Tag Archives: federal executive

Statement from Rock the Boat – Liberal Democrats against harassment

Rock the Boat – Liberal Democrats Against Sexual Harassment – today welcomed the statements from Tim Farron and Lord Rennard this morning regarding the House of Lords’ representative on the Federal Executive.

Grace Goodlad, steering group member, said:

We are saddened that it took the triggering of a Special Conference and a public plea from our Party Leader to get there, but we are pleased that good sense has now prevailed.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

++Breaking: Chris Rennard’s statement as he stands down from the Federal Executive

Chris Rennard has made the following statement announcing that he has withdrawn from the Federal Executive:

A week ago, I was elected by the votes of the Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords to be their representative on the party’s Federal Executive. Any Lib Dem peer could have stood, all of them could vote, and I was elected by 44 votes to 25. Since then a number of party members have objected to that outcome and sought to effectively overturn it by removing the right of the Lib Dem peers to have a representative on it.

I was disappointed that in a party called the Liberal Democrats there should be such a challenge to the result of a democratic election. I recognise, however, that there has been much controversy in the party and this has continued partly because it has been very poor in communicating to its members the outcomes of all the various processes investigating allegations made against me. In particular, many members have remained unaware of the key conclusion concerning me in the final report of the independent businesswoman, Helena Morrissey, who reviewed these processes.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 54 Comments

+++Breaking: Tim Farron calls on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive

Tim Farron has issued the following statement calling on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive position to which he was elected by Liberal Democrat Lords last week:

As you know, Chris Rennard’s election to the Federal Executive has prompted party members to call for a Special Conference.

I have not spoken out until now as I have been giving Chris time to reflect on the party’s reaction to his election.

I have decided it is time to make clear publicly that I do not believe it is in the interests of the party for Chris to take up his position on the FE.

Chris was entitled to stand for election and the Lords were entitled to elect him. That does not mean his decision to put himself forward was in the best interests of the party.

Helena Morrissey’s review threw the spotlight on our party’s culture and working practices. We have made major changes to the constitution and to the rules we use to apply its values.

For example, we have ensured that for instances of alleged discrimination, bullying, harassment or intimidation, we now operate to the standards you would expect in most modern workplaces.

However, I also believe that the call for a Special Conference shows we still have some way to go to convince our members that the party’s culture has changed.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

++Special conference is triggered – all members will be able to attend


On Thursday, LDV reported that Chris Rennard was elected to represent the party’s House of Lords group on the Federal Executive.

Since then, a petition has been submitted to the party by the group ‘Rock the Boat – Lib Dems against Sexual Harrassment’. The petition calls for a Special Party Conference to debate a Constitutional amendment to remove the seat on Federal Executive reserved for a nominee from the Lords group. The petition has been declared valid as it includes over 200 signatures of members from at least 20 different local parties.

Posted in A weekly catchup and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 117 Comments

Chris Rennard elected to Federal Executive by Lib Dem peers

There has as yet been no official confirmation, but it is being widely reported that the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords has elected Chris Rennard as its representative on the party’s Federal Executive.

First, here is a reminder from the party website (where you can see the other current members) of the FE’s role:

The Federal Executive (FE) is the governing body of the Federal Party. It is responsible for directing, co-ordinating, and implementing the work of the Federal Party.

The FE is Chaired by the Party President, and has representatives of the members (15 members elected by Conference), the state parties, MPs, Peers, MEPs, and councillors.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 122 Comments

Speaking for England – a reply to Chris White

Chris White’s article “Speaking for England” rightly invited people to share their views with the Federal Executive’s review of party governance but wrongly made a number of express or implied criticisms of the English Liberal Democrats that are incorrect and unjust.

Chris writes “most members think they… can vote for the committees which look after campaigning”. Indeed, they can. Local parties are chiefly responsible for local campaigning. National party strategy is constitutionally the responsibility of the Federal Executive, of which both Chris and I are members.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 41 Comments

Federal Executive urges party to stand in Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Way back in 2011, the then Federal Executive created, shall we say, a little light controversy by deciding not to fund any Liberal Democrat campaigns for Police and Crime Commissioner on the grounds that we didn’t support the idea as it concentrated too much power in the hands of one person.

After much discussion, the party did eventually contest 24 out of the 36 contests in England and none in Wales.

The posts are up for election again next May and FE discussed the party’s approach to them at its meeting last Monday. This time it’s very different. The recommendation FE made was that the party should endeavour to fight every seat. The PCC elections mean that the whole of Britain will be voting for something on the same day (there are devolved elections in Scotland, Wales and London as well as local elections as well) and it’s an important test of national opinion.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Sal Brinton writes…The phoenix is rising, and that is down to you

It’s just under one week since the polls closed, and we have now recruited over 11,000 new members and it’s growing all the time.  There is an extraordinary public endorsement of a liberal voice – a Liberal Democrat voice – in the UK today, and this is so exciting.

