Author Archives: Nick Da Costa

Motions for Autumn Conference are published

The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 9th July to start its work on the final agenda for Autumn 2022 Conference, which will be taking place in Brighton, with an option for online attendance.

If you haven’t yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.

At the meeting we discussed several items in relation to future venues and the meeting and motions schedule for 2023 into 2024. As previously reported, we will be returning to York for Spring Conference 17 to 19 March 2023.

The Federal Conference Committee has also continued work with its Working Group on a Hybrid Conference and has put together a technical specifications document which will be used to look at options and software platforms for a future hybrid conference. This was an interesting meeting as we also discussed wider membership engagement at Conference (applicable for in-person and hybrid conference options).

Conference is an excellent way to engage with the membership, to influence the party’s policy and strategy, but also so many other activities. We are looking forward to an exciting fringe programme with a range of different topics and presentations. There will also be the extensive training programme available at Conference – we really do recommend that you look at that. The directory will be published very soon. I am especially looking forward to the return of the Lib Dem Quiz and of course Glee.

The agenda for conference, including the texts of the motions and timings, will be published shortly. As per usual the Conference will include the Leaders Speech, Committee and Parliamentary Reports, the Leaders Q&A and some set-piece speeches; we are also delighted that Kira Rudik, leader of the Ukrainian Holos Party and ALDE Party Vice President, will be joining us at Conference. The further details of these will be announced in due course.

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Amendments for Conference and Ukraine

The Federal Conference Committee met on Saturday, 5 March to review amendments, emergency motions, and questions to reports submitted for next week’s Spring Conference.

Spring Conference 2022 will again be held online via the Hopin platform, and we would like to thank the Conference Team and the wider team at HQ for making it happen.

As mentioned via email and in an earlier post on Lib Dem Voice and the Federal Conference Facebook Page the FCC has agreed to allow a later deadline on emergency motions on the topic of Ukraine, following the Russian invasion and the evolving situation. You can still submit an emergency motion on Ukraine here.

We are also delighted to announce that there will be a fringe session held on Sunday, 13 March from 17:40 to 18:45 with Kira Rudyk, Leader of the Holos Party in Ukraine (a sister party of the Lib Dems), who will be joined by Layla Moran MP, answering questions from members on her experience and the current situation in Ukraine. I do encourage you to attend this exciting fringe event.

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Update on Conference deadlines: Emergency Motions on Ukraine

I am certain that many of you have been following the terribly upsetting news in Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion.

The Federal Conference Committee has agreed that due to the ongoing and evolving situation in Ukraine that we would allow a later deadline for an emergency motion on the topic of Ukraine. The deadline for this will be Thursday, 10 March at 13:00.

The motion will then be announced on Friday morning before the commencement of Conference. Any motions submitted already on Ukraine can either be carried forward to the new deadline, alternatively those who have already submitted emergency motions on Ukraine may want to consider withdrawing their motions and submitting updated motions for the new deadline. 

You will be able to submit a motion via: https://www.libdems.org.uk/conference_submissions

This will allow members time to prepare and submit motions that may take into consideration the changing situation over the next days in the lead-up to Spring Conference.  The emergency motion will be debated in the Sunday morning Emergency Motion slot and the Federal Conference Committee will provide further information on this closer to the date.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate reaching out.

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FCC Report: Motions for Spring Conference

The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 15th January to start its work on the final agenda for Spring 2022 Conference, which will be taking place virtually via the Hopin platform.

If you haven’t yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.

We’ve had a few departures from the FCC in the last few months and welcomed two new members. Jennie Rigg ceased being the English Party’s Representative to the FCC and Jenni Lang stepped down as the Scottish Party Representative after becoming the Convenor of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. I would like to place on record our thanks for their service to the FCC, they will be missed, and we would like to wish them all the very best for the future. We welcomed Matt McLaren as our new English Party Rep and Paul McGarry as our new Scottish Party Rep to the committee.

The FCC wants to thank the Conference Office for the amazing work that they do. We are always so grateful to them for their hard work.

At our meeting we discussed several papers and issues brought to the FCC. One of which was with regards to this report, and the information we publish relating to the non-selection of motions. Previously, the FCC had not provided the reason for why motions are not selected. We have taken on board lots of feedback and decided that it is only fair that we publish a summary of the feedback provided when this report is published. Whilst we do provide feedback to submitters of motions, it was felt appropriate that we do give the membership more information about why certain motions are not selected. This doesn’t mean that the motions are not necessarily a good topic for debate, but in some cases their focus is either too narrow or the motion would benefit from additional drafting support and guidance, which the FCC offers through the drafting advice service.

