Young Liberals (UK) (Redirected from Liberal Democrat Youth and Students)

Young Liberals
PresidentTessa Munt
ChairpersonJaney Little
FoundedDecember 2016
Preceded byLiberal Youth (2008—2016)
Liberal Democrat Youth & Students (1990—2008)
HeadquartersTop Floor
1 Vincent Square
IdeologyLiberalism (British)
Social liberalism
European affiliationEuropean Liberal Youth (LYMEC)
International affiliationInternational Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY)
Colours Orange
Mother PartyLiberal Democrats
State PartyEnglish Young Liberals
Scottish Young Liberals
Welsh Young Liberals
30 / 18,725

Young Liberals is the youth and student organisation of the British Liberal Democrats. Membership is automatic for members of the Liberal Democrats aged 25 and under, whilst those between the ages of 26 - 30 are able to opt-in free of charge. It organises a number of fringe events at the Liberal Democrat Conference, which is held twice each year.

Young Liberals exists to campaign on issues affecting young people and students, with branches across the UK. The organisation is run by young people and acts as a pressure group within the Liberal Democrats.[citation needed]

Social liberalism, economic liberalism, social justice, internationalism and pro-Europeanism are important components of the group's political philosophy.[citation needed]

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 various Liberal Democrat committees, such as the Party's Federal Board.[citation needed]

Young Liberals is affiliated to both the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY) and European Liberal Youth. Its predecessors include Liberal Youth, founded in 2008, and Liberal Democrat Youth & Students, founded in 1990. The earliest organisations were the National League of Young Liberals (NLYL), founded in 1903 and the Union of Liberal Students (ULS), founded in 1920.

Organisation and structure

Federal organisation

Young Liberals is the main party, organised in Great Britain on a federal basis, comprising Welsh Young Liberals in Wales, Scottish Young Liberals in Scotland and English Young Liberals in England.[citation needed]


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, Accessibility, Diversity and Standards 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.

Role Name
Chair Janey Little
Vice Chair Nathan Hunt
Finance Officer Lucas North
Communications Officer Caitlin Richardson and Harvey Jones
Campaigns Officer Felix Andrew
Membership Development Officer Joshan Parmar
Branch Development Officer Callum Clark and Emily Baker
Events Officer Katharine Macy
Policy Officer Rebecca Jones
International Officer Seán Bennett and Kai Pischke
Accessibility, Diversity and Standards Officer Lucy Tonge
Racial Equity, Diversity and Liberation Officer (REDL) Aaminah Saleem
Non-Portfolio Officer Liv Walker
English Young Liberals Chair James Green and Joe Norris
Welsh Young Liberals Chair Josh Rutty and Leena Farhat
Scottish Young Liberals Chair Leo Dempster

Honorary roles

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.

Role Name
Honorary President Tessa Munt
Honorary Vice-President Emily Tester
Chloe Hutchinson
James Arrowsmith
Elizabeth Barnard
Charley Hasted
James Bliss


In addition to the Executive, there are six 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 and Diversity Committee, representatives from each of the three state organisations.[citation needed]

Campaigns Committee

Role Name
Campaigns Officer Felix Andrew
Elected Members Nathan Eve
Harry Marston
State Representatives England Noah Allerton
Scotland Vacant
Wales Ianto Evans
Non-voting members
Communications Officers Caitlin Richardson
Harvey Jones
International Committee Rep Vacant

Events Committee

Role Name
Events Officer Katharine Macy
Elected Members Adam Belcher
Sam Cumber
State Representatives England Huw James
Scotland Vacant
Wales Joshua Rutty
Non-voting members
Membership Development Officer Ollie Bradfield
Accessibility, Diversity and Standards Officer Lucy Tonge
Policy Officer Rebecca Jones

Policy Committee

Role Name
Policy Officer Rebecca Jones
Elected Members Nathan Hunt
Sakeena Sanders
State Representatives England James Bliss
Scotland Vacant
Wales Brendan Roberts

International Congress Delegates Committee

Role Name
Co-International Officers Sean Bennett and Kai Pischke
Elected Members Adam Lawless
Eleanor Kelly
Arthur Wu

Communications Committee

Role Name
Communications Officer Caitlin Richardson
Harvey Jones
Elected Members Noah Scull
Olivia Walker
State Representatives England Will Tenison & Sean Bennet
Scotland Vacant
Wales Preben Vangberg
Non-voting members
Campaigns Officer Felix Andrew
Membership Development Officer Ollie Bradfield

