Federal Committees approve Conference accreditation

We are writing to confirm the decision of FFAC, supported by FE, that there will be a system of police accreditation for members attending this year’s Autumn Conference.

This decision follows an extensive member consultation and debate by the Federal Conference Committee, Federal Finance and Administration Committee and the Federal Executive.

As Liberal Democrats we would prefer it if accreditation were not something we had to consider. Many of us have concerns surrounding individual privacy and personal freedoms and none of us want to put any member who wishes to attend Conference in a difficult position. This view was clearly articulated in the motion passed at Conference last year and in many of your submissions to FCC’s consultation.

However, whilst some of us are willing to risk the possibility of serious harm to ourselves by not following police recommendations to accept accreditation for all conference goers, we accept that we do not have the right to impose this on others who have no choice about attending Conference. This includes the many staff that will be working for the venue, the Conference hotel or for the Party.

In addition, there is a significant and substantial financial risk to the Party if we opt to go against the recommendation of the police and security services. This is not a risk FFAC is prepared to take with our finances at this time.

Given the motion passed at Autumn Conference last year, this recommendation left us with a very difficult decision to make. We were faced with weighing the opinions of some of our members and Conference against security recommendations, our duty of care, and the practicalities of holding a large, high profile, conference as a party of government.

After lengthy discussions, FCC concluded that the potential financial implications of refusing accreditation, including the burden of risk regarding Party liability, were too large for it to consider alone, and therefore resolved to pass the decision onto the Federal Finance and Administration Committee (FFAC), who are responsible for the finances of the Federal Party. Their decision was to approve accreditation for Autumn Conference and tonight this was noted and approved by the Federal Executive, of which FFAC is a sub-committee.

Since Birmingham last year, and as part of our consultation, FCC heard extensively from LGBT+ as to their concerns regarding transgender members, and FCC have and will continue to work hard with them to address these.

In the unlikely circumstance that the police recommend that we do not accredit a party member, the final decision as to the attendance of any Party member rests with the Party (represented by the Federal Conference Chair in consultation with the Party President and the Chief Executive). This is subject to a right of appeal to the Federal Appeals Panel and provision for a local party to nominate a substitute voting representative.

We are aware that this decision will not be an ideal outcome for some of you. It has been very difficult for each of the Committees involved to weigh the opinions of some of our members and Conference against security recommendations, our duty of care, and the practicalities of holding a large, high profile Conference as a party of government. We hope however that this post goes some way to explain the reasons for the decision made.

Andrew Wiseman is Chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Conference Committee

Duncan Greenland is Chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Finance and Administration Committee

Tim Farron is Chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Executive Committee

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118 Comments

  • Andrew Emmerson 21st May '12 - 8:51pm

    What a total joke. What a complete and utter load of scare mongering rhetorical nonsense.

    One seriously has to ask, what is the point of conference anymore.

  • “However, whilst some of us are willing to risk the possibility of serious harm to ourselves by not following police recommendations to accept accreditation for all conference goers, we accept that we do not have the right to impose this on others who have no choice about attending Conference.”

    Eugh. There’s just no need for that. Totally unnecessary, and an insult to those who risk serious harm to themselves by complying with the police recommendations.

  • Alisdair McGregor 21st May '12 - 9:03pm

    I have come to the conclusion there is only one way to deal with this.

    I will be standing for FCC to prevent this from occurring in the future.

  • Jennifer Liddle 21st May '12 - 9:15pm

    Well that saves me money and a week’s holiday. I can’t see the point of going to conference anymore if any motions we pass can be ignored if the FCC don’t like them.

  • Andrew Emmerson 21st May '12 - 9:24pm

    So to sum up:

    FCC: “Well, we know you voted against it, but you can’t impose liberalism on everyone, and we think you’re wrong, so we are going to ignore you, and if you disagree you probably are a paedophile, or a terrorist or something, kthnxbye”

  • Andrew Tennant 21st May '12 - 9:32pm

    Resign. Immediately. From both your positions and the party. You’ve failed, as a liberal and as a democrat.

