Reports to Spring Conference 2013 Brighton Contents
Federal Conference Committee……………………..……………………………………………………….…….3 Federal Executive.............…………………………………………………………………..…………………………7 Federal Policy Committee.............................................………………………………………………..12 Federal Finance and Administration Committee………………………………..………………………..16 Parliamentary Party (Commons)……………………………………………..…………………………………..19 Parliamentary Party (Lords)……………………………………………………..………………………………….22 Parliamentary Party (Europe)…………………………………………………..………………………………….25 Campaign for Gender Balance…………………………………………………..……………………….………..28 Diversity Engagement Group……………………………………………………..…………………………..……31
Federal Conference Committee The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) is responsible for organising the two Federal conferences each year. This includes choosing the agenda from amongst the policy and business motions submitted by conference reps, local, regional and state parties, specified associated organisations and Federal committees, and also taking decisions on topics such as venues, registration rates and other administrative and organisational matters. It works within a budget set by the FFAC. The FCC has 21 voting members: the Party President; the Chief Whip (or substitute); three state party reps; two reps from the FE and two from the FPC; and twelve members directly elected by conference reps. It elects its own chair who must be one of the directly elected reps. Brighton 2012 Last autumn’s conference in Brighton proved to be very successful. As always, after each conference, FCC undertakes a full debrief, including an analysis of the questionnaire sent to all attendees. This time just under 400 members completed the online questionnaire. This document is incredibly useful and I would urge all members to take the time to complete it. The cost of accommodation at conference is often raised. This is something that FCC is fully aware of and actively monitors. The average cost of accommodation (calculated from members’ feedback) since 2006 is summarised below: Brighton Birmingham Liverpool Bournemouth Bournemouth Brighton Brighton Accommodation
Average (mean) Cost
This year’s £65 average compares with £58 the last time we went to Brighton in 2007. This equates to an inflation rate of 2.5% per annum (or 3% per annum if 2006 – also in Brighton - is used as a baseline). FCC will continue to work closely with future venues’ local tourist boards and councils to try to ensure affordable accommodation is available. Since going into Government many members have expressed a wish to hear from and question our Ministers. FCC has tried to facilitate this. There is a careful balance to be drawn between policy debates and non debate items. This something FCC keeps a close eye on. Recent results from the questionnaire are set out below: Balance of Debate & Nondebate Items Too many non-debates minus too much debate (%)
Liverpool B'mouth B'mouth Brighton
This section of the questionnaire looks at how attendees feel about that the balance between debate and non-debate items. The responses indicate that attendees feel that the recent trend of not enough debating time since going into Government was reversed in Brighton.
Our first conference App was launched at autumn conference. This is something that we are keen to improve and develop. 25% of those that returned the questionnaire downloaded it and 86% of those would do so again. In future releases we will look at making the diary function better and more comprehensive.
FCC Elections A new committee was elected following autumn conference. It’s great to see some new faces on the committee and I was delighted to be re-elected as Chair by the new committee. I will be ably supported by Geoff Payne and Sal Brinton who were elected as Vice Chairs. Dee Doocey did not re-stand for FCC following 16 years’ service. Her advice and experience will be missed We were also sad to lose Robert Adamson, Qassim Afzal , Jon Ball, Arnie Gibbons and Linda Jack who were not re-elected. Jeremy Hargreaves and Lucy Care will also no longer be representing FPC on FCC and Jo Shaw has stood down as one of the FE reps on the committee. Each one of them were valued members of the committee and I would like to put on record my, and the committee’s, thanks for all their hard work.
Chief Steward FCC has appointed Mike Ross as the new chief steward. Mike has been a steward for a number of years, most recently serving as Deputy Chief Steward. Mike has taken over from Adrian Beavis. Adrian was an extremely popular chief steward who was always willing to roll up his sleeves and help out. He took over in difficult circumstances and had to manage the difficult transition for the steward’s team from opposition to Government and all the security and other issues that involved. FCC would like to place on record our grateful thanks to Adrian for all his help and support. Brighton 2013 This spring we have returned to Brighton, albeit to a different venue. I hope that having everything under one roof will create a vibrant atmosphere and be a popular choice of venue. FCC has been mindful of the increasing costs for those attending conference. We have a difficult job to try and meet the budget set by FFAC but have decided to freeze registration fees for members this year. We are also mindful of the amount of paper that conference generates. This comes at a considerable cost – both financial and to the environment. For a number of years those attending have had the choice to receive just a hard copy of the agenda and directory or a full pack, including all reports, consultation and policy papers. This year we have introduced another option: online only. We have decided to adjust the costs to reflect the financial saving of not receiving paper copies from the conference office. I would like to thank all those who have taken up these options, not only have you saved yourself money but you are doing your bit to help the environment. I would urge as many members as possible to take up this option.
