Author Archives: The Voice

20,000 new members for the party since the EU referendum

News reaches the Voice:

20,000 new members have joined the Liberal Democrats since the EU referendum, the party has announced today.

The surge in membership has been boosted by the party’s clear pro-European stance, including calling for a referendum on the final Brexit deal, and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour party leader last week.

The Liberal Democrats have gained over 1000 members over the past week alone, including a number of former Labour members.

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Labour blocks Trident debate to avoid embarrassment for Corbyn

As if there wasn’t going to be enough fun and games at Labour’s Conference next week, it now appears that they will not get the chance to debate the thorny issue of Trident, which will no doubt upset a lot of people.

Motions on both sides of the argument, including one submitted by a Scottish Labour constituency called on conference to note that cancelling Trident would “result in thousands of redundancies” at “world-class engineering centres” in Barrow, Derby, Faslane and Rosyth.”

A motion from the area which most benefits from the jobs created by the submarine base at Faslane in favour of renewal was rejected.

From the Mirror:

The move follows fears that Mr Corbyn, a former vice chair of CND and a long-standing opponent of Trident , would have lost if the issue was pushed to a vote.

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In full: Tim Farron’s speech to Liberal Democrat Conference

Here is the full text of Tim Farron’s speech to Conference being delivered at the moment:

Liberal Democrats are good at lots of things. But the thing it seems that we’re best at, is confounding expectations.

We were expected to shy away from taking power, but we stepped up and we made a difference.

We were expected to disappear after the 2015 election, but we bounced back, we are almost twice the size we were then, we’ve gained more council seats than every other party in this country put together.

And I’ve being doing a bit of confounding expectations myself. You see, I am a white, northern, working class, middle aged bloke. According to polling experts, I should have voted Leave.

May I assure you that I didn’t.

But mates of mine did. People in my family did. Some of them even admitted it to me. And some of them didn’t. But you told my sister didn’t you, and somehow thought it wouldn’t get back to me. You know who you are.

I have spent most of my adult life, worked and raised a family in Westmorland. I’m proud to call it my home.

But I grew up a few miles south, in Preston in Lancashire.

Preston is where I learnt my values, it’s where I was raised in a loving family where there wasn’t much money around and at a time when, it appeared to me, the Thatcher government seemed utterly determined to put every adult I knew out of work and on the scrapheap.

But our people and our community were not for breaking.

The great city of Preston is a no nonsense place, proud of its history, ambitious about its future.

It is the birthplace of the industrial revolution;

It is the place where Cromwell won the most important battle in the English Civil War. The complacent establishment stuffed by the outsiders.

Which links rather neatly to the referendum. Preston voted 53% to leave. There were some places in Lancashire where two-thirds of people voted out.

And I respect those people.

If you’ll forgive me, they are my people.

And if they’ll forgive me, I’m still utterly convinced that Britain should remain in Europe.

I was on the 23rd June, I am today, I will continue to be.

Not because I’m some starry-eyed pro-European with Ode to Joy as my ring tone – we all know what I have as my ring tone – but because I am a patriot and believe it’s in our national interest to be in.

For more jobs, for lower prices, to fight climate change, to stop terrorism, catch criminals, to have influence, to be a good neighbour, to stand tall, to stand proud, to matter.

And, above all, because I believe that Britain is an open, tolerant and united country – the opposite of the bleak vision of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

Britain did not become Great Britain on fear, isolation and division – and there is no country called Little Britain.

There is nothing so dangerous and narrow as nationalism and cheap identity politics.

But there is nothing wrong with identity. I am very proud of mine.

I am a Lancastrian, I am a Northerner, I am English, I am British, I am European. I am all those things, none of them contradict another and no campaign of lies, hate and fear will rob me of who I am.

But we lost didn’t we?

Now – I was born and raised in Preston but the football-mad half of my family is from Blackburn, so I’m a Rovers fan. Defeat and disappointment is in my blood.

So those who say I’m a bad loser are quite wrong.

I am a great loser.

I have had loads of practice.

But the referendum result to me was like a bereavement. I was devastated by it.

We Liberal Democrats worked harder than anyone else in that campaign, we put blood, sweat and tears
into it.

We put the positive case for Europe, while Cameron and Osborne churned out dry statistics, fear mongering and shallow platitudes.

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Conference speeches: Alistair Carmichael: Liberal Britain will follow this party once again

Here is Alistair Carmichael’s speech to Conference in full:

It is good to be back in Brighton.