  • Toby MacDonnell 21st May '12 - 9:36pm

    Well done to the committee for balancing a range of difficult responsibilities with the ideology. It sounds to me like all the provisions are absolutely sound relative to the risk of violence and finance, that the police resources will be deployed with proper oversight from the party. Extra cudos for putting in an appeals system.

  • James Blanchard 21st May '12 - 10:01pm

    An extremely disappointing announcement.

    Andrew, I, and I’m sure many other party members, would appreciate it if the minuted vote of this decision could be made available asap, so that I know exactly who to vote against come the next committee elections.

  • Foregone Conclusion 21st May '12 - 10:09pm

    If what you are saying is true, why don’t we have accreditation for Spring Conference?

    Or do terrorists and assassins only work between May and October?

  • Andrew Emmerson 21st May '12 - 10:15pm

    @Foregone conclusion – I think that one is down to venue/police force. Reasonable enough. Depends on what they demand.

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 10:16pm

    May I ask, in may naive way, why some people think that “accreditation … will pose a real danger to some of our members”? Is this a distrust of the police, or of consequences that may fllow as a result of their checks? Is it something that can be resolved while retaining the security aspects of accreditation.

    I presume the DPM and a clutch of ministers etc will be there, and it seems responsible to recognize that they can be targets for many levels of action, and that one consequence might be “collateral damage”. Is it not the liberal way to recognize the rights of others, including workers as well as delegaties, and including their right to be secure in a place?

    My other feeling is that, if there was no accreditation and something did happen, even a minor thing of no real import, it could provide an opportunity for the press to ridicule us as a party that can’t even organize its own security, let alone a pissup in a brewery or the security of the country. And if there was nothing to report at all, we could still be painted as irresponsible.

  • Not the Orange Book 21st May '12 - 10:16pm

    Those of you saying you will stand for FCC to change this – good luck to you, but I suggest you read the first sentence of the article above more carefully. This decision was taken by FFAC and FE, not FCC. I realise that all this can sound like a lot of alphabet soup, but if you stand for FCC thinking you can change this, you will be disappointed!

  • Jeremy Hargreaves 21st May '12 - 10:50pm

    This decision was taken by FFAC and FE without reference to the conference committee, which was unaware of it until tonight.

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 10:51pm

    @Andy Hinton. It looks to me that you are being over-protective of trans people and under-protective of non-trans ones. How come the on-trans ones have fewer rights? The police have to learn and one way everyone learns is by correcting their previous mistakes. I’ve no idea what it might be like for a trans person to be outed, maybe for some it might even be a beneficial release from self-imposed imprisonment. Inconsistency doesn’t seem to me to be a wonderfully valid argument either. If we were consistent we might still be living in caves.

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 10:54pm

    on-trans ones –> non-trans ones

    (my middle name is Typo, and I often misspell even that!)

  • “However, whilst some of us are willing to risk the possibility of serious harm to ourselves by not following police recommendations to accept accreditation for all conference goers, we accept that we do not have the right to impose this on others who have no choice about attending Conference. This includes the many staff that will be working for the venue, the Conference hotel or for the Party.”

    Given this sentiment, was the party not being seriously negligent by allowing admission to the conference hotels at Liverpool and Gateshead without any door or security checks whatsoever.

  • The main risks would be a Brighton or a Breivik. Accreditation prevents neither. Unclear to me how insurance helps in either scenario either. Perhaps the authors can have another bash at explaining.

  • “I’ve no idea what it might be like for a trans person to be outed, maybe for some it might even be a beneficial release from self-imposed imprisonment.”

    Even if true (I very much doubt it but all things are possible) forcing someone into a course of action they don’t want on the grounds that it is beneficial for them is not very liberal!

