There are currently three Honorary Presidents of the Lib Dems Overseas:
Sal Brinton was introduced to the House of Lords in 2011. She was appointed Co-Chair (and Liberal Democrat spokesperson in the Lords) for Health in November 2013. Sal also has interests in skills, further and higher education; bullying (she chairs the APPG Bullying). In 2011 she sat on the All Party Inquiry into stalking, and worked to get the change in law on stalking, which came into effect in 2012.
Sal was the Liberal Democrats' candidate for MP in the Watford constituency in 2010 and 2005 general elections, coming second in both. She stood in South East Cambridgeshire in 2001 and 1997. She was a Cambridgeshire County Councillor from 1993 to 2004, holding the education portfolio from 1993-97, and then Leader of the Opposition.
Ben Stoneham has been a Lib Dem Peer since 2011
Born in Kent and educated at Cambridge and Warwick Universities, he spent most of his career in the newspaper industry as Managing Director of a local newspaper company and Operations Director with News International. He has had a strong interest in housing and regeneration, currently chairing the Housing 21 Group.
George Cunningham is Chair of the LibDems Abroad Steering Committee, established in 2022 to coordinate the three local parties abroad in preparation for the next UK General Election and to establish them better within the LibDem party's structure. He is also LibDems Overseas Membership Development Officer. Chair of the Federal International Relations Subcommittee on China and a representative of the party on the Council of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE). Previously George was Chair of Lib Dems Overseas (2018-21) and both Chair (2016) and Vice-Chair (2014-15, 2017) of the former Brussels and Europe LibDems. As a former EU diplomat and UN official, he is an internationalist, active in the defence of the liberal world order. His full bio can be found here.
I grew up in Cornwall and lived in London and the Caribbean. I am a marketing specialist with a focus on international finance, helping businesses grow, and supporting the Liberal Democrats. I also have a love of anything to do with the sea.
I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2015, just before the coalition came to an end. I felt and still feel passionately that the party has a place in politics that represents a significant section of the population, and it is important for both current and future generations that this voice is protected and heard.
I grew up in South East England (London,Kent,Hampshire) and graduated from Durham University where I studied Politics,Economics and Law. I live with my wife in Philadelphia and have a married daughter and two grandchildren.
I have spent almost all of my adult life working in South and North America (Peru,Bolivia,Guatemala and the USA). Since my early thirties I have worked as a Chief Executive with both industrial and trading companies. Most recently, in the last ten to fifteen years, I have worked in a more specialised role as a turnaround for sale CEO.
I first became actively involved with the Liberal Party at university and attended a Party Conference as a delegate. I continue to believe that the Party has a very great deal to offer as it represents decentralization, empowerment, openness and fairness and, in my opinion, needs to deliver its positions with a far steadier hand. There is an immense gap in the centre that the Liberal Democrats must fill. From there it needs to take power not become an important influencer.
I was born in London and have also lived in East Sussex and Wiltshire. I have been living in Malaysia since 2009 and will probably be staying here for the long term. I work for a US based company that provides software solutions for the telecoms industry. I've been a member of the Liberal Democrat party since June 2016.
I am keen to help represent the unique issues that expatriates face. Most of the policy objectives of the Lib Dems Overseas are things that either affect me personally or will do in the future such as 'frozen pensions'.
I also look after the LDO website.
I was born and grew up in Lancashire and have since lived in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Following university I have spent my career in finance. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family, cycling, sailing and hiking.
I joined the Liberal Democrats post the Brexit referendum as they stuck to the centre ground whilst others headed off to the extremes. It is important that the key liberal values of decentralising power, social and environmental justice, internationalism and belief in a market based economy continue to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
I am currently serving my second term as Treasurer of LDO.
After university in the UK, I was active in my local Liberal party helping to achieve some successes (most notably in Vauxhall and Bermondsey). I qualified as a Chartered Accountant moving to Hong Kong in 1986. 35 years later I am still in Asia!! I first enjoyed an 8-year spell building up and ultimately becoming CEO of a SE Asian regional stockbroker, during which time I also lived in Singapore and Malaysia.
