Paul Fisher is elected Chair of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats

July 27, 2017 12:00 PM
By Raphaela Kitson-Pantano

Paul Fisher

Following the resignation, last month, of the former Chair of BELD amidst a plan that was to ensure that the voice of the British citizens living in Europe is heard back home, Paul Fisher stood for the position of Chair of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats Local Party and won the election.

With 60% of votes in his favour, Paul Fisher was elected on the promises to ensure the sustainable development of BELD as a regional party coordinating the development of local parties across Europe, to work towards giving the Britons abroad the right to vote beyond the 15-year threshold in recognized abroad constituencies and to work to ensure the Liberal Democrats ideas are shared and communicated as broadly as possible to support our membership and the work of the National Liberal Democrats back home.

Paul Fisher will remain Chair of the Liberal Democrats in France as these two mandates are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary and strive towards the same three goals described above.

Today, the Liberal Democrats in France are a team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers but also a constituency that has grown from barely one hundred members to over five hundred. Paul Fisher is seeking to apply the methodology used to develop the Liberal Democrats in France to promote the sustainable development of BELD and of local parties across Europe.

Paul Fisher's Manifesto for the position of Chair of BELD

My name is Paul Fisher and I am standing as a candidate for the position of Chair of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats Local Party (BELD). Born in Ramsgate, Kent in 1952, I attended the Simon Langton Grammar School and then read Physics at Imperial College. My first career was in the Royal Navy; I retired early as a Commander, after two ship commands, and staff appointments in operational HQs, Ministry of Defence and NATO Brussels. I then went onto live my second career in business whereby I started and sold small businesses. I am now permanently settled in the Corbieres in France since 2010.

A dedicated voter in Thanet South Constituency, I joined the Liberal Democrats as a result of the Brexit referendum result. I am passionate about sustainable peace, democracy and tolerance. Having travelled the world, I know "people are people" and I believe that we have to live in a global village together. In 2015 it was estimated that approximately 200 000 British citizens were living in France. Of those, many are Liberal Democrats. Until recently, the British Liberal Democrats living in France connected with the National Liberal Democrats through BELD. In September 2016, I travelled to Brussels and made the necessary arrangements to set a branch up in France. Today, the Liberal Democrats in France are a team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers but also a constituency that has grown from barely one hundred members to over five hundred.

The former Chair of BELD resigned amidst a plan that had just gotten started and that was to ensure the creation of other European branches and to ensure that the voice of the British citizens living in Europe is heard back home. If elected I commit to three key measures:

  1. I will ensure the sustainable development of BELD as a regional party coordinating the development of local parties across Europe.

The work that the former BELD Chair started is crucial as it has enabled the European expansion of the Liberal Democrats ideas among the Britons living in Europe. However, it has also put into question the positioning, remit and significance of the current BELD governance. The BELD structure is essential to the successful coordination of the various national set ups but this all needs to be rationalized in one coherent governance structure. I will ensure that BELD obtains the status of regional party whose remit will be to oversee the work of the national local parties, thereby ensuring the sustainable development of BELD.

  1. I will work towards giving the Britons abroad the right to vote beyond the 15-year threshold in recognized abroad constituencies

Had all the Britons abroad been given the right to vote in the last referendum on Brexit, the result may have proven very different. I will work collectively with the Chairs of the National parties in Europe, the BELD Executive and the National Liberal Democrats in the UK to make policy and to ensure that the voice of the British citizens living in Europe is heard through recognized abroad constituencies.

  1. I will work to ensure the Liberal Democrats ideas are shared and communicated as broadly as possible so as to support our membership and the work of the National Liberal Democrats back home.

I am a Liberal Democrat and I am pro-European. My values are "liberté, égalité, fraternité and diversité". I will work closely with all the Liberal Democrats to ensure that our ideas are shared and communicated as broadly as possible throughout Europe to ensure that back home our party grows and our number of MPs increases in the next General Election.