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The subjects selected and not selected for debate at the York spring conference

January 23, 2020 1:38 PM
By Nick Da Costa in Liberal Democrat Voice

Spring ConferenceThe new Federal Conference Committee met at LibDem HQ this Saturday to set out the agenda for York in March. The new FCC also held a meeting in November where feedback from the Autumn Conference was discussed, and officers were elected. Geoff Payne was re-elected as Chair, myself as Vice-Chair (General Purposes Sub Committee), and Jon Ball and Cara Jenkinson as Co-Vice Chairs (Conference Communications Group).

It is always difficult to sort through the motions that are submitted to the FCC for any conference. This year we did have a lower number of submissions - only 19, but there were some interesting motions that were selected. It seems that the December General Election may have had an impact on the lower submissions, so we are looking forward to more submissions for the Autumn Conference.

Timings are always tight at Spring Conference, and we have tried to maximise debating time. There are inevitably some items that must be held at Conference (leader's speech, and Committee and Parliamentary reports.) We have also made time for two consultations, one Federal Board General Election review, and one Federal Policy Committee manifesto review. We have also allowed two slots for emergency motions, as various political changes are happening at the moment which may require motions to be submitted.

The party will soon have to formulate its policy on Europe moving forward. We are, however, in a period of reflection. We do not have an elected Leader. There are consultations pending on the General Election and our manifesto. Things are still in flux politically and there are likely to be further changes before Conference. Unlike at previous conferences, we did not think that there was a need, at this stage, to rush to a finalised position in the Spring. We certainly know we are anti-leave. We know we are pro-European. There will many more discussions, formal and informal, to be held on Europe as events unfold. Local Parties will want to think about it as will Regional and State Parties. For those reasons, FCC resolved to set aside some time for a topical debate in the main conference auditorium on Europe to allow for a wider discussion and the voices of members to be heard on Europe generally. Along with the consultations, that will be an essential starting point for a fuller policy that will be debated in the Autumn. Our view was that Autumn Conference, which is the bigger event of the two, was the right forum to resolve that.

The full text of the motions will be published in the Agenda which is due out in mid-February. Those who have submitted motions have received their feedback, so I can reveal which motions have and have not been selected.

Six motions were selected for debate; plus the two emergency slots gives us a potential of eight motions for debate in York.

If you would like to submit amendments or emergency motions for spring, the deadline for that is 1pm, 2nd March. It is common that a number of motions received by FCC are rejected due to being badly drafted, so I would recommend that anyone planning to submit a motion makes use of the drafting advice service - the deadline for that being 1pm on 17th February.

You can submit your amendments here, the submission form will be live once the Agenda has been published: HERE

And finally, before you start reading the list of motions, don't forget to register!


Hope to see you in York!

Business and Trade

• Freeports (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected

Communities and Local Government

• More Homes, Better Communities (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected

Crime, Justice, Equalities and Civil Liberties

• Tackling Youth Violence, Safeguarding Young People (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected
• Welcoming Child Refugees (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - selected

Education and Families

• Children's Social Care (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - selected

Energy and Environment

• Climate Emergency and Glasgow Climate Change Conference (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected
• UK Fossil Fuels - Keep it in the Ground (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected.

(see comments above)
• The Liberal Democrats should accept that the British People wish to leave the European Union (submitted by a Regional Party) - not selected
• Britain in the Heart of Europe (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected
• Opposing Brexit (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected

Health and Social Care

• Student Mental Health Charter (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - selected

International Affairs and Defence

• Hong Kong (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - selected
• Indian-administered State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) a major Human Rights crisis in India (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected
• Issues Caused by the Russian Federation (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected

Political and Constitutional Reform

• Electoral Reform (submitted by a Federal Committee) - selected
• Enfranchising resident non-citizens and non-resident citizens - not selected

Work, Social Security and Pensions

• Unfreezing British Pensions Abroad (submitted by 10 (or more) Party Members) - not selected

Constitutional Amendment

• Increasing Regional Representation on Federal Committees (submitted by a Regional Party) - out of order, not taken for debate.

Business Motion

• Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Communities within the Liberal Democrats (submitted by a SAO) - in order, taken for debate

* Nick Da Costa is Vice Chair of Federal Conference Committee