  • jenny barnes 21st May '12 - 11:12pm

    richard. Clearly you have cis privilege. Your remarks are crass and insensitive. Trans people get killed by bigots; and revealing someone’s gender history can put trans people at risk of serious injury or death. It’s not for some incompetent police organisation to decide when it’s appropriate for a trans person to be open about their gender history, it’s for the person themselves.

    I am appalled by this decision – ignoring the rights and wrongs of accreditation, a resolution was passed at conference last year mandating that the party would not do accreditation security theatre this year. Is there any point in holding a conference if the resolutions are just going to be ignored? It answers itself, doesn’t it.

  • To be fair to Tim and FE….it seems like FCC passed the buck to the Finance committee and they made the decision. It seems like Tim is getting a lot of unfair flack on twitter for a decision HE DID NOT TAKE! People if you are mad talk to FCC for passing the buck!

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 11:15pm

    @Hywel. Honestly, you do exaggerate so! 🙂 Abu Qatada is gonna be extradited. None of his supporters will ever get to Theresa May, at least let’s hope not. But leaving the DPM a wide open target won’t look good, either to me or to the electorate. Telling the electorate that Abu’s rights mustn’t be violated hasn’t gone down too well. Forcing me to run the risk of being collateral damage isn’t very liberal either.

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 11:38pm

    Sarah. I didn’t know about the murders. But then again, why would an accreditation check result in an outing? As a population we are enquired about by many agancies, such as credit agancies, medical staff seeking medical history, ordinary employers, specialist employers, immigration people. Do trans people fear all these checks too?

  • If we don’t expect anybody to fail accreditation then what is the point of it. Why not just require non-party members & stall holders etc to be accredited?
    Will party staff need to be accredited?

  • Richard Dean 21st May '12 - 11:49pm

    Thanks Zoe. The file lists about 644 rather brutal murders over 41 years since 1971, most seem to bein the US. Half of the 600 happened since 2003. Six of the 644 were in England. Were all thes people kiilled because they were trans, or for some other reason? In the small Caribbeann island called Trinidad, there are about 600 murders every year, in a population of a little over a million. May I suggest that you Google “paranoia”? 🙂

  • @Richard – I have no idea if you are being ironic or not with the Abu Qatada comments.

    However (if he had been out on bail or not on his control order) he could have wondered into the conference hotel in either Liverpool (Autumn 2010) or Gateshead (Spring 2012) without any check on who he was, what he was doing, or what he was carrying because there wasn’t even a cursory check on the door. We actually had more security than that at the conference hotel in Blackpool in 2005.

  • Andrew Emmerson 22nd May '12 - 12:11am

    @Richard, This is meant to be a civilised debate. How incredibly rude you are being.

  • Neil Bradbury 22nd May '12 - 12:15am

    For some this seems more important than anything the Lib Dems have done in government, which to seems massively overblown to me. People who accuse people in our Lib Dem family of being traitors to the cause again need to get a grip. We should respect the views of others in our party. To me the decision is disappointing in that it goes against a conference motion but clearly FFAC took the view that no matter what they had been mandated to do, they had to allow accreditation. It certainly isn’t the easy or popular course of action and I accept that they must have been convinced of the arguments. If I was on the committee and genuinely believed this was the only safe way to run conference, then I would do it as well, even if it flew in the face of a conference resolution. Maybe it was naive of me but before all this blew up, I assumed the police checked delegate details and it caused me no issues.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 12:18am

    @Jenny Barnes. Sorry for being crass and insensitive. It’s how I am. You criticizing me for being how I am? One of the things I am is puzzled by prejudices relating to gender and sexuality. I’m afraid I don’t seem to have the fear reaction that some people seem to expect me to have. But what I don’t like at all is people trying to force me to conform to their preconceptions. So maybe you could provide a quick introduction to what it means to be trans? According to Wikipedia, transsexualism occurs in about 1 in 6000 people, so there would be about 10,000 trans people in the UK. Thanks in advance for your further information.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 12:20am

    @Andrew. I’m sorry that you feel I’m being rude. It wasn’t actually meant that way.