I want to thank everyone who has contacted me by email, text, Facebook, Twitter and phone. Please forgive me for being slow in replying personally, but I am receiving hundreds every day. I am extremely busy with everything that the President has to do, the Leadership election, and as you can imagine there are other responsibilities emerging and I have very limited resources. The best email to reach me is [email protected].

The Federal Executive (FE) met on Saturday, and I wanted to let you know more detail of what was decided.

Firstly, we agreed that we wanted the Leadership contest to conclude before the summer recess, so that the new Leader would have time to set up his office and be ready for his first conference as Leader. We also agreed to extend the period between nominations opening (which they do today) and close of nominations, to encourage everyone including candidates and their teams to get lapsed members to re-join. The Returning Officer has now agreed this can happen. We also asked the Returning Officer to set out the list of official hustings as soon as possible, so that members would have access to hustings. The agreed list means that virtually all members will have a hustings within 75 miles, or in the very rural areas (e.g. some parts of Scotland and Wales) within 100 miles. There may also be other hustings including online and virtual meetings.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Opinion: Have a local party meeting after the election

We will all be very busy for the next few weeks, working hard to get Lib Dem MPs elected.

But once the votes are counted, the job of setting the country on the best direction will not over.  There is every chance no party will win a majority.

Thinking about this must not distract us from campaigning.   But it would be irresponsible to think that polling day is the end.  It is just the beginning.

The Federal Executive has agreed processes for how Liberal Democrats approach inter-party negotiations.

A negotiating team will operate on appointment by the Leader.  It will report to a small reference group drawn from FE, FPC members and MPs/peers. They will report to the full committees and all MPs/peers.  Any proposed decision to work with another party in government will go to a Special Conference.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Shhh! Keep this secret

Everyone knows that the Federal Party committees do important business and that this business has to be kept absolutely secret. So I can’t really say anything about Monday’s Federal Executive meeting.

But if we are to move to OMOV (one member one vote – essentially the abolition of conference representatives) there need to be reports capable of being seen in the public domain and hopefully – unlike some reports I have seen within the Party about Federal Committees – uncoloured by the standpoint of the observer.

So let’s have a go.

We talked about OMOV itself. There is now a working party including both enthusiasts and sceptics and this has gone through the necessary amendments again and is hoping that this time it’s watertight. There are some very important loose ends, like how to ensure that people can afford to attend conference, and how the members of committees are to be held properly to account. There will be some consultation work on these at the spring conference.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Speaking up for the civil liberties of dogs

HazelAfter the Federal Executive meeting this week where we discussed preparations for the election campaign (heartening to see so many people coming forward to be approved as candidates), arrangements to implement the One Member One Vote decision at Conference (and good to see that Mark Pack and Duncan Brack who proposed the amendment passed are to be invited in to work on that), the implementation of the Morrissey Report (amazing progress made, driven forward by our fabulous Pastoral Care Officer), we headed to the pub.

I was talking about my excitement/slight apprehension about picking up our new puppy the next day. The picture on the right shows little Hazel, who is now happily settled and busily involved in training us to meet her needs.

Anyway, Martin Tod reminded us all that he had once spoken up for the civil liberties of dogs in response to an animal welfare debate at Conference in 2003. He and Mark Pack wondered how it would look if the motion applied to humans. He posted the speech on his blog last year and here’s a snippet:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Federal Committee candidate lists announced

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderIf you are a party member, you might want to head to this thread on our Members’ Forum to see the lists of people standing for the Party Committees. The ballot will be conducted predominantly online with links to the ballot being provided to those Conference Representatives for whom the party has an email address. Those emails will be being despatched imminently. Ballots will be sent by post to those for whom there is no email address. The postie will be struggling up the path with the weight of the mailing – there are over 100 candidates for the 42 places on the three committees.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Restructuring is important but the General Election is the priority

Liberal Democrat Conference 2011There has been a lot of talk recently about the way the Party nationally is not accountable to the members enough and also that there should be early warning systems in place to pick up on anything that could be going wrong .The Federal Executive whose members are directly elected by the Conference representatives every two years is the body that is in effect responsible for the internal administration of the Party and is chaired by the President.

As one of the candidates for the post of President I thought I would set out some initial thoughts. I believe the Federal Executive should be restructured to make it more accountable. The fifteen elected members should be given specific portfolios which cover the HQ directorates. In this way there would be a great deal more liaison between the elected executive and the Party staff. The Federal Executive member would be responsible for reporting back to the Federal Executive on key areas of concern that they have. It would be a way of not only alerting the Party quickly if there seems to be a problem but would also give support to the staff themselves.

photo by: NCVO
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 36 Comments

Tales from the Federal Executive: The one where we discussed the elections

London December 9 2013 064 Thames Low Tide (4) ParliamentThe Liberal Democrats’ Federal Executive met last night in a Westminster Committee room looking out on a grey and brooding Thames.