Motions As always, every item on the agenda is still open to amendment. The deadline for submitting amendments – and also emergency motions and questions to reports – is 13.00 on 5 March. We continue to provide a drafting advisory service, and I would encourage all emergency motion and amendment submitters to make use of it – those who have used it in the past have had a much higher chance of having theirs accepted. The deadline for the advisory service for amendments and emergency motions is 4
13.00 19 February 2013 and for motions to the autumn conference 13.00 12 June 2013, please do use the service; drafts should be sent to [email protected]
Agenda This conference sees the first stage of our involvement in the manifesto process. We have organised a session with members of the Manifesto drafting group. This session gives you the opportunity to feed into the start of this process - please do come along and participate. Once again, we have also organised a number of ‘Ministerial Surgeries’. They take part away from the main auditorium and are an excellent opportunity to question some of parliamentarians. These have proven to be popular with our members and I would urge you to go along to at least one. Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day and the conference rally on the Friday evening will celebrate this occasion. Do come along.
Glasgow 2013 The autumn sees us return to Glasgow after a considerable time. Many things have changed since we were last there. The conference centre has expanded and the number of surrounding hotels has increased. Glasgow's cultural sector has boomed since 1990, when the city was named European Capital of Culture, and now boasts excellent attractions, galleries, museums, shopping, parks and gardens. We are working closely with our colleagues on the Scottish conference committee and are confident that Glasgow will prove to be a popular venue. Registration will open in May.
Future venues The current size of the conference and the scale of public interest it attracts make it an attractive event for many towns and cities to host, but also restricts the number of venues with adequate facilities. We have spent a considerable amount of time negotiating with possible venues and will announce our 2014 venues shortly.
Stewards As always, conference can only take place due to the massive contribution and efforts of the volunteer stewarding team, who look after the exhibition, fringe, information desk, stage and auditorium, and ensure that we all get the most out of conference.
Federal Conference Committee FCC members are here to help you make the most of conference – do feel free to ask us any questions you may have relating to the agenda and how to speak in debates. You can identify us by the badges we wear, with ‘FCC’ prominently displayed; there are also pictures of us (although looking at some of the photos it may be difficult to see the true likeness!) on page 2 of the Agenda and Directory. FCC members are assigned to state and English regional parties, and SAOs. The idea is that they provide advice and assistance on submitting motions and when requested attend conferences to answer your questions. See the contact details at the end of this report, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with the relevant FCC member.
Thanks The vast bulk of the hard work of organising conference throughout the year falls on the professional staff in the Conference Office at HQ: Lucy Billingsley and her team Emma Price, Siân Jenkins and Lewis Redfern. I would also like to express my grateful thanks to all the others who make conference possible: to all my colleagues on the Conference Committee; to all the staff at HQ, in particular the Policy Projects Team, led by Christian Moon, who process the motions and prepare much of the agenda material; and of course to the stewards’ team. Conference is a fantastic event to be involved in and I’m proud to chair your FCC. I look forward to seeing you in Brighton.
Andrew Wiseman Chair, Federal Conference Committee January 2013
Regional and SAO reps 2012-14 Region Devon & Cornwall East of England East Midlands London Northern North West South Central South East West Midlands Western Counties Yorkshire & the Humber
Justine McGuiness Geoff Payne Andrew Wiseman Chris Maines Andrew Wiseman Qassim Afzal David Rendel Louise Bloom Paul Tilsley Justine McGuiness Andrew Wiseman
The FCC has also appointed representatives to Party SAOs: SAO ALDES ALDC LGBT+ WLD Liberal Youth PCA Liberal Democrat Lawyers EMLD LDDA (AO)
Evan Harris Sandra Gidley David Rendel Sandra Gidley Gareth Epps Liz Lynne Evan Harris Gareth Epps Liz Lynne
Federal Executive The Federal Executive is responsible for directing, co-ordinating and implementing the work of the Federal Party, including overall strategy, campaigning, organisation, and staffing. The Federal Finance and Administration Committee (see below) and the Campaigns and Communications Committee both report to the FE. The FE has 29 voting members: the Party President (Chair), three Vice-Presidents, the Leader, two additional MPs, one peer, one MEP, two councillors, three State Party reps and fifteen members elected directly by Conference Reps. This report to Conference is different from our reports in the past, because rather than being just from our Chair, it is from us all. We have only just held our first meeting as an FE, which means we haven’t had the chance yet to do much that needs reporting. So rather than giving you the chance to scrutinise our work, we wanted to tell you what we’re planning on making out of our 2013-14 terms. As the strategic body of the Party, FE