  • Krissie Pearse 22nd May '12 - 12:31am

    Thank you, @Richard Dean, for being a prime example of why I’m not going to be involving myself in matters such as Lib Dem membership. Much as I would like to think that there’s a party that stands for civil liberties, I’m finding that increasingly questionable with the Lib Dems. The kind of offensive put down of vulnerable minorities you just demonstrated, however, is most certainly enough to put me off all by itself.

  • @Richard
    “Do trans people fear all these checks too?”
    AIUI Yes

    “So maybe you could provide a quick introduction to what it means to be trans? ”
    I’m irresitably reminded of Alan Partridge asking for a quick media friendly soundbite about what it’s like to be a lesbian! I can’t offer any particular expertise but my view would be that (if it doesn’t infringe my rights) people can lead their life in they way in which they are most comfortable and it isn’t for others to interfere with that.

    To take it out of the sexualised arena – imagine you had had a change of identity several years before (say one of your parents had been involved in a serious & notorious crime). You’d be quite wary about your past identity coming to light.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 12:36am

    @Krissie Pearse. Sorry I offend you. But you can’t judge a party by one individual.

  • @Krissie – I think from the comments above you can see that Richard is well out of kilter with LD members.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 12:46am

    Hywel. I might be wary yes, but I wouldn’t expect a whole conference to forego a security check just because of me. Perhaps quite the opposite – I’d want nothing out of the ordinary to happen at all. If LibDems are asked why they donlt have accreditation and they say “to protect our trans members”, isn’t that somewhat likely to focus attention just where it seems people don’t want it to be?

    No-one has yet answered my question about why they expect such a check to out a trans person. For many, it seems likely that the only people who know are the ones who are likely to keep the secret . I’m afraid I have no feeling at all as to why a police officer should want to do this deliberately. I also imagine that a way to deal with the topic is to publicize it in some careful way, so that people learning about it don’t get frightened but are reassured instead.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 12:49am

    @Hywel. I guess so. I guess I am getting from you lot a flavour of the prejudice that trans people get!

  • Andrew Suffield 22nd May '12 - 1:12am

    I note that registration now appears to be live

    Registration has been live for non-members for a while (it was never proposed that they be exempted from accreditation). It is not yet live for members.

  • @Richard – yes. I suspect the Daily Mail will be turning up on your doorstep at 7:30 tomorrow morning which is what happened to a friend of mine when she went public about her gender change.

  • We expect such checks to out trans people because every previous incarnation of such a thing by any state or non-state body has a spectacular record of doing so. It’s as simple as that.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 2:55am

    I’m not too sure why anyone should expect the Daily Mail at my doorstep. I started this with a simple question and ended up getting pilloried by a lot of prejudiced posters simply because I didn’t know too much about trans people. What a great advertisement for the word “liberal” – not! Good to see that Alex Marsh has returned the conversation to what it was about in the first place.

    It seems that the police have provided some advice about how to achieve security objectives and this advice happens to be contrary to what a previous conference agreed. Someone had to make a decision and as far as I can see people are complaining about the decision but not challenging the right of those people to make one. If they’d decided the opposite it would still have been a decision.

    Well, if you’re a true democrat, you know exactly what the next step should be. Go to conference and have a debate! Vote. Deciding not to do so would simply be an admission that you never really believed in this democracy stuff after all. In the meantime, here seems like one of several pretty good places to express views on the relevant matters that Alex Marsh has outlined.

  • Richard Shaw 22nd May '12 - 7:19am

    Do we (the FE, etc.) know which police forces require accreditation or not and, given the antipathy felt towards accreditation by many party members, should we only have conference in those cities who don’t require it?

