About

Caroline Voaden is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Totnes constituency.

She currently works as a charity CEO and was the last leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the European Parliament.

Elected as an MEP for SW England and Gibraltar in 2019, Caroline led the Lib Dem group from November until they left parliament because of Brexit at the end of January, 2020.
She is an engaging leader, a confident public speaker and has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programmes where she believes we need to hear more liberal voices.

Charity CEO

Caroline is CEO of Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services – Devon’s main provider of support services to anyone aged 13 and over who has experienced sexual violence or abuse. They offer up to 16 weeks of individual specialist support and a large team of volunteers run an anonymous telephone and email support line which is open three evenings a week all year round.

DRCSAS campaigns against Violence against Women and Girls and, together with colleagues across the country, Caroline is pushing for longer-term, stable funding for support services as well as funding for prevention work throughout the education system.

“Our young people are growing up in a world where male violence against girls and women is almost commonplace. It’s hard to find a young woman in the UK who has not been the target of some form of harassment or abuse. We have to admit this, and face up to it – and the solutions are going to be long-term and costly. Easy access to hardcore porn on mobile phones is a danger we can no longer shy away from.”

MEP

Caroline led the Lib Dem list in SW England & Gibraltar for the European elections in May 2019. She then went on to lead the Lib Dem group in Brussels from November until the end of their mandate.

She is an engaging leader, a confident public speaker and has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programmes where she believes we need to hear more liberal voices. Together with her colleague Judith Bunting, Caroline hosted the weekly podcast ‘Our MEP Life’. It was the first podcast hosted by MEPs which gave an insight into what the job involves, what MEPs actually do from day to day, and the rollercoaster ride that was the last term for all UK MEPs.

Reuters Journalist & Business Woman

Previous to her election Caroline worked as a Reuters journalist, a freelance editor and ran her own business in Totnes. Her experience of running a small business on a traditional high street, competing against the online shopping giants, gave Caroline a gritty understanding of the pressures faced by the self-employed and those running small businesses. 

Her work as a journalist led her to live in six European countries and she speaks several languages. Caroline worked in both English and French in the European Parliament.

Balkans

Caroline spent several months in the Balkans during the Yugoslav war helping edit the news file coming out of Bosnia as war was raging.

Following the Dayton peace agreement in 1996 she witnessed the arrival of American troops in Bosnia and went on to run the Reuters bureau in Croatia for the next two years.

She was Reuters youngest woman bureau chief worldwide.

Europe

As well as spending time in the Balkans Caroline lived in and reported from Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Belfast and London. She also spent a year in France.

Her experience of living and working abroad gave her a deep love of Europe, and an understanding of the need to work closely with our nearest neighbours to foster understanding and mutual support. This led to shock and anger at the result of the 2016 EU referendum.

“That night was one of those defining moments in a life, when you just know something is going to change. I knew I couldn’t just sit back, shout at the radio and hope that someone, somewhere would do something to change the direction we were headed in. So I joined the Lib Dems and decided to get stuck in myself and try and make that change happen.

Brexit

“Being on the ‘Brexit front line’, watching it play out from my very privileged seat in the European Parliament, was one of the most rewarding, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

“I put heart and soul into trying to stop Brexit – I knew it would cause irrevocable damage to our country and we are now seeing that played out. There are millions who agree, and we now need to redouble our efforts to try and repair a very fractured relationship with Europe.”

Widowed and Young 

Caroline was widowed at 34 in 2003, when her first husband Nick died of oesophageal cancer. Their girls were 17 months and 3 years old. She joined and was later elected chair of a national charity that supports young widowed men and women – WAY, Widowed and Young. She is only too aware of the long-term effects that illness and bereavement can have on the wider family, from bereavement support and benefits, to lone parenthood and mental health issues. Caroline has written a book about her experience, ‘If there’s anything I can do…‘. 

Caroline to stand for Totnes

Caroline to stand for Totnes

Former Liberal Democrat MEP Caroline Voaden, leader of the party in the European Parliament, has been selected by local party members to fight the next General Election in Totnes constituency. Caroline has lived in the constituency for 12 years and is currently the...