The Social Liberal Forum has voted in a new top team to take it forward, appointing a new Director Prateek Buch, Political Director Martin Tod, and electing two Co-Chairs, Naomi Smith and Gareth Epps. Several of the team have been heavily involved in successful SLF campaigns including the Liberal Democrat campaign against the NHS Bill, and in taking forward progressive Liberal Democrat policies in a wide variety of areas. They will bring both dynamism and experience of political campaigning both inside and outside the Party to their new roles. Mark Blackburn had announced his decision to step down as Director after Autumn Conference due to business commitments. David Hall-Matthews had come to the end of his term as Chair. The SLF has been celebrating a triumph in Government with the pension reforms delivered by Liberal Democrat Minister Steve Webb MP. A SLF-authored policy motion was adopted by the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference in Spring 2012. The Social Liberal Forum has also strongly influenced adopted Party strategy, determining the Party’s independence going into the 2015 General Election. Naomi said: “Progressive politics is alive and well in the Liberal Democrats through the vehicle of the Social Liberal Forum. As a forum we seek to nurture debate and alliance between progressives from all political parties and campaign organisations. Under our new leadership we will build on the proud history of social liberalism within our Party and work towards the rejection of tribalism, class based politics and anti-state libertarianism. It’s a very exciting time for the SLF.” Gareth said: “The Social Liberal Forum has gone on a ‘journey’ of its own in the first half of this Coalition. Under the leadership of David Hall-Matthews and Mark Blackburn SLF has gone from strength to strength. We are not only playing a leading role in enacting policy in the Liberal Democrats, but are seeing some of our Ministers deliver in Government too. “As we enter into a critical period for the future direction and strength for the Liberal Democrats, we have a strong new team to develop a strong Liberal platform for the 2015 election. As the Conservatives increasingly abandon any traces of progressive politics, we will continue to be vigilant against further attempts to move the Coalition in the discredited direction of the 1980s.”
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