    Should we look at postal, telephone/SMS or virtual conferences? I’m sure some talented person can whip something up a la Google Moderator or something where you enter your party membership number, the ID of the motion and how you wish to vote. It could be more accessible to the wider party and really differentiate us from other parties in terms of policy formation.

  • Andrew Suffield 22nd May '12 - 8:32am

    Do we (the FE, etc.) know which police forces require accreditation or not and, given the antipathy felt towards accreditation by many party members, should we only have conference in those cities who don’t require it?

    It doesn’t work that way – please ask the FCC if you want an explanation of what happened last Spring.

    Please keep in mind that there are roughly ten venues in the country which are capable of hosting the Autumn conference, and for various reasons, each year there will be several that are not possible. There is not a wide range of alternatives to choose from.

    b) who actually made this decision? all of the people planning on standing for the FCC will look rather silly if they get elected and find they arent the ones that make the decision.

    They will look even sillier if they get elected on this basis and then find out that it’s their “decision” but despite all the posturing, it isn’t actually possible to have conference without accreditation. I don’t know if that will happen, but it could.

  • Jeremy Hargreaves 22nd May '12 - 8:57am

    Caron – that isn’t right I’m afraid. The constitutional position here is somewhat complicated, but FFAC do have a role here. Despite that, I was not expecting them to take this (or any other) decision about this. (FE are involved as the ‘parent’ committee of FE). The last FCC discussion of this was the one widely reported (including by you!) at the time. FFAC do have a constitutional role here, and I was expecting them to be involved, but as I say I certainly was not expecting them to take a decision on it.

  • jenny barnes 22nd May '12 - 9:33am

    I would also recommend google, (and wikipedia) but just to make life really easy:
    http://birdofparadox.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/yet-another-trans-101-in-which-helen-tells-cis-people-whats-what/
    and have a look at the cis privilege checklist.
    By the way Richard, what’s it like being a cissexual person?? No worries about accreditation on that score, I bet.

  • Tony Ferguson 22nd May '12 - 9:35am

    I have not been to conference for the last few years but this decision makes a mockery of anyone attending and voting at such conferences if the decisions made there can be completely ignored. Why would I want to take time off work (thereby losing income) and spend money on attendance at conference when the votes cast by delegates count for so little

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 9:48am

    The issues around the rights of trans people seem to be quintessentially political – they are about conflicts of rights – so a political blog and a political conference are good places to raise them. Fortunately for everyone, the Equalities Minister is our very own Lynne Featherstone, who is far more sensitive than rough people like me, and far more experienced in addressing and finding solutions to complex issues of this kind..

    One of the complexities seems to be that the defensive actions taken by some trans people – secrecy, name change, etc – are actions that in other circumstances rightly arouse suspicion in police officers acting in lawfully to carry out their duty to safeguard the security rights of all, This suspicion can then lead to actions that end up endangering the right to privacy and security that the actions aimed to defend.

    I’m sure Lynne will help. I’d also like to say that it has been good to have had this discussion on LDV, even though it has got heated and sidetracked in places. Issues have been identified, a possible way forward has been found, and many of the participants and observers in the discussion will have learned and benefited from the experience. Perhaps this can be the start of what will be a long road to a more secure and acceptable future for everyone.

  • I can totally understand why we have to have accreditation, but once a Party member or worker, has been accreditation before and attended many conferences, why do they need to be Police approved. They have not been a threat before, so why now. If we have been accreditation for federal and spring for many years why oh why now have this farce of going through all this again.
    So are we going to have the farce every time, every conference and do we have the right as the Party to do accreditation on ever Police officer attending as we know they all are law abiding !!!! don’t we

  • I share the disappointment – I was planning to attend my first conference this year but not sure now.

    We were told that the FCC would explore alternatives, and I’ve yet to see any evidence that accreditation brings any of the safeguards or benefits its supporters claim. Do we not have any backbone to stand up to police advice we believe is flawed? We once had the strength of character and purpose to challenge the establishment where needed, I fear this is slipping away.

