North West Liberal Democrats Conference Spring 2016

Members attend regional conference to debate policy, receive training, question the decision makers in the party, and, of course, to socialise with old friends over a cup of tea or an excellent lunch.

On Saturday, following the opening of North West Liberal Democrats Conference by the Deputy Leader of Stockport Council, we heard an upbeat presentation from Sir Vince Cable about the work the Liberal Democrats did in Government, and where we go from here.  This was followed by a presentation by former North West MEP Chris Davies on the progress of the #intogether campaign to keep Britain in the EU.  Lord Goddard then reported on the tremendous work being done on our behalf by our team in the House of Lords.

Before the Conference I wrote a post explaining why I thought the Region should become a state party. On Saturday we debated this and voted to accept a motion to create a North West State Party.

The morning ended with an update from Richard Kemp on the Mayoral and Local election campaigns in Liverpool.

After lunch our Candidates for Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Lorraine Birchall, Chris Carubia, Neil Lewis and Graham Roach (there is no Greater Manchester PCC election this year), engaged in a lively debate with members.  We then received a report from our Regional President, Lord Stunell, and Vice Chair for Membership, John Skipworth, about the work in the region on improving diversity and inclusion.

This was followed by an excellent feedback from Hilary Stephenson on the lessons for the future from our time in coalition.  Conference then debated a motion on the availability of PrEP (drugs than can prevent contraction of HIV/Aids) and voted to support the campaign to make these drugs available to vulnerable groups.

Pipa Hepworth from Liberal Youth North West reported on activities to grow our youth wing.  This was followed by Cllr Sue Derbyshire, the only Lib Dem Leader of a Metropolitan Council in England, who reflected on 20 years of Lib Dem administration in Stockport.  We then had a very detailed report from Richard Marbrow on the work the regional party is doing in preparation for the Boundary review.  Conference concluded with a rousing speech by Greg Mullholland MP.

At the same time as all this was happening there were training sessions on recruiting and retaining members, an introduction to community campaigning, getting into the local media, and accounts for local treasurers in the light of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

There was a workshop based on the work of the Federal Policy Committee’s Social Security Working Group and there was an advice drop-in for Connect, Pageplus and Nationbuilder and a discussion on how to engage members in policy development.

The North West Region holds two Conferences a year, and out next will be in Lancaster in the autumn.  On the eve of conference we held an extremely successful fundraiser which will help ensure that we have money to fight the EU Referendum Campaign here in the North West Region.

* Chair of Manchester Gorton Liberal Democrats, a member of the NW Regional Executive and the English Council and Vice President of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

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  • Tony Greaves 4th Apr '16 - 11:54am

    One thing that this party needs is for leading members to get out of coalition mode and for us all to stop reminding people about the coalition. l know as well as anyone how much good came from having LDs in the government. Unfortunately the people, the voters, decided long ago that it was rubbish and we were rubbish, and frankly most of them are never going to change their mind. As long as we keep reminding them about it, our core vote in most of the country will remain at 3-4%.


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