Sweeping changes to conference motions rules come into force

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home
Watch Live on BBC Parliament

Here’s the email which has gone out to party members today:

Seasoned conference-goers might have been expecting the Preliminary Agenda for the autumn conference in Bournemouth to have arrived by now. Well, it hasn’t – because conference last year agreed a set of sweeping changes to the timetable for submitting motions for debate. They’re designed to make it easier for local parties and conference reps to submit motions and amendments, and to increase your chance of having a say in party policy.

The old series of three deadlines for submitting motions has been replaced by two, and we’ve scrapped the Preliminary Agenda. So the first deadline for motions for Bournemouth is Wednesday 1 July – they should be sent to [email protected], or by post to the Policy Projects Team at Cowley Street. A standard form is available on the party website.

We’ll get the Final Agenda out to you as early as possible in August, together with copies of the policy papers to be debated, including the key pre-manifesto paper. Every motion in the agenda will be open to amendment, and the deadline for amendments, and also for emergency motions, will be Tuesday 8 September. You might want to plan a local party meeting for early September to look at the motions and consider whether you want to try amending any. We’ll be circulating copies of the amendments chosen a few days before conference, by email and the party website.

This will definitely be the last autumn conference before the general election, so make sure it’s full of what we do best – stimulating debates on key areas of the Lib Dem message.

Yours sincerely
Duncan Brack
Chair, Federal Conference Committee

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Conference.


  • It’s all very well changing deadlines, and not having a preliminary agenda but….


    Now, while I don’t have any particular problem with Bournemouth as a town, unless you live in the south of England or can take a whole week of holidays it’s not the easiest place to get to (10 or so hours from Edinburgh by train, for example.)

    We really need to start getting a bit more creative about where we have our conferences. Our areas of growth seem to be moving north; so why couldn’t we have this conference in Manchester? And don’t get me started on why the Federal conference hasn’t been to Scotland in almost 10 years – despite it providing such a huge chunk of our Westminster representation.

    For a party which prides itself in decentralisation, we’re pretty poor at taking our decision making out of the south of England.

  • Foregone Conclusion 23rd Jun '09 - 10:47am

    Conference is in Liverpool next year

  • Only 16 months to wait then…. but it’s still not Scotland.

  • Of course, Scotland would be a huge pain for people from the south coast to visit…

    By that logic, we should hold it in Manchester every year, which suits me fine 😉

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd Jun '09 - 2:12pm

    Better yet, Derby.
    (Campanilismo urges me to say Nottingham; but rail links here are a bit crap.)

  • Simon Titley 23rd Jun '09 - 2:34pm

    Ah yes, we can tell it’s summer because the “Why doesn’t the party hold the conference in [insert my home town]” debate has started again.

    The sad fact is that there are very few towns in the UK that could practically host our party conference. “Getting a bit more creative” isn’t really an option.

    First, you need a conference centre that includes an auditorium seating at least 2,000 people, with sufficient adjacent space for exhibition stands.

    Second, you need a lot of hotel accommodation. When you aggregate all the delegates, observers, staff, media, exhibitors and so on, you need some 4,000-5,000 hotel bedrooms. This accommodation needs to be within reasonable walking distance of the conference venue. And it needs to include enough big hotels with function rooms to host fringe events.

    Third, because party members are paying their own way, you need plenty of hotel accommodation at a reasonable price.

    Fourth, whether you like it or not, party membership is heavily weighted to the south-east of England

    While you can get away with smaller venues for the spring conference, in September the choice is limited. The only resorts that can meet all the criteria are Brighton, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Harrogate.

    While major urban centres such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester can cope, the problem is that hotel accommodation in such cities tends to divide between business-class hotels that are too expensive for most delegates, and sleazy B&Bs that are too grotty. There is a serious lack of reasonable mid-priced hotels of the type that are abundant in resort towns.

    So while I’m sure Derby is very nice in September, a conference venue it ain’t.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd Jun '09 - 2:46pm

    Oh dear, that’s what happens when I try to be pithy.
    “Derby” was a joke. (It ain’t even that nice in September.) Personally, I’m looking forward to going to Bournemouth. Pity politics makes it impossible to have it in Biarritz…

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 3rd Jun - 11:37pm
    @ James Fowler Well, there we are - you are agreeing to what many who used to vote for us and now don't vote for...
  • User AvatarJames Fowler 3rd Jun - 10:57pm
    'Changes we need now or it could be game over'. Calm down. This rambling cluster of non-conformists would have disappeared long ago in the 1950s...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 3rd Jun - 10:45pm
    A fine piece from one of the finest,m and unsung of the mps. Has the pm changed this today? We are, as a nation, doing...
  • User AvatarTonyH 3rd Jun - 10:22pm
    I couldn't agree more with Margaret, Sue, Joe and Nigel. We need to ask the candidates less about policy and more about strategy, leadership skills,...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 3rd Jun - 10:03pm
    The central issue with our party is that Labour pushed the idea that all of us members were in happy supporters of everything that the...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 3rd Jun - 9:54pm
    It is not so much policy detail that matters in electing a leader, as the way they can join up policies to form a coherent...