Amendments selected for Conference agenda

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The final meeting of Federal Conference Committee prior to us all heading to Bournemouth took place this Saturday, where amendments were debated and selected. One big difference from the motions selection meeting is that debate is more rapid, with 73 amendments, 9 emergency/topic motions, 12 questions to federal bodies and one appeal to deal with.

When discussing motions the ultimate decision is a yes or a no, but with amendments there is also the option of accepting it as a drafting change. This only applies to simple and uncontroversial changes, often clarifications, and means it does not need to be voted on and can simply be published in Conference Daily. Drafting amendments should not be substantial, so even a non-controversial amendment to update the motion based on events since the agenda was published still needs to be formally voted on.

As with motions, there are a few reasons for not selecting an amendment. The reason that most commonly results in long debates at FCC is where multiple overlapping amendments achieve the same or similar results, and FCC has to select which set of amendments produces the best basis for debate. Without care, it would also be possible to produce an impossible set of amendments that could conflict in the final wording. Other reasons for non-selection include being beyond the scope of the original motion, addressing a topic already debated recently or simply a lack of time. You can at most get one amendment in a 45 minute policy motion slot and two or three in a one-hour slot or longer. Going beyond that leaves no time for spontaneous debate after the movers of the motion and amendments have spoken and more than three moved amendments makes for a confusing debate.

Descriptions, where given, are my own possibly flawed interpretation to aid identification as amendments do not have titles. You can read the full text of selected amendments in Conference Extra, now available on the conference web site.

Finally, FCC also looks at Emergency Motions and Topical Debate requests and Questions to party bodies but only to check if they are in order, i.e. meet the rules set down for such items.

F5 – Creating Safe and Legal Routes for Refugees. 6 amendments were submitted for a one hour slot

  • Selected:
    • Stockton, Brussels & Europe + 13 Conference Representatives – Updates the motion based on recent events.
    • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – “Strengthening the motion” and updates numbers of refugees to accept – Partially taken as a drafting amendment, partially taken as a moved amendment.
  • Not selected:
    • Calderdale – Permanent refugee processing centre in Calais
    • Canterbury and Coastal – proportionate share of refugees
    • Greater Reading – updates numbers of refugees
    • Manchester Gorton – Establish FPC working group

F10 – Winning in Europe. 8 amendments submitted for a one hour slot

  • Selected:
    • Brussels & Europe, Lewisham + 23 Conference Representatives – Extend the franchise for an EU referendum.
    • Keighley & Shipley, Calderdale – Working with other parties
    • Stockton – Notes EU investment in various industries. Drafted in.
    • 24 Conference Representatives – Notes EU investment in rural communities. Drafted in.
  • Not selected:
    • Canterbury and Coastal – Extend franchise
    • Manchester Gorton – register party as an “in” campaigner
    • 16 Conference Representatives and Calderdale – wording change

F12 – Term time Holidays. One amendment submitted for a 45 minute slot.

  • Not selected:
    • Manchester Gorton – Effect on league tables

F15 – Reducing Tax on Tourism. 4 amendments submitted for a one hour slot.

  • Selected:
    • 10 Conference Representatives – Various additions
  • Not selected:
    • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – Introduce local tourism tax
    • Greater Reading – Exclude London from VAT reduction
    • Manchester Gorton – Strengthen wording in “conference believes” point 1.

F21 – Urgent Action on Air Quality and Health. 4 amendments submitted for a 45 minute slot.

  • Selected:
    • 27 Conference Representatives – Various additions
  • Not selected:
    • Manchester Gorton – Accessibility of PCVs
    • North Herts and Stevenage – Change motion title
    • 10 Conference Representatives – Include ships & change “Electric” to “low/zero emission”

F23 – Securing a Global Treaty on Climate Change. 6 amendments submitted for a 50 minute slot.

  • Selected:
    • 25 Conference Representatives – Update motion based on recent events
  • Not selected:
    • Cheltenham – Update motion based on recent events
    • Greater Reading – Update motion based on recent events
    • Manchester Gorton – Food transportation
    • North Herts and Stevenage – Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • 23 Conference Representatives – Update motion based on recent events

F25 – Public Health Service – 2 amendments submitted for a 45 minute slot

  • Selected:
    • Manchester Gorton – Funding for population studies and trials.
  • Not selected:
    • West Midlands Region + 12 Conference Representatives – Mental Health

F27 – Trident – 5 amendments submitted for a 95 minute slot.

  • Selected:
    • Rugby Liberal Democrats – Multilateral disarmament
    • 14 Conference Representatives – Commission FPC Working Group
  • Not selected:
    • Barrow and Furness – Substitute shipbuilding at Barrow-in-Furness
    • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – Multilateral disarmament
    • 12 Conference Representatives – Strengthening conventional forces
    • Canterbury and Coastal – Separate vote on decomissioning

F32 – Housing. 17 amendments for a slot that was originally 80 minutes. It has been extended due to popularity in terms of amendments.

