Tag Archives: 2022 Autumn conference

Mark Pack’s monthly report: September 2022

Paying tribute to the Queen

As Ed Davey said in paying tribute,

For many people, including myself, The Queen was an ever-fixed mark in our lives. As the world changed around us and politicians came and went, The Queen was our nation’s constant. The Queen represented duty and courage, as well as warmth and compassion. She was a living reminder of our collective past, of the greatest generation and their sacrifices for our freedom. My thoughts and prayers today go especially to the Royal Family. And they also go to people in every corner of the world whose lives she touched.

You can watch the tributes from other Liberal Democrats here

Cancellation of party conference

Following the death of the Queen, the Federal Board received a recommendation from the Federal Conference Committee (FCC) to cancel our autumn conference. We agreed to this after a special meeting. There was widespread understanding of the many drawbacks of cancellation, and how disappointed and out of pocket many members (including committee members) would be. But it was the least worst of the options available.

FCC chair Cllr Nick Da Costa explained the reasons for the cancellation, including the range of options considered, in an email to those registered for conference and which is also online here.

(If you were registered for conference and did not receive the email, you can contact [email protected] to check the party has an up-to-date email address for you and that you’re not opted out from such messages. It’s also worth checking to see if the emails are ending up in your spam folder.)

FCC is now looking at ways of putting on extra events to help fill some of the gaps left by cancellation, such as online sessions to hold party committees (and people like me!) to account and extra online training. If you were hoping to ask the Board any questions at conference, either at our helpdesk or in the formal Board report session, you can instead email them to me and I’ll do my best to ensure they all get answered.

The Returning Officer has also decided to adjust the timings for this autumn’s internal elections as they overlapped with The Queen’s funeral. Details are on the party website.

Receiving emails from the party

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It has been a week like no other

The queue is more than four miles long with waiting times of nine hours as I write. Nothing like this has happened in my lifetime. Certainly, it has been a week like no other like no other in living memory. Perhaps like no other. The sudden and dramatic death of Princess Diana created an unprecedented outpouring of grief and astonishing scenes in the capital as crowds flocked to be in London. To camp in the parks. To put flowers on the trees. But it does not match what is happening in London today.

The arrangements after the death of Queen Elizabeth II were well rehearsed. Like many deaths it was not unexpected but the timing was unknown. Her last duties as Mary Reid said earlier, were to accept the resignation of the outgoing prime minister, Boris Johnson and the incoming prime minister, Liz Truss. Perhaps we will never know Her Majesty’s views on the prime ministers she agreed could the lead country, or those leaders from around the world she must have met with gritted teeth behind the famous smile.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Refunds for Autumn Conference

Everyone who has registered for Conference should have received an email from Nick Da Costa, Chair of the Federal Conference Committee.

Here is an updated version of his email:

Dear All,

Rail and Accommodation update

Those of you registered from Conference will shortly receive the below email following updates from National Rail and Visit Brighton. Visit Brighton have also reached out directly to people who have booked hotels.

The Conference Team will also be reaching out soon regarding registrations, but I wanted to give you an update on this items in the first instance. There will be more updates from the team when we can

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Conference: the right decision even if it’s a regrettable one

I very much share everyone’s upset and frustration about the cancellation of our Autumn Conference. I’m set to lose a great deal of money on my non-refundable, fully-paid in advance hotel booking, and I’ve spent many hours and a great deal of angst on a speech that I’m not going to deliver. And, above all, I very much wanted to attend conference in person for the first time since my re-election in 2019 – now nearly three years ago!

But I fully support the decision. The death of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday isn’t just the death of an individual. We haven’t cancelled conference just out of deference to the feelings of her family, or the many other people up and down the country who feel a personal sense of loss. This is the death of a Head of State, which demands a different level of response. It’s right that as a party, we respond at an institutional level, and pay respects to the long years of service Her Majesty gave to this country.

But more importantly than that, this is a period in which the powers of the Head of State transfer from one person another, and it’s a sensitive constitutional moment. Even more so, because it hasn’t happened in this country in most people’s memory. Of the six former prime ministers present at the Accession Council on Saturday, only one of them – John Major – would have had any memory of the previous accession, and even he was only nine years old at the time.

Posted in Conference, Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 8 Comments

Autumn Conference is cancelled

This afternoon, Federal Board met to discuss a recommendation from Federal Conference Committee that our  Autumn Conference should be cancelled. It was due to take place in Brighton from 17-20 September. The sad death of the Queen, and her funeral on 19th September, on the penultimate day, meant that  FCC had to think about what to do. They spent a lot of time looking at all sorts of options, working with party staff.

