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Days 3 & 4 at the Lib Dems Autumn Conference

September 13, 2019 9:00 AM
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

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

What's on Monday and Tuesday at Lib Dem Conference 2019 Conference Agenda (LibDems.org)

The decision by the Scottish Judges to declare that the Johnson Brexit Government's decision to Prorogue Parliament last Monday was unlawful, means that the Liberal Democrats will be able to take centre stage from Saturday to complete their Autumn Conference before the Supreme Court announces it decision on Tuesday.

With our parliamentary democracy silenced, the PM and government able to avoid scrutiny, parliamentarians are having to resort to the Courts and squeeze every once of compliance from a 'smoke and mirrors' Executive.

With the Government's own Brexit Yellowhammer document identifying HGV delays of 1.5 - 2.5 days at Dover, increased electricity prices, delays to medicines, shortages of certain food, rising food prices affecting lowest paid, a rise in public disorder, and illegal fishing boats as just some of the disruption and chaos it plans to deliver to its citizens, the Lib Dems will be demonstrating its policies and programme for restoring the country to a period of stability, security, fairness and open government..

Conference will return to the International Conference Centre, Bournemouth on Monday morning having completed a busy weekend programme of debate and discussion. The Party will have since concluded its debate on Europe on Sunday morning on a motion since revealed in full - see article for full text Emergency Motion on Europe.

It's a varied start to the week with Monday debates on music venues, crime, climate emergency, tourism plus an emergency motion (tba) and speeches from new Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna, London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita and Sir Ed Davey.

Tuesday is the final day when the Conference hall will be packed to hear from Party leader, Jo Swinson. before that there will be debates on deprivation of citizenship, reforming housing legislation,and building railways for the 21st century plus another emergency debate, a speech from Scottish Lib Dems leader, Willie Rennie and what promises to be a very poignant tribute to the late Paddy Ashdown.

Chuka Umunna (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2017/07/21/mp-official-portraits-open-source-images/) Siobhan Benita Ed Davey Willie Rennie Jo Swinson at Conference Spring 2015

Monday's programme

The start of the week and Conference looks at Music Venues and recognises the UK's vibrant and creative industry and asks for the promotion and advocacy of progressive policies to support musicians and music culture and support and protection for established venues.

United Against Crime is a debate on the Policy Working Party Report which has included as a member our own local Lib Dem from Framlingham, Gary Kitching a former senior police officer. The paper calls for a major investment in community policing, mental health services and resources to help end youth violence.The motion calls for a recognition that violent crime is a public health emergency requiring a multi-disciplinary response. It further demands that the Government ensures that British Police have access to the European Arrest Warrant and halting the use of facial recognition surveillance by police. It also calls for the freeing up of the police to focus on cutting crime through further mental health provisions and a review of the police role in missing persons. The motion calls for a full recommendation of the independent police pay review, mental health support for staff and improvements in training and an apprenticeship scheme. Finally the motion seeks to make youth diversion a statutory duty with youth intervention embedded in A&E departments.

Following speeches by Chuka Umunna the afternoon session kicks off with a speech from London mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita.

Tackling the Climate Emergency is another report from a Policy Working Party moved by Wera Hobhouse M.P. The Report calls for each principal local authority to set a zero-carbon strategy with climate objectives a top priority with a national Citizen's Climate Assembly. It calls for investment in zero-carbon infrastructure . a new Green Investment bank, and regulating financial services and greener the taxation system to encourage green investments.and make polluters pay. Among the other demands are the fostering of regional industrial innovation, making climate change integral to UK foreign policy, de-carbonising buildings, Industry and transport and the acceleration of renewable power with 2030 target of 80%. Finally, the Report calls for the de-carbonising of agriculture and food, substantial tree planting and schemes and research to store and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Following a speech from Deputy Party leader Sir Ed Davey, conference looks at tourism an industry of 250,000 businesses employing 3.1m people recording around £127 billion to the economy each year. The motion calls for more support and a higher government profile for the industry, help to less well off communities to gain the benefits and to re-balance away from an over dependence upon London. Putting environmental issues at the heart of the industry improving public transport links and focus on rural attractions. The motion also calls for a statutory register for the accommodation sector and in answer to the East Suffolk Party's calls for an end to tax loopholes for short lets the motion calls for new powers to limit the number of homes registered as short lets and end to 'rent a room' tax relief on designated short lets.

The day ends with another emergency motion to be determined by ballot.

Tuesday's Programme

Final day at conference commences with another discussion to be balloted for debate followed by the motion Deprivation of Citizenship. The motion notes the powers to deprive a British citizen of their citizenship and notes that in recent times the Conservative Home Secretary have dramatically increased the use of the powers. Th motions considers that no British born citizen should be deprived of their citizenship but should face justice in the UK where they are alleged to have committed a crime. Power to deprive should be restricted to naturalised citizens and this should be used to make someone stateless. The motion calls for a reform of the process with the right of appeal strengthened and for the ratification of the 1997Euroean Convention on Nationality.

Following a speech from Scottish party leader Willie Rennie, conference pays a tribute to former party leader Lord Paddy Ashdown who sadly died shortly before Christmas last year. Late Paddy Ashdown

Two debates on housing and railways conclude the morning session.

The first, Reforming Housing Legislation: Scrapping Section 21 "No Fault' Evictions calls for the abolition of S21 by reform of the 1988 Housing Act where currently private rental tenants can be required to leave via a no fault eviction and landlords need only provide two months notice and give no reason.

The final debate, Building Railways for the 21st Century is moved by Transport Spokesperson, Baroness Randleson. The motion notes that whilst passenger use has increased satisfaction is at its lowest for 10 years. Further nationalisation will not solve the the problems. A modern growing reliable, greener, environmentally sustainable network for both commuters and freight services which is not micro managed from the D f T is now required. Large scale investment is needed for commuter lines and light rail and trams with required with modern ticketing services with stations transformed into transport hubs. A new Railway Agency is proposed to oversee the day to day operation with responsibility for planning new investment to include big infrastructure projects with greater public scrutiny of cost and the roll out of digital signalling. Finally, the motion calls for the devolving of power to local and combined authorities and greater accountability to users.

The final session of conference after the lunch break is given to the party Leader for a keynote speech from Jo Swinson MP.

Jo Swinson new Lib Dem leader

END