  • Selected:
    • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – Various (Taken with changes)
    • Rugby – Various (Taken with changes)
    • Waverley – Increase social rented housing availability
    • Keighley & Shipley – Clarifications (Taken as Drafting amendment)
    • Keighley & Shipley and Calderdale – Various (Taken as Drafting amendment)
  • Not selected:
    • Amber Valley – Environmental amendments
    • Barrow and Furness – Welcomes removal of tax relief on buy to let mortgages
    • Canterbury and Coastal – Land Banks
    • Haringey Borough, Calderdale – Various
    • Greater Reading – Affordable social housing
    • Manchester Gorton – Bedroom Tax
    • South Central – Gazumping
    • Wokingham, Keighley, Calderdale – Councils to retain 100% of sold property receipts
    • 15 Conference Representatives and Calderdale – Environmental amendments
    • 14 Conference Representatives – Review Green Belt
    • 18 Conference Representatives – Land Value Taxation
    • (One additional submission is missing from this list, as it was only available on paper at the meeting)

F34 – Human Rights. 4 amendments for 65 minute debate.

  • Selected:
    • Calderdale – Ratify remaining ECtHR protocols
    • Newbury and West Berkshire- Clarification regarding Human Rights Act (Taken as Drafting amendment)
  • Not selected:
    • Manchester Gorton – Secret Courts
    • Wokingham – Personal data

F40 – No-one Should be Enslaved by Poverty. 4 amendments for a 60 minute debate.

  • Selected:
    • Stockton – Financial support for children of asylum seekers
    • Merton – Update motion based on recent events (Taken as Drafting amendment)
  • Not selected:
    • Canterbury and Coastal – Various
    • West Midlands Region + 12 Conference Representatives – Mental Health

F41 – Youth Services. 3 amendments submitted for a 45 minute debate

  • Selected:
    • Keighley & Shipley + 10 Conference Representatives – Statutory funding
  • Not selected:
    • Cheltenham – Statutory funding
    • West Midlands Region + 12 Conference Representatives – Funding

Business Motion F8 – Membership Subscription & Federal Levy. Approximately 15 minutes

  • Selected:
    • Liberal Youth – £1 introductory rate (With minor changes)
  • Not selected:
    • Bermondsey & Old Southwark – New Recruits Bonus

Constitutional/Standing Order Amendments F28/F29 – One Member, One Vote. 4 amendments for a one hour slot.

  • Not selected:
    • Newbury and West Berkshire – Remote voting
    • Manchester Gorton – Various
    • Greater Reading – Minimum membership term for voting

Constitutional Amendment F36 – Deputy Leader

  • Not selected:
    • Greater Reading – Timing of Deputy leader elections

Emergency/Topical Motions

  • In order: (Will appear on ballot)
    • 23 conference representatives – Energy and Democracy
    • ALDC – Keep the Social Care Cap and Fund Our Care System Properly
    • 11 conference representatives – Protecting Bees
    • 12 conference representatives – Protecting the BBC
    • Calderdale – Schengen
    • Liberal Youth – Standing up for Young People
  • Not Taken:
    • East Kent Coast, Liberal Democrat Lawyers Assoc – The Urgent Crisis in Criminal Legal Aid in England and Wales
    • Calderdale – No ifs, no buts, no Northern Powercut
    • BBC Charter Renewal

Questions

12 questions were submitted to party bodies, and all were in order. One was moved to be to a different body to that originally submitted.

Appeal

FCC heard one appeal against non-selection of a motion. The appeal was not successful.

 

* Zoe O'Connell is a Councillor and deputy group leader on Cambridge City Council, sits on the executive of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and is Vice Chair of Federal Conference Committee.

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7 Comments

  • Thank you for posting this, Zoe; interesting to see what was selected and what was submitted. A shame none of the Reading amendments were selected (well done to Manchester Gorton for having one of theirs accepted!).

    I understand this is something which comes up before every Conference, but is there a resource available to local parties to help with drafting amendments and submissions?

  • Yes, thanks Zoe.

  • Thank you for your work on this Zoe.

  • Zoe O'connell 16th Sep '15 - 10:32am

    @John – FCC offers drafting advice, although you need to submit a motion/amendment before an earlier (by about 2 weeks) deadline in order to make use of it. There is also a “Writing a Conference Motion” session on Sunday afternoon 16.30-17.30. Details are on page 2 of Conference Extra.

  • @Joe Otten
    Actually FCC works largely by consensus. With the whole range of amendments in front of us it is fairly obvious which ones are clear and likely to take the debate forward. Sometimes we have to choose between two equally good amendments because there will only be time for one, and then it goes to a vote. I don’t detect any blocking of items on ideological or personal grounds, which is what you appear to be suggesting.

  • Richard underhill 16th Sep '15 - 2:10pm

    Congratulations to the local parties which had consultation meetings, obvious from the above and from Flock Together.
    Of course mandating is unconstitutional in this party, although others may have experienced it in trade unions or in previous parties.
    We also had a borough council by-election.

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