Category Archives: Conference

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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It’s time to focus on real life – Tim Farron’s conference speech in full

Here is the full text of Tim Farron’s keynote speech to the Liberal Democrat Spring conference in York today:

You will be unsurprised to hear that I was recently interviewed by Stylist magazine.

They asked me lots of exciting questions regarding my colossal sense of glamour.

They also wanted me to write about a woman who had been my hero.

I wanted to be completely honest, and pick the woman who was indeed my hero.

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Landmark diversity change will make the Liberal Democrats look like the nation we want to represent – Sal Brinton

Liberal Democrats have embraced diversity today by voting in favour of all-women shortlists.

Building on earlier successes and designed to increase diversity amongst candidates and MPs, the motion was supported by Party Leader Tim Farron, and passed overwhelmingly at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York.

In addition to introducing all-women shortlists, the motion ensures more spaces on constituency shortlists for BAME and LGBT+ members. It also means the Liberal Democrats will be the first political party in the country to implement all-disabled shortlists.

Party President Sal Brinton said: “”Over the last few months many party members have told us they think it is time we dealt comprehensively with the lack of diversity amongst our MPs, the wider party and parliament overall.

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Party adopts All Women Shortlists after Tim Farron’s plea: ‘The time for excuses has gone’

The Liberal Democrat federal party conference at York this morning passed the “Electing Diverse MPs” motion without amendment 1, meaning that the party has adopted All Women Shortlists along with a slew of other major diversity initiatives.

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Watch Tim Farron’s keynote leader’s speech to conference here at 11:45

By clicking on the arrow below, you can watch this morning’s session of the Liberal Democrat spring conference in York, including Tim farron’s keynote leader’s speech at 11:45am. It should be a corker.



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“Electing diverse MPs” including All women shortlists – full motion and amendments

Here is the full motion, with the amendments to be debated, for “Electing diverse MPs” (including All Women Shortlists) which is about to be debated at the York conference. (Note: you can see the motion with its line numbers starting on page 57 of the agenda paper for conference here and the amendments starting on page 17 of Saturday’s Conference Daily sheet here.). A reminder that you can watch the live stream of the debate here.

The motion

F20 Electing Diverse MPs

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Watch the debate on “Electing diverse MPs” including All Women Shortlists here at 9:40

By clicking on the arrow in the box below, you can watch the debate on “Electing diverse MPs (which will include consideration of All Women Shortlists) when it starts at 9:40 this morning. Below the box I’ve shown the text of the motion, together with the amendments to be debated. (Note: you can see the motion with its line numbers starting on page 57 of the agenda paper for conference here and the amendments starting on page 17 of Saturday’s Conference Daily sheet here.).

Also here, by clicking on the arrow below, you can watch the whole conference session today from 9am until 1pm, including Tim’s leader’s speech at 11:45.

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Britain must lead – not leave

Here is the full text of Tim Farron’s speech to the York conference rally this weekend:

When you’re sat in the front row, it’s impossible to miss your cue to get on stage.

But for those of you who were at conference in the autumn, you may have noticed I was a little late to the stage.

I was sitting very happily having a cup of tea in the green room, completely oblivious to what was happening

I didn’t think I was due on for at least 5 more minutes.

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Watch the live stream of the York spring conference here

It’s on YouTube here.

Or you can click on the arrow below to see it:



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Discussing electoral reform in York

Five years after the Liberal Democrats comprehensively messed up on electoral reform, the ludicrously disproportional 2015 general election result has put it back on the agenda.

There will be two related fringes at York, organised by Pro-PR (1-2 p.m. Saturday, Hilton) on the idea of an electoral pact for 2020, and by the Electoral Reform Society (6.15-7.15 p.m. Saturday, Novotel) on the idea of a Constitutional Convention.

Electoral reform is about more than fairness (avoiding disproportionality, safe seats and the need for tactical voting). As Ed Straw sets out in his recent Treaty for Government, our present voting system of FPTP distorts the fabric of politics, leading to wasteful `zigzag government’. Getting politicians to allow change in how they are elected is always a difficult matter, as the long struggles for voting rights illustrate. FPTP is defended by the two parties that benefit from it; perhaps the greatest current hope lies in Labour’s recognising how difficult it is going to be for them to win a majority in the foreseeable future.

Opportunities for reform in Scotland came with Labour’s rush to devolution in 1997, and the Liberal Democrats’ successful coalition negotiation with Labour in 2003.

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Federal Conference Committee report – Spring Conference amendments edition

Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met late yesterday afternoon to discuss the Amendments and Emergency Motions for York – the full text of accepted amendments will appear in Conference Daily. The usual caveat regarding descriptions of amendments applies. Amendments don’t have titles with them, so these are my own entirely unofficial summaries which may not be entirely accurate or complete. The list of accepted/rejected amendments is also based on my own notes as Spring conference is very intense and moves quickly – so I apologise in advance for any errors.
There are a few more options open to FCC compared to full motions – in particular, we can often “draft in” uncontroversial amendments so that they can be accepted without needing to spend time moving and voting on them. Conversely, we can be quite restricted in that it makes no sense to accept two overlapping amendments
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Jo Swinson writes…Been there, got the t-shirt

As part of the Committee for the fabulous WOW Festival at the Southbank Centre, I find myself in London this weekend, which means I’ll miss the diversity motion in York.

Passions run high on this issue, and I hope the debate will unfold with respect and kindness on both sides.  Whichever side of the debate we are on, we should acknowledge that our aim is the same – a party where every individual can feel supported and welcome, with many more elected representatives at all levels, reflecting the diversity of our society in all ways, and making a positive impact on our communities.

In 2001, I took to the conference platform in Bournemouth, summating an amendment to a similar motion, in much the same vein as this weekend’s amendment submitted by the East Midlands.  Liberal Youth have also voiced their opposition to all-women shortlists. The group of us campaigning on this issue had t-shirts specially printed for the occasion, declaring “I am not a token woman.  Say No to all-women shortlists.” Our amendment was successful, and the Gender Balance Task Force was formed, now the Campaign for Gender Balance.

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The Party President, the Federal Conference Committee Chair and a new member discuss Conference

This is the audio feed of a pre-Conference webinar held on Monday night where Party President Sal Brinton, new member Emily Barrass and Federal Conference Committee Chair Andrew Wiseman discuss Conference. Hear them talk about their funniest Conference memories (Mr Wiseman’s is particularly tame. He’s going to have to do better over the weekend, so he’d better have a good story lined up), the Glee Club, and speaking at Conference (Sal has some really good tips on that). Emily came to Conference in Bournemouth and has seriously caught the bug.

They strongly recommended chatting to anyone you meet. All our VIPs are incredibly approachable. If you have a question, just go up and ask them.

Mary, Joe and I will be there from LDV. Please come and say hello.

Enjoy the video.

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Conference app now available

The Conference App is now available, and it can be downloaded free from the App Store or at Google Play. If you want a version for Blackberry or Windows you can find it here.

PS. Is this the shortest post ever on Lib Dem Voice?

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What’s going on at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference today?

In the hall

Scottish Conference Saturday

The main business of the morning at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference is a much longer than usual Party AGM. Normally, the business is concluded in half an hour, but it’s been scheduled for two hours so that Willie Rennie’s motion on diversity can be debated. The motion is accompanied by a constitutional amendment which requires a two-thirds majority to pass. The motion calls for wide-ranging measures, including limited use of all-women shortlists, ring-fenced funding for candidates from under-represented groups, a duty on party office holders to  drive forward diversity at all levels and numerous other measures to tackle diversity at every level. The Leader would be required to report to Conference twice a year on progress made. 

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Willie Rennie to announce help for disadvantaged pupils in Scottish schools

Willie and ACH on nursery visitWillie Rennie will give key details of how the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ plan for a Pupil Premium will help children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Scottish schools when he delivers his keynote speech to conference this afternoon.

He’ll also outline how the whole £475 million raised from a 1p rise in the basic rate of Income Tax to pay for investment in education would work.

Willie will commit £170m a year of that investment towards a pupil premium in Scotland. £1,400 will be available for every primary pupil …

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What’s going on at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference today?

Today, Scottish Liberal Democrats gather in Edinburgh with less than 10 weeks to go before the Scottish Parliament elections. The Spring Conference is being held in the Assembly Rooms on George Street.

In the hall

On the agenda in the hall today are public services (delivery and empowering workers), tax reform, establishing a Scottish Office of Budget Responsibility to give independent analysis to economic forecasts, the rights of children and young people and giving power to island communities.

Scottish Conference agenda Friday

Willie Rennie makes his keynote speech, too.

On the Fringe

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Welcome back to York…

The timing of Spring Conference’s return to York is particularly significant for the city.

York Members and supporters 2015

As many will know, widespread flooding hit parts of the city over Christmas as residents and businesses were evacuated from their homes in the worst flooding seen since 1982.

The TV cameras and politicians who descended on York soon left, but the long hard clean-up operation has taken many weeks and for some will take many more.

The way local residents (as well as groups

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Full Spring Conference Agenda out now

Spring Conference Agenda 2016The full agenda and directory for the Spring Conference in York is out now.

All the details of motions, training and fringe meetings are inside.

A few points to note:

  • The Exhibition, which had originally been cut, has been reinstated. Leave.EU and the Lib Dem InTogether campaign will be no doubt glowering atmospherically at each other across the room.
  • The photos of the Federal Executive were supposed to be in the agenda, but seem to have been left out for some reason. People should know who their federal representatives are. However, there will be an FE help desk so please come and talk to us if you have any questions about the overall strategy of the party.
  • The number of what appear to be all-male panels at fringe meetings is more than a little annoying. And much as I love Tim, Vince and Jim Wallace, surely to goodness they could have found women for the main business reception too. After all, Jo Swinson as Business Minister did loads for women entrepreneurs and Lorely Burt is our go-to person for women in business. (UPDATE: it appears Sharon Bowles will be attending this now, which is good.)
  • The Saturday afternoon session goes on till 7pm with a consultation session on the Governance Review after the close of official business. This is really important as the outcome will determine the way the party is run and where power lies within it. An hour is barely time to scratch the surface of the issues. However, do take time to read the document now and submit your ideas to the team even if you are not going to Conference. The consultation is open until the end of March.
  • York is a city where we Lib Dems are in the Council administration. We should hear from Council Deputy Leader Cllr Keith Aspden at some point during the weekend.
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What’s happening at Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference today? Europe and sex

Here’s a rundown on what’s happening today at Welsh Spring Conference with debates on Europe, and a motion on sex education by IR Cymru.

The Debates

10:00 Policy Motion
PM5: Winning in Europe

10:40 Speech: Peter Black AM, Assembly Member for South Wales West

11.00 2016 Election Briefing Closed, Member-Only Session

12:00 Policy Motion
PM6: Let’s Talk about Sex

 

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What’s happening today at Welsh Spring Conference? Leaders, manifesto, policing, education

Here’s a rundown on what’s happening today at Welsh Spring Conference. The highlights are obviously keynote speeches from Tim and Kirsty and a debate on the manifesto.

The Debates

09:10 Opening of Conference: Eluned Parrott AM, Assembly Member for South Wales Central

09:30 Policy Motion
PM1: Policing in Wales

10:15 Speech: Aled Roberts AM, Assembly Member for North Wales

10:35 Policy Motion:
PM2: A Manifesto for 2016

11:55 Speech: Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

13:30 Speech: Kirsty Williams CBE AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

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LDV on Tour: Bringing you Welsh Lib Dem Conference as it happens

I’m sitting in the lounge of the Holiday Inn in Cardiff with all a blogger really needs, wifi, coffee and Macbook. I arrived in Cardiff early this morning on a flight which contained a very joyful stag party. I’m sure their mothers would be very worried to see them consuming quite so much vodka at barely past the crack of dawn.

This is only the second time I’ve been to Wales. The first visit was for a Doctor Who convention in 2012 and this one is to cover the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ vital pre-election Spring Conference, so it’s a place very associated with the things that I love. Last time I saw very little other than the hotel and the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. This time, I’ve already had a wander through the beautiful centre of Cardiff and at the moment am looking out on the castle. When I’ve finished writing, I’m off to the Doctor Who Experience for my fix of everyone’s favourite Time Lord. I saw the exhibition in Newcastle and London before it found its permanent home, just across fron the BBC studios where the programme is filmed.

So, why have I come 400 miles from home for this? Firstly because it’s important. Kirsty Williams leads a group of five Welsh Liberal Democrat AMs. In the last five years, they have been as highly effective an opposition to Labour as Willie and his team have been to the SNP in Holyrood. Kirsty persuaded Labour to introduce the Pupil Premium so that Liberal Democrat idea is already helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Welsh schools. Kirsty’s bill to ensure safe nursing levels in Welsh hospital faces its final parliamentary hurdle next week.

