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Days 1 & 2 at the Lib Dems Bournemouth Autumn Conference

September 10, 2019 6:00 PM
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

Federal Conference of Liberal Democrats - 14th - 17th September 2019

What's on Saturday and Sunday at Lib Dem Conference?

As Boris Johnson pursues his 'Bullingdon Club' tactics, shuts down parliament and plots to avoid complying with the new No Deal Brexit law, Liberal Democrats will be beginning their four days in the spotlight and hopefully enjoying some sunshine. Already buoyed by stunning electoral successes and with six additional MP's since the last Conference plus 60,000 new members and supporters, the Party is ready present to the Country an alternative to chaos, a disintegrating Brexit Government and a Tory Party Leader and Prime Minister devoid of moral and parliamentary authority Bournemouth UK https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilisateur:Christophe Finot Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic (Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

In this the first of two articles we look at the Agenda and programme for the Bournemouth Conference starting on Saturday.

If anyone is unsure of our values and what the party stands for then this Conference kicks off on a right note with debates on gender equality, equal marriage, fair taxes and measures to tackle inequality and poverty. Day one concludes with a look at the UK's crumbling penal system.

Day two focuses on Young Carers, the impact of Brexit on the NHS and social care, a debate on Europe and concludes with a call to re prioritise further education and the need for lifetime learning.

Councillor Wera Hobhouse praises the environment department. Layla Moran Christine Jardine (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) sal brinton Jo Swinson Vince Cable Jane Dodds

Party spokespeople will be in full swing and with many new parliamentary faces on board it will a surprise if we don't see several of them on the platform at both the big 'fringe' event; the members rally on Saturday evening and during the opening two days. Delegates will be wanting to give new Lib Dem MP for Brecon & Radnorshire, Jane Dodds a rousing welcome and with former Leader Sir Vince Cable stepping down from the role and his intention not to stand as an MP it will be a time for party members to add their thanks and appreciation to a man who has earned and fully deserved the respect of so many inside and outside politics for his contribution to Parliament, the Party and the economic well being of the country. The country can ill-afford to lose individuals of his ability and stature at this time of crisis.

Saturday Debates

The first main debate on Continuing the Fight for Gender Equality, moved by Bath MP Wera Hobhouse, considers the 'double whammey' faced by women. A gender price gap of specifically marketed products (ave 37% more expensive than products marketed at men), partnered by the gender pay gap and calls on the UK and other EU States to ratify and bring into law the Istanbul Convention. The motion calls for sanitary products to be made freely available in schools and other public institutions and agencies, the removal of vat across all member states and the scrapping of the gender price gap on related products. It further asks for an extensions of the shared parent leave provisions and the implementation of the 2010 Equality Act (Sect 106) covering candidate diversity and carer leave entitlements for parliamentarians.

The second debate, Business Tax Reform believes that the existing UK and global business taxation system is not fit for purpose as it is too complicated, unstable and too easily circumvented. It rejects the Conservative plans to reduce corporation tax and turn Britain into an unregulated tax haven, and Labour's plan to increase Corporation tax by 26%. It calls for the replacement of Corporation Tax with a new simpler, transparent UK business tax with a stable long term tax on profits which is fair to business and fair to society and encourages investment.

Saturday morning concludes with a debate on Equal Marriage moved by Education Spokesperson, Layla Moran MP.The motion calls for the UK government to address the human rights violation in Northern Ireland and introduce equal marriage legislation. It further calls on the UK to remove the discriminatory spousal veto by the married spouse of a trans person which still limits equal marriage across the whole UK.

Saturday afternoon's debate A Fairer Share for All, is moved by Christine Jardine MP looks at the rise in UK poverty and child poverty and the under funded roll out of Universal Credit. It calls for everyone to have sufficient income to live with dignity, a guaranteed access to universal basic services, and empower people to be able to access work and opportunity.

Saturday's final debate is on the Rehabilitation of Offenders, moved by Lord German. With the UK imprisoning more people than any other Western European country the motion calls for an holistic approach to rehabilitation, a reduction in those unnecessarily imprisoned, an end to prison overcrowding and transformation of prisons as places of rehabilitation and recovery, effective community supervision, youth justice system with education as its core, addressing the specific needs of women, more support to ex prisoners to build a crime free life and more resources for probation and rehab services.

Sunday Debates

There are four main debates on day two, a Q & A with the party leader, Jo Swinson MP and several items of party business.

The first is a debate on the needs of an estimated 700,000 Young Carers who look after around 6.5m people in the UK. It believes that young carers should be provided with free travel, treated as a diversity issue and supported by learning institutes, more readily available exam re-takes and eligible for a carers allowance in more than 21hours of education and meet other criteria.

The focus changes to the impact of Brexit on the NHS and Social Care in Sunday's second debate. Moved by spokesperson Baroness Jolly, the motion believes that it is necessary to stop Brexit to guarantee the continuing access to medicines and treatments, reverse the loss of key staff and create the economic conditions to ensure health and social care is properly funded. It seeks more investment in H&SC and restore the cuts in services with a 1p in £ tax rise. The motion wants to give every child a healthy start in life, help people to make more informed decisions about their health and be able to swiftly access reliable services. The LD's goal to achieve parity between physical and mental health care is included in the motion along with the need to create a joined-up system of care for long term and intensive care users.

Following a speech from Sir Vince Cable MP, Conference will debate a timely and relevant motion on Europe. It is likely that Conference will be asked to consider a proposal to Revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit.

The final policy motion on Sunday sees MP, Layla Moran introduce a debate on a Further Education motion. Education is for Everyone: investing in Further Education and Learning Throughout Life calls on the government to re prioritise FE through significant additional funding for 16-19 year olds including extending the Lib Dems flagship provision, the pupil premium to this age group, reimbursing the VAT paid by FE and sixth form colleges and extending the Teachers Pay Grant to FE colleges. Welcoming the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning convened by Sir Vince Cable, the motion calls for the introduction of Universal Personal Education and Skills Accounts (PESA) for adults in England.

The Sunday agenda in the main hall concludes with a speech from new MP for Brecon & Radnorshire, Jane Dodds MP and party business. Far from being over on Sunday however, delegates have a wide range of Conference Fringe activities to choose from, some lasting well into the night.

If you have booked then there is still time to register for Conference including obtaining a Day Pass...

Next: Summary of Day three and four at Lib Dem Conference


Lib Dem Conference Bournemouth