Category Archives: Conference

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Homelessness in 2016 – a fringe event in Brighton and how you can help

Homelessness FringeFollowing Saturday’s successful motion on tackling homelessness, London Liberal Democrats hosted a fringe event on homelessness in 2016. Despite being up against both Tim Farron and Nick Clegg fringes, the room was packed and it was standing room only at the back!
Alice Ashcroft from Crisis kicked off the debate by outline what is happening in Parliament, particularly focusing on the Homelessness Reduction Bill, more details of which are below. Councillor Jayne McCoy then outlined the problems local government faces when dealing with homelessness especially when facing budget cuts from the Government.
Simon Grainge then described the work of Emmaus which has 28 communities across the UK housing over 750 people. Emmaus believes overcoming homelessness means more than a roof over your head. That’s why Emmaus supports people to work their way out of homelessness, providing meaningful work as well a stable home for as long as someone needs it. Emmaus also helps the state and society as for every £1 spent with Emmaus, there is an £11 return on investment, with social, environmental and economic benefits.
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Conference debates open thread: Tuesday 20th 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, the last day of this year’s event.

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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#LibDemDisco is splattered all over the tabloids

The 2016 #libdemdisco has been liberally covered in the tabloids.

The Daily Mail went with “Were there points for the best dad dancing? Lib Dem grandees dance the night away at bizarre competitive DISCO”. They described the disco as a “Booze-fuelled late night event” and said:

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Lib Dems overwhelmingly back referendum on Brexit deal

The Lib Dems are so far the only party to call for a referendum on the eventual Brexit deal. Conference overwhelmingly backed a motion lodged by the Federal Policy Committee.

Nick Clegg spoke in the debate and got a standing ovation, saying that

He got a standing ovation – even from some people who have spent the last six years heavily criticising him. Is the party learning to love its former leader again? To Nick’s credit, he immediately signalled to people to sit down so the debate could continue.

The motion also set out nine priorities (outlined below) for the Brexit negotiations, including securing Britain’s membership of the Single Market, and called for MPs to have a vote on the Government’s negotiating mandate before Article 50 is triggered.

Ming Campbell also spoke, joking that former leaders were like London buses – you can never get one when you want one but then two turn up at once.

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 20 Comments

On Iain Dale’s Top 50 Liberal Democrats list

Over the weekend, political blogger and LBC presenter Iain Dale unveiled his list of Top Liberal Democrats in 2016.  It is generally viewed with amusement by conference-goers. While it may give people bragging rights over certain of their colleagues, it is fairly arbitrary in nature.

I was particularly happy to see some of the most energetic campaigners our party has make it on to the list. Daisy Benson has been a massive factor in galvanising the Lib Dem Newbies into quite a force within the party. Former Presidential candidate and now PPC for St Albans Daisy Cooper is another welcome addition. What is absolutely astounding, though, is that Elains Bagshaw, who has made a name for herself with her incredible campaigning in Tower Hamlets, isn’t there.

Annoyingly, Willie Rennie has leapfrogged Kirsty Williams. He has certainly had a good year with his vibrant and bright election campaign, but Kirsty, for goodness sake, is a Cabinet Minister. Along with Lib Dem Council leaders, she has much more actual power than just about anyone else. 

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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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What party members think about a universal basic income and benefits sanctions

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

The social security debate at Conference this afternoon will be dominated by two major arguments. George Potter recommended rejection of the motion as a whole because it chose not to endorse a universal basic income and because it supports the use, albeit much restricted, of sanctions. Supporters of the UBI may well support an amendment calling for a negative income tax from Calderdale while an amendment signed by members opposes the use of benefits sanctions in any circumstances. We asked our members what they thought of the idea of UBI and sanctions.

Are you in favour of a universal basic income?

Yes 60.32%

No  39.68%

Here are some of the comments made:

It would be a clear, distinct policy and place the Party firmly on the “Left” (which, as Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown proved) is the only place it can survive.

The nature of work is changing and society needs to catch up. The markets can no longer be a funnel for the rich to build up their wealth. Redistribution needs to be far more aggressive.

No. It is fundementally wrong as it discriminates against the most vulnerable in society. Common denominators always end up being the lowest.

Also posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged , and | 23 Comments
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