Diversity Committee

Role Name
Accessibility, Diversity and Standards Officer Lucy Tonge
Elected Members
BAME Representative David Ademola
Disabled Representative Ben Foulsham
LGBA+ Representative Miguel Smith
Trans Representative Katy Sykes
Care Experienced Representative Brendan Roberts
Social Mobility Representative Brad Jones
Under 18 Representative Vacant
Women's Representative Abigail Bowden
Carers Representative Vacant


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.[citation needed] Liberal Youth Northern Ireland maintains a close working relationship with Alliance Youth, the youth wing of the Alliance Party.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

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 effect of removing an officer from their position and require a two thirds majority in order to pass.[citation needed]

All Conferences following Manchester 2021, the first in person conference following the COVID-19 pandemic, are held as hybrid conferences. Hybrid conferences allow members to join in debates via Confera, an in-house developed and bespoke software package (and mobile app) which allows hybrid participation and voting in democratic events.[citation needed]

Conference locations

Year Summer Conference/Activate Venue[citation needed] Winter Conference Venue[citation needed] Notes
2010 England University of Manchester, Manchester England University of York, York
2011 'None' England University of Essex Essex conference called "Autumn Conference" no Activate held
2012 England Adversane, Billingshurst England Manchester
2013 England Watchfield, Oxfordshire Wales Cardiff
2014 England Cambridge None
Winter Conference Venue Summer Conference/Activate Venue
2015 England Leeds England Birmingham From 2015 Winter Conference was held at the start of the year instead of the end
2016 Scotland Edinburgh England Bristol
2017 England Sheffield England University of Nottingham, Nottingham
2018 England Oxford Wales Swansea University, Swansea
2019 Scotland Glasgow England London
2020 None Online Summer Conference was due to be held in Birmingham, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 Online England Manchester/Online hybrid Winter Conference was due to be held in-person, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer Conference first conference to be a hybrid conference and allow attendance online and in person.
2022 Scotland Edinburgh England Birmingham All conferences from Manchester 2021 onwards are a hybrid conference so both conferences hybrid.
2023 England Reading England Gateshead

Special Conferences

In addition to the two ordinary Conferences the Young Liberals may also hold additional "Special Conferences". The Special Conferences require a requisition submitted to the Young Liberals Federal Executive signed by 40 full members, including at least 4 members of each State Organisation. The Special Conferences debates business specified in the requisition, although additional business may be taken at the discretion of the Executive.[citation needed]

The threshold of a Special Conference used to be significantly higher, standing at 200 members, however with the success of Online Conferences it was lowered as they could be held online with ease.[citation needed]

Year Special Conference Venue Purpose Notes
2022 Online "Young Liberals Endorsements for Party President" Formally endorsed Mark Pack for President of the Liberal Democrats in Liberal Democrat Internal Elections.


Liberal Democrat mergers

The Liberal Party and the SDP each had separate student and youth wings, including the Young Liberals and the Young Social Democrats 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.

The organisation was then 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).

List of chairs

Organisation Name Term in Office Notes
Young Liberals Janey Little 2022-2023
Fergus Ustianowski 2022 Co-Chairs
Janey Little
Eleanor Kelly 2021–2022
Tara Copeland 2021 Co-Chairs
Callum Robertson
Matt Craven 2021 Acting Chair
Callum Robertson 2020 - 2021 Co-Chairs
Jack Worrall
Tara Copeland 2019 - 2020
Callum James Littlemore 2018 - 2019 Co-Chairs
Dan Schmeising
Finn Conway 2018 Elected on 27 July following resignation of previous chair.
Thomas Gravatt 2018 Acting Chair
Thomas Gravatt 2017 - 2018
Charlie Kingsbury 2016 - 2017
Liberal Youth Michael Chappell 2015 - 2016 Co-Chairs
Charlie Kingsbury
Alex Harding 2014 - 2015
Sarah Harding 2013 - 2014
Sam Fisk 2013 Chair; Elected following Tom Wood's resignation.
Kavya Kaushik
Tom Wood 2011 - 2013 Resigned part way through second term
Martin Shapland 2010 - 2011
Elaine Bagshaw 2008 - 2010 Resigned part way through second term
Liberal Democrat
Youth and Students
Mark Gettleson 2006 - 2008
Gez Smith 2005 - 2006
Chris Lomax 2004 - 2005
Brian Robson 2003 - 2004
Alison Goldsworthy 2002 - 2003
Miranda Piercy 2000 - 2002
Geoff Payne 1999–2000
Polly Martin 1998–1999
Hywel Morgan 1997–1998
Ruth Berry 1996–1997
Tim Prater 1995–1996
Phil Jones 1995
Alex Wilcock 1994–1995
Kiron Reid 1993–1994

See also

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