Amendment watch: preparing the ground for Conference debates in Glasgow

The deadline for amendments to Conference motions is  1 pm next Monday, 2nd September. This means that, all over the country, people will be emailing all their contacts trying to drum up support for their particular amendment. This can be quite a difficult process. So, I thought, why doesn’t Liberal Democrat Voice try and make it a bit smoother?

I have asked about in various places for details of proposed amendments going round and I’ll give details of them further down. If you want to highlight one that you are working on, please post details in the comments. We’ll need to know the motion you’re amending, the text of your amendment (not the whole motion, some of them are pages long) and an email address for supporters to contact you. If you want to support an amendment, you should email the proposer with your name, party membership number and local party.

Please note that this is just to make people aware of amendments going round. There should be no debate the relative merits or otherwise of any amendment under discussion in this particular comments thread. There will be plenty chance for that once we know the final agenda.  So, I give you warning,  comments to this article will be ruthlessly moderated to make sure that  people don’t need to wade through a policy discussion to see what amendments may be on offer.


Our first amendment is from Callum Leslie to the F16 education policy paper. It reads:

Delete “6.d Retaining the current system of higher education finance, and committing to a review within the next Parliament, which will examine its impact on access, participation and quality – this review should consider both the pressure on the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement from unpaid loans and progress made on widening and increasing participation.” and replace with “6.d the ultimate ambition of no tuition fees in either further or higher education, and a student finance system of grants that allows all students to study based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay. We will aim to take steps towards this in the next parliament by introducing living grants for the poorest students, enabling them to study in both FE and HE.”

Contact him on callumleslie92ATgmailDOTcom to support it.

Marriage tax breaks

Laura Willoughby wants us to explicitly rule out marriage tax breaks in an amendment to the F26 Fairer taxes policy paper:

Conference believes that the proposed marriage tax allowance, that would give certain types of married couples a tax break, is discriminatory, unnecessary and expensive . Conference therefore resolves to oppose and repeal the proposed marriage tax allowance at the earliest opportunity.

Contact lauracwilloughbyATmeDOTcom.

Living wage

Gareth Epps wants to amend the F4 balanced working life paper by

add a new subclause into the motion in line 21 after ‘eligibility’:
‘, taking a view on which sectors are resilient enough to sustain a Living Wage,’
To support, email him on

Housing and economy

Also the Social Liberal Forum have two amendments to the economy motion. You can add your support to either or both by clicking on the link.
They are:


At line 59, delete from “pooling” to “rent” (line 64), replace with:

“2) Dramatically increase the number of houses being built to at least 300,000 a year as agreed to in Policy Paper 104 “Decent Homes for All” at September 2012 Conference. Further, to use untapped sources of finance and giving more freedom to social landlords, local authorities and local communities, including by:

a) Removing council borrowing limits, thereby enabling councils with a sustainable business model to borrow to invest in building at least 50,000 homes per year for social rent; and further to examine urgently whether Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) could be brought into line with definitions of other EU countries so that the liabilities of trading corporations (such as council housing operations) are off balance-sheet

b) Ensuring an environment supportive of approaches through which the long-term investment needs of pension funds and insurers can be met through housing
c) Taking radical steps to improve land supply, including through releasing public land with ‘build now, pay later’ deals.”

and at line 75-6, replace (7) so as to read:

“7) Monitor closely the progress of the Bank of England, ensuring it has a refocused mandate that allows monetary policy to aid growth, reduce the unemployment rate to below 6% creating at least a million jobs, and to address weak income growth, targeting a higher level of national/median income.”

