This is probably the first comprehensive biographical Index (in fourteen individual regional sections) to appear of the individuals who have contested a UK parliamentary election under the designation Liberal, Liberal Democrat and Social Democrat, over the years 1945-2019. Directories have appeared listing candidates of all parties, election by election, though usually with scant biographical detail.
Inevitably many entries in this series of regional indices, despite exhaustive research over twenty years, are incomplete and/or contain errors of identification etc. Many entries, particularly with respect to the many ’paper candidates’ fielded, eg in the General Elections of 1950, 2015, 2017 and 2019, are woefully thin. Corrections and additional information from readers will be most welcome.
e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Research will be on-going. New information will appear in up-dated editions of the regional indices, together with entries on new candidates in parliamentary elections and by-elections which occur after January 2020.
A typical entry includes details of birth and death, where known, education, school/college/university), career(s), elected local government offices held (though periods of service are often imprecise), party offices held, noteworthy distinctions/achievements, honours, publications etc, etc. Information on previous (or subsequent) activities with respect to other political parties is often included. Spouse and family often receive notice. Entries vary in length and presentation, reflecting the scale of the contribution which an individual made to the Party and political life in the region or nationally, to parliament or his/her achievements in wider spheres of activity. Reference is made to family background, ethnicity, religious affiliation and very occasionally, sexual orientation, to illustrate the enormous diversity and heterogeneity of Liberal/Liberal Democrat activists over the post-World War II era.
Opinions expressed, concerning some of the more colourful personalities listed, are those generally held. Entries for those candidates who have contested elections in more than one region often differ in order and wording, and to a lesser degree in content, from one regional directory to another. A partial explanation for this is that the various regional directories have been compiled separately over two decades, from many different sources of information.
Hopefully this series of indices will provide information useful to historians, scholars and for party members and will serve to revive memories of colleagues and personalities of yesteryear. Furthermore, it will serve as a collective tribute to the many hundreds of individuals who felt committed enough to allow their names to go forward for nomination in the cause of Liberalism, particularly during the long periods when the Party’s fortunes have been in almost total eclipse.
Lionel King, July 2020