is there to scrutinise the work of our headquarters and our leadership, and to make tough decisions on things such as the budget. We’re there to look at how the Party works and make sure that we’re functioning as effectively as we can to make sure that all of your (and our!) hard work goes towards winning us seats. For this reason, we are all taking on a little extra work this year. We used our first meeting to set our priorities for 2013: Engagement and Involvement Fundraising; and Internal Democratic Reform. Engagement and Involvement means supporting our local parties, regions, and states in their recruitment and retention efforts: we all know that to win elections as Liberal Democrats, we need a huge amount of volunteers and activists with a huge amount of enthusiasm – there’s no safe seats for us! It also means making sure that all of these volunteers and activists know what we are doing to help – and know that there is support, training, and opportunities for them across the country. For these reasons, we’re putting retention, internal communications, engaging supporters, and working with SAOs/AOs at the top of our list for 2013. Just as we need people to win our elections, we also need money – for deposits, for leaflets, for tea and biscuits to keep committee rooms going – which is why we’re also focusing on fundraising. We will be working with our fundraising team in HQ, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth the Party Treasurer, and our Finance and Administration Committee to make sure that we are reaching out to everyone we can in the run up to 2015. Finally, we’re looking at internal democratic reform. It might not sound as interesting as membership and communications, but we have come to the conclusion that one of the best things about our Party is how we involve our membership. If you’re a member, you can become a Conference Rep – then you can vote on policy and vote for our executive committees – you can use your vote to change how we run the Party. But we know that not everyone can afford either the time or the money to come to Conference; and we know that this shouldn’t mean that you don’t have just the same opportunities to get involved as our traditional Conference-goers. So we will be looking into the ways in which we can get our membership more involved and give you all more of an opportunity to have a say on the things that matter. We have one thing that our Constitution writers did not in 1988 – the World Wide Web – and we see no reason why we can’t make better use of that to ensure that everyone who wants to can make their voice heard in our Party.
It’s a short introduction to what we want to do – but it gives you an idea of where we want to head. By the time we leave office, there will be only 4 months until the next General Election, which means that to do the best we can, we need to start the campaign now. Spring Conference 2013 is here – there’s only 789 days to go! Party Elections 2012 saw another round of Committee Elections, which brought four new members to Federal Executive. We said goodbye to Susan Juned, Candy Piercy, and Evan Harris at the end of 2012 – and want to thank them for their contribution to FE over a number of years. Back in July last year, we agreed that Committee Elections 2012 would mark a change towards a more electronically-based system of voting, in which Conference Reps who received their papers electronically would only have the opportunity to vote online. This amounted to approximately 45% of Conference Reps. This decision was partly based on the costs of printing and posting around 1800 sets of ballot papers, and partly on the environmental impact of the traditional method. The turnout in committee elections for 2012 was 49% - this is marginally up on the turnout for 2010, at 48.9% - online turnout was 51%. 66% of people received a paper ballot, yet in terms of received votes, only 41.1% were from paper ballots, with 58.9% being received from the online system. It is particularly interesting to note that of those who received paper ballots and chose to vote, 36% chose to vote online rather than return their ballot paper. These figures, in addition to comments from Conference Representatives as a whole, will influence us in 2014 as we look for the most effective and economic way of engaging our members. FE Elections In our January meeting, we elected a number of people to serve on our sub-committees and as FE reps to other committees. The full list of appointments is available on the Members’ Website. We particularly welcome the reappointment of Sir Ian Wrigglesworth as Party Treasurer, James Gurling as Chair of the Campaigns and Communications Committee, and Robert Woodthorpe-Brown as Chair of the International Relations Committee. We also welcome for the first time Peter Dunphy as Chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee. HQ Reorganisation After Autumn Conference 2012, Tim Gordon and the management team at Headquarters oversaw a large scale reorganisation of departments and staff. There are now five directorates:
Elections & Field – Hilary Stephenson
Political Communications – Tim Snowball
Digital – Steve Pitman
Commercial – Tim Gordon
Finance and Operations – Nigel Bliss. During this time, we sadly said goodbye to David Loxton, Director of Membership and Development – who had worked for the Party for the past 28 years; and to Deidre Razzall who had been editor of Liberal Democrat News for the past 14 years. Both new and old Federal Executives recorded a vote of thanks for their incredibly amount of work with and for the Party, and wished them all the best in the future.
