Lishman graduated in economics and political science from the University of Manchester in 1968. Together with Tony Greaves, Lishman moved the Liberal Party's Community Politics motion in 1970. In 1980, he co-wrote The Theory and Practice of Community Politics with Bernard Greaves. He was the Liberal Party Parliamentary Candidate for Bradford North in the February 1974 and October 1974 General Elections, and for Pendle in the 1983 and 1987 General Elections.
Lishman joined Age Concern England in 1974, becoming Director General of the charity in 2000. He left in 2009, after the charity had lost £22 million on the Heyday project, having led the charity through to its merger with Help the Aged, to form a new charity, Age UK.
Lishman was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire in 2002. In 2007, he was asked by Ivan Lewis to chair the Department of Health’s Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board.
- Participation in a Competitive Economy - Peter McGregor and Gordon Lishman, Liberal Publication Department, ISBN 0-900520-04-3
- A Redefinition of Retirement - Gordon Lishman, Liberal Publication Department, ISBN 0-900520-44-2
- Brack, Duncan; Randall, Ed (2008-02-11). "DLT: Community Politics". Liberal Democrat Voice. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Delivering Excellent 21st Century Services for Older People". CPPSeminars. 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2008-09-23.[dead link]
- "Biography of Bernard Greaves". Liberal Democrat History Group. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern, awarded CBE". Age Concern England. 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Mr. Gordon Lishman". Keynote speakers. Ageing Design Montréal. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
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