Spring Conference at a glance

Conference will be debating the following motions. The following are summaries of what is proposed. They are intended to be neutral descriptions of some of the main points made in the motions and are not arguments for or against any of them.

This motion proposes a range of changes to combat what it describes as conscious and unconscious racism.

It notes how institutional racism still exists in the UK in the forms of child poverty, employment rates, mental health statistics and representation across public life.

It calls for actions to:

  • actively celebrate the UK’s diversity
  • measures to address instances of discrimination
  • improve ethnic minority representation through developing government ‘targets with teeth’, particularly to drive transparency of statistics in businesses and public life
  • protect funding of services that disproportionately benefit ethnic minorities

This motion notes the health problems caused by roadside pollution, and that the EU is currently the body responsible for regulating road pollution levels.

The motion calls for measures to encourage drivers to use hybrid or electric cars, testing air pollution more thoroughly, and for electric car charging and future public transport to be prioritised in future city planning decisions.

Last year Liberal Democrat Spring Conference agreed the party strategy, which set out plans to build a mass political movement. This business motion takes that forward through a registered supporters scheme.

It notes that some areas already engage with supporters informally and that many people who are not members of the party support our campaigns, now totalling more than 250,000. The motion also notes the success many local parties and the national party have had in engaging with such non-member supporters, but that currently these efforts are not coordinated or shared.

The motion, therefore, recommends the introduction of a formalised supporter scheme, administered by the Federal Party, with local parties having access to the data for those in their area, as they do for members. It includes a proposal for registered supporters to be eligible to vote in the election of the party’s leader.

The motion sets out safeguards, such as confirming support for our values, checking identity, allowing removal from the scheme if our rules are breached and excluding members of other political parties from any leadership election.

F9 is being debated together with F10 which proposes the necessary changes to the party’s formal rules.

This item is for formal constitutional amendments, as some of the measures proposed in F9 require changes to the party’s rulebook (federal constitution and internal election regulations). F10 sets these out. Because these are changes to the rulebook, they require a two-thirds majority.

Group One would make the changes linked to creating a registered supporters scheme in general.

Group Two would make the changes to (A) allow registered supporters, subject to extra checks, to vote in party leadership contests, and (B) allow members who are not MPs to stand for leader.

Group Three would encourage state parties to allow members with relevant experience to apply to be candidates for public election without having to first wait 12 months from joining the party, provided they satisfy alternative conditions.

This motion notes the impact that legal aid cuts have had, and asserts that these cuts disproportionately affect people who are disabled, women, BAME, and those for whom English is not a first language.

It claims that legal aid cuts have contributed to poverty and social exclusion.

The motion calls for legal aid to be restored for early legal advice in cases of welfare, debt, employment, immigration, housing and family law.

It further calls for automatic eligibility for anyone on means-tested benefits, and a simplification of the application process as a whole.

This motion notes that high streets in town centres are closing down due to a variety of pressures on small and local businesses.

It says that town centres should not be left to suffer from unregulated market forces, as they provide a community with jobs and services for local residents, and makes towns a nice place to live.

The motion calls for local authorities and city regions to develop long term plans for town centres in consultation with businesses and residents and make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up on the high street.

It also calls on the government to enact a series of measures, including reforming commercial planning law, and support industry in developing to adapt to the changing nature of local economy and online retail.

This motion notes that an estimated 40% of internships are unpaid, which contributes to a cycle of young people from wealthy backgrounds going into highly paid professions.

It calls for all internships of more than four weeks to be paid internships, for placements to be advertised in the same manner as jobs to prevent nepotism.