    But….there are no votes on this at the next election. Let’s channel our disappointment into issues that matter and will make a difference, and not get bogged down in internal arguments, however tempting.

  • Just a couple of thoughts….

    1. Presumably the requirement for accreditation is because of the number of Cabinet Ministers in attendance. At the Scottish Party Conference, it’s likely we will have at least 2 Cabinet Ministers (Danny Alexander & Michael Moore) present, along with the Chair of the International Development Select Committee (Malcolm Bruce), and the PPS to the Deputy Prime Minister (Jo Swinson.) Indeed, at some Scottish Conferences, this is complimented by the DPM and the Business Secretary also attending for at least part of the weekend. If that’s the case, then what’s different about the Scottish Conference that it doesn’t need accreditation?

    2. Given the points about the Scottish Conference above, will accreditation be reconsidered when the conference comes to Glasgow in conjunction with the Scottish Police?

  • If cabinet ministers are the reason for the security theatre at conference, surely the most expedient approach would be to decline the presence of either?

  • @Ann-Marie

    Yes, party staff have to be accredited (as do staff of MPs/Peers)

  • Andrew Suffield 22nd May '12 - 8:11pm

    I can totally understand why we have to have accreditation, but once a Party member or worker, has been accreditation before and attended many conferences, why do they need to be Police approved. They have not been a threat before, so why now. If we have been accreditation for federal and spring for many years why oh why now have this farce of going through all this again.

    Accreditation has happened on four occasions, I think, and only once has it been done for general members (previously it was only a few staff). If you were accredited for Autumn 2011 and book for Autumn 2012 with the same account, then you are not expected to need to be accredited again this time – unless you asked the party to delete your details after conference, in which case the records have been erased so obviously you would have to be accredited again.

    As for the question of people who’ve been in the party for years and attended many conferences, that one is much simpler: the police need to verify that the name under which you are registering and the photograph you supplied for your conference pass do in fact match (they’re just going to look at the photograph on your passport and/or driver’s license and check it’s the same). This is to stop malevolent people from registering under the name of somebody else who has been in the party for years and attended many conferences.

    Refuse to put forward any documentation and force them to process you through late accreditation. When 5000 people are expected at late accreditation, the decision will be reversed.

    No, that would just take us back to the status quo from 2010 and earlier, when the queue for registration went out of the building and around the block, and you had to stand in line for a few hours before getting into conference. I don’t think anybody wants that.

    What would happen if you all refused to go through accreditation but turned up for the conference anyway?

    You’d be refused entry by security. It is not possible to change the rules at that stage – contracts, etc.

  • Andrew Suffield 22nd May '12 - 8:17pm

    do we have the right as the Party to do accreditation on ever Police officer attending

    Yes, accreditation applies to (almost) all police, private security, venue staff, contractors, etc.

  • Does that mean they’re not accepting NI numbers this year then?

  • Andrew Suffield 23rd May '12 - 6:49am

    I don’t have a photo id – expired passport and old paper driving licence. I cannot be accredited online.

    If the police do their bit the same way as last year, they can do almost all of the accreditation just from looking you up by name/address/etc, but you’ll have to take some form of ID to collect your pass, rather than having it mailed out. There’s always a bunch of these.

  • David Evans 24th May '12 - 7:43am

    In view of the debate above, it would be interesting to see what the views of the three signatories are to the responses here, particularly about the requests for further information and the fact that this wasn’t needed until Brighton. The fact that this goes directly contrary to a vote in conference makes it much too important to just be left as “Well that’s how it is guys” followed by a long wait for it all to die down.

    I really think that the credibility of the party as a liberal and democratic body is at stake here. We either have a view and are prepared to stick to it, or we do not have the courage to stand up for our values. If the latter, it probably explains a lot about our performance in coalition.

