Tag Archives: spring conference 2016

Farron supports bid for cannabis legalisation in UK

Tim Farron has thrown his support behind a motion calling for the legalisation of Cannabis as the Guardian reports:

Farron is to endorse a motion at spring conference which calls on the party to extend its existing support for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use to recreational use.

The motion, to be tabled by the former health minister Norman Lamb, will be debated after the release of the findings of an expert panel appointed by the Lib Dems to examine how a legal market for the use of cannabis would work in the UK. The panel has found that the legal use of cannabis could save the exchequer more than £1bn a year. It could generate between £400m-£900m in tax revenues and could save £200m-£300m in the criminal justice system.

The Lib Dem leader said: “The Liberal Democrats will be releasing a report in due course that lays out the case for a legalised market for sales of cannabis. I personally believe the war on drugs is over. We must move from making this a legal issue to one of health.

“The prime minister used to agree with me on the need for drug reform. It’s time he rediscovered his backbone and made the case again.”

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments

Full Spring Conference Agenda out now

Spring Conference Agenda 2016The full agenda and directory for the Spring Conference in York is out now.

All the details of motions, training and fringe meetings are inside.

A few points to note:

  • The Exhibition, which had originally been cut, has been reinstated. Leave.EU and the Lib Dem InTogether campaign will be no doubt glowering atmospherically at each other across the room.
  • The photos of the Federal Executive were supposed to be in the agenda, but seem to have been left out for some reason. People should know who their federal representatives are. However, there will be an FE help desk so please come and talk to us if you have any questions about the overall strategy of the party.
  • The number of what appear to be all-male panels at fringe meetings is more than a little annoying. And much as I love Tim, Vince and Jim Wallace, surely to goodness they could have found women for the main business reception too. After all, Jo Swinson as Business Minister did loads for women entrepreneurs and Lorely Burt is our go-to person for women in business. (UPDATE: it appears Sharon Bowles will be attending this now, which is good.)
  • The Saturday afternoon session goes on till 7pm with a consultation session on the Governance Review after the close of official business. This is really important as the outcome will determine the way the party is run and where power lies within it. An hour is barely time to scratch the surface of the issues. However, do take time to read the document now and submit your ideas to the team even if you are not going to Conference. The consultation is open until the end of March.
  • York is a city where we Lib Dems are in the Council administration. We should hear from Council Deputy Leader Cllr Keith Aspden at some point during the weekend.
Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 14 Comments

Is income inequality in the UK growing?

We have yet to see the full text of all the motions to be debated at Spring Conference in York, but it appears that this motion on economic policy has been selected.

There is much in the motion I agree with, and some places where I think it is lacking, but it was this line in particular that caught my attention, in the “conference notes…” section:

growing inequalities in wealth and income, coupled with unfair and regressive action against the poorest people in the country, now exacerbated by the assault on welfare spending.

It struck me because the most recent analyses of income inequality in the UK that I have recently read have concluded that the trend since the early 1990s is of broadly stable levels of income inequality, with falling levels after the financial crash of 2008/9.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Conference Access Fund gets off to a good start

 

Generous party members have already contributed nearly £5000 to the Conference Access Fund – and I’m proud to say that included a donation from Lib Dem Voice. The bulk of the fund has now been allocated to around 20 members to help them with the costs of attending conference and to pay for the BSL interpreter.

Last month I wrote about How you can help to send someone to party conference. I had been asked by Federal Conference Committee to convene a working group to look at Financial Inclusion. Conference already managed an Access Fund to support members with any additional costs relating to their disability needs, but we decided to broaden it so it could be used to support anyone who would find it difficult to afford to attend Conference for any reason.

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Time to think about Spring Conferences

In the next 8 weeks, Liberal Democrat Spring conferences will be held. First up is the Welsh Conference on the weekend of 5-7 February in Cardiff. I suspect the motions deadline has already passed, but we will keep you up to date when the agenda is published. Lynne Featherstone will be a keynote speaker and the event will be an opportunity to showcase Welsh Lib Dems’ achievements and plans ahead of the Assembly elections in May.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats meet in Edinburgh from 26-27 February, half a day shorter than usual. There is still plenty time to submit a motion. If you have an idea for a change in policy, here are the timescales:

Deadlines for motions to conference are as follows:

Policy motions – 15 January at midday
Amendments – 24 February at midday
Topical issues – 25 February at 17.00
Emergency motions – 25 February and 26 February at 17.00

You need to get 25 members to agree your motion, or you can ask a local party or organisation like EMLD, LGBT+ Lib Dems, Scottish Lib Dem Women or Liberal Youth Scotland to submit it for you.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Andrew Wiseman writes…Changes to Spring Conference registration

We are trying something new at this year’s Spring Conference. The Autumn Conference saw a record-breaking members’ attendance with more first time conference attendees than ever before and we are keen for even more members to come to conference and actively engage with the Party’s policy making process.

The Spring Conference in York will be the first conference under One Member One Vote and in light of this we reviewed, amongst other things, the current registration system. At our short weekend Spring Conference we will now only be offering a full Member’s registration option so that everyone attending has the right to speak, vote and receive conference papers. This means that we will no longer be offering day visitor passes at Spring Conference.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments
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