Tag Archives: spring conference 2022

WATCH: South Cambridgeshire PPC Pippa Heylings’ speech to Spring Conference

South Cambridgeshire is one of the “Blue Wall” seats that the Lib Dems are targetting for the next General Election.

PPC Pippa Heylings was given a keynote speaking slot at Conference. This is her speech:

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Ed Davey’s speech to Conference: Lib Dems can defeat this awful Government

A powerful selection on Ukraine, a call for Priti Patel to be sacked, a celebration of Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire, a tribute to Lib Dem by-election stalwart Erlend Watson, a decent gag about Dick Turpin, an evisceration of the Tories over sleaze and partygate (including a call for a public enquiry into Boris Johnson’s relationship with Lebvedev) and an attack on Tory MPs for keeping Boris Johnson in power, setting out what the Lib Dems offer for health and education and a look forward to the local government elections in May…all this and more delivered by Ed Davey to Lib Dem members gathered in York.

 

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Lib Dems adopt most ambitious policy in UK to help Ukrainian refugees

Ongoing bureaucratic barriers to refugees fleeing Ukraine and the appalling UK Government attitude to them, the bravery of young political activists in Ukraine who are having to defend their country against invasion, the courage of young activists in Russia who are protesting Putin’s actions, the need to end our dependence on others for energy supply, the importance of standing up for the right of sovereign nations to be part of Europe, the chilling prospect of how we respond to escalating brutality from Putin’s army. These were just some of the points mentioned in an emotional and powerful debate on the situation in Ukraine this morning.

This afternoon at 5:40 pm, we’ll be hearing from Kira Rudyk, the leader of our Ukrainian sister party Holos from Kyiv. If you want to hear her, it’s not too late to register here.

The policy we passed today was the most ambitious to help Ukrainian refugees of any major UK political party.

We call on the government to enable refugees from Ukraine to come to the UK without having to apply for a visa, to work with allies to create accessible routes to safety for all refugees displaced from Ukraine, to provide economic, military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and to reverse the international development budget cut.

The party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said even the government’s latest sponsor scheme would still force Ukrainian refugees to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” to come to the UK.

Ukrainians have been let down by the UK government in their hour of need. Priti Patel is presiding over a chaotic shambles – and the result is that Ukrainians who we should be supporting are being turned away simply because they don’t have the right paperwork.

Even the government’s latest scheme will still leave refugees having to jump through bureaucratic hoops before coming to the UK.

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Conference votes for strong action to improve air quality

At Conference yesterday, Lib Dems blasted the Government for its slowness in taking action on air pollution, the cause of thousands of premature deaths each year in the UK.

We passed a motion submitted by Ealing Lib Dems and moved by Hina Bokhari AM which called for a greater empowering of local authorities and the introduction of stricter, legally-binding national limits for particulate matter and other pollutants.

Our spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, Wera Hobhouse said after the debate:

“Air pollution is a killer. Thousands of people lose their lives each year, with many others suffering from ill health because of it. This is no legacy to leave to our children, who are in particular danger. It is heartbreaking and a damning indictment on the Conservatives, who have looked the other way.

“It is high time we put the power into the hands of local people and those who have directly suffered from the Government’s failure to act more quickly and urgently,

“The Liberal Democrats believe that everyone has the right to clean air. It is incumbent on this Conservative Government to do all they can to uphold that right, by tackling the air pollution crisis head on and cleaning up their act.”

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Federal Board reformed in “peak Lib Dem” debate

Chair Duncan Brack remarked late yesterday evening as he opened the debate on reforming the party’s Federal Board, we had reached “peak Lib Dem” as before us we had 4 options, constitutional amendments, standing order amendments, 3 requests for a reference back and 7 votes.

The Federal Board put forward those 4 options – 3 for reform, 1 to keep roughly the same arrangements in response to the Thornhill Review’s criticism of party governance in the 2019 General Election.

