by Stephen Tall on July 31, 2007
Not got round yet to registering for this year’s Lib Dem autumn conference in Brighton? Well, you have 24 hours to sign up at the advance booker rate of £84. Any later than the end-of-play on Wednesday, 1st August, and you pay £112, “the late booker and onsite registration rate”.
Right, now that’s all done-and-dusted you’ve only got your accommodation to worry about – but why leave it til the last minute (like you do every year) when you can book your accommodation online with the official online hotel booking service, VisitBrighton Accommodation Bureau?
The Bureau works with over 50 quality approved hotels ranging from four star splendour to cosy and affordable B&Bs. (So I’m, told.) Here’s the link. (This arrangement allows the Lib Dems to use the Brighton Centre at an affordable price, providing an essential saving for the Party, so please do make the most of this service.)
And, in case your appetite hasn’t been whetted enough, here’s the introduction to the conference preliminary agenda by Lib Dem President, Simon Hughes MP (reproduced with permission):
This will be a particularly important conference, taking place in a changed political context – with a new Prime Minister, and a Conservative Party finally beginning to reveal what it really stands for. Our debates and discussions will be crucial in determining how the Liberal Democrats emerge from this new political situation.
And we have a good range of issues lined up for you to discuss. The Federal Policy Committee will be presenting major policy papers on climate change, poverty and inequality, taxation, local government and better governance – all crucial to stressing the Liberal Democrat commitment to making Britain free, fair and green.
This Preliminary Agenda contains the motions accompanying three of those papers; they’re all open to amendment by local parties and conference reps, so I hope you take the opportunity to read them and use the party’s democratic processes to modify what you don’t agree with. Remember that, unlike the other two main parties, the Liberal Democrats remains a democratic party – true to its principles – where the members really do have influence over what we do and say.
The other motions included here are also still open to amendment, by the same deadline: 11 July. That’s also the deadline for topical motions, i.e. ones relating to events which have happened since the deadline for ordinary motions (23 May).
Conference Committee is also inviting the submission of motions, by 11 July, under four broad headings: Education, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs. We want to strengthen the agenda in these respects, so any motion falling under these headings will be very welcome. I particularly encourage you to submit motions on Environmental issues, as we aim to make this one of the main themes of the conference.
All these motions will go together to form the pool from which Conference Committee will select the Final Agenda. This will be distributed in August, together with the remaining two policy papers – and all the new motions on the agenda will be, as usual, open to amendment.
But conference is about much more than policy debates, vital though those are in determining the stance of the party. Conference Committee is putting together a very diverse agenda, featuring opportunities for you to discuss and question party spokespeople and outside commentators on key political issues.
The agenda will include presentations from Liberal Democrats in power in one of our local councils, Stockport, and from our colleagues in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. We will have a wide-ranging discussion on citizenship and identity. There will be Q&A sessions on climate change and on underachievement amongst school pupils. And there will be the normal Q&A session with our Leader, Menzies Campbell. Want to ask him a question about party strategy or policy? Now’s your chance.
We will also hear speeches from leading party spokespeople, and from a distinguished guest – José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. And of course, there will be the normal reports from party committees – your chance to hold the party establishment to account.
I hope you and colleagues from your local party will be able to come to Brighton and participate in these debates and discussions. I encourage every local party to send its full complement of elected conference reps. But any party member can speak in debates, whether or not they’re an elected rep, as long as they register for the whole conference. And if you just want to get a taster of conference, for a day, come along as a day visitor.
So Brighton promises to be not only an important conference, but an exciting and enjoyable one too. See you there! Go to the party website now to register: www.libdems.org.uk/conference/booking
Simon Hughes MP
President of the Liberal Democrats