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Announcement about 2022 Conferences

The Federal Conference Committee recently met to discuss the Conference format for 2022.

We considered a number of options for next year’s conferences and took the difficult decision to hold Spring Conference as an online conference and only returning to an in-person event for Autumn Conference. The dates of Spring Conference will be 11-13 March 2022 and we will announce the dates and venue for Autumn Conference in due course.

The Committee discussed several options with regards to the format of Spring Conference and, whilst there was a strong desire within the Committee to return to in person meetings and events as soon as possible, our challenge was that the COVID situation remains uncertain and therefore still causes significant concern. While we are seeing more in person events happening, we have also seen the Welsh Labour conference in November cancelled due to COVID concerns.

If we had taken the decision to hold an in person Spring Conference, this would have taken place in York – a venue which we usually operate at full capacity. Enforcing social distancing and COVID measures would therefore have been extremely difficult with the potential number of attendees. Furthermore, the danger that a large number of people may not have felt safe attending a crowded in person event meant there was a significant risk of a drop in the number of members attending Conference.

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Federal Conference Committee Report – setting the preliminary agenda for Autumn Conference

Federal Conference Committee met via Zoom call on Saturday, 10 July for the agenda selection for our Autumn Conference 2021. The meeting was a lengthy one, which was in part due to the large selection of motions received. 

A few announcements before the report; as you may be aware Geoff Payne, departed the FCC in early May, and I am delighted to have been elected the new Chair of FCC. All of us wish Geoff the very best for the future. A recount was held for the vacant place on the Committee, and I am delighted that Keith Melton has joined as our new member of the Federal Conference Committee. Chris Adams has also been elected in the vacant Vice-Chair position and will take responsibility for the General Purposes Sub Committee. 

This Autumn conference will be held online, via our third-party provider, Hopin. You will be able to find more information about the virtual conference. If you are planning to attend conference, we highly recommend taking part in the interactive exhibitions and the fringes.

If you haven’t yet registered for Conference, I would recommend to do so here.

The FCC wants to pay its thanks to the continued amazing efforts of the Conference Office team and members who have worked so incredibly hard. You will see from the timings of Conference that it is slightly different to the usual format, and we hope that this will give more people an opportunity to attend virtually, but also it has meant that we have been able to increase the number of motions selected, we have allowed short breaks between sessions but have also worked hard to include as many of the motions submitted as possible. The agenda for Conference will be published very shortly.

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Federal Conference Committee – pre-Conference report

On Saturday, 13th March the Federal Conference Committee met to review the amendments, late motions, emergency motions, questions to reports and appeals for this weekend’s next Spring Conference which commences on Friday.

You can still register for conference. We also have a claimants’ rate, and provide support for those who require it through the Conference Access Fund. You can also donate to the Conference Access Fund as part of your registration.

This will be our second online Conference with our partners at Hopin. As always, we would like to thank the Conference Office and wider HQ team for their support and hard work in bringing together our online conference.

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Federal Committee report – Spring Conference 2021 motion selection

The Federal Conference Committee met via Zoom call on Saturday, 16 January for the agenda selection for our second virtual conference. The meeting was a lengthy one, which was in part due to the large selection of varied and interesting motions we received, but also to give us breaks from staring at computer screens for a number of hours.

As you will be aware, this year we will not be heading up to the historic city of York, but instead you will be able to take part in Conference from your own home via our third party provider, Hopin. You will be able to find more information about the virtual conference. If you are planning to attend conference, we highly recommend taking part in the interactive exhibitions and the fringes.

The FCC wants to pay its thanks to the continued amazing efforts of the Conference Office team and members who have worked so incredibly hard.

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FCC report pre-Conference

On Saturday, 19 September the Federal Conference Committee met to review the amendments, late motions, emergency motions, topical issues, questions to reports and appeals for next weekend’s Autumn Conference.

As you will be aware, this is the first time that are holding our Conference completely online. The Federal Conference Committee would like to thank the Conference and wider HQ team for all of the hard work in bringing our Conference online. Throughout a really difficult period we have all worked together to offer a fully online Conference. You can see the introduction video from Geoff Payne, FCC Chair, and Hannah, from HQ HERE

The video will show you all the features of the online conference, including the auditorium, visiting, fringe sessions, training, the exhibition and the chat functionality.

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Report from Federal Conference Committee – motions to Conference

The Federal Conference Committee met via Zoom call on Saturday, 11 July for the agenda selection for our first virtual conference. The meeting was a lengthy one, which was in part due to the large selection of varied motions we received, but also to give us breaks from staring at computer screens for a number of hours.