I then joined Standard Chartered Bank as country manager for Thailand. Later, in Thailand, I set up my own consulting and accounting firm eventually merging it with the Mazars global partnership in 2009 and then going on to build Mazars presence in Japan. Recently I have performed an APAC development role, based out of Thailand, which has also involved establishing Mazars full operation in Taiwan.
George Cunningham is Chair of the LibDems Abroad Steering Committee, established in 2022 to coordinate the three local parties abroad in preparation for the next UK General Election and to establish them better within the LibDem party's structure. He is also LibDems Overseas Membership Development Officer. Chair of the Federal International Relations Subcommittee on China and a representative of the party on the Council of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE). Previously George was Chair of Lib Dems Overseas (2018-21) and both Chair (2016) and Vice-Chair (2014-15, 2017) of the former Brussels and Europe LibDems. As a former EU diplomat and UN official, he is an internationalist, active in the defence of the liberal world order.
As an architectural conservator I am passionate about built heritage and sensitive to the idea of “place” - the essential element which binds communities together.
Over the last few years, I have watched in dismay as the Conservatives attempt to reverse the truths of being British in the twenty-first century. Such bigotry cannot stand. We must continue to advance humans rights, equality for all, a caring and fair society, a fully-funded health service, true “levelling up” for the coming green revolution and closer relationships with our European neighbours.
I grew up in Brighton before heading to the City of London Polytechnic to study Business. After joining the Student Democrats, my first step into activism was to march against the Tory government of this time, when they replaced student education grants with loans.
New York City has been my home since 2001, where I live with my husband and two children. I have worked in Human Resources all my career.
I consider myself a Liberal Democrat as the party has compassionate and practical social policies, is strong on the environment and international affairs. I was very excited to join the new North America branch this year. I am truly inspired by the opportunity to engage with fellow Liberals abroad and in the UK.
I am determined to ensure there is a successful Liberal Democrat party that represents British values for integrity, fairness and equality at home and abroad.
I am one of the 10,000 Hongkongers who has been beaten and arrested by the Hong Kong Police since June 2019.
Many people around the world speak up for Hong Kong. If you are one of them, I am thankful to you. It is important for us to know that friends in international society who believe in liberal and democratic values stand with us. I am also grateful to Lib Dems Overseas connecting us all with each other.
I have over 5 years of experience to offer which was gained from being very active with the Lib Dems UK, Lib Dems in Europe Exec and Brussels & Europe Lib Dems Exec. I joined the UK Lib Dems after being inspired by active members who impressed me with their endless drive and ambition to achieve a better society and country for themselves and their family - a country they can be proud of and want to live in.
I have been politically active since 2014 with the Lib Dems. I campaigned actively during the 2015 and 2017 UK general elections, and also during the 2016 UK/EU Referendum.
I have attended all Lib Dem conferences in the UK as well as all Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe (ALDE) Congresses as a delegate throughout this period. In 2014, I campaigned as a volunteer for the Swedish Liberal Democrats party, Folkepartiet.
The EU referendum made me take stock of my involvement in politics, reigniting my passion to be more actively involved with the Liberal Democrats, support fair votes for all and act to stop the climate crisis.
I grew up in Dorset and spent my young adult life living in London before moving to Canada in 2017 settling in Toronto, Ontario. I now work in the Advertising Technology industry as a Data Manager. I have been interested in politics since my teens studying Political Science and Philosophy university. Since university I have been long-term supporter of Liberal Democrat policies.
Most of my working life has been overseas (Congo, USA and Indonesia) in oil and financial services. Consequently, I took relatively little interest in British politics. That is, until the Brexit ‘disaster’ which I saw as a retrograde step for my country. That is when I decided to join the Lib-Dems as they were strongly pro-Europe.
I would like to see the party taking stronger initiatives on issues such as immigration, which has a big impact on voter emotions. The present chaos should be replaced with a firm but humane policy but that can be achieved only by co-operation with Europe. The UK cannot resolve the issue on its own.