It has been quite a year since we all left Bournemouth after autumn conference last year.

I remember the journey home.

We had had a good conference.

Membership was up and we had more new members at conference than I had ever known

Glee Club had been as hot, tuneless and tasteless as I had ever known it.

Tim had delivered a stonker of a leader’s speech

The mood was upbeat.

But too be honest I remember thinking on that train pulling out of Bournemouth that it was all a little suboptimal.

I had just spent a week with good friends who had been fantastic colleagues in parliament but who had lost their seats just the same.

Good men and women who hadn’t deserved to lose.

Vince Cable, Norman Baker, Simon Hughes, Mike Moore, Jo Swinson, Lorely Burt, Mark Hunter, Steve Webb, Lynne Featherstone, Dan Rogerson….

I could go on.

Mostly, replaced by Tories carried in on a national tide who, even sixteen months later, for the most part I would struggle to recognise let alone name. How their constituents must regret it now.

That was hard.

It was, quite honestly, hard to see a way ahead for this party that I first joined as a fourteen old.

It was hard to see our purpose.

It was even harder to see our future.

After five difficult years in coalition it felt like the Tories had got all the benefit and we had

got all the grief.

They had won the majority in parliament. They wore the mantle of economic competence like they do so much in life – with that unmistakable sense of Tory entitlement.

As I say – just a bit…suboptimal.

Well, what a difference a year makes.

Twelve months after that rather subdued journey from Bournemouth home to Orkney, the landscape looks pretty different today.

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Liberal Democrats launch national consultation on Brexit

Liberal Democrats are launching  a National Consultation exercise on the impact of Brexit on local communities.

All Lib Dem parliamentary candidates will contact businesses, health and educational institutions and civil society organisations in their constituencies to discuss their Brexit concerns.

Launching the initiative Dick Newby, Lib Dem Leader in the Lords, said:

This Tory Brexit Government are clearly floundering as they try to get to grip with the multitude of difficulties that leaving the EU presents. While the Government thrashes about, we will be talking to ordinary people up and down the country to understand their concerns.

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Deputy Leader Drama

A good deal of this Conference is taken up with debating the party’s Governance Review. Changes are being made to make the party’s structure more accountable, transparent and strategic. This was a key plank of Sal Brinton’s presidential campaign in 2014.

Thankfully, all the constitutional stuff has been split up and is being discussed in smaller slots at the end of each day.

Yesterday afternoon, we debated proposals to elect a Deputy Leader. This came out of a constitutional amendment last year which was referred back to the Governance Review. In the wake of an election result leaving us with eight white make MPs, there seemed to be a desire for a Deputy Leader from an under-represented group.

A subsequent consultation was inconclusive as to whether members wanted a deputy leader elected by the membership or not. Conference was given the opportunity to choose between two options – one for a deputy leader elected by the members on a joint ticket with the leader. The rationale behind that was heavily influenced by watching the relationship between Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson play out.

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Conference debates open thread: Monday 19th September 2016

Whether you are physically in Brighton or are following what is happening from home, this is your place to talk about the public face of the Conference – in other words, all the debates and speeches that are going on in the main auditorium.  Please use the comments below to add your reports on policy and constitutional debates or to draw readers’ attention to ones in the pipeline.

You can read the agenda in full, including the text of amendments, here.

We will be running a similar thread each day, so please confine your comments today to what is actually happening today. Tomorrow’s instalment will appear at 7.30am.

We will also be running a thread each day on fringes, so use that one for anything going on outside the main show.

So what is happening today at Conference?

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 30th Sep - 1:33am
    Steven Rose' The Austerity years were for nothing. They prolonged the recession with very few benefits to the economy and the chief architect of this...
  • User AvatarDave Orbison 30th Sep - 12:46am
    Stevan Rose - how is Tim Farron going to build houses, reverse the cuts in public services and improve them whilst improving education and the...
  • User AvatarDave Orbison 30th Sep - 12:43am
    @Simon Shaw Re what a silly comment. We all of us here express our opinions on issues that are by their nature debatable. It may...
  • User AvatarDavid Pocock 30th Sep - 12:41am
    David Brenton - I'm getting my butt to Whitney again this weekend. Win this one and then we shall see their smiles turn
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 30th Sep - 12:28am
    Simon Shaw speaks sense. If we steer left that leaves the centre and centre right exclusively to the Tories. Whoever wins the centre wins the...
  • User AvatarPeter Thornton 30th Sep - 12:21am
    Not so good in Tyldesley, the results were reported with LD and UKIP switched round.