The meeting had a bit of a comedy start with a last minute change of venue leaving member scurrying from one end of the Parliamentary Estate to the other.

The major item of business was, of course,  discussion about the recent elections. Several Federal Executive members had consulted widely amongst members to get their views. Only Candy Piercy, though, had been organised enough …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 229 Comments

Spring Conference reprieved

Spring 2013 Federal Conference agendaA couple of weeks ago Lib Dem Voice reported that party members were being consulted by Federal Executive about the future of Spring Conference, following a consultation session at Glasgow.  This was driven by financial pressures and the need for the Spring Conference to be cost-neutral.

Options included keeping it as it is but with cost savings, reducing its length from two days, or abolishing the Spring Conference completely .  The second option was preferred by Federal Executive.  Not surprisingly, the Federal Conference Committee did not support either abolition or any changes to the length of the conference.

Gareth Epps reports that yesterday evening the Federal Executive agreed to not make any changes, but to see how online technology could make the conference more accessible to the wider membership.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Opinion: Spring Conference – Ditch it or shift it?

The future of Spring Conference is in question: the Federal Executive is seriously considering whether it should be scaled down or even abandoned, mainly to cut costs.

Neither of these are attractive options, and they appear to be deeply unpopular with activists.

However, the party has to contend with Spring Conference’s high fixed costs (bad for delicate party finances) and relatively poor attendance (bad for both party finances and party democracy).

At the moment, Spring Conference takes place in early March, during the Easter parliamentary recess.  That’s under 2 months before the May elections (except in European Parliament election years), when many activists …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Opinion: Secrecy, federal committees and a lack of democracy

meetingNearly all the debates about Liberal Democrat federal committees and democracy hinge on who the electorate for committee elections should be – conference reps or all party members?

However these debates miss a big problem, which is simply that the electorate, whoever it is, knows very little about the performance of incumbents. Democracy isn’t just about the right people having the vote, it’s about them being able to cast their votes in a meaningful way.

If you don’t know what people have done, it is hard to hold them to account.

Currently there …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Candy Piercy replaces Jo Shaw on the Lib Dems’ Federal Executive

Jo Shaw’s resignation from the Liberal Democrats on Sunday created a vacancy on the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Executive committee.

The votes from the original internal party election in 2012 have now been recounted and Candy Piercy has been elected.

Candy told Lib Dem Voice:

Although I am very glad to be on the FE again, I am very sad that the reason for this is the resignation of Jo Shaw. Jo was a fierce campaigner on the FE who always spoke up loud and clear for her principles.

I will do my best to carry on that approach. I will stand up

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Last chance to stand for important internal elections – deadline 5pm tomorrow, 18th January

Do you have a head for figures and financial management, an interest in international relations, diversity, SAOs or campaigns?

I wrote last week that there were some important internal elections next week. The electorate is very small, the newly elected Federal Executive of which I am a member. However, you don’t have to be a member of that body to stand. Many of the positions up for grabs are open to any member of the Liberal Democrats.

The posts to be elected are listed in full on the members’ only website.They include posts such as five members of the Federal Finance …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Halfway to 2015 – three bits of advice for new Lib Dem Federal Party Committees

The beginning of 2013 not only marks the start of the second half of the Coalition, but also the start of the newly elected Federal Committees. Here is some advice for the three crucial ones, Federal Policy Committee (FPC), Federal Conference Committee (FCC) and Federal Executive (FE).

For FPC: Radical policy is required for 2015
Common sense says the 2015 manifesto should play it safe, yet common sense is often wrong.

A study of policy positions in party manifestos since 1971 in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK shows: Parties in Government who adopt relatively extreme ideological positions do …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Federal Committee Election results 2012

Postal ballot paper being postedLiberal Democrat Federal Conference reps have voted for members of party committees for 2013-2014; the results are as follows:

Federal Executive committee
Places: 15
Candidates elected:

Qassim Afzal
Elaine Bagshaw

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 20 Comments

Lib Dems’ internal elections: your guide to where we’re at (UPDATED)

Every couple of years the Lib Dems hold internal elections in which conference representatives choose members of key party committees. As one of the seemingly few Lib Dems neither standing for election nor with a vote, I thought our readers might like an update on where we’re at…

Federal Executive

What does it do?
The formal answer: ‘The Federal Executive is an elected committee responsible for directing, co-ordinating and implementing the work of the Federal Party.’ (From the party website.)
The informal answer: What does the Federal Executive do? by Alison Goldsworthy
Who’s standing?
There are 36 candidates (26 men, 10 women) competing for …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters and Party Presidency | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

FFAC chair Greenland acknowledges LDV accreditation article was “unhelpful”

The chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, Duncan Greenland has written an article in the Conference edition of Liberator on the highly controversial issue of Conference accreditation. A Liberal Democrat Voice poll in June, consistent with every other test of party opinion on the issue, showed that a majority of respondents opposed the system, which requires conference attendees to undergo police checks.