As you will be aware, this year we will not be heading to the sunny beaches of Brighton, but instead you will be able to take part in Conference from your own home via our third party provider, Hopin. You will be able to find more information about the virtual conference.

The FCC wants to pay its thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Conference Office team and members who have worked so incredibly hard to make our first virtual conference happen. It is been a long and challenging process, as we wanted to make sure that we are able to replicate – as much as feasibly possible – the physical conference for our members. I also understand that Glee will also be happening virtually; although we will not all be crammed into one room at the conference hotel to enjoy it.

You will see from the timings of Conference that it is slightly different to the usual format, and we hope that this will give more people an opportunity to attend virtually.

A total of nine conference motions (plus two emergency slots, two later deadline motions on COVID and Europe.) In addition we have reserved time for two consultation sessions as requested by the Federal Board and the Federal Policy Committee.

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Update from FCC and amendments selected for debate

The Federal Conference Committee met on Sunday, 8th March to review the amendments, emergency motions and topical issues submitted for Spring Conference. We also discussed the most recent guidance with regards to COVID-19 and a few other reports back from the Federal Board.

On COVID-19; we’re keeping under close review the plans for the York conference in the light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on health advice from Public Health England and government, along with that from York Council, at present, the Conference will go ahead as planned. We will, however, be ensuring that those coming to Conference are reminded of current advice, such as the need for regular hand washing and the circumstances under which people should self-isolate. Obviously, if the advice we receive changes we may have to revisit these decisions. Constitutionally, any decision regarding whether Conference goes ahead would be a decision for the Federal Board to take –  LINK

There will be plenty of hand sanitisers throughout the conference venue and the two official hotels; and please ensure that when you are washing your hands, that you do so for 20 seconds at least – or for the length of the chorus of The Land (plus the last line repeated). Advice and guidance will be published in the Conference Extra and Daily and will be available throughout the venue.

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The subjects selected and not selected for debate at the York spring conference

The new Federal Conference Committee met at LibDem HQ this Saturday to set out the agenda for York in March. The new FCC also held a meeting in November where feedback from the Autumn Conference was discussed, and officers were elected. Geoff Payne was re-elected as Chair, myself as Vice-Chair (General Purposes Sub Committee), and Jon Ball and Cara Jenkinson as Co-Vice Chairs (Conference Communications Group).

It is always difficult to sort through the motions that are submitted to the FCC for any conference. This year we did have a lower number of submissions – only 19, but there were some interesting motions that were selected. It seems that the December General Election may have had an impact on the lower submissions, so we are looking forward to more submissions for the Autumn Conference.

Timings are always tight at Spring Conference, and we have tried to maximise debating time. There are inevitably some items that must be held at Conference (leader’s speech, and Committee and Parliamentary reports.) We have also made time for two consultations, one Federal Board General Election review, and one Federal Policy Committee manifesto review. We have also allowed two slots for emergency motions, as various political changes are happening at the moment which may require motions to be submitted.

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Countdown to Conference: Amendments selected for debate

With Autumn Conference just days away, the Federal Conference Committee met on Saturday for the selection of amendments, Emergency and Europ motions. You can see the full text of what we selected here:

As readers might be aware that the Vice Chair of Federal Conference Committee, Zoe O’Connell, and members of the committee, Jennie Rigg and Sarah Brown have sadly resigned from the Party, and thereby the FCC. In the first instance the FCC wants to express its thanks and appreciation for their service to the Committee and to the party. 

An election on the Committee was held for the vacant Vice Chair role, and Cara Jenkinson and Jon Ball have been duly elected as Co-Vice Chairs. Therefore, Cara Jenkinson and Jon Ball join myself as FCC Vice Chairs, with Geoff Payne as Chair. 

Please note that the submission for amendments to the Europe motion is by Thursday, 12 September at 13:00. You can submit your amendments here:

The Federal Conference Committee received 66 proposed amendments, 13 emergency motions, 5 topic debate requests, and 6 Europe motions, all of which were reviewed at the meeting. Unfortunately, as always, time is usually the biggest factor when selecting amendments and we are simply unable to accept all amendments that we receive. 

The list of all amendments, emergency motions, topical motions and Europe motions received is below, and to those less familiar to the terminology; there are two things that can happen to an amendment: selected for debate – this means that the amendment will be debated and voted on, and drafting amendment. These amendments have been accepted by the proposers of the motion and therefore are included in the motion and do not require a vote. 

With regards to the emergency motions; these will be balloted at Conference. As you can see from the list below, we received a large number of emergency motions and some of which are on the same topic. 

The summaries of the amendments below, are not those provided by the submitters, so they only give an overview of what the amendment addresses. 

Finally, don’t forget that you can now submit Speaker’s Cards electronically here. 

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