Spring Conference: Emergency Briefing

This is a brief emergency summary of amendments and emergency motions for spring conference 2017. It is supplementary to our main conference briefing, which can be found here.

On the EMERGENCY MOTION BALLOT:

  • EM1 would be a good emergency motion, making a significant and distinct policy change to address a real and current concern. This is an area that could have done with being a full policy paper to allow fuller debate and amendments (unlike F8, which might have been better suited to the emergency ballot).
  • Whilst we agree with the substance of EM2, we feel that it may be better to use conference to decide on longer term policy groundwork rather than addressing very singular events in this way.
  • EM 3 is a sensible set of measures addressing a current problem, and like EM1 hints at areas that should be the subject of future full policy papers.
  • EM4 is perhaps the clearest debate amongst the emergency motions, though it provides only for a single, near-term parliamentary vote, and so perhaps would miss an opportunity to debate an area with wider impact.
  • EM5 covers a vital and urgent issue – it perhaps restates rather than creates Liberal Democrat policy, and it may well be arguable that our own policy should be to call for a bolder and larger solution than a simple reinstatement of the Dubs scheme, but it would be welcome to see this motion go forward nonetheless.

On the AMENDMENTS and MOTION F7:

OPPOSE F4 Amendment One, which waters down the fundamental purpose of the motion and would lead to an unpleasant and potentially dangerous fudge around a vital issue. As we called for in our main briefing, please SUPPORT this motion unamended.

F5 Amendment One is welcome, and whilst it does not address all the concerns we raised in our main briefing we appreciate the additional policy weight it gives to the motion as a whole and the bolder resulting motion with its inclusion.

Motion F7, Negotiating the Future, does not make any new moves, but it a welcome re-commitment to the part’s core goals of retaining for British citizens as many of the benefits of their EU citizenship as possible. The notes on  restricting the arbitrary use of ministerial power in this area are especially welcome.

F8 Amendment One does add some meat to a rather minimalist policy paper, which is welcome, but in general changes relatively little regarding the purpose or outcomes of the motion.

Undoubtedly F11 Amendment One will be a sharp debate; we are pleased to see that conference will get a clear, distinctive vote between unilateralist and multilateralist views on Trident, and would like to see the clarity of choices and debate on offer here available far more often on other motions.

F16 Amendment One provides a sharper debate and is like F11-One welcome for adding significant clarity of options to what is coming before conference – though it would have been good to see the amendment considering how to deal the challenges of potential reductions to school funding as a result of possible withdrawals of CE/RC funds in order to provide a clearer roadmap and a more fully worked alternative. It is nonetheless excellent to see a clearly articulated alternative on the table, and we believe that F16-One will raise the overall quality of the debate.

F17 Amendment one is welcome and agreeable – the rights of EU nationals to stay in the UK are vital – and/but should be wholly uncontroversial as a result.

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