Author Archives: Zoe O’Connell

Federal Conference Committee Report: Amendments and emergency motions selected

Federal Conference Committee (FCC) has now selected the amendments and emergency motions for spring conference. The full text of selected amendments and emergency motions will appear in Conference Extra and Conference Daily, which may well have been published by the time you read this.

Emergency motions that are in order (I.e. genuine emergencies) are selected by all-member ballot on Saturday morning, via the ballot box at the front of the auditorium. Full details on the process and content will appear in Saturday’s Conference Daily.

Some authors of amendments have included titles, but this is not mandatory so a number are my own …

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Federal Conference Committee report – January 2018

Just over a week ago, Federal Conference Committee met at LibDem HQ to set the Agenda for Southport in March, now just under six weeks away.

It is always tough to sort through the many worthy motions that are submitted, but on this occasion the job was even harder – the snap election last year delayed some policy papers back so we have very limited time to debate non-policy-paper motions. We also had an increased number of motions submitted, 34, compared to 26 this time last year.

Unfortunately, that lack of time is likely to spill over into Autumn too with more …

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Federal Conference Committee Report – amendments and emergency motions for Bournemouth

Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday to discuss amendments and other issues for debate in Bournemouth this weekend.

As a quick recap, and for those who haven’t been to conference before, three things can happen to an amendment: They can be accepted for debate and voted on my conference, they can be drafted in as if they were part of the original motion or they can be rejected. Drafted in amendments should not be controversial or ambiguous in any way, and typically they will update a motion to reflect recent events, or correct or clarify wording.

The time for each motion is listed, as this can be a factor when deciding to select an amendment for debate. One amendment is the realistic limit for a 45 minute debate, and longer debates allow us to fit more in.

Some disclaimers needed: The titles are my own brief summaries to give a flavour of the types of things people seek to amend, as the submitters of amendments do not need to include them. Errors or lack of clarity are my own fault. As with motions, non-selection does not mean that the topic is not worthy as amendments may contain technical errors, a lack of clarity, are too insubstantial or not sufficiently within scope of the original motion.

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Federal Conference Committee report on selection of motions for Bournemouth


Federal Conference Committee met again last weekend to select motions that will be debated when we meet in Bournemouth. 41 motions were submitted, and usually selection proceeds in rounds. Motions are first eliminated on the basis of drafting, debatability and other such issues before subsequent rounds trim the agenda further based on time constraints.

However, due to the snap general election we received slightly fewer motions than usual for an Autumn Conference so only one round of debate was required. In most cases, the discussion gave a clear consensus and no vote was needed, but I have noted below where there was a vote that was particularly close.

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Federal Conference Committee Report

Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met this afternoon to go through the amendments, emergency motions and topic issues submitted for spring conference. Thank you to all those who submitted items for consideration – unfortunately, the deadlines for spring conference are very tight compared to autumn, so we do not have time to give everyone the individual feedback on amendments and motions we usually would. The full text of selected amendments and emergency motions will appear in Conference Daily.

Emergency motions are selected by ballot and papers should be returned to the ballot box in the auditorium on Saturday morning. Full details will appear in Saturday’s Conference Daily.

In all, 16 amendments, 13 emergency motions/topic issues and 5 questions to committees were considered by FCC. With the exception of the titles of emergency motions, the summaries are my own so apologies if any errors have crept in. The amount of time for debating each motion is listed, as this is a good indication to the number of amendments we can debate. A 45 minute motion can realistically only have one debated amendment, whereas a 90 minute motion might have up to three.

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Federal Conference Committee Motions Report

Avid readers of Liberal Democrat Voice will already have seen Geoff Payne’s report on the results of this weekend’s Federal Conference Committee meeting. All those whose motions were not selected should now have received feedback, so we’re able to release the list of motions to be debated in March when the party gathers in York.

Although I have covered this before, a quick reminder of how FCC selects motions is probably helpful particularly as this is the first time I have included information on voting. Selection runs in rounds, with the first round consisting of an FCC member responsible for a particular policy area briefly introducing the motion and making a recommendation on inclusion on the agenda. After this, committee members discuss it and decide if it should be accepted or not. This usually involves a show of hands, although the decision is often clear following the debate and a lack of any objection to the recommendation. Even being very tough in round one, we always end up with more excellent motions left than can fit in the agenda, so the process is then repeated in subsequent rounds as necessary.

It is important to note that non-selection of a motion usually does not mean that FCC believes the topic unworthy of debate, although we are always wary of repeatedly debating the same few items over and over. Most motions end up not making it to conference due to lack of time, because of technical or drafting issues or because Federal Policy Committee already working on a policy paper in that area. Those who submitted motions will have been given more detailed feedback. The committee also can only select from motions that have been submitted to us!

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Amendments and emergency motions for Brighton

Saturday was the final pre-Brighton meeting of Federal Conference Committee, (FCC) in which we selected the motion for the reserved Europe slot, amendments to be debated on all motions and emergency/topical issues for the all-member ballot. We also discussed:

  • One appeal against selection of a motion, which was rejected.
  • A request for an external (non-party) speaker to be allowed to put in a card to speak in the Europe debate, which was accepted.
  • 10 questions to party bodies, all in order.

For those less familiar with the process, here’s a short reminder of what can happen with an amendment, or part of an amendment: They can be accepted for debate and vote with a proposer and summator, they can be drafted in as if they were part of the original motion or they can be rejected. “Drafted in” amendments should be entirely non-controversial – updating a motion to reflect recent events, correcting or clarifying wording and so on.

For debated amendments, time is usually the biggest factor FCC has to contend with as we only have time to debate one amendment in a 45 minute slot – longer debates will allow for more amendments, although more than three amendments may be confusing no matter how long the debate is.

68 amendments were submitted, and we selected (either drafted in or for debate) 35 of them.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 19th Mar - 12:20am
    So I am an absent minded professor ! Without the beard and sandals. Bring back the News Chronicle albeit as an internet version.
  • User AvatarJoeB 18th Mar - 11:06pm
    Michael BG, the loan is provided by the government and administered by Serco. The current rate of support for mortgage interest the government will pay...
  • User AvatarJoeB 18th Mar - 10:44pm
    Peter, the current account deficit is financed by the Capital account (financial account in the UK). The capital account measures transfer in assets and liabilities....
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 18th Mar - 9:59pm
    Some of these situations pose no great difficulties. If a human weights decisions in beauty contests or job interviews or university place decisions against Black...
  • User AvatarRoland 18th Mar - 9:36pm
    @Micheal BG >I note that the Lovemoney article talks of an interest rate of 2.2% not your 1.5%. The DWP website quotes a current figure...
  • User AvatarRoland 18th Mar - 8:53pm
    @Micheal BG - I can find no credible reference that says Serco is the loan provider, only that as said in the article, Serco were...