Tuesday debates open thread: The big one – our pre-manifesto

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home
Watch Live on BBC Parliament

The main event of the day is the pre-Manifesto debate which will take up most of the morning, giving way only for football.

The first emergency motion will take place this afternoon. Delegates have been voting on which two motions to take.  In between there is a chance to hear Norman Lamb, Edward Davey and Tim Farron, and to discuss our aging society.

So what ‘s does the agenda look like?

Today’s timetable

F29 Policy motion: Reclaiming the People’s Game

F30 Policy motion: A Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society (Pre-Manifesto Policy Paper)

F31 Speech: Norman Lamb MP

F32 Speech: Rt Hon Edward Davey MP

F33 Policy motion: Age Ready Britain (Ageing Society Policy Paper)

F34 Speech: Tim Farron MP

F35 Emergency motions and/or topical issue discussion


Update: Caron Lindsay

The “expand airports” amendment was rejected after a heated debate by quite a large margin. Conference also rejected an attempt by Gareth Epps to abolish the “Bedroom Tax” for both social and private tenants completely and an amendment which tightened up the wording on integration of health and social care. Evan Harris made Conference laugh by starting off his speech: “Unaccustomed as I am to proposing an amendment supported by the leadership…”

The  paper on older people passed.

By far the most significant debate of the day was on the Middle East. Ming Campbell talked of the need to protect the people threatened by Islamic State from religious and ethnic cleansing and for the first time suggested that he would be in favour of action in Syria. The motion passed set out strict criteria for such action;: that it should be legal, has regional support and a well thought out “post conflict stabilisation strategy” as well as being backed by a further vote in the Commons.

The last piece of business of the day involved the Federal Executive getting a kicking for re-introducing gender quotas for committees. Having voted for this at FE, I take the view that we had valid reasons for doing so, but Conference disagreed and passed Duncan Brack’s motion with an option of a third of each gender quota for federal committees ahead of the election. Conference therefore did what the FE had been told it couldn’t do – change the rules for an election inside the nomination period.


How to follow what is going on

You can view or download the agenda, directory and policy papers.

You can instal the Conference app from the App store or from Google Play or view it on Blackberry or Windows phones.

You can watch the debates live on BBC Parliament – today’s schedules.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Conference.


  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 8:42am

    I’ll read a review of the day later, but try to keep the buzz going. If today’s events take over then start to speak about them. I think the news about IS entering Kobane with street fighting is petrifying.

    Try not to vote for anything silly – the press will punish you/us immediately.

    Have a good day.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 8:49am

    By the way, if anyone can hit any aces that would be good. I don’t mean to sound like trying to win just by not making mistakes!

  • Not “on thread” (sorry), but has anyone seen the latest outrage from the Daily Mail.

    Quentin Letts, on the pressing topic of how many times Clegg changed his clothes during the day, while adding in a demeaning, racist comment about his wife .

    “By the time he and the castanet clacker (Senora Clegg) visited a school mid-morning, the tie had gone and he was now in blue chinos”

    So a partner at an international law firm is written off as a “castanet clacker”? Oh, that must be OK because she’s Spanish and a woman.

    I am utterly, totally and completely disgusted by Quentin Letts. Is no-one going to hold him to account for this?

  • What the hell does castanet clacker mean?

    I do have issues with Letts. To me he sums up what’s so wrong with so many leading Tories. Articulate and educated but underneath is a schoolboy who can’t leave the playground.

  • RC
    Calm down!!
    It is Quentin Letts.
    It is The Daily Mail.
    What were you expecting? A fair and factual account?

    Althoughscoring as she does from a family of staunch admirers of Margaret Thatcher (page 58,The Clegg Coup) one might have expected The Mail to approve of Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

  • Back to the thread. The Newsnight poll last night said that most people saw the Lib Dems as irrelevant. , Perhaps the ” Castonet Clacker” report might be all that the public are interested in.
    Next question who takes us seriously anymore, perhaps just ourselves. If so, that is a shocking state of affairs.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 12:33pm

    Not happy that airport expansion has been defeated. It was a credibility issue and looked like a no brainer to me.

    It’s time senior Lib Dems stopped pandering to the base, because when they do this it makes the Lib Dems look bad on national television and perpetuates the party as a bunch of tree huggers.

    I understand a bit of pandering, but people need to take a risk.

  • Eddie – isn’t there an argument to be made that we want to rebalance the economy, and that the next airport expansion should be outside the South East? We don’t want to have just a hub where people fly in and out without stopping and adding the economy, but we want to make it easier for international flights to all areas of the UK.