Both Federal Board and Federal Conference Committee are made up of people who love going to Conference. It’s one of the great loves of my life. There is nothing like the joy of being amongst the Lib Dem family. It’s not something I would take away from anyone lightly. And that is exactly the same for everyone else involved in the decision.

At the heart of our discussions was the impact on members, emotional and financial and the Conference Access Fund will be pressed into operation to help those with unrefundable costs. The more donations it gets, the more people it can help. Had I been going, I’d have been going out for dinner and drinking in the bar, so I will certainly be donating some of that money that I would have spent anyway to help others.

Nick Da Costa, the Chair of FCC, sent this email to members registered for Conference earlier. The text is below.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Kicking off Conference: The Lib Dem Newbies Pint

For the first time since 2019, Autumn Conference is hoving into view, and a welcome sight it is too.  Brighton 2022 will be our first in-person Conference since Bournemouth 2019, and for many members, it will be their first experience of an in-person Conference with the Lib Dems.

Ever since 2015, the Lib Dem Newbies admins have hosted a Newbies Pint the evening before Conference, to welcome members to Conference, with a focus on welcoming new and first-time attendees.  All are welcome – as we’ve found, Newbie-ness is more a state of mind than it is a date on a membership card!

Our 2022 Newbies Pint will take place in the North Laine Brewhouse in Brighton, at 7pm on Friday the 16th of September.  A £2 entry fee will help cover the cost of the venue, and as always, we’ll donate any profits to Newbies standing for election up and down the country via the Newbies fighting fund.  We have four exciting informal speakers confirmed for the Pint, including Sarah Green and Jamie Stone, and our fab PPCs for South Cambridgeshire and Eastbourne, Pippa Heylings and Josh Babarinde.

Please use this link to book your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment on the night – on-the-night tickets will be first-come first-served.  Attendance is for Brighton Conference attendees only – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lib-dem-pint-autumn-2022-tickets-403731922047

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Your last chance to put in a question for Party Leaders at Conference

Do you fancy putting Party President Mark Pack on the spot? Or any other party committee chair?

Or asking Ed Davey something important to you in his leader’s question and answer session?

Maybe you want to ask Federal Conference Committee about making Conference more accessible, or affordable.. Maybe you want more information about the party’s diversity strategy from the Federal People Development Committee. Or perhaps you want to ask Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain about what MPs are doing on a particular issue.

You only have until 1pm tomorrow to submit your question. Do so here.

One of the advantages of asking a question is that you get the chance to do a follow-up actually in the Conference hall. This can be a really good way of getting the feel of speaking at Conference.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Why Brighton conference should be in your diary

Mark Pack writes on the party website:

It’s thirty years since my first autumn federal conference, appropriately also in Brighton. That 1992 conference was the start of the most successful electoral run in our party’s history – record-breaking Parliamentary by-election wins, sweeping local government gains and then a huge leap in the size of the Parliamentary Party as a tired, discredited, scandal-riven Conservative Party lost office.

As part of that run of success, two years later, we were back in Brighton again, as you may have seen from the recently rediscovered BBC footage of a younger version of me (more curls, larger

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Motions for Autumn Conference are published

The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 9th July to start its work on the final agenda for Autumn 2022 Conference, which will be taking place in Brighton, with an option for online attendance.

If you haven’t yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.

At the meeting we discussed several items in relation to future venues and the meeting and motions schedule for 2023 into 2024. As previously reported, we will be returning to York for Spring Conference 17 to 19 March 2023.

The Federal Conference Committee has also continued work with its Working Group on a Hybrid Conference and has put together a technical specifications document which will be used to look at options and software platforms for a future hybrid conference. This was an interesting meeting as we also discussed wider membership engagement at Conference (applicable for in-person and hybrid conference options).

Conference is an excellent way to engage with the membership, to influence the party’s policy and strategy, but also so many other activities. We are looking forward to an exciting fringe programme with a range of different topics and presentations. There will also be the extensive training programme available at Conference – we really do recommend that you look at that. The directory will be published very soon. I am especially looking forward to the return of the Lib Dem Quiz and of course Glee.

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, Committee and Parliamentary Reports, the Leaders Q&A and some set-piece speeches; we are also delighted that Kira Rudik, leader of the Ukrainian Holos Party and ALDE Party Vice President, will be joining us at Conference. The further details of these will be announced in due course.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

+++Physical conference returns to your actual Brighton next autumn

The chair of the party’s conference committee, Nick de Costa, has made this announcement:

I can announce that the dates for autumn 2022 conference will be: 17-20 September 2022 at the Brighton Centre.

Posted in Conference and News | 4 Comments
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