The option passed was to have a slimmed down board of 16 people who are:

The President, who shall act as its Chair;

B. The Leader;

C. The Chair of the English Party, the Convenor of the Scottish Party and the President of the Welsh Party;

D. The Vice President responsible for working with ethnic minority communities;

E. Three people who shall be party members elected by all members of the Party except that persons who, at the date of the close of nominations for election under this paragraph, are members of Parliamentary Parties set out in Article 17 shall not be eligible to be candidates for election under this paragraph. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations;

F. A Vice-Chair of the Federal Policy Committee;

G. The Chairs of the Federal Conference Committee, the Federal Communications and Elections Committee, the Federal Finance and Resources Committee and the Federal People Development Committee;

H. The Chair of the Young Liberals; and

I. A principal local authority councillor, elected Mayor or Police and Crime Commissioner, elected by the principal local authority councillors, elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners of the Party.

This is controversial as it reduces the number of directly elected members of the Board from 15 to just 3.

A request for a reference back made by Board Member Simon McGrath, who criticised the plans here was defeated by a handful of votes.

Conference chose the option to create a Federal Council to scrutinise the work o the Board. Amendments were passed to give it some teeth – eg the ability to call in and overturn some Board decisions. The Federal Council will be made up of:

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Conference amendment and questions deadline approaches

Spring Conference takes place online between 11th and 13th March. You can register for that here. There is an accompanying Conference Live event in York run by ALDC on 12th and 13th March and you can register for that here.

At the live event, you will be able to watch the online debates and got to numerous social and training events. You can find the agenda here.

The main Conference agenda, including the motions has been published. Items up for discussion include:

British Sign Language

COP 26 follow-up

Tackling sleaze in politics

Improving air quality

Catching up on education post Covid

Fixing the Ambulance Crisis

Supporting British Farmers

Ending Sewage Discharges

Swift Justice for victims and offenders

Democracy and public debate

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Party reforms are crucial for our fightback

Embed from Getty Images

Our party has come a long way since the devastating general election defeat of 2019, when we lost many people including our then leader, Jo Swinson.

As someone standing in a Northern Leave-voting seat, I saw firsthand the effect of the mistakes that cost us so dearly in that campaign and which Dorothy Thornhill’s post-election review documented so clearly.

We must not make the same mistakes again – and that means fixing the party systems and structures that let us down in 2019.

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I’ve had enough of nonference

I was hugely disappointed to see the recent decision to not return to an in-person spring conference in Spring 2022.

York has been proud to be the home of the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in recent years. A return in Spring 2022, after the terrible events of the last 18 months would have been a real boost to party morale. When we attend the 2022 Autumn conference, it will have been over 1,000 days since we last heard a leader’s speech from the hall.

Despite the Lib Dems being in administration in York since 2015, nobody in the party thought it necessary to pick up the phone and speak to us about the 2022 decision in advance of the announcement. As a party that champions local government, we should be putting our values into practice.

As City of York Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, colleagues and I have been working with York Barbican, hoteliers and city partners to support them through the pandemic and help them welcome back visitors to our wonderful city, safely.

I understand the devastating effect that Covid continues to have on society and the need to  continue to take precautions to protect one another. As the son of a clinically vulnerable parent, I am acutely aware of the concerns that many of us have about holding large events at the present time. The poor management of the pandemic by the Government has left many of us understandably fearful that recent improvements can be swiftly undone by the upcoming winter.

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Announcement about 2022 Conferences

The Federal Conference Committee recently met to discuss the Conference format for 2022.

We considered a number of options for next year’s conferences and took the difficult decision to hold Spring Conference as an online conference and only returning to an in-person event for Autumn Conference. The dates of Spring Conference will be 11-13 March 2022 and we will announce the dates and venue for Autumn Conference in due course.

The Committee discussed several options with regards to the format of Spring Conference and, whilst there was a strong desire within the Committee to return to in person meetings and events as soon as possible, our challenge was that the COVID situation remains uncertain and therefore still causes significant concern. While we are seeing more in person events happening, we have also seen the Welsh Labour conference in November cancelled due to COVID concerns.

If we had taken the decision to hold an in person Spring Conference, this would have taken place in York – a venue which we usually operate at full capacity. Enforcing social distancing and COVID measures would therefore have been extremely difficult with the potential number of attendees. Furthermore, the danger that a large number of people may not have felt safe attending a crowded in person event meant there was a significant risk of a drop in the number of members attending Conference.

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    Well said Paul Barker. The squeeze on public sector wages (both actual and the result of financial pressures on out-sourced services) is driving so many of the ...