"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
- Preamble to the Liberal Democrat constitution
Who We Are
The University of Essex Liberal Democrats exists as a group for all liberal minded students, whether members of our party or not, to discuss politics, organise campaigns, and meet likeminded people.
As a party the Liberal Democrats have a history going back over 150 years to the founding of the Liberal Party in 1859 and acts as the successor to two of the great reformist traditions in British politics - those of Liberalism and Social Democracy. Our modern party came into existence in 1988 with the merger of the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party who had been working together under the SDP-Liberal Alliance. Since that time we have always offered a forward-looking alternative to the out dated two-party system that has dominated British politics.
We are a genuinely internationalist party, believing that we should be open to the world and all the many opportunities it brings and rejecting the insular ideologies of those who wish to turn back the clocks or hide behind walls. We believe in a Britain at the heart of Europe and that nations must cooperate to eliminate poverty, tackle climate change, and prevent conflict.
If you want to fight for an open, tolerant, and united country that looks outwards, not inwards, if you support sensible, evidence-based policy and believe in the value of human rights and individual dignity then you have a home in our party.
What We Do
Besides regular socials that allow you to meet other liberals and engage in lively discussion and debate on a variety of topics, we regularly host guest speakers and organise panel debates with other societies. Over the past few years we have had the pleasure of meeting current and former MPs and a wide variety of other speakers from both within the party and beyond. Recent speakers have included;
Vince Cable - Member of Parliament for Twickenham and Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2017
Ed Davey - Member of Parliament for Kingston and Surbiton
David Laws - Former Member of Parliament for Yeovil (2001 - 2015)
Lord Oates - Former Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett - Former Chair of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats
Lord Paddick - London Mayoral Candidate 2008 & 2012
Usama Hasan - Head of Islamic Studies at the Quilliam Foundation
Our panel debates are organised in cooperation with many other societies and cover a wide variety of topics. Over the last few years our society has been involved with panels on the topics of; women in politics, the future of Europe and the EU, the legacy of the Beveridge Report, and many more. Additionally, we participated in an all-party debate prior to the 2017 General Election and are involved with the regular 'Question Time'-style debates organised by the Politics Society.
Our local activities have focussed on trying to improve our community to benefit both students and local people, with campaigns and petitions such as our effort to improve night bus services in Colchester gaining significant support. We also support many of the excellent local Liberal Democrat councillors in Colchester and have been involved with numerous election campaigns, meaning there are many opportunities to join us on campaigning days throughout the year.
Kieron Franks (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Callum Robertson (email@example.com)
Secretary and Welfare Officer
Julia Heimann (firstname.lastname@example.org)