Breaking News: Federal Conference Committee announce details of the emergency motions ballot

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Federal Conference Committee has just met, and the following emergency motions met the Standing Order criteria and will go into the ballot:

1) Violence in Syria
2) Withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill
3) Protecting our NHS – the Shirley Williams motion
4) Behind closed doors – Justice and Security Green Paper

These motions will all be on a ballot paper at the back of Saturday’s Daily Announcements. To vote (by STV), please take your completed ballot paper and your Voting Rep badge to the Steward with the ballot box by the Stewards Table in the Hall, between 9 and 1pm. The announcement of which motion has won the ballot will be announced during the afternoon session.

Please note that the emergency motion debate is likely to start earlier than advertised on Sunday morning, subject to the agreement of Conference first thing on Saturday morning. If that is agreed, be there from 9.15 onwards for a 9.20 start. Remember that it often takes more than 15 minutes to get through security at busy times, so do leave ample time.

It is very likely that time allowed for speeches will be only 2½ minutes, given the interest in the motions. Look out for further information in Daily Announcements.

* Andrew Wiseman is Chair of the Liberal Democrats' Federal Conference Committee.

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17 Comments

  • Lib Dems. If you want to gain support in the next election, please vote to Withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill.

    There are many of us floating voters who have voted for you in the past who are turned off by your current stance on the HSC Bill. If you were to make a stand against the Tories on this issue and vote to withdraw the HSC Bill, your reputation would be much improved among the electorate at large.

    Please don’t let us down again.

  • Tony Greaves 9th Mar '12 - 9:53pm

    The fact that one of the motions is called ” Protecting our NHS – the Shirley Williams motion” is pathetic and just shows how much the leadership factions of this party are frightened by the NHS issue. I am very sorry that Shirley has allowed herself to be used in this silly manner.

    No doubt they will spend much energy and time attempting to beat the party into submission instead of standing up to the Tories and getting this awful Bill withdrawn!

    Tony Greaves

  • Geoffrey Payne 10th Mar '12 - 8:17am

    It is a shame the motion on iran was not selected. There is a real danger we are sleepwalking into supporting a war.

  • I agree entirely with Tony Greaves’ post. It is a clear sign of how scared the parliamentarians are that they have “branded” the motion thus. I am deeply saddened that Shirley’s good name among members has been hijacked for a second time by the powers that be, presumably with her consent.

    Nick’s call for us to forget about tuition fees and stop being apologetic is all well and good…but the voters won’t quickly forget, and they are the ones whose memory matters.

    Back to Shirley, she is a reason I became interested in politics in the first place. To quote an old song, “My blood ran cold, my memory has just been sold”. I’ll leave the comparison at that point in the lyric!

  • Totally agree with Growler. Shirley allowing her name to be used in this way is disappointing in the extreme. If our party allows this bill through it will probably be the nail in the coffin for me in terms of belonging to this party – it’s not the one I joined nearly 30 years ago. As a councillor I feel embarrassed to be a labelled a Liberal Democrat at the moment.
    P.S. Definitely right decision to leave lyric at that point but great song…

  • Remember that Labour’s whole local election strategy in May will be an attack on Lib Dems in government. A mainstay of that attack will be the NHS bill. If we vote against it through the emergency debate then we shoot Labour’s fox and their election plans will have to be re-thought.

    And remember the Tories can’t just withdraw from the coalition as a result. This bill is not in the coalition agreement and we have a very complex mechanism to navigate if this parliament is not to run its full term.

  • this is not about an opportunity to ‘shoot Labour’s fox’ (Growler), neither should it be for us pundits at home getting agitated on the basis of the story according to the daily papers; we have a democratic party structure(moreorless) which should be allowed to study the arguments and make their decision. Fight the media machine, don’t succumb to playing their game.

  • Peter: I agree in the sense that this is about doing the right thing for the NHS (and for me that means dropping this bill). However the hit on Labour strategy is a beautiful side effect.

  • I am rather at a loss as to how Shirley Williams’ motion can even be described properly as an ’emergency motion’ at all. Can someone from the Conference Committee enlighten me how ‘Steady as she goes and don’t frighten the horses please’ can be considered in order as an emergency motion?

  • Is it in order for a motion to be titled in such a way?

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Mar '12 - 1:58pm

    I am rather at a loss as to how Shirley Williams’ motion can even be described properly as an ‘emergency motion’ at all

    It is a motion that has to be passed now or never – it is highly time-sensitive, and in a few weeks would be meaningless. So in that sense, it is an emergency motion.

    There’s a couple of other criteria, but that’s the big one.

  • “It is a motion that has to be passed now or never – it is highly time-sensitive, and in a few weeks would be meaningless. So in that sense, it is an emergency motion.”

    So in rather the same way that “Would the Prime Minister tell us what he has been doing this morning?” is an Emergency Question?

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Mar '12 - 2:56pm

    So in rather the same way that “Would the Prime Minister tell us what he has been doing this morning?” is an Emergency Question?

    Yes. The alternative is for the FCC to stand in judgement over whether emergency motions are worthy of debate; it is preferred to leave this decision to the conference ballot.

  • Liberal Democrats deserve to lose councillors on a gargantuan scale come May due rejecting this motion for debate.

    The sooner we have a General Election and rid this country of these opportunist parasites the better, In my Opinion

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Mar '12 - 3:42pm

    Liberal Democrats deserve to lose councillors on a gargantuan scale come May due rejecting this motion for debate.

    Or Labour deserve to lose councillors on a gargantuan scale for opposing the bill to save the NHS. That’s the trouble with spin: it goes both ways and tells you nothing.

  • The motion proposed by Shirley Williams was not a real emergency motion in the first place.

    Conference was lobbied and bullied last night something rotten in order to support Shirley and Clegg.

    All the data shows that the professionals don’t want it
    The public do not want it
    And yet the Liberal Democrats are carrying on blindly anyway for selfish self-preservation reasons, rather than the Will of the country.

    Liberal Democrats supposedly support “Transparency” and yet here with the FOI stating the Risk register must be published, but the government refuses.
    MP’s and Peers are voting for this bill “Without” being given all the facts.

    Experience tell us that there will be no transparency when it comes to these private health care providers. For an example of this you only have to look at the contract between ATOS and the DWP.

    You trying making a freedom of Information request to ATOS and see how transparent it is, It gets denied under “financial privilege ” so as not to reveal its tender to other competition.

    It is a disgrace and I really do not know how your party can use the word Liberal in there name.

  • “The motion proposed by Shirley Williams was not a real emergency motion in the first place.”

    Why? I don’t see why a motion saying “this bill should be passed” isn’t an emergency motion but one saying “this bill shouldn’t be passed” is.

    Though arguably they should have been composited into one motion with an either/or voting option.

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