Economic strategy

a) Lines 53 to 55 – delete all and replace with “Conference affirms its support for a fiscal mandate under the terms of the Coalition Agreement, but believes it must be rebalanced to give greater support for measures that raise employment and growth. Conference therefore calls on the Coalition Government to…”

b) Add after Line 76: Conference recognises that the electorate will expect all major political parties to present their own distinctive economic policies during the 2015 General Election campaign. Given the need for healthy government finances in a balanced, sustainable economy, Conference therefore believes that the principles behind the Liberal Democrats’ economic policy beyond 2015 should be guided by:

  1. increased capital investment in people, business and infrastructure
  2. rebalancing the economy away from dependence on  unsustainable debt and house prices, towards robust regional economies that raise living standards through sustainable growth
  3. improving the provision for the most vulnerable in society; and
  4. a recognition that beyond 2015, the burden of fiscal consolidation should be shifted further towards fairer taxes, especially on wealth and land.


George Potter has an amendment to the F32 defence motion:

Delete lines 53 to 72, insert the following and renumber accordingly:

Conference remains wholly unconvinced that Britain needs to renew its submarine-based nuclear  weapons system on the same Cold War scale as the system designed in 1980, nor do we believe that the nation can afford to do so. The proposed full-scale replacement, Successor, might in time account for as much as 10% of the UK’s defence budget.

Conference is further unconvinced that the contemplated reduction in the capabilities of Successor would deliver significant financial savings or provide a sufficiently continuous deterrence effect to justify its adoption.

Conference therefore resolves that Britain should cancel the Successor programme and eliminate entirely the UK’s nuclear deterrent following the retirement of Trident, involving:

i) The de-commissioning or re-purposing of all nuclear weaponry facilities and capabilities.

ii) A declaratory policy of voluntary nuclear disarmament which reserves the right to revive a nuclear deterrent should national security require it should international nuclear disarmament not be achieved.

iii) A renewed effort internationally to achieve nuclear disarmament – particularly within Europe.

iv) Consideration of long term re-direction of funds ear marked for Successor to conventional military and conflict prevention capabilities.

i) In the long term, construction of a single class of multi-purpose submarines to succeed the Astute and Successor classes, to perform all submarine roles we may need, including the capability to re role from conventional to nuclear missions should a decision be made to return to a nuclear deterrent.

Conference believes that such a policy would represent the greatest single act of de-escalation ever undertaken by one of the established nuclear powers, would send a powerful signal of Britain’s commitment to global nuclear disarmament and would be the most significant step to date towards our ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

To support, email wpotter.georgeATgmailDOTcom.

There must be more out there. I shall faint if nobody tries to amend the motion on online pornography, for example.
Update; and in fact, Alisdair McGregor and James Shaddock already have…

Online pornography

On line 8, delete the word ‘However’.

On line 9, delete the word ‘government’ and add ‘parents and guardians’.

Delete lines 11-17 and replace with:

ii) Human sexuality is a normal and healthy part of life and growing up which young people need
to be supported through, not simply protected from.

iii) Explicit material can be a vital part of self-exploration and help for young people on topics,
including sexuality, gender identity, abuse, eating disorders and suicide.

iv) Government proposals on internet traffic restrictions must be technologically feasible, reasonable
in extent, not unduly burdensome to internet service providers, and must respect civil liberties,
privacy and freedom of expression.

Delete lines 19-24 and replace with:

a) The connection between sexualisation of young people and access to pornography is a complex
one without clear correlation or causation. Issues and actions often attributed to the Internet have root
causes in offline behaviour, with very little academic basis to support otherwise.

b) relying on ISP level technological filters to prevent young people accessing inappropriate material
will not be effective if an adult in the same household chooses to deactivate the filter

c) Automated filters are proven to be imperfect and are known to regularly categorise many legitimate
websites providing advice for young people as inappropriate

Delete lines 26-27 and replace with:

1. Work with internet and mobile service providers to better promote their existing filtering methods while
ensuring safeguards against misuse of access to information in line with our previous commitments.

Delete lines 28-31 and renumber clause 4 (lines 32-33) as clause 2 accordingly.

Delete lines 34-35 and replace with:

3. Ensure that teaching about the dangers of the internet and the different views of sex provided by a wide
range of pornography and human experience form part of sex education teaching.

