Autumn Conference timing: tell us your views

Federal Conference Committee is consulting party members about the timings of the autumn federal conference, from 2008 onwards. The present timing sees conference starting with consultative sessions on the Saturday afternoon and ending with the leader’s speech just before Thursday lunchtime. The main business of the conference generally takes place between Monday and Thursday.

We would like to know your views on possible changes to this pattern. There is a case to be made for making more use of the weekend, allowing people who can’t come for a full week to be able to participate in more sessions. So conference could start with consultative sessions on Saturday morning, and then main sessions from Saturday afternoon onwards. The conference could finish with the leader’s speech on Wednesday afternoon, ensuring that conference-goers would be free for any by-elections on the Thursday.

There are drawbacks to this proposal, including making it more likely that people will have to travel on the Friday, which is generally more costly. FCC has prepared a short consultation paper which sets out the pros and cons for this change in timing and an accompanying reform of conference registration. It contains two simple yes or no questions and leaves plenty of space for addition comments – so let us know what you think.

You can find the consultation paper on the party website at If anyone would like a copy sent to them in the post, send a stamped self-addressed envelope (normal (DL) size will do) to Conference Office, Liberal Democrats, 4 Cowley Street, London SW1P 3NB. The consultation period closes on 23 May.

Duncan Brack

Chair, Federal Conference Committee

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