Update from FCC and amendments selected for debate

The Federal Conference Committee met on Sunday, 8th March to review the amendments, emergency motions and topical issues submitted for Spring Conference. We also discussed the most recent guidance with regards to COVID-19 and a few other reports back from the Federal Board.

On COVID-19; we’re keeping under close review the plans for the York conference in the light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on health advice from Public Health England and government, along with that from York Council, at present, the Conference will go ahead as planned. We will, however, be ensuring that those coming to Conference are reminded of current advice, such as the need for regular hand washing and the circumstances under which people should self-isolate. Obviously, if the advice we receive changes we may have to revisit these decisions. Constitutionally, any decision regarding whether Conference goes ahead would be a decision for the Federal Board to take –  LINK

There will be plenty of hand sanitisers throughout the conference venue and the two official hotels; and please ensure that when you are washing your hands, that you do so for 20 seconds at least – or for the length of the chorus of The Land (plus the last line repeated). Advice and guidance will be published in the Conference Extra and Daily and will be available throughout the venue.

We discussed issues such as a Conference Crèche and projection for autumn 2020 Conference. Unfortunately, the Federal Board did not agree to request additional funding for both items. This means that it is unlikely Conference will be able to provide a subsidised crèche and will need to explore ways of making it self-financing for autumn 2020.

On the topic of amendments, emergency motions and topical issues, the Federal Conference Committee received 18 amendments, five emergency motions, and five topical issue requests. As you may remember from my earlier report on the agenda-setting meeting, we received significantly fewer motions – due, at least in part, to the December General Election. Furthermore, we confirmed after the previous meeting that we’d be dedicating a topical issue session on Europe. It was also decided at the meeting on Sunday, that we would also hold a topical issue discussion on Sunday morning on COVID-19. The deadline for any submissions as to what the title of that discussion should be is Thursday, noon and can be done via:  LINK

You can also submit your speaker’s cards via:  LINK

With regards to the various submissions, it is unfortunately not possible to accept all amendments or topical issues submitted to the FCC. The list of all submissions is below, and the submitters will have now received their feedback. With regards to amendments, three things can happen to it: selected for debate (i.e. the amendment will be debated and voted on), drafted (which means that the amendment has been accepted and will be included without debate), and not selected.

The summaries of the amendments below are not those provided by the submitters (as we are presented them as Amendment 1, 2, etc.), but give a very general overview of what the amendment addresses. The amendments and emergency motions will be published in Conference Extra, and the COVID-19 topical issue will be published in Conference Daily.



* Nick Da Costa is Chair of the Federal Conference Committee

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This entry was posted in Conference and Op-eds.


  • Events are moving fast, and I am surprised that the party doesn’t appear to have realised that by next weekend the arguments that this conference should be cancelled will be strong.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Mar '20 - 1:50pm

    Liberalism is about personal responsibility and public good, cancel this for goodness sake and please read and share this


  • David Evans 11th Mar '20 - 1:54pm

    As I said elsewhere, I really think that we should cancel this conference. While the opportunity to get together with fellow Lib Dems is wonderful, on this occasion, as we have been in the past, we need show that we are ahead of the curve.

    Almost every other country in Europe is taking this problem much, much more seriously than Boris Johnson and the British establishment. We need to show once again that the Lib Dems are the adults in the room.

    Just as we were shown to be right on the 2008 Crash (Thanks Vince), and as more things go wrong are starting to be seen as being right on Brexit (if sadly electorally totally misguided), we can show ourselves to be right on this one as well.

    You never know doing the right thing and not just the easy thing might even become part of a strategy.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Mar '20 - 1:59pm

    Agree with you David

    Please I would really consider your opinion and interest in the article Viral Expertise I have written , the link above, this government as with Trump, is not doing nearly what it ought, this party needs to do more too, please read it, and share…

  • “We discussed issues such as a Conference Crèche and projection for autumn 2020 Conference. Unfortunately, the Federal Board did not agree to request additional funding for both items.”

    Can someone from the FB explain why? The financial report to conference says “Coming out of the election we have done much better than we might have expected…. we enter 2020 with a cash surplus and a Federal Deficit of zero”

  • Nick da Costa 11th Mar '20 - 3:04pm

    Dear All,
    Please note that the article was written on Sunday evening/Monday AM.
    There is a meeting of the Federal Board this evening to discuss Conference and COVID-19. As mentioned in my report, constitutionally only the Federal Board can cancel/postpone, etc. conference.

  • Laurence Cox 11th Mar '20 - 3:28pm

    This coronavirus epidemic should be seen as an opportunity for the Party to reconsider how it makes policy. Conference is unrepresentative of the Party as a whole; no more than a percent or two of members attends Conference and attendees are drawn from those who can afford both the cost and time to attend. At least in the days before one-member, one-vote we knew the voting representatives were representing their local parties and the number of representatives was linked to the membership of each local party.

  • Daniel Walker 11th Mar '20 - 4:01pm

    @Laurence Cox “This coronavirus epidemic should be seen as an opportunity for the Party to reconsider how it makes policy

    Leaving aside whether is is desirable or not to change the party’s policymaking procedure, such a change would require a constitutional amendment…which can only be passed at Conference.

  • @Daniel walker. And I imagine that conference will be as keen to hand over their policy making role as the Tories are to embrace PR.
    @Lorenzo, @David. Agree 100%. We seem to be waiting until we have thousands of cases in this country until we start cancelling large public events. It’s going to happen, so lets do it now.

  • I’ve said several times before that the Party should do a better job of promoting the fact that Conference debates can be followed online, and should also allow online voting. It should be source of shame for the Party that policy is made by such a tiny percentage of the membership.

    This would have been the perfect time to try out a virtual Conference.

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