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Liberate the Debate

Liberate the Debate (LtD), offers a unique position amongst societies at Sussex University with an inherent nature of flexibility along political discourse.

It is our belief at LtD that freedom of speech should remain as unabated as possible, and as a practice of this we have created a politicially neutral platform whereby one can debate over any subject, and in particular those of a controversial nature (which in itself is a practice of freedom of discourse so to speak). The key thesis behind this is that by airing topics that are conventionally taboo, arguments from both sides of the coin can be discussed and debated to create a common understanding. Indeed in the current political climate as political perspectives become further and further dissimilar, much of a moderated, calm, intellectually vigorating exercise of debate can create a form of common understanding.

There are four parts that we will be running next academic year:

Firstly, we usually convene every Wednesday between 1930-2130, and will post specific details on our Facebook page.

Most importantly, bring a drink or two to slug your way through it.

Secondly, with prior request to the evening, you have the opportunity as a member to conduct a short presentation on a subject (which of course will be debated thereafter), if you believe that it is knowledge that is intriguing and beneficial to most people's knowledge.

Thirdly, if public speaking is not your thing, we also run a blog whereby you can express or present an argument.

Finally, we will be working to drawing in speakers over the next academic year from a variety of backgrounds and histories for academic interest and intellectual stimulation.

All in all, membership is free, and you get to drink alcohol while sounding vaguely intelligent so there isn't much to lose here.

Our Committee

Peter Anson - President

Email: pa252@sussex.ac.uk

In his capacity as the President of LtD, Peter Anson's responsibilities lay with the absolutely core task of mobilising and moderating the committee in their movements and ensuring that society meetings are carried out in a structured, yet relaxed fashion. Peter is a Student Union Representative and thus contributes a good deal to the democracy of the core Union decision-making itself. An enthusiast in military aviation; Peter also contributes a great deal to the internal discussions held within the meetings with passion and vigor. 

Edward Seccombe - Vice President/Treasurer: 

Email: eas34@sussex.ac.uk

As Vice President and Treasurer of LtD, Edward Seccombe acts both as a liaison with the Student Union when it comes to the financial aspect of the society, and plays a significant hand in the direction of the society and the core decision-making process. A Student Union representative for the Politics course; Edward is also involved in the overall democracy of the SU, getting to grips with the issues that affect Politics students in and around campus, all in addition to running Second Source Media, an independent blog online which is a platform for any and all to write opinion pieces, and in turn criticise others work (effectively, embodying the spirit of LtD online). 

Matt Spencer - Vice President/Welfare & Inclusivity Representative

Email: mws23@sussex.ac.uk

Matt Spencer works within the committee as the Welfare and Inclusivity Representative for Ltd, ensuring that a diverse range of individuals are included in the debate every week, in this way ensuring that our mission statement of offering "a politicially neutral platform" is abided by without discrimination along racial, religious, gender or political lines. As Vice President alongside his role as Welfare and Inclusivity Representative, every week Matt is fiercely engaged in the debates being had and contributes topics of discussion handsomely. 

Edward Wilson - Events Organiser 

Email: ew300@sussex.ac.uk

Central to the philosophy of LtD is the idea that individuals should be exposed a range of political opinions, and in turn be given an opportunity to criticise. This is why Edward Wilson's role as Events Organiser is key to the monthly structure of LtD. In holding guest speaker events, quizzes, and other assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic events, Edward's task is to maintain that the membership is engaged in this ongoing discourse with various events to stimulate consistent interest and involvement. An avid contributor to URF radio; Edward also takes joy in the social aspect of the society, which also helps to maintain the aforementioned friendly atmosphere afforded to all. 

Thomas Carey-Wilson - Social Media Officer

Email: tc341@sussex.ac.uk

As Social Media Officer, Thomas has the job of engaging individuals from both within the campus and outside of its boundaries online. Maintaining the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages with consistent update and user-friendly engagement, Thomas acts as the online face of LtD, postulating questions of debate on both the Twitter and [often] the Facebook page, whilst posting more light-hearted material regularly on the Instagram page. Thomas is also a participant of URF radio and engages with the membership and their views with fervour every society meeting. 

