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If you want to contact Mark he's on twitter here, and gives more contact details in his answers below. And here are his answers:

1, Which of the following activities do you consider the most dangerous and why?
- taking a single ecstasy tablet
- taking an advanced motorcycle riding test
- giving birth

I would say giving birth is the most dangerous.

Medical advances and techniques mean that it is a lot less dangerous than it used to be. The most recent figures for maternal mortality in the UK are 8.2 per 100,000 live births. This is a risk of dying of 0.0082%.

I cannot find figures for mortality rates for taking an advanced motorcycle riding test but the casualty rates per billion miles travelled for motorcyclists is 1,659. Presumably during an advanced test the rider will be being more cautious than the average driver anyway. But if we put this to one side, the advanced driving test is on average 35 miles in length. So the chances of dying on average during the test are roughly 0.006%. Only slightly lower than giving birth but still lower.

The figures for ecstasy in the UK are 7 deaths per million users. It is not clear whether those users used multiple times so in terms of episodes the number of deaths per million doses taken is likely much lower. Also, some of the deaths attributed to “ecstasy” are due to overheating or drinking too much water. But even discounting this, on those figures the risk of death from taking ecstasy is 0.0007% which is a factor of more than 10 less dangerous than giving birth on even the most pessimistic reading.

I am aware I am only looking at deaths here rather than injuries and for a more full analysis one would need to factor these in somehow.

2, What four pledges would you put on the front of the next Lib Dem manifesto?
· Increase the threshold on income tax and National Insurance to ensure nobody on the minimum wage pays them
· A pledge to legalise and regulate all currently illegal drugs
· A promise to increase parental paternity/maternity leave pay to £200 per week paid for the entire year and flexed to either partner
· A change to STV for local elections in England and Wales

3, A genie appears and tells you that you can remove one law and make one law; what would you remove from the statute book and what would you add to the statute book?
Remove: Digital Economy Act
Add: A law to legalise and regulate all currently illegal drugs

4, What balance should the committee give to the views of the leadership, the parliamentary panels and the membership in setting policy priorities?
The leadership and parliamentary panels obviously need to be heavily involved but the problem I see at the moment with the party in government is that the membership at large is sometimes being bypassed with ministers making announcements on policies that have not been debated or ratified by conference reps. This is undermining our claim to be a fully democratic party and I think the membership needs to be taken account of more in this process. So the answer to the question is a higher priority for the membership than is happening at the moment.

5, How would you change the party’s procedures on gathering and analysing evidence when formulating policy?
We should take evidence from people who would be directly affected by policies and those whose voices are often not heard in the political process. We exist as a party to help stand up for these people. So for example recovering addicts should help form our drugs policy, people who have suffered domestic abuse should help form our policy in this area. I’m sure to an extent that happens already but something that perhaps doesn’t happen so much is ensuring people who do not live in or are not easily able to get to London have a strong voice in this process. We should ensure geographical location is not a barrier to influencing the political process.

6, Which is more important - freedom from ignorance, poverty or conformity?
They are all important in their different ways and I am not sure I can cast a relative value judgement on each of them. Except to say that it is much harder to have freedom from ignorance and conformity if you are struggling to put food on your table and keep the heating on.

7, Are you a member of any (S)AOs or other pressure groups which might give us an insight into your policy priorities?
No. But I have worked closely with Transform Drugs Policy Foundation over the years in my work on lobbying for a more evidence based approach to drugs and I have also been involved with the Electoral Reform Society.

8, Which external bodies would you like to see audit the manifesto to see if our policies are workable?
As mentioned above I trust the judgement of some of the key people in Transform and would value their input in that policy area. As much as I hate to say it because I feel they have a bit too much sway at the moment the IFS is a useful body to get the green light from for economic policies as they are widely respected and trusted so for political reasons I would suggest that would be prudent too.

9, What proposals do you have to improve the process of negotiating policy priorities for a coalition agreement in the event of another hung parliament?
We definitely need a clearer way of communicating to our leadership and our coalition negotiating team what our red-lines are. I am not 100% clear on how we can do this yet but I think it is an area that needs urgent attention. I would be open to the idea of giving the membership the opportunity to order their priorities in the run up to an election with the top priorities being set aside as the ones we could not budge on. However as I said I am generally open to any good ideas of how to achieve this. We need to do better than we did last time. For example if we had had a better mechanism it is unlikely we would have ended up with our ministers and some of our MPs breaking their pledge on tuition fees.

10, If elected, how do you plan to engage with the wider party?
I already engage fairly widely within the party through my blogging and other social media (mainly Twitter). I also have lots of contacts in different parts of the country who I keep in touch with and meet up with at conferences etc. I would continue to do this and welcome people contacting me either through comments on my blog (at http://markreckons.blogspot.com/) on Twitter @MarkReckons or via e-mail markreckons@live.co.uk.

11, Are you standing for any other committees, if so which ones, and if elected to more than one how do you plan to divide your time?
No, just FPC



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here

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