By Dr Matt Cole
On Wednesday 15 June, the Richard Wainwright Liberals and Liberal Democrats was launched at a meeting in the Jubilee Room at the Houses of Parliament where he was joined by forty Lords, MPs, political activists and commentators for a discussion on the topic ‘Where now for radical Liberalism?’ The meeting was addressed by political figures from across parties and generations, including longest-serving Lib Dem MP Sir Alan Beith and Lisa Nandy, the 31-year-old Labour MP for Wigan.
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes described the book as “compulsory reading for the next generation of Liberal Democrat leaders” and the meeting was chaired by noted QC and author Baroness Helena Kennedy. Other contributors included former Liberal Leader Lord David Steel and Lord Greaves of Pendle, and amongst those present were Newsnight’s Michael Crick, BBC Parliament’s Mark D’Arcy, and representatives from think-tanks including the IPPR, Centre Forum, Unlock Democracy and the Joseph Rowntree Trust.
Dr Cole addressed a second launch meeting on Monday 20 June at the National Liberal Club in Whitehall, where a fifty-strong gathering of the Liberal Democrat History Group heard from Dr Cole, Lord Dholakia, Lady Floella Benjamin and Lady Clare Tyler.
Daniel Finkelstein writing in The Times (23 June 2011) described Richard Wainwright, the Liberals and Liberal Democrats as “engrossing” and “fascinating”, saying “reading Cole’s book, I found Wainwright’s life admirable and moving.”