Ed Davey in front of a crowd holding Liberal Democrat posters

Understanding Membership, Councillors and MPs

When voting, remember to consider whether it's a local or national election. MPs represent at the national level, while Councillors serve locally, like in Gateshead Council, focusing on community issues.


  1. Gateshead Council Representatives: Councillors are elected representatives who serve at the level of Gateshead Council, the local authority responsible for governing the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead.

  2. Local Decision-Making: Councillors participate in decision-making processes on a range of local issues specific to Gateshead, including planning and development within the borough, education policies for local schools, social services provision, transportation infrastructure, and public safety measures.

  3. Community Engagement: Councillors engage with residents of Gateshead through regular surgeries, public meetings, and community events. They act as the voice between residents and Gateshead Council, advocating for their needs and addressing their concerns regarding local governance matters.

  4. Committee Work: Councillors serve on various committees and subcommittees within Gateshead Council, where they review policies, scrutinize proposals, and make recommendations on matters affecting the borough, such as housing initiatives, environmental initiatives, economic development plans, and social welfare programs.

  5. Policy Development: Councillors contribute to the development of local policies and strategies specific to Gateshead, collaborating with fellow councillors, council officers, and community stakeholders to address issues such as housing affordability, environmental sustainability within the borough, economic regeneration projects, and social inclusion programs tailored to the needs of Gateshead residents.

  6. Budget Oversight: Councillors are involved in the budgeting process of Gateshead Council, where they allocate funds for local services and projects within the borough. They ensure that financial resources are utilized effectively and in line with Gateshead's priorities, such as investing in infrastructure improvements, supporting community organizations, and delivering essential public services.

  7. Representing Gateshead Council: Councillors represent Gateshead Council at public events, meetings with local stakeholders, and regional or national forums. They advocate for the interests of Gateshead residents and promote collaboration with other authorities to address common challenges facing the borough and the wider region.

Councillors are distinct from MPs as they serve at the local level, such as Gateshead Council, focusing on borough-specific governance and community representation. MPs represent you in parliamentary constituencies at the national level.

Member of Parliament (MP):

  1. National Legislative Representatives: MPs are elected to represent parliamentary constituencies at the national level in the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK Parliament.

  2. Lawmaking: MPs participate in the legislative process by debating and voting on proposed laws (bills) and amendments. They also scrutinize government policies and hold the executive branch accountable through parliamentary inquiries and debates.

  3. Constituency Work: MPs undertake constituency casework, assisting constituents with issues such as housing, immigration, healthcare, and benefits. They hold regular surgeries and engage with constituents through various channels to address their concerns.

  4. Policy Advocacy: MPs advocate for the interests of their constituents and promote policy changes on national issues, representing their constituency's views and preferences in parliamentary debates and discussions.

  5. Party Representation: MPs often belong to a political party and may hold positions within their party's leadership or parliamentary committees. They represent their party's platform and values while also balancing the interests of their constituents.

  6. Budget Scrutiny: MPs scrutinize the government's budget proposals and expenditure, ensuring that public funds are allocated appropriately and effectively to address national priorities.

  7. National Representation: MPs represent the UK's interests both domestically and internationally, engaging with foreign diplomats, participating in parliamentary delegations, and contributing to debates on global issues.

MPs are distinct from Councillors in that they represent parliamentary constituencies at the national level, whereas Councillors serve at the local level, such as Gateshead Council, focusing on borough-specific governance and community representation.

Casual and Formal Memberships

Casual Member:

A casual Liberal Democrat member is a person who supports the party but does not hold an formal membership (see below). 

Casual members can engage in various activities to support us:

  1. Stay Informed: Casual members can stay informed about the party's policies, initiatives, and events by following updates on the party's website, social media channels, and newsletters.

  2. Attend Events: While they may not attend every party meeting or event, casual members can participate in occasional rallies, public meetings, or social gatherings organized by the party to show support and solidarity.

  3. Contribute Financially: Casual members can contribute financially to the party's fundraising efforts by making donations or purchasing party merchandise. This helps the party fund its activities and campaigns.

  4. Spread Awareness: Casual members can help raise awareness about the party and its platform by sharing information with friends, family, and colleagues. This can be done through conversations, social media posts, or distributing party literature.

  5. Volunteer: While they may not commit to regular volunteer work, casual members can offer their time and skills on an ad-hoc basis, such as assisting with campaign activities, helping organize events, or participating in community outreach efforts.

  6. Participate in Public Engagement: Casual members can participate in public debates, discussions, or consultations organized by the party to gather input on policy issues or community concerns. Their perspectives can help inform the party's decision-making process.

  7. Vote in Elections: Perhaps the most significant contribution casual members can make is exercising their right to vote for the party's candidates in local, regional, and national elections. Their votes help determine the party's electoral success and representation in government.

Lib Dem Members

Formal Member:

A formal member of the Liberal Democrats is an individual who has formally joined and affiliated themselves with us. Being a formal member typically involves paying membership fees, abiding by the party's rules and principles, and participating in the party's activities and decision-making processes.

  1. Participating in Party Activities: Members often attend meetings, events, and rallies organized by the party to support its objectives and engage with like-minded individuals.

  2. Voting in Party Elections: Members have the opportunity to vote in internal party elections, such as leadership contests or candidate selections for elections. Their votes help determine the direction and leadership of the party.

  3. Contributing to Policy Development: Parties often invite input from their members when formulating policies or deciding on the party's stance on specific issues. Members may participate in policy forums, debates, or surveys to provide their perspectives.

  4. Campaigning: Members actively participate in electoral campaigns, canvassing voters, distributing leaflets, and mobilizing support for the party's candidates during elections.

  5. Representing the Party: Some members may stand as candidates for political office, representing their party in local, regional, or national elections. If elected, they become public representatives of the party's values and priorities.


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