringe events at the Liberal Democrats' Spring and Autumn Conferences. It also organises a range of other activities relevant to young people, on issues such as housing, employment and education.
Young Liberals is affiliated to both the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY) and European Liberal Youth. Its predecessors include the National League of Young Liberals (NLYL), founded in 1903 and the Union of Liberal Students (ULS), founded in 1920.
Liberal Democrats and Young LiberalsEdit
The Liberal Democrat's constitution grants Young Liberals at least one position on local party executives as well as one position on the Federal Board, Federal International Relations Committee and Federal People Development Committee. In addition, the Young Liberals are able to submit agenda items such as Policy motions, Business motions and constitutional amendments to the Liberal Democrat's Federal Conference, and Young Liberals members are able to vote on agenda items as individuals as part of one member one vote. Young Liberals also regularly hosts fringe events at conference pertaining to policy and party issues that the organisation cares about.
Similarly the Scottish, Welsh and English branches of Young Liberals have positions on the bodies and committees of their respective State parties, and the Scottish and Welsh branches, as well as English Regions, are able to submit agenda items to their State/Regional conferences.
History and structureEdit
Liberal Democrat mergersEdit
The organisation was formerly known as Liberal Democrat Youth and Students (LDYS). Spring 2008 saw LDYS renamed as Liberal Youth, at an event hosted by the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg. Liberal Youth is the successor organisation to all the youth and student wings of the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, including the Union of Liberal Students, the National League of Young Liberals, (the Liberal party's youth wings), the Young Social Democrats and Students for Social Democracy (the youth and student wings of the Social Democratic Party).
The Liberal Party and the SDP each had separate student and youth wings until their merger in 1988; these merged in England to form the Student Liberal Democrats and the Young Liberal Democrats of England. In Scotland, there was a separate Scottish Young Liberal Democrats (which also included students of all ages). Liberal Democrat Youth and Students was itself created in 1993 from a merger of the Student Liberal Democrats and the Young Liberal Democrats of England who had shared many resources in the run-up. The merger talks were overseen by a committee which included Sarah Gurling, who later married the late Charles Kennedy. LDYS reorganised into a federal structure in 2000 and then admitted Scottish Young Liberal Democrats as its Scottish federal unit in 2002 - forming a single GB-wide organisation for the first time since the combined ULS-NLYL committees of the 1970s.
Young Liberals is the main party, organised in Great Britain on a federal basis, compromising of Welsh Young Liberals in Wales, Scottish Young Liberals in Scotland and English Young Liberals in England. The Convenor of each of these groups organises the regional activity of Young Liberals.
The federal Conference is the sovereign body of the Young Liberals and has power to determine policy and direction. The federal Young Liberals usually hosts two conferences a year, a conference in the Winter and a training weekend known as 'Activate' in the Summer, which also acts as the constitutionally mandated Annual General Meeting. At conferences policy motions which shape YL policy and amendments to the organisations constitution are debated, alongside training and speaker sessions.
In addition, during each conference there is an Executive Scrutiny session, whereby members of the executive submit reports to conference on their activities and actions in their job. After each report motions on officers are debated, wherein any member can submit a Motion of commendation, Motion of censure or Motion of no confidence in an officer. Motions of commendation and censure are non-binding opinions of conference passed by a simple majority, expressing either positive or negative opinion on the actions of an officer. Motions of no confidence are binding motions which if passed have the affect of removing an officer from their position and require a two thirds majority in order to pass.
Past Conference LocationsEdit
|Year||Winter Conference Venue||Summer Conference/Activate Venue||Notes|
|2010||University of York, York||University of Manchester, Manchester|
|2011||University of Essex||'None'||Essex conference called "Autumn Conference" no Activate held|
|2014||'None'||Cambridge||Winter conference before 2015 was held at end of year instead of beginning|
|2017||Sheffield||University of Nottingham, Nottingham|
|2018||St Catherine's College, Oxford||Swansea University, Swansea|
The federal organisation of Young Liberals organises liaisons with Liberal Democrats and affiliated organisations. The Federal Executive (current positions: Chair, Vice-Chair, Events Officer, Campaigns Officer, Communications Officer, Finance Officer, International Officer, Policy Officer, Membership Development Officer, Welfare & Access Officer and Non Portfolio Officer,) operates alongside committees for Conferences, Policy and International affairs. These committees, barring ex officio members such as representatives from state organisations and delegates from the executive, are elected by the Young Liberals membership via an all-member ballot, terms beginning on 1 November and are responsible to Conference. The English, Scottish and Welsh representatives are elected by the memberships of the state organisations - English Young Liberals, Scottish Young Liberals and Welsh Young Liberals.
