by Stephen Tall on September 8, 2007
Lib Dem Voice asked the victor of the famous 1962 Orpington by-election, Eric Lubbock (now known as Lord Avebury), what he remembered of his first Liberal Party conference. Here’s what he told us:
It was the Assembly of 1962 in Llandudno, six months after I had been elected that March. Jo Grimond was Leader, and I think Donald Wade might have been Chief Whip, or he might have handed over to Arthur Holt by then. The other MPs were Roddy Bowen, Jeremy Thorpe and Emlyn Hooson, who had been elected at the Montgomeryshire by-election a month or so after me. I moved a resolution on housing policy, based on a policy document which had been produced by a panel I had chaired.
There was a spirit of optimism, and Jo had already begun to transform the Party. Harry Cowie was head of research, Ted Wheeler was Chief Agent, and members felt that we were on an upward trajectory, both in terms of credible policies and success at the polls. For the first time, every by-election was seen as an opportunity, and every local authority was a potential target for local activists. Maybe it has taken a bit longer than we expected, but Llandudno was the turning point when the Liberal comeback began.
What do you remember of your first party conference?
* Lord (Eric) Avebury is the Lib Dems’ sole blogging peer. You can read his eponymous blog here.