    Not black and white at all, but I’d have thought that;s a powerful case outside the South East?

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 1:11pm

    Tpfkar, but it doesn’t mean we should build a runway where people don’t want one for the sake of rebalancing the economy. Holding the South East down is an interesting way to re-balance the economy, but not one I would go for.

    I didn’t listen to the debate, but I read a bit about it. I don’t know why Lib Dems are so interested in feeling good about having nice policies in a manifesto. It doesn’t matter if you can’t get into government to actually make them happen.

    I’m not opening a can of worms over this. I’m just saying. Oh, and Huppert needs deselecting. If you want to be disloyal then you should be doing so for good policies. Being disloyal for unpopular policies makes no sense.

  • Conor McGovern 7th Oct '14 - 1:12pm

    I’d be much happier with airport expansion across the regions outside London and the South East, with proper environmental safeguards in place. Why didn’t conference get the chance to promote this as party policy instead?

  • Conor McGovern 7th Oct '14 - 1:14pm

    @Eddie – So he should be deselected because the policy he rebelled on (as did many others it seems) is inconsistent with your own personal views? We need more independent thought amongst MPs, not less.

  • Stephen Hesketh 7th Oct '14 - 1:17pm

    @Eddie Sammon 7th Oct ’14 – 12:33pm
    “It’s time senior Lib Dems stopped pandering to the base”

    Sorry Eddie but one of us is clearly missing something here; when was the last time ‘senior Lib Dems’ (whatever that means) pandered to the base i.e. fellow members who pound the streets delivering leaflets, canvassing or acting on behalf of OUR party in other elected roles such as councillors?

    @tpfkar7th Oct ’14 – 12:53pm

    Several excellent points tpfkar. Perhaps a tad under made but spot on all the same.

  • Stephen Hesketh 7th Oct '14 - 1:20pm

    @Conor McGovern7th Oct ’14 – 1:12pm

    “I’d be much happier with airport expansion across the regions outside London and the South East, with proper environmental safeguards in place. Why didn’t conference get the chance to promote this as party policy instead?”

    Good point and question Conor 🙂

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 1:29pm

    Conor, it’s not really to do with my own personal views, I’m still annoyed about his vote against bombing IS. Sometimes you have to fall in line, rather than wait for the perfect plan.

    Stephen, when it comes to conference time it is like the adults have to get the children to act sensibly.

    The party’s base is massively out of touch with general opinion and general opinion is often fair. I don’t want to speak about it anymore, because it just causes arguments.


  • @Conor McGovern7th Oct ’14 – 1:12pm
    “I’d be much happier with airport expansion across the regions outside London and the South East, with proper environmental safeguards in place. Why didn’t conference get the chance to promote this as party policy instead?”

    And why was Clegg pushing the case of the big corporate interests and the rich elite to expand Heathrow???

  • Peter Watson 7th Oct '14 - 2:06pm

    @Eddie “when it comes to conference time it is like the adults have to get the children to act sensibly”
    Indeed. And sometimes the childish leadership goes off and does its own thing anyway 😉

    “The party’s base is massively out of touch with general opinion and general opinion is often fair.”
    Surely the party’s base is part of general public opinion and closer to it, and it is at the top of the party (Westminster bubble, etc.) where that connection is lost and replaced by special advisers, lobbyists, and focus groups. A conference should be a good time for the members to instruct senior party figures, not the other way round.

  • Eddie, I thought from other discussions on LDV, particularly about OMOV, it was a given that conference didn’t actually represent the party’s base… hence every reason for Nick to ignore conference votes… 🙂

  • Ed Davey’s speech — he was just getting to his support for fracking when someone at BBC Parliament pulled the plug. So a few minutes were not broadcast.

  • Can anyone help me? Did the word NUCLEAR appear in Ed Davey’s speech ??? He certainly mentioned coal and wind. Maybe I just missed it??? It may have been during the couple of minutes when BBC Parliament pulled the plugs.

  • JohnT – Can’t find any reference in his release to the press ( https://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/105989/ed_davey_speech_to_the_liberal_democrat_conference.html ).
    Given the pre-manifesto policy commitment is:

    “Accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in lowcarbon
    electricity supply provided concerns about safety, disposal
    of waste and cost are adequately addressed and without public
    subsidy for new build.”

