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Here in the Weston-super-Mare constituency our Liberal Democrat Councillors are working hard with colleagues from across North Somerset and with Council officers to support our communities through the current Corona Virus crisis. Find help and useful information here: corona virus update

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  • Article: May 15, 2020

    Before being an MP, I was a teacher. I'm keenly aware that every day schools remain shut the disadvantage gap widens and the students in need of the most support from teachers and support staff are being left behind. More than this, it's the most vulnerable children I'm most worried about. Are they eating? Are they safe, let alone learning?

  • Article: May 14, 2020

    How do we improve as a party and achieve greater success in future elections?

    That's the theme running through the bumper set of key decisions the Federal Board is looking at next week at our meeting. (Or rather meetings, as to avoid Zoom fatigue, we're splitting one long meeting into halves on consecutive nights.)

  • Article: May 14, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    Taxi drivers, hairdressers, cleaners, childcare providers and millions more self-employed people have seen their incomes evaporate as people rightly stay at home to save lives. They desperately need the Government to support them.

    We're urging the Government to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in full until October

  • Article: May 13, 2020

    Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come.

    For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibWhips

    Weekly Whip w/c 11th April

    Monday 11th May

    The Commons started the day with the Department for Work and Pensions questions. Munira Wilson asked what recent assessment has been made of the potential merits of increasing the Carer's Allowance.

  • Article: May 13, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    Reports suggest that the NHS tracing app is set to be rolled out nationwide by end of next week, despite concerns about privacy and misuse of personal data.

    That's why we're calling on the government to bring forward a new "Safe Trace App Law", to ensure the Government's coronavirus tracing app is safe and effective.

  • Article: May 12, 2020

    The Furlough scheme has helped protect jobs and it is something the Liberal Democrats have campaigned to protect.

    So we are delighted the Government has done just that and adopted many of our ideas.

    However there are still millions of people that need significant help through this challenging period.

  • Article: May 12, 2020
    By Helen Burton

    I can't believe it was a year ago I was elected as an Eastbourne Borough Councillor, the time has absolutely flown by. What a year it's been, and who could have imagined a year ago that I would be writing this during lockdown in the middle of a pandemic, a crisis affecting local councils across the country?

  • Article: May 11, 2020

    Govt must act to stop mass redundancies in critical moment for our economy

    The furlough scheme is protecting 1 in 5 workers from redundancy.

    But this protection is under threat. The Chancellor said last week he wants to "wind down the scheme" while another senior Conservative has insultingly suggested that people are "too willing to stay at home".

    This is wrong. Ending the scheme too early would be a disaster for millions of families and our economy.

  • Mark Pack
    Article: May 11, 2020
    By Mark Pack: Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    The delay in this year's elections means even more people than usual are thinking over the summer whether or not they wish to stand for election next spring.

    Moreover, for all the glorious gains in last May's local elections, they also showed how far the party still has to go in standing more often. The Liberal Democrats only contested half the seats up for election last May. So I hope that in addition to more people than usual thinking about standing, more people than usual are also encouraging others to think about standing.

    Of course, saying yes to standing isn't the right answer for everyone. There's a whole bundle of factors that go into making the right decision, from the electoral through to the personal.

    In particular, knowing what it takes to be a good candidate and then a good councillor is vital to winning elections - and to then making something out of the opportunity the voters have given you.

    So here are seven questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of standing in the elections next May:

    What will you do differently from a councillor of another party?
    There are decent people who will be conscientious and work hard in (just about) every party, and even in the most rural of wards, there is more than one person who is local to the ward. So what will you bring to it that makes you more than just a good councillor from any old party? What makes you a Liberal Democrat in how you go about the role?

    What do you want to achieve for the ward?
    Winning elections is a means to an end. What will you do with the power and publicity opportunities that even the humblest of backbenchers in the most ostracised of opposition groups get?

    How long is it since you went to the least visited part of the ward?
    In a rural ward, it may be a clutch of farms flung out on a track a long way away from the rest of civilisation. In an urban ward, it may be a block of flats hidden away behind a locked gate with an intercom. But wherever it is - your job as a councillor requires you to really know your patch, probably better than anyone else alive (save for any ward colleagues if you have them!). If even you are neglecting an area, then chances are there are people there who feel left out and also issues there that aren't being tackled.

    How well do you really know which issues concern people in your ward?
    Do you know the name of the MP? Bingo - you're already more politically informed that the majority of voters. Yes, really. Most people spend very little time thinking about the council and even less time thinking about politics. That doesn't mean neither matter to them. But it means their priorities are driven by their lives, their families and their concerns, not by the strategic integrated framework for holistic service delivery.

    What's your two sentence answer to "Why should I vote for you?"
    All the above should give you a good idea of the answer, but it's surprising how many people don't really know the answer. Muddling through without a message might get your through - but to survive a tough contest or to do a good job once elected, you do really need to know what you are doing and why.

    What are your political and personal weaknesses?
    Answer this question honestly - and then ask yourself how much they matter to doing the job of a councillor (almost certainly more than you'd like to admit) and what you can do about them.

    Let me give one example: I've come across councillors from all parties who, fundamentally, don't really like talking to strangers. They come up with all sorts of excuses to not go canvassing and to stick with leaflets and doing stuff on the computer. The best admit these mistakes to themselves, and step by step remedy them. The worst? They never really talk to the public, sometimes wing it in a good year and get re-elected - but even when they do, they fail to shine as councillors because they carry on dodging talking to people.

    How many votes do you need to win?
    If you don't know how many votes you need, how can your campaign be run efficiently? It'd be like trying to run a business without knowing what the overall profit and loss is.

    Don't fret if you don't have good answers to all these questions yet: there is still plenty of time for you to sort that. Not many people will score a perfect set of answers to these questions - but good, talented people will recognise what needs doing and get to work. The tough part isn't having the right answers to all the questions - the tough part is being willing to admit to yourself that you might not have all the answers, and then to start doing something about that.

    Once you do, it gets easier and easier from there. So good luck - and have fun!

    One final thought: if you want to find out more generally about what winning an election involves, there is 101 Ways To Win An Election.

  • Article: May 9, 2020

    Europe Day is a reminder of the value of international cooperation.

    Only by working internationally can we effectively combat international challenges.

    It is also an opportunity to recognise the contributions EU citizens living in the UK make to our society. These friends, colleagues, neighbours, and family members enrich our lives every day.