Under new management – Federal International Relations Committee report

On Monday 6th of February, the Federal International Relations Committee (FIRC) met for its first formal session of the new year, and of the newly elected committee.

In a two hour meeting which was kept very nearly to time (an almost unheard of state of affairs in Liberal Democrat committees, in my experience), we dealt with a stack of both policy and procedural issues.

We formally approved the continuance of, and received reports from, our sub-committees on China and Ukraine; we also received reports from several other bodies where FIRC has either oversight or coordinating responsibilities, and from the Federal Party’s International Office.

A substantial part of the meeting was spent dealing with FIRCs own political agenda, both in terms of Party Policy (where several conference motions which had been accepted for the cancelled Autumn 2022 Conference were not accepted for the forthcoming Spring Conference, due to lack of time), and outreach within the party. We fully intend to renew our previous submissions for future conferences as well as continue to develop policy within our remit.

We discussed the Party’s electoral strategy and relevant polling with regards to international policy. Obviously Brexit is the elephant in the room as far as FIRC is concerned, but with the current electoral cycle being focused on the local council elections in May the Federal Party is not inclined to talk a lot about international matters in the media right now. The right time for pushing to increase the volume on international policy is likely to be over the summer, after the focus on the locals is done with and as dislocation of the economy due to Brexit increases.

Finally a number of other international matters were raised; the situation in Iran is something that is on our radar, as is the widespread cross-border activity by the far-right aimed at weakening human rights, particularly aimed at women and LGBT people.

Looking forward, FIRC will be holding a short special meeting to discuss issues within our remit that arise on the conference agenda and amendments. We will also be meeting informally at Conference, and an in-person away day is scheduled for late March. The next full formal meeting of the committee will be in late April (FIRC is required to meet at least four times per year, which is mostly done via Zoom)

* Alisdair Calder McGregor is a member of the party's Federal International Relations Committee.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and Party policy and internal matters.

One Comment

  • Mel Borthwaite 10th Feb '23 - 1:28pm

    Interesting report and I wish you well in your future work. I notice and understand the interest in Iran and developments within that country. What I don’t understand is the apparent unwillingness to even discuss Israel and its unacceptable behaviour, let alone to take a firm line on this issue. I do understand that many people may be a little scared about raising Israeli behaviour for fear of being accused of antisemitism, but any other country acting as it does would be very much in the spotlight. I trust the Liberal Democrats will have the courage to do what is right even if it may lead to criticism from some quarters.

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