At the end, add:
4. Support moves by the adult entertainment industry that allow for more positive portrayals of various
consensual sexual fantasies and acts.

To support, email alisdairDOTmcgregorATgmailDOTcom


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Conference and News.


  • Alisdair McGregor 28th Aug '13 - 2:27pm

    The text of a motion to amend F17 can be found in the members area of the LDV forums.

    We already have enough support to submit it, but any additional names would be welcome to make it clear to FCC that there is a lot of support behind it.

  • Adam Corlett 28th Aug '13 - 4:08pm

    Amendment to motion F26 (Fairer Taxes). Insert and renumber:

    6. The tax system should be further simplified and made more transparent to the public, by:

    a) Recognising that employee, self-employment and employer National Insurance Contributions are income taxes in all but name.
    b) Recommitting to abolishing National Insurance, at least in part through a merger with income tax, with provisions made if desirable to ensure pensioners, the self employed and those with investment income are not left worse off.
    c) Seeking to align the lower National Insurance thresholds with the income tax threshold, subject to progressive funding.

    Please email your details to [email protected] to support or discuss!

    PS This post is a nice try but the party needs a decent online system for members to openly discuss and submit motions and amendments (if they wish). I once made a rough mockup at

  • An emergency motion intended to make Royal Mail’s share sale into a more genuine employee ownership initiative, in line with party policy. Local parties/reps wishing to support please send details to [email protected]. Proposed text:

    Conference acknowledges:

    · that liberals have always championed employee ownership, going back to John Stuart Mill in his “Principles of Political Economy”;
    · that the Party Constitution states that “We want to see democracy, participation and the co-operative principle in industry and commerce…”;
    · support from the DPM for the benefits of collective employee ownership, such as the John Lewis partnership, as set out in his 2012 Mansion House speech that led to the establishment of the Nuttall review on employee ownership;
    · that Conference in 2006 agreed that 25% of the shares of Royal Mail should be placed into trust for its employees;
    · that Conference in 2012 approved the policy paper “Mutualisation, Employee ownership and Workplace democracy”, which recognised the significant benefits of these to economic performance.

    Conference therefore sees the privatisation of Royal Mail, a company that is critically reliant on its workforce for its success, as a unique opportunity to put these principles into practice, and regrets that:

    · the proposed privatisation of provides for only 10% of shares to be distributed to employees;
    · the shares will be distributed to individuals working for the company on the eligibilty date; many may sell their shares, whilst future joiners will miss the opportunity to have a stake in the company.

    Conference therefore calls on our Ministers to press for at least 10% of shares to be held in perpetual trust for employees, to ensure that the current and future workforce retains an economic interest in the company and is able to use shareholder voting power to help to influence its strategic direction, and to share in its success.

  • Trident amendment should read – delete lines 49 to 72 not 53 to 72

  • Janice Turner 29th Aug '13 - 1:46pm

    Rent controls on privately rented accommodation: we are seeking support for an amendment to the excellent motion on social housing . Please email name, membership number and name of local party to [email protected].

    Under “Conference also believes that”, insert new V as follows and renumber:
    “The pressure on social housing has been greatly exacerbated by the application of unrestricted market forces in the private rental market which has made privately rented accommodation unaffordable for many particularly in London, where housing charity Shelter states that renting a two-bedroom home is unaffordable for families earning less than £52,000;”

    Under “Conference calls for further action by government, including”, insert new 3 as follows and renumber:
    “The reintroduction of rent controls, following the example of the US, Germany and other countries, for tenants renting in the private sector.”

  • Ross Stalker 1st Sep '13 - 11:39am

    Amendment to the F16 education motion:

    To add a new calls for after 6 d) that reads:
    “Affirming that the repayment of student loans being linked to income sets them apart from other types of liability, by introducing regulation that prevents mortgage lenders from considering the Plan 1 and Plan 2 income contingent student loan debt of mortgage applicants.”
    and renumber accordingly.

    [email protected] to support

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.