Important Federal and Scottish Conference deadlines coming up

It’s just 16 days till Liberal Democrats gather in York for Spring Conference. Next Monday,  4th March, at 1pm, is a very important day as it is the deadline for submitting all sorts of things – questions to committees, amendments to motions and emergency and topical motions.

So what are all these things?

Questions to Committees – and the Leader

Each Federal Committee has an accountability session where it presents its report on what it’s been up to since the last Conference. This is an important chance for members to accept what it has been doing or not. It is rare that a report is rejected or amended, but it can be done. For example, back in 2021, the first attempt to streamline the Federal Board by sidelining half its members was overturned thanks to a clever member of the Awkward Squad.

If you want to know what the party’s committees are doing, you can submit a question by the deadline. So if you want to question the Board about how it’s implementing the strategy adopted by Conference, if you want to ask Federal People Development Committee about training, diversity or membership, or Federal Conference Committee about Conference or Federal Policy Committee about their work, get your question in.

There are usually more questions submitted than there is time to take. If it one of those chosen to be asked on the day, you will get the chance to ask a supplementary question in the hall. If it’s not asked in the hall, it will still be answered at a later date in writing in the report from Conference.

You can also question organisations like the Campaign for Gender Balance on their important work.

You can also put in a question to Ed for his leader’s q and a session on Saturday. Don’t, however, do what I did and forget that you have done it and head off for a nap so that you miss it being asked and getting the chance to ask a supplementary. I was kicking myself for that one.

Amendments

All the motions to be debated at Conference are in the agenda and directory. If you think that they could be improved, you can submit an amendment, so long as you can find a local or regional party, 10 members, an affiliated party organisation such as LGBT+ Lib Dems or Lib Dem Women (full list here) to support you.

If you don’t know how to formulate your amendment, one of the best ways is to look at previous conference agendas on the Conference Papers page of the party website.

Emergency motions and topical discussions

There is always something that has happened since the deadline for motions, so this is an opportunity to discuss the most up to date developments, for example, in the Israel/Hamas war, or Ukraine or Russia or anything else that might happen between now and then.

All competent emergency motions submitted go into a ballot and Conference members choose which ones they want to discuss on the first day of Conference.

It doesn’t even have to be a full motion. You can submit a request for a general discussion on a topical issue.

Once you have your question, amendment or emergency motion ready, submit it here. It can take a wee while to do that so don’t leave it to the last moment as that really isn’t good for your blood pressure.

If you have any questions about how to do any of this, ask away in the comments.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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