    And I’ve not aware of any amendments being tabled challenging this, if I were in Ed’s position, I would let sleeping dogs lie and talk up the green credentials and contrasting the difference between the LibDem policy initatives and those of the other parties, which seems to be exactly what his speech is intended to do…

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 3:50pm

    Hi Roland, well, perhaps we can implement OMOV and maybe even online voting quickly and re-run some of these votes. The football one complaining about competitiveness is ridiculous. Having every footballer undertake diversity training? The Social Liberal Forum have no clue, they think that if you force people to have these common sense training sessions it will make a difference – it won’t – the public wouldn’t vote for it and even if they did people will just get bored and start cracking jokes. It is like the way they try to teach children social liberalism – you’d lose control of the class, but they don’t seem to care about how things work in practice.

    After this conference the serious politicians in the party need to have a serious meeting. People who only want to pursue 25% strategies in a mythical world of Proportional Representation shouldn’t be invited. What’s the point in having 25% of the votes? The majority will just over-rule them all the time.

  • Roland 7th Oct ’14 – 3:40pm
    JohnT – Can’t find any reference in his release to the press ( https://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/105989/ed_davey_speech_to_the_liberal_democrat_conference.html ).

    Miliband was pilloried for not mentioning the defecit. Ed Davey is the Secretary of State for Nuclear Power and the vast majority of his budget is devoted to clearing up the mess of decommissioned nuclear power stations but he makes no mention of nuclear. Seems a bit like not mentioning the deficit.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 5:41pm

    If necessary adjourn the conference to save the Kurds. It’s the height of privilege to be voting on football diversity programs whilst a town is threatened with genocide.

  • John – You could be right, be interesting to see if the morning papers let him get away with it … Certainly no mention on Guardian, BBC, Telegraph; perhaps the authors of the “Gatwick amendment” have done Ed a favour 🙂

  • Conor McGovern 7th Oct '14 - 7:37pm

    @Roland – The main worry for me with the Gatwick vote is that, like tuition fees, the leadership will ignore the conference vote when it comes to the compromises of coalition negotiations.

  • jedibeeftrix 7th Oct '14 - 11:49pm

    And where does defence figure in all this pre-manifesto yoghurt knitting?


    Will the lib dems pass this acid test?

  • Mick Taylor 8th Oct '14 - 8:17am

    @john Tilley. Unfair and untrue comments yet again. In ALL the choices on airports Heathrow expansion was ruled OUT.

  • Mick Taylor
    I suggest you do your homework before throwing around words like “untrue”.
    If you simply google the words “Clegg and Heathrow” you will find articles in The Scotsman, the FT and other reliable sources which indicate exactly what Clegg has been up to. His people were briefing these papers so don’t accuse me of saying things that are untrue before you check the facts yourself.
    I am sure that as an academic you would not expect such a sloppy approach from your students.

  • Paul in Wokingham 8th Oct '14 - 9:39am

    RC – I can think of a fair few alliterative combinations of two words that might be used to describe Quentin Letts. Unfortunately they would all be held up by the software on this forum. It’s what he does. Maybe he has sleepless nights thinking how he might have been a serious journalist rather than writing bilge for consumption by umm… Daily Mail readers.

    John Oliver’s entertaining US political news show has a regular section called “Why Is This Still A Thing?” in which he questions why some anachronism is still with us. As an exemplar of a school of dreary, reductive Fleet Street journalism deriving from the society column, Letts would be a great candidate for that slot.

  • Excellent contribution to debate just now by the great John Smithson speaking against illiberal, elitist undemocratic arrangements which are being suggested as if they Wre “devolution”.

    John is right to point out the undemocratic, unaccountable nature of a few people meeting in secret.
    Well done John Smithson.

  • Nigel Jones 8th Oct '14 - 10:42pm

    I made a one-minute intervention in the pre-manifesto debate and this was the only speech on Education (section 4 of the motion). I had also put in a card to make a ‘proper’ speech on the same subject. I am annoyed that the chair did not choose anyone for such a speech on the Education section of the motion. I thought until recently that Education was one of the key subjects for the party and felt to be one of the most important subjects also for national policy. As I said in my brief speech it has also been key to turning away massively our support from teachers and other professionals. It is also a subject that huge numbers of our local councillors, given the lack of Coalition support for local authority roles in Education, are extremely frustrated over.
    To neglect both local authorities and the Education system in a debate on our manifesto is a very major error!!!
    Last week, I also pointed out on LDV that this conference should have been organised differently and the pre-manifesto debate broken into sections and given more time.
    Cllr. Nigel Jones and a member of the Lib-Dem Education Association committee.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.