  • Jennifer Liddle 24th May '12 - 2:14pm

    “In view of the debate above, it would be interesting to see what the views of the three signatories are to the responses here, particularly about the requests for further information …”

    I couldn’t agree more. Hello? Anybody there and willing to talk to us?

  • Peter Andrews 24th May '12 - 6:08pm

    How many people were refused accreditation for Autumn 2011? And what were they refused for? I seem to recall it was 1 or 2 people who were refused for undisclosed reasons but presumably for some sort of criminal record. The question is did any of these people actually pose a risk to Conference and if not then what actual effect does accreditation have on the safety of Conference i would hazard a guess at it having zero effect and things like proper security at Conference hotels would have far greater impact on the security and safety of those attending conference.

    Given we are in government how about we actually do something about the totally illiberal stance of the police on this issue? If we don;t do so then who the hell ever will? We are sleep walking slowly but gradually into a police state.

  • Andrew Suffield 25th May '12 - 8:17am

    How many people were refused accreditation for Autumn 2011? And what were they refused for?

    You can find the answer to this one in the FCC’s response to a question, in the Autumn 2011 report. The police recommended that three people be refused entry to conference, and after reviewing the evidence, the relevant people within the party agreed with them in two instances and overruled them on the third.

    They also stated that they can’t reveal the evidence.

  • Peter Andrews 25th May '12 - 10:01am

    Yes as I stated 1 or 2 we refused accreditation do you really believe that the blocking of these 2 individuals made conference so significantly safer that it is worth the hassle, intrusion and cost of the accreditation process and giving police input into who can and can’t attend a political parties sovereign conference?

    I think the police advice on this is wrong and the party ought to be challenging this advice not kowtowing to it. Basically the police want to be seen to be doing the right thing foir security reasons rather than actually providing proper security by doing things like securing conference hotels where the cabinet members might actually be staying. Fairly amazing given that the one and only terrorist attack on a party conference was staged on the hotel the cabinet members were staying in at the time.

  • Peter Andrews 25th May '12 - 10:05am

    Just another thought, I am going to some of the Olympic events yet I have not had to be accredited for that. Surely if accreditation is the only way to keep high profile event safe all attendants at Olympic events should have had to be accredited?

    Or maybe its felt that the physical security at the event locations is enough to protect these high profile events. In which case why is the similar level of physical security checks (bag searches, metal detectors etc) which are now used at conference not considered enough to protect conference if they are good enough to protect the Olympics?

  • Jennifer Liddle 25th May '12 - 12:43pm

    “Yes as I stated 1 or 2 we refused accreditation…”
    Remember that this policy doesn’t just effect those who are refused accreditation, but also the much greater number who did not attend conference because of the accreditation policy.

  • Peter Andrews 25th May '12 - 1:27pm

    True but would any potential terrorists really get picked up by accreditation and therefore would it actually put them off trying to attend? The 7/7 bombers were barely on the radar of the security services for example. If not then all it is doing is putting off legitimate attendees like our trans members without any actual increase in safety or security

    Until someone gives us conclusive proof of how accreditation improves security significantly enough to justify the hassle and expense of the process then we should oppose accreditation. I’d far rather the party and police spent the time and resources on additional physical security measures.

  • “If what you are saying is true, why don’t we have accreditation for Spring Conference?
    Or do terrorists and assassins only work between May and October?”

    Did I miss the answer to this question?

  • Am I missing something, or is there quite an important point of principle involved here? Would it be unfair to characterise what has happened as follows?

    PC Boot: “I hear you are planning to hold a political meeting. Please will you give me full details of all the people who will be attending the meeting?”

    Mr Haddock: “No, I will not. I am a Liberal and I am against this sort of thing.”

    PC Boot: “I’m sorry, sir, but this is a matter of national security. If you don’t give me this information I will make it known that you have disobeyed police orders, and your insurers will charge you a great deal more.”