Daniel Finn - Society Support Officer 

Email: df208@sussex.ac.uk

Daniel Finn is the Society Support Officer and contributes to LtD in aiding with tasks central to each society meeting such as moderating the tables efficiently, getting to grips with each member and helping to set up the room in an orderly fashion. Daniel is also Vice President of the Darts Society and therefore is adept at assisting in tasks of an organisational nature, demonstrating resourcefulness and punctuality in this capacity. 






Leaf Awards

What is the Leaf Scheme?
Leaf awards reflect contributions of the society or sports club towards its members, the University of Sussex Students’ Union, the University of Sussex, the local community and the public. Leaves can be attained at bronze, silver or gold levels by meeting three, six or nine criteria. Leaves apply for an academic year as a symbol of what the present committee have achieved.

Groups can work towards nine leaves:

Below are the Leaves we have achieved so far this year:


Inclusivity Leaf

The Inclusivity Leaf is awarded to groups who have taken positive steps to increase the diversity of their membership and include as many members as possible. They have made specific efforts to include students that don’t traditionally engage, without ignoring or neglecting their current membership or other student groups.


Student Voice Leaf

The Student Voice leaf is awarded to groups who engage their members in Sussex Students’ Union campaigns, democracy and elections and influence the way the Students’ Union is run.


Social Leaf

The Social leaf is awarded to groups who have taken active steps to include as many members as possible and regularly engage in various social activities, including those organised by - and with - other societies/sports clubs.


Development Leaf

The Development leaf is awarded to groups who have taken active steps to develop themselves, offer development opportunities to their members, build on the successes and failures of previous years and/or worked to maintain the high standards of previous years.


Fundraising Leaf

The Fundraising Leaf is awarded to groups who dedicate their time to organising a variety of different fundraisers. Groups who have achieved this leaf will have raised money for their own group or another group at Sussex to help fund themselves to expand and develop, as well as for local, national & international.


Events Leaf

The Events leaf is awarded to groups who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to organise and hold events on a regular basis. Such groups have also made the effort to hold joint events with other societies/sports clubs and/or the Students’ Union and the University. They have also gotten involved in cultural and community events.



Communications Leaf

The Communications Leaf is awarded to groups who communicate with their members and the student body regularly and in innovate ways.

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Our schedule


We meet weekly every Wednesday at Bramber 253 at 1930 - 2130

SU Election Candidate Question Time: https://www.sussexstudent.com/events/12698/3749/


Friday 9th February: Alexander Hug of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Hug has looked into civilian lifestyle of civilians within Ukraine during the conflict, and was also the lead investigator to the MH17 flight.

Thursday 15th February: Tim Hames, director general of British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

Tim started his professional career as a Lecturer in Politics at Oxford University where he obtained a doctorate and specialised in American and British Government. He became a journalist at The Times assuming the roles of Assistant Editor, chief leader writer and columnist. He regularly edited the newspaper as a whole between 2006 and 2008 as part of his duties. He has also served as Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Commons in 2009-2010. He is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at De Montfort University and a Fellow of the Institute of Travel and Tourism. 

Thursday 1st March: Paddy Walker, who wll speak on the development of autonomous weapons.

Monday 5th March: House of Lords Trip with Lord Howe, deputy leader of the House of Lords, and Lord Younger, front bench Tory.

Thursday 12th April: Lord Robert Hayward OBE.