|Vice Chair||Elizabeth Barnard|
|Finance Officer||Julius Parker|
|Communications Officer||Hermione Peace|
|Campaigns Officer||Charlie Murphy|
|Membership Development Officer||Nathan Isaacson|
|Events Officer||Huw James|
|Policy Officer||Tara Copeland|
|Aria Dinakara Babu|
|International Officer||Ben Whitlock|
|Welfare & Accessibility Officer||Jack Lasseter|
|Non-Portfolio Officer||Patrick Crosby|
|English Young Liberals Chair||Ems Simpson|
|Welsh Young Liberals Chair||Callum James Littlemore|
|Scottish Young Liberals Chair||Becca Penderleith|
List of former ChairsEdit
|Name||Term in Office||University||Notes|
|Young Liberals||Finn Conway||2018–Present||University of Oxford||Elected on 27 July following resignation of previous chairs; also President of Oxford University Liberal Democrats|
|Thomas Gravatt (Acting)||2018||University of Southampton||Acting Chair|
|Hannah Ashworth||2017 - 2018||University of Southampton||Co-Chairs; Resigned part way through term|
|Thomas Gravatt||University of Southampton|
|Charlie Kingsbury||2016 - 2017||University of York|
|Liberal Youth||Michael Chappell||2015 - 2016||Aberystwyth University||Co-Chairs|
|Charlie Kingsbury||University of York|
|Alex Harding-Last||2014 - 2015|
|Sarah Harding||2013 - 2014||University of Manchester|
|Sam Fisk||2013||University of York||Co-Chairs; Elected following Tom Wood's resignation.|
|Harry Matthews (Acting)||2013||University of Sheffield||Acting Chair|
|Tom Wood||2011 - 2013||University of Portsmouth||Resigned part way through second term|
|Martin Shapland||2010 - 2011||University of Birmingham|
|Elaine Bagshaw||2008 - 2010||University of Birmingham|
Youth and Students
|Mark Gettleson||2006 - 2008||University of Cambridge|
|Gez Smith||2005 - 2006||University of Bristol|
|Chris Lomax||2004 - 2005||University of Cambridge|
|Brian Robson||2003 - 2004||University of Leeds|
|Alison Goldsworthy||2002 - 2003||University of Bath|
|Miranda Piercy||2000 - 2002||University of Warwick|
|Geoff Payne||1999–2000||University of Oxford|
|Tim Prater||1995–1996||Aston University|
|Alex Wilcock||1994–1995||Essex University|
|Kiron Reid||1993–1994||University of Liverpool|
For Chairs of predecessors see List of National Chairs of the Union of Liberal Students and List of Chairs of the National League of Young Liberals
There is an Honorary President and six Honorary Vice-Presidents of the organisation, who are elected by the membership to work alongside the executive to support the organisation, advise and often act as a form of institutional memory as well as give the Executive guidance and to act as spokespeople within the wider party.
|Honorary President||Tessa Munt|
|Honorary Vice-President||Jack Hughes|
In addition to the Executive, there are five committees which are responsible for the administration and implementation of its area, working alongside the executive. Committees are chaired by the Officer that is responsible for that area, for example the Policy Officer chairs the Policy Committee, and the other members of the committee are made up of members elected by the membership alongside the Officers and, with the exception of the International Committee, representatives from each of the three state organisations.
|Campaigns Officer (Chair)||Charlie Murphy|
|Elected Members||Joe Crossley|
|Communications Officer||Hermione Peace|
|International Committee Rep|
|Events Officer (Chair)||Huw James|
|Elected Members||Joe Young|
|Policy Officer||Tara Copeland|
|Aria Dinakara Babu|
|Elected Members||Conor Melvin|
|International Officer (Chair)||Ben Whitlock|
|Elected Members||Stuart Smith|
Outside of universities, Young Liberals eschews a formal, hierarchical branch structure, instead encouraging members to organise themselves and to use their local Liberal Democrat Party for financial affairs. Active members communicate with their local Youth Chair, who liaises with the parent party's representatives and with the federal Young Liberals executive. In this way the activities of young and student members remain formally independent from but closely engaged with the Liberal Democrats.
Young Liberals has had an active branch in Northern Ireland since 2010, under the name of Liberal Youth Northern Ireland, which operates as the youth branch of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats. Since 2014 it has become an official branch of Young Liberals, though for administrative purposes it is a branch of the English Young Liberals rather than a separate state branch. Liberal Youth Northern Ireland maintains a close working relationship with Alliance Youth, the youth wing of the Alliance Party.
- The Green Book – new directions for Liberals in government, Mike Tuffrey, 5 March 2013, Liberal Democrat Voice
- A challenge to Community Politics, Iain Roberts, 13 June 2011, Liberal Democrat Voice
- How Lib Dem members describe their political identity: ‘liberal’, ‘progressive’ and ‘social liberal’ top the bill, Stephen Tall, 30 April 2011, Liberal Democrat Voice
- http://www.libdems.org.uk/ (17 April 2018). "Brexit".
- Elgot, Jessica (28 May 2017). "Tim Farron: Lib Dems' pro-European strategy will be proved right". the Guardian.
- "The Federal Constitution of the Liberal Democrats" (pdf). Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "Nick Clegg launches Liberal Youth" (Press release). Liberal Democrat Voice. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Meet The Exec". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- "The Federal Constitution – Liberal Youth" (pdf). Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- http://www.liberalyouth.org/start-your-own-branch/ Archived 30 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine.