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.

We also had a very good discussion on the potential of a new type of topical policy debate at Conference, designed to be focused around a specific question. This could be an extension of a consultative session or a topical issue discussion, for example, where Conference would debate how to answer some of the broader challenges facing our society. Interesting ideas or solutions arising from the debate, which garner significant support, could then potentially  be brought back to Conference at a future date. We hope that this may be a way of invigorating debate and discussion within the party on important issues without the requirement first to submit a motion on the matter. The FCC will continue to work on options to facilitate this style of debate, and we aim to debut variations of this format at the Autumn Conference in Brighton.

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 (which will be broadcast live from the ALDC Conference Live event in York), Committee and Parliamentary Reports, the Leaders Q&A and some set-piece speeches. The further details of these will be announced in due course.

There will also be an extensive training and fringe programme, and I would like to encourage as many members as possible to join those, as they are an excellent way to develop new skills and engage with the party.

We received 32 policy motions, one business motion, three constitutional amendments and five standing order amendments. As always, unfortunately, time is tight, and we cannot take all the motions submitted. We have worked on the timings in the agenda to try and get in as many of the motions submitted to Conference.

From the submitted motions, we selected 16 policy motions, one business motion, two constitutional amendment, and three standing order amendments. There are also slots for two emergency motions. The Constitutional Amendment (and supporting Standing Order amendments) on the Board Reform relates to the work that the Federal Board has done on governance and the wider party consultation undertaken – you can find more information on the process here. As this motion has a series of options, we will structure this in a series of votes, which will be explained further in the agenda and the Conference Extra.

I have included below the list of motions submitted (please note that some of the naming of the motions may vary between this list and publication of the agenda), who they were submitted by and, if not selected, the reason for non-selection. With regards to constitutional and standing order amendments, these are automatically selected if they are ruled in order. You can see from the below that the Constitutional Amendment A has been composited into the Constitutional Caretaking motion (C) as Amendment A was designed to bring one section of the Constitution in line with another, and therefore it was felt appropriate by the FCC that these two motions be composited.

We also had two motions submitted on nuclear weapons for the agenda. The FCC recognises the importance of this topic and we agree that Conference should debate the issue of nuclear weapons and the direction that the party should take. However, we felt on balance that it would be a more suitable debate to take part at Autumn Conference, which would have higher attendance than Spring. We would therefore encourage party members to submit motions on this topic for the Autumn. In addition, Jamie Stone (our Defence Spokesperson in the House of Commons) has agreed to develop a spokespersons paper and consultation which will feed into a new motion in the Autumn.

Please note that the next set of deadlines are:

  • Deadline for Amendments drafting advice is 14th February.
  • Deadline for Amendments, Emergency Motions and appeals against non-selection of motions: 13:00, 28th February.

Download the list: Motions selected S22.



* Nick Da Costa is Chair of the Federal Conference Committee

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  • Jennie (she/her) 20th Jan '22 - 5:21pm

    Awwwwwww thank you ♡♡♡
    I’m sorry I couldn’t restand this time for complicated conflict of interest between roles reasons but I hope to run for standard election in the next round so maybe I’ll see you again soon x
    In the meantime I’m sure Matt will be a fine replacement for me and will work hard.

  • Thanks for this report. I have one question. It has become the custom at the online conferences to limit speeches to 3 minutes which really impoverishes debate. In the Autumn will we revert to the tradition default of 5 minutes ?

  • Duncan Brack 21st Jan '22 - 5:54pm

    David – actually the default speech length has been three minutes (apart from movers and summators of motions and amendments) since the 2014 conferences, and before that it was four minutes for long debates and three for short ones. It hasn’t been five minutes for decades!

  • William (he/him) 21st Jan '22 - 7:13pm

    Thank you for this report Nick, and thanks to Jennie and Jennie for their service to the party.

  • Mick Taylor 21st Jan '22 - 7:51pm

    I note that yet again FCC have declined or postponed a debate on n nuclear disarmament. I have no faith in the promise of a debate in the autumn and can almost guarantee that even if there is a debate there will be no option for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Can’t frighten the horses can we! (Or upset the leader)

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