Hayward originally was the Vice Chairman of the Young Conservatives in 1976 - 77, and a councilor on Coventry City Council from 1976 - 78. He then stood for parliament unsuccessfully in 1974, but became an MP in 1983 for Kingswood until 1992. He was awarded an OBE(Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1991, for his services to friends and families of hostages prior to the Gulf War in 1991, where he ran the Gulf Support Group. He originally ran it from his home but then moved to offices in London. He is the only serving MP to receive a civilian honour for services outside politics. When he left parliament he became a prominent spokesperson on gay and lesbian issues having come out, and was the first chairman of the Kings Cross Steelers who successfully competed as the first Gay Rugby Union team in the world. He is vice president of the club. In addition, he was the CEO of the Beer and Pub Association, where he worked through the no smoking ban and legislation regarding opening hours. Since 2009 he focused on being a political analyst. Today he is viewed as one of the nation's leading political analysts, having predicted in 2015 the Tories would have a majority government, and that the Brexit referendum would involve leaving.

Wednesday 2nd May, 1800 - 2000: Flt. Lt. John Nichol (Rtd.)

During 15 years service in the Royal Air Force John Nichol served as a technician and after being commissioned, as a Tornado Navigator in both the Air Defence and Ground Attack roles. He was shot down on the first low-level, daylight raid of the first Gulf War in January 1991. Captured and tortured, he was paraded on television provoking worldwide condemnation and leaving one of the enduring images of the conflict. He returned to active duty and was involved in policing the exclusion zone as part of the UN force maintaining the fragile peace in Bosnia. He has served around the world from the Nevada Desert to the Middle East and Norway to the Falkland Islands. 

John is the best-selling author of Tornado Down, five novels, and the highly acclaimed & best-selling WWII history books, Tail-End Charlies, The Last Escape, MEDIC! - Saving Lives From Dunkirk To Afghanistan, Arnhem – The Battle For Survival, and The Red Line – The RAF’s Bloodiest Raid On Hitler’s Germany. He is in demand to give motivational lectures and after-dinner speeches and has worked with wide variety of businesses including BT, Shell, Lloyds Bank and The Stockholm School of Economics.

He has written feature and comment for all of the national newspapers, recently returning to the front-line in Afghanistan for an assignment with The Mail On Sunday and The Sun. He has written two major series for the Sunday Express, Heroes and Survivors interviewing newsmakers who have been through life changing experiences. He also devised and presented 2 series of Survivors for TV. He has been a consultant and presenter for GMTV, Newsnight, BBC, Sky & ITV News, The One Show, CNN and Cutting Edge. John has presented a number of documentaries including What The Dambusters Did Next, John Nichol Flies…, and Airshow World.

John is a member of The Royal British Legion’s Gulf War Group helping veterans with Gulf War Syndrome and a patron of the British Ex-service Wheelchair Sports Association. He is also a very poor golfer.


Thursday 10th May 1800 - 2000: Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng of Spelthorne.

Kwasi had studied at Cambridge University, where he had won University Challenge in 1995, and had also gained a PhD in economic history at Cambridge University. He was an analyst in financial services, and had authored the book, Ghosts of Empire, published in 2011.
Kwasi first became an MP for Spelthorne in the 2010 GE and has remained there since. He also supported Brexit, and since the 2017 GE involving the Tory - DUP agreement, Kwasi was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer(Philip Hammond).

Student to Student Mentor Scheme

Interested in the society and want to find out further? Contact and meet some of our members who can talk about it to you!



If you are a non-student, you are still welcome to attend our meetings, though specific events such as speakers or socials may be different.

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Our schedule


We meet weekly every Wednesday at Bramber 253 at 1930 - 2130

SU Election Candidate Question Time: https://www.sussexstudent.com/events/12698/3749/

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Other useful contacts

Activities Officer - Lucy Williams

Email: activities@sussexstudent.com
Office: Activities Centre, 1st floor, Falmer House

Societies Coordinator - Charlie Temperton

Email: charlie.t@sussexstudent.com
Phone: 01273 678625
Office: Activities Centre, 1st floor, Falmer House

Activities Administrator (Societies) - Mike Wilkins

Email: mike.w@sussexstudent.com
Phone: 01273 873415
Office: Activities Centre, 1st floor, Falmer House

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