Tag Archives: 2024 spring conference

Three top tier Lib Dem candidates to speak at the Social Liberal Forum pre-conference lunch in York 

By the end of the year and after the next general election and the prospects are that we could have 30 or more Lib Dem MPs. In fact, if Nigel Farage decides to lead the Reform party and split the right wing vote even more we could easily win more seats from the Conservatives and have over 50 MPs.

So what would our new Parliamentary party look like?

Lib Dem conference in York officially starts at 4.30pm on the Friday 15th March. So we in the Social Liberal Forum have decided to organise our “pre-conference lunch” event earlier in the day with 3 top tier candidates; Bobby Dean (Carsharlton and Wallington), Victoria Collins (Harpenden and Berkhamsted) and Josh Babarinde (Eastbourne) as speakers.

They will talk about their personal journey from deciding to join the party to becoming candidates in these very marginal seats. They will discuss the challenges ahead, winning over Leave voters (both Carshalton and Eastbourne voted to leave the EU which explains why we lost those seats in 2019) and how MPs representing the prosperous “Blue Wall” seats may be able to work to benefit people living in the deprived communities in the “Red Wall” seats. They will also share their vision of what it means to be a Lib Dem MP in 2024 and beyond.

Tickets for this event are limited and must be bought in advance. So if you want to come along then book now and take advantage of the early bird rate. Book here: 2024 Pre-conference lunch – Social Liberal Forum

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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.


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Party awards – get your nominations in by 27 February

Every Conference, the Liberal Democrats honour individuals who have served the party well with our party awards.

In York, the following awards will be presented:

The Leader’s Award
Eligibility: Any member of the party.

Criteria: Awarded to someone who has shown exemplary dedication to canvassing voters.

The Bertha Bowness Fischer Award
Background: This award is named for the country’s first woman to become a qualified election agent, a trailblazer who is a testament to our traditions of equality, inclusion and campaigning rigour.

Eligibility: Any local party.

Criteria: Awarded a local party for the excellence of its local delivery network.

The Albert Ingham Award
Background: This award is named for one of the Party’s great Election Agents, Albert Ingham. Albert’s work, much of it in his home county of Yorkshire, was prodigious and his impact on the Party ranged from organising to fundraising to promoting fresh talent.

Eligibility: Any election agent or campaign manager.

Criteria: Awarded for a recent campaign that through its excellence, fastidiousness, tenacity or novelty is a model for others.

The Laura Grimond award

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Spring Conference Agenda and Directory now available – and a date for your diary

It’s less than 5 weeks till Liberal Democrats gather in York for what could, but possibly won’t be, the last Conference before the General Election.

The agenda and directory have now been published and you can read them here.  We have been amusing ourselves seeing how many target seat PPCs we can see proposing or summating motions.  We will see plenty more giving speeches across the weekend, too. It’s a real opportunity to show your potential constituents that you are supporting things that will make their lives better.

In his foreword, Ed Davey is keen to say how well we are …

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FCC report following the agenda selection meeting

The Federal Conference Committee met on Saturday to run through a number of items leading up to the Spring Conference in York, which is being held from 15 to 17 March 2023. We also have an online registration option, which includes streaming of the auditorium and online voting. 

Just jumping a little ahead as well, the Federal Conference Committee has announced the dates and venues for Autumn Conference. 

Autumn Conference

14-17 September 2024 to be held in Brighton

At our meeting this Saturday we discussed a number of items relating to the upcoming and future conferences, including the agenda selection (which I will come onto shortly), and also set-piece speeches and the structure and format of conference. 

Conference is an excellent opportunity to engage with members from all across the country, to influence the party policy and strategy, and to a huge array of fringe and training events, which I recommend those attending to take full advantage of. 

The agenda for conference, including the text of motions, policy papers and timings, will be published soon. As per usual, the Conference will include a range of different and interesting policy motions and debates, the Leader’s Speech, various committee and parliamentary reports, the Leader’s Q&A, and some set-piece speeches.

We received a large number of motions from across the party, and are extremely grateful for the time and effort that members make in formulating policy motions and ideas for debate at Conference. We really wish that we could select so many more that ended up on the final list, but as always time at conference is at a premium and a large number of motions, although selected in the first round, did not make it through the second round when we then started to look at reducing timings. 

In total, we received 29 policy motions and one constitutional amendment. As regularly mentioned, time is tight at conference, and we are unable to take all motions submitted to Conference. Regarding the motions which were not selected, we have provided a summary of reasons why motions have not been submitted, and have provided further information to those people whose motions were not selected. I have tried to keep this succinct for the purposes of the list of motions. 

Furthermore, I would also like to mention the drafting advice service that the Federal Conference Committee offers. This service is provided by the Committee to offer drafting and language advice on motions submitted to conference and cannot always cover advice on policy matters; I would, in these instances, recommend reaching out to members of the Federal Policy Committee, spokespeople, and party AOs, who may have people within the their groups with specific policy expertise and would be able to assist with formulating policy. If you also want to find out more about how to write policy, the FCC will be undertaking a training session at Conference on how to write a good conference, and this information will be published in the Conference Directory. 

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