I have been very much involved in campaigning for some half a million UK retirees overseas whose pensions have been frozen by a quirk of fate and successive unsympathetic governments. After 70 years, the campaign is beginning to gain some traction!
I have lived for almost half my life outside of the UK, having grown up in Central Africa and then living in South Africa and latterly in the Middle East. Working for a global software company for the past 25 years, I have delivered programmes and experienced life in many countries and cultures across Europe, Africa and Middle East. I have always had an interest in current affairs but Brexit and experiencing the impact of the removal of European Citizenship from British Citizens triggered my political senses.
I am particularly interested in international development issues and how the global North must actively support developing countries to adapt their economies, now critical due to the global climate crisis. The impact of policies by our government and others is seen daily in the English Channel. The UK cannot resolve these issues in isolation, but being outside the largest trading block on the planet combined with recent reductions in aid budgets and the demise of DFID, requires a radical change in policy and action.
Stephen Yolland, known professionally and politically by everyone as ‘Yolly’, joined the Liberal Party while still at school. Like many of us, cutting his teeth on local community politics in Bournemouth and Southampton, he progressed steadily through the ranks until he stood as the Liberal-SDP Alliance candidate for Fareham in Hampshire, garnering 32% of the vote.
Yolly moved to Australia in 1987, considering himself (with many others) a refugee from Thatcherism. He always, though, maintained a very active interest in the party, maintaining friendships and regularly communicating with many of those he had met during his active UK-based roles, including Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown, Simon Titley, Roger Hayes and many others, and writing for various party journals including Liberator. In recent years he has been active in a number of social media fora.
In Australia he was the brains behind the Australian Democrats federal election campaign in 1983, and advisor to the party leadership, helping to achieve what is still the largest national vote for a third party in modern Australian politics. He coined the notable party slogan “Give A Damn” as a direct response to perceived election weariness in the electorate.
A noted public speaker (formerly the British Public Speaking Champion) and writer, Yolly lives in Melbourne with his wife Jenie, and near his daughter Caitlin.
Merlene currently divides her time between the UK and Singapore, following a varied career as a corporate lawyer, community mediator and housing association Chair. She co-founded Chinese Liberal Democrats (CLD) in 2006 as a bridge between the party and the Chinese & SE Asian diaspora communities in the UK, stood as a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate in Hammersmith in 2010 and for the Greater London Assembly in 2012 and 2016.
She was editor of the first CLD publication “UK-China Twinned Cities” (2013) and co-edited a book of essays on the “Rise of China – Fresh Insights and Observations (2021) published by the Paddy Ashdown Forum.
Merlene was awarded an MBE in 2016 for political and public service.
I first became interested in the Liberals during the 1970 General Election during the hustings at College when only the Liberal candidate made any sense. I began supporting the old Liberal Party in 1974 and finally got around to joining in 1979. I was elected to St Albans District Council in 1982 and held my seat until I retired in 1998 after I moverd to Berkhamsted. I then was Parliamentary candidate for the Lib Dems at the 2001 election in Hertsmere.
I moved to New Zealand in 2002 and became disenfranchised last year.
Lib Dems Overseas offers an opportunity to support the interests of expats as well as being an opportunity to reignite Liberal Democratic principles in my adopted home.
Stephen Castree is a serial entrepreneur who has lived and worked in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda for the last 20 years having grown up in Buckinghamshire.
Having operated companies with a presence in more than 25 countries around the world, his current focus is in financial services, mine action and farming with a latest organisation focusing on climate change initiatives.
Stephen attended the Autumn Liberal Democrat conference in the U.K. as a first time attended in 2019 and holds central political views supporting the free market economy whilst focusing on provision of government services to target a balanced redistribution of wealth to ensure the divides in society are balanced and not extreme. He holds a BA Degree and MBA from the University of Birmingham, a DEUG from the Universite de Lyon, is a UK Chartered Accountant and is currently pursuing his BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the Open University.