    Mr Haddock: “Oh, all right then. How much do you want to know?”

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '12 - 2:10am

    From the office that does not open until the Saturday, when I need to be on site to set up our stall on the Friday.

    The registration area opens on the Friday afternoon, so that people have time to make it to the rally on Friday evening.

    (If you are in a hurry, perhaps you would benefit from investing in a current passport. They are widely useful.)

    “If what you are saying is true, why don’t we have accreditation for Spring Conference?
    Or do terrorists and assassins only work between May and October?”

    Did I miss the answer to this question?

    You did not. If you want an answer, you will need to address this question to the FCC. If you need assistance in doing so, please go to the information desk at conference.

  • “If you want an answer, you will need to address this question to the FCC. If you need assistance in doing so, please go to the information desk at conference.”

    Ho ho very satirical.

    Any serious answers?

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '12 - 12:14pm

    Ho ho very satirical.

    Any serious answers?

    That is completely serious. If you want an answer to this question then you have to address it to the FCC.

    If you refuse to ask them then we’ll all know you were never serious about wanting to know.

  • Andrew

    I’m sorry, but your attitude speaks volumes about why the party is in its current predicament.

  • Jennie Rigg 26th May '12 - 1:08pm

    We don’t have accreditation for spring conference because the police don’t demand it, as far as I can tell. I won’t be attending conference as long as this process is in place. This may be the effect those clamouring for it were after.

  • “We don’t have accreditation for spring conference because the police don’t demand it, as far as I can tell.”

    Thanks. That was the impression I’d got. I wondered why that should be, though. If it’s because a different police force is involved, and they have different policies, then that suggests an obvious solution to the problem with the Autumn conference. But otherwise it pretty well makes nonsense of the police advice, doesn’t it? Unless the idea is that the Spring conference and its attendees are so obscure that no terrorist would bother to attack them.

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '12 - 8:06pm

    I’m sorry, but your attitude speaks volumes about why the party is in its current predicament.

    What, that you should go and ask the party body which can tell you? What is wrong with that?

    That was the impression I’d got. I wondered why that should be, though.

    Which is why it’s the literally-true-but-wrong answer and you need to ask the FCC to get the reason.

  • Andrew

    “What, that you should go and ask the party body which can tell you? What is wrong with that?”

    Is there any particular reason you can’t answer the question yourself, as you seem to know better than others such as Jennie?

  • Andrew Suffield 27th May '12 - 12:36am

    Is there any particular reason you can’t answer the question yourself

    Knowing the answer and having the right to publish it are two different things. You need the people with the latter.

  • Curiouser and curiouser.

    So it’s a secret, but if I contact the FCC they’ll tell me?

  • Andrew Suffield 27th May '12 - 5:22pm

    I doubt there’s any reason to keep it secret, but that’s not my decision.

  • The point I’m making is that if it is being kept a secret, they’re hardly likely to tell me!

    I really feel I must have strayed through the looking glass or something …

  • Andrew Suffield 27th May '12 - 10:10pm

    Questions can be formally put to the FCC during one of the business sessions at conference. I don’t think anybody’s really trying to keep this a secret, it’s just that nobody’s bothered to publish it.

  • Oh, I see. I’m meant to put it formally during a business session at conference. Apparently you forgot to mention that before.

    In that case I go back to my original responses:
    (1) Ho ho very satirical
    (2) Your attitude speaks volumes about why the party is in its current predicament

  • From what I can tell, Spring conference doesn’t have accreditation because HMG doesn’t pay for it.

    The same applies to the Conservative Spring Forum; Labour doesn’t have a Spring conference any more since Blair axed it in 2007.

  • Richard Dean 28th May '12 - 1:14pm

    If it’s an HMG matter then presumably it is either in regulations approved by Parliament, or it’s an arbitrary bureacractic decision. In the latter case I wonder if it might even be illegal, given that it appears to be contrary to expected rights of assembly.

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