The reorganisation was designed to ensure that our headquarters could work increasingly flexibly towards shared core objectives – namely winning votes! We were pleased to support the changes, and are looking forward to supporting the work of the new directorates in the run up to County, Euro, Metropolitan, and the General Elections. (S)AO Review Group At Autumn Conference last year, our (S)AO Review Group met with the Party’s (Specified) Associated Organisations to look at where representatives of these organisations were doing well, and where they thought that they could do with a bit of support. FE made the decision last year that the existing relationship between formal Party structures and (S)AO groups was not ideal – and that a more mutually beneficial system where FE worked to support and encourage (S)AOs would be helpful. Representatives from a large number of these groups confirmed this. Our standing group will therefore be working to more closely engage with (S)AOs and their membership. To this end, the March meeting of FE is being largely dedicated to meeting with (S)AOs. We expect to be able to report to you on our progress in this area in autumn. Lib Dem News/Ad Lib With the Headquarters Reorganisation, we said goodbye to an old fixture of the Liberal (and then Liberal Democrat) Parties – Lib Dem News. As we hope you have seen, Lib Dem News has been replaced by a monthly glossy magazine called Ad Lib. The change was desirable for a number of reasons: a shrinking pool of subscribers; the retirement of Deirdre Razzall; a changing media environment that has seen news websites, blogs, social media and 24/7 TV news diminish the need for a weekly newspaper to pass on news to members; and the ability to create more content of interest to members with the greater space that a magazine allows. The intention was to create a new magazine that kept the best of Lib Dem News while allowing us to do much more. In the first issue, Editor-in-chief Phil Reilly described the tone of the new magazine as: “The Liberal Democrats are a family. We share deeply held convictions on life, liberty and society, and we love nothing more than to argue politics and policy long into the night. But we’re more than just like-minded individuals. We campaign together, help each other and socialise together. We respect each other and we tease each other. We share wisdom and we make mischief. Ad Lib aims to reflect all that in words and pictures.” In its first three issues Ad Lib has carried interviews with Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson, Shirley Williams, Meral Ece, Tim Farron, Lord Avebury, Cllr Mike Priestley from Conwy, former Liverpool council deputy leader Flo Clucas and newly selected PPC Layla Moran; policy features on a wide range of issues, including women’s prisons, European policing and justice co-operation, Page 3, public art and the mid-term review; behind-the-scenes accounts from the coalition negotiations and the leaders’ debates; reports from a host of by-elections; as well as recipes, book reviews and Desert Island Discs selections. The response has been very positive. Not only have we increased subscriptions by several hundred since Ad Lib’s launch, but a Lib Dem Voice survey found members were overwhelmingly positive about the change (47% positive vs 19% negative). We intend to produce Ad Lib for many years to come. To do so we have to expand the loyal subscriber base we inherited from Lib Dem News. The early signs are promising, and we hope that in the months ahead many more members will read, enjoy and subscribe to Ad Lib. It is written for and by Liberal Democrat members and it is dependent on their support for its success. 9
2013 Budget In December, we approved the budget for 2013 as recommended by FFAC. There were a couple of provisions in this budget that we wanted to bring to Conference’s attention. Firstly, the budget for 2013 removes the use of unpaid interns by Liberal Democrat Headquarters. The unpaid internship scheme that had been operating has now been replaced by employing two interns at a time on the minimum wage for terms lasting 3 months. As a Party that has long campaigned for increased social mobility and fairness in the workplace, we are incredibly pleased to be able to make this announcement to Conference. Secondly, diversity spending will be maintained against a general backdrop of cost-cutting. Our support to the Leadership Programme will continue undiminished and a new phase will start as those trained hopefully begin to move into strategic seats. In addition, the new staff member responsible for Ad Lib will work towards achieving coverage for the party in specialist media, including that aimed at women and ethnic minorities. Finally, our fundraising team in HQ, working with Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, the Party Treasurer, launched in autumn our Legacy Programme. This scheme encourages members and supporters to write the Party into their Will – the proceeds from which will be used for increasing campaigns expenditure. FE/FCC Working Group One of the results of the 2013 budget was a request from FFAC that FE encourage FCC to look at the income and expenditure related to spring conferences. FE considered the request and came to the decision that in order to best balance the considerations relating to spring conference, a cross-committee working group should be set up. In our January meeting, FE appointed James Gurling (Chair of CCC, FE Rep to FCC) to Chair the Working Group. We also appointed Ali Goldsworthy (Deputy Chair) as an FE member and Welsh Rep, Craig Harrow as an FE member and Scottish Rep, Qassim Afzal (FE Rep to FCC), Peter Dunphy (FFAC Chair) as the FFAC representative, and Lucy Billingsley from the Conference Office. Andrew Wiseman (FCC Chair) and