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Federal Conference Committee report

Saturday yet again saw Federal Conference Committee‘s agenda-setting meeting, this time for Spring conference in York – now less than 6 weeks away. As well as
worrying about which motions would be debated, the committee also received a welcome update on the success of the new Access Fund, discussed details of Friday night’s rally and proposals for a new “supporters” conference attendees category. This new scheme will allow members to vouch for friends and family of members to enable them to come to conference without needing to pay commercial rates – more details on that should be available soon.

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Want to go to Spring conference and can’t afford it? Apply to Conference Access Fund by Friday

2015 policy pitch autumn conference by Paul WalterOur Spring Conference in York between 11-13 March is the first to be held under the new One Member One Vote rules. That means that every single party member could have a say as we make our policies.

I say COULD, because not every member can afford to go. Travel, accommodation and childcare costs put going to conference beyond the reach of many members.

This time, however, people can apply for a grant from the Conference Access Fund:

We have established a Conference Access Fund to improve accessibility for members attending conference. The fund consists of a contribution from the core Conference budget as well as donations from party members. Any contributions made by party members are ring-fenced for this purpose only and where applicable, any unused donations will be carried over to the next conference.

All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If there is high demand, priority will be given to members who are attending Conference for the first time and members from underrepresented sections of society.

To do so for this Conference, you have to apply by this Friday. The online form is here.

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Zoe O’Connell’s Federal Conference Committee report

Federal Conference Committee met at Liberal Democrat HQ on Saturday 14th November for a meeting that had, despite press reports suggesting it was called purely to discuss special conference, been in the diary for some time.

Many topics were discussed, as the November meeting is one of the few where members get to kick about ideas and discuss new developments rather than focusing on motion and amendment selection. Even after a relatively short time on the committee, these feel to me as if they are standing agenda items – many FCC members are keen to keep up work on better use of funds to improve conference accessibility and financial inclusion, investigate remote voting, use of new technology, timing of conferences and so on. FCC rarely decides anything concrete at this point, but members are often tasked to go and consult with other groups such as, for example, talking to DEG and LDDA about some aspect of accessibility or funding that has arisen.

I generally refrain from reporting discussions-in-progress on these topics, as I feel it right that groups representing members who have most to gain (or lose) from changes should get the first say. There are three areas that deserve special mention, however:

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Andrew Wiseman writes…Changes to Spring Conference registration

We are trying something new at this year’s Spring Conference. The Autumn Conference saw a record-breaking members’ attendance with more first time conference attendees than ever before and we are keen for even more members to come to conference and actively engage with the Party’s policy making process.

The Spring Conference in York will be the first conference under One Member One Vote and in light of this we reviewed, amongst other things, the current registration system. At our short weekend Spring Conference we will now only be offering a full Member’s registration option so that everyone attending has the right to speak, vote and receive conference papers. This means that we will no longer be offering day visitor passes at Spring Conference.

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Tim Farron and a wonderful song

This excerpt is from Tim Farron’s main speech to the Bournemouth conference:

Since May, the Government has threatened the human rights act, demonised refugees, penalised working families, abandoned green energy. You know, if ever you doubted the effectiveness of the Liberal Democrats in Government just look at what’s happening without us. In the words of Joni Mitchell

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone “

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15 years on – Lib Dems up the ante on the Human Rights Act

Parliament Acts by -JvL- FLickr CCLTim Farron tweeted on Friday:

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Video: Nick Clegg’s speech to conference

We previously carried the full text of Nick Clegg’s speech to the Bournemouth conference. Here below is the video of the speech, courtesy of the party’s conference YouTube channel.

I wasn’t in the hall for the speech.

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VIDEO: The three minutes of Tim’s speech where he speaks with raw rage about refugees

People have been requesting this clip. Click below for the three minutes of Tim’s conference speech when he spoke about refugees. The video starts when the passage starts. The passage ends at 31’32 with a standing ovation and then the video continues with the rest of the speech if you want to see it.



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Tim’s speech – Did you have to be in the hall to get it?

Yesterday I had to work so I couldn’t be at Bournemouth to watch Tim’s speech.

So, through the miracles of the smartphone, the BBC and the car auxiliary connection point, I listened to Tim’s speech on the way to work this morning.

I therefore had a chance to test how the speech came over via audio only on the M4 in Berkshire. Were all these rave reviews coming from people in the hall yesterday mere hype? The result of mass hysteria which would not catch on outside the immediacy of the hall?

Well, no.

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