Want to fly the Liberal Democrat banner in 2022 (or maybe sooner)?

It is easy to forget sometimes that a majority of Liberal Democrat members have joined since the 2015 General Election. Even in my rural corner of England that is Mid Suffolk, membership numbers have increased by more than 150%. What that means is a huge infusion of new blood, potentially willing to hold aloft the Party banner in elections, if only they could find out how. Perhaps I can help…

It may surprise some readers to hear that the process of selecting Parliamentary candidates is already underway in some constituencies. In some cases, they might represent potential target seats for 2022, in others a reflection of a reasonably held fear of another snap General Election. What that means is that an enthusiastic new member, willing to be a Parliamentary candidate, may find that the option is effectively closed off before they have a chance to take part.

So, how does the process work? Put simply, you need to apply for approval as a potential candidate, complete the application form, attend (and pass!) an assessment day and, hey presto, you’re free to compete in any selection you are interested in, as and when they are advertised. Sounds simple, in principle…

The catch is that it takes time. The form has to be processed by the Candidates Office at Party HQ, an assessment day needs to be organised within reach of where you live. And, given that the Regional Candidate Chairs, the assessors and facilitators are all volunteers, and that you need a critical mass of applicants to be able to run an assessment day, it won’t happen immediately.

So, if you’re interested, find out more. And even if you haven’t got a particular seat in mind, but are confident that you’d be interested, then there’s no time like the present, because you never know when your opportunity will come. Just ask Sarah Olney…

For more information, check out the Party’s website. And don’t forget, your Local Party might be keen to have a local candidate, and be able to support you with knowledge and experience.

* Mark Valladares is one of the Party’s Senior Returning Officers, and a former Parliamentary Candidate Assessor.

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