Mr Greenland felt that the Liberator coverage on the issue had been “misleading” and wanted to put the record straight about the process by which accreditation was approved. He stated that FFAC had become involved after …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

What does the Federal Executive do?

This is the first in a series of articles about the work of party committees, written by current members. Each will provide insight into how a specific committee functions. We hope these articles will encourage party members to consider putting themselves forward for election.

The Party’s Federal Executive is responsible for directing, co-ordinating and implementing the work of the Federal Party. Right now, that makes it a pretty big job so if you have ideas on how we should be doing that, think about standing.

The committee has certain constitutional obligations from reports to conference to overseeing our accounts, you can read …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 4 Comments

Reports to party conference: two good things

In amongst the paperwork for the Autumn 2012 Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton is the bundle of reports from various party committees and bodies. The idea of the reports, and the ability to question them, is a great one. The content of the reports can have a tendency to be a little too banal or general to make for a meaningful report back from committees to people who elected them.

Take this shock news from the FCC report, for example:

Posted in Conference and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tim Farron MP to restand for Party President

Tim Farron MP announced at tonight’s Federal Executive meeting that he is to seek re-election as Liberal Democrat Party President this autumn:

Being our party’s President is a wonderful honour for me. Together our party is achieving so much – taking two million people out of tax, driving the pupil premium to give a better start to our most disadvantaged children and helping to create the green economy of tomorrow.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 25 Comments

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 …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 118 Comments

Erlend Watson replaces James Graham on the Lib Dems’ Federal Executive

James Graham’s resignation from the Liberal Democrats on Sunday created a vacancy on the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Executive committee.

The Electoral Commission has now recounted the votes from the original internal party election in 2010 and named Erlend Watson as the winner. Party President Tim Farron phoned Erlend this morning to formally welcome him back to FE.

Erlend told the Voice:

I regard myself as a critical friend of the party leadership, we agree on our destination although the precise route to get there is up for discussion.

I was previously on the FE from 2006-2010 including the post General Election

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: The Lib Dem leadership’s attitude to the Police Commissioner elections is baffling!

“Liberal Democrats – soft on crime” was the headline that has often screamed off Labour leaflets over the last decade. Indeed, in the latter stages of the 2010 General Election, Labour strategists used that message to squeeze the Liberal Democrat vote when we were on 29%.

Looking at the partial, last-minute collapse in our vote, it’s difficult to argue that this line of attack didn’t work. The ‘soft on crime’ attack was used against us in the Oldham East and Saddleworth By-election. Labour’s Christmas Card to constituents in Oldham even featured a snowman with a police …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 30 Comments

Opinion: What next for elected Police Commissioners?

In 1951, the Liberal Party fielded just 109 parliamentary candidates. 1959 was better with 216. And in 1979, shortly before the foundation of the SDP, we were fielding 577 – virtually a candidate in every seat.

Most of us have grown up in a political landscape in which our party attempts to field a full slate, at all levels. In the darkest days after the merger, in first-past-the-post European elections cynically rigged against us, we fielded candidates throughout Great Britain even though we knew we would likely win no seats at all. Indeed, I still remember my excitement at the prospect …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 30th Nov - 6:33pm
    @Expats - I'm well aware that the link included a caveat. I think anyone sensible venturing an opinion should do so with a multitude of...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 30th Nov - 6:24pm
    @ Thomas S - it might have come sooner for the parliamentary party, but it would have been a lesser disaster and by now we...
  • User Avatarexpats 30th Nov - 6:07pm
    Jonathan Brown......The link you post comes with the caveat......" Consequently, what follows should be seen as little more than informed speculation based on limited and...
  • User AvatarPeter Hellyer 30th Nov - 6:05pm
    @Jonathan, Yes - if we & allies extend our bombing of ISIS into Syria while Assad and Putin bomb other opposition elements (including other jihadis,...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 30th Nov - 5:57pm
    It's painfully ironic to hear Syrian community reps saying that ISIS should not be attacked because the west turned a blind eye to Assad's butchery...
  • User Avatarindigo 30th Nov - 5:48pm
    ISIS - What is the real threat? The real threat occurred when ISIS spun out of Western control. Let's have a frank conversation here. The...