LDO Exec

Liberal Democrats Overseas Team

2022 Executive Committee

 

 

Mark Iliffe: Chair

USA

As the chair of the Lib Dems Overseas, I'm driven to help bring together people with our shared values across the globe.

A professional geographer, I live in New York, with previous postings to Washington DC, Tanzania and Uganda working primarily on developing policy and strengthening technical capacity in developing countries. After six years of being in the field, I am currently sitting behind a desk at an international organisation.
I joined the Lib Dems in 2019 and following our nascent efforts to organise our ‘local’ branch, took on the role of interim chair to help promote and foster our internationalist and liberal principles.

Nasreen

 

Nasreen Davidson: Vice-Chair

USA

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.

 

 

Christopher: Secretary

Hong Kong

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.

 

James Churchill: Treasurer

USA

A mid-career professional, I have spent the last six years pivoting from an unfulfilling career in finance into a position that conserves our built heritage. Passionate about liberal values, I have lived throughout the world with a seven-year stint in Japan and ten years in Hong Kong. I am sensitive to the idea of “place,” which binds communities together and am fluent in Japanese and French, with conversational skills in Mandarin and Italian.
Over the last few years, I have become increasingly political as I watch the incumbent Conservative party tear at the very fabric of what I believe it is to be British in the twenty-first century: equal access for all, the protection of human rights, a caring and fair society predicated through policy, a fully funded health service, a true “levelling up” for the coming green revolution and closer relationships with our European neighbours.
Caroline

 

Caroline Padbury: Data Officer

Cayman

I grew up in Cornwall and lived in the Caribbean. I am a marketing specialist with a focus on international finance, helping small businesses grow, and of course supporting the Liberal Democrats with a variety of marketing activities. I also have a love of anything to do with the sea. It is these experiences that have shaped my values to those aligned with the Liberal Democrats, specifically the benefits of a strong economy interlinked with a fair, free and open society.

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 policy position and place in British politics that represents a significant section of the population, and it is important for both current and future generations that this voice is heard.


 

George

 

George Cunningham: Chair of LibDems Abroad Steering Committee and LDO Membership Development Officer

Asia Pacific

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.

Hauwa

 

Hauwa Usman: Executive Member

 

Nigeria

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.

Victoria

 

Victoria Bateman: Executive Member

Canada

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.

SteveC

 

Steve Castree: Executive Member

Bermuda

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.

 

Colin Bloodworth: Executive Member

Indonesia

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!

 

John Shardlow: Executive Member and Webmaster

Malaysia

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 look after the LDO website.

Paul

Paul Thompson: Executive Member

New Zealand

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.

Andrew Muir: Executive Member

Middle East

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.

 

Non-executive Coordinators

 

Merlene Toh Emerson

Singapore

 

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.

 

Bruce Darrington

Thailand

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.