Tag Archives: 2017 autumn conference

International Office team up with the ALDE Party to answer the question ‘can Brexit be a success for Europe?’

Every year, the International Office delivers an extensive programme of events primarily aimed at diplomats and international guests at Autumn Conference. This year, in addition to this programme, they have teamed up with the ALDE Party to host a special fringe debate with a panel of liberal politicians from across Europe.

The fringe, entitled From a European Perspective: is a ‘successful’ Brexit possible?, aims to take a look at Brexit from the oft-forgotten perspective of other European countries. When – or if! – Brexit happens, it won’t just be Britain paying the price. Britain’s exit would constitute a monumental shift for the European Union itself and its member countries.

With a high-level panel that includes a former Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail Party), the Foreign Affairs Spokesperson of Polish liberals Nowoczesna, the fastest growing liberal party in Europe, and the Swiss Ambassador, this is bound to be a lively debate.

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A review of this year’s Conference app

Well, this must be some sort of record. It’s 11 days before I go to Conference and I’ve actually downloaded the Conference App and filled in my schedule so I know roughly where I’m supposed to throughout Conference. That’s not strictly speaking true because there are still times when I’ll be required to split myself in three or even four. If anyone has a Hermione Grainger time-turner I could borrow, I’d be ever so grateful.

This year’s Conference app (available by searching Lib Dem Conf on your chosen app store) is the best yet. There were no problems with using My …

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Federal Conference to debate revocation of Article 50

Like many others, I was horrified to see that our Federal Conference in Bournemouth was only going to have a consultation session on Brexit and our relationship with the European Union.

That, I felt, was an opportunity missed to make very clear and unambiguous policy. We were a bit too equivocal during the election. Had Tim Farron said on the day the election was announced that if he walked into Downing Street as Prime Minister, the first thing he would do would be to revoke Article 50 because the political earthquake that would had happened would justify it, people would have understood and been convinced that we are an anti-Brexit party. Our referendum on the deal is a good mechanism to stop Brexit but it’s not a good message.

Since the agenda was published, there have been a great number of behind the scenes representations to the party leadership and Federal Conference Committee saying that a consultation simply isn’t good enough.

The good news is that there has been a rethink and Conference will now be given the opportunity if it wishes to have a debate rather than a consultation session. A motion will be published today on the party website. This motion will be amendable.

Because we are a democratic party, we don’t just allow the agenda to be altered by anyone, so Conference has to give its consent. A vote will take place to enable the motion to be discussed in the very first session, at 9:05 am on Saturday 16th September, so those with sore heads from Lib Dem Pint will have to power on through and get in to the hall.  If Conference allows the change, then the motion will be debated on Sunday 17th September between 10:45 and 12:30. If Conference votes against the change, the consultation session will take place as planned at the same time.

The motion itself will probably need amending. It calls for:

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Autumn Conference agenda and directory now available

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The agenda for Autumn conference in Bournemouth has now been published online. This contains the full text of all the motions that will be debated, as well as speeches and other events in the main hall. The conference runs from Saturday 16th September to Tuesday 19th September.

Now is the time to arrange a meeting with your local party to discuss amendments you might like to submit. The deadline for submitting amendments to motions, and also for emergency motions, topical issues and questions to reports, is 1pm on 4th September. As always, you would be wise to ask for drafting advice for amendments in advance, and this is available up until 21st August.

You can also download the Conference directory, which lists the fringe meetings, training sessions and exhibitors.

If you haven’t attended conference before then it is not too late to register. The registration fee for first-timers remains the same throughout the booking period, whereas the fees for returnees rises in steps. First-timers also get invited to a number of events designed to introduce them to conference, to the venue and to each other.

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Federal Conference Committee report on selection of motions for Bournemouth


Federal Conference Committee met again last weekend to select motions that will be debated when we meet in Bournemouth. 41 motions were submitted, and usually selection proceeds in rounds. Motions are first eliminated on the basis of drafting, debatability and other such issues before subsequent rounds trim the agenda further based on time constraints.

However, due to the snap general election we received slightly fewer motions than usual for an Autumn Conference so only one round of debate was required. In most cases, the discussion gave a clear consensus and no vote was needed, but I have noted below where there was a vote that was particularly close.

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Venue for Autumn Conference 2017 announced


It has just been announced that the Autumn Federal Conference in 2017 will be held in Bournemouth.

The dates are, provisionally, Saturday 16th to Wednesday 20th September 2017. This year the Conference Committee is trying out a four-day Autumn conference, which makes better use of the Saturday. They will be assessing its effectiveness and the reaction of members in their responses to the post-conference survey. If they decide to repeat the four-day pattern, then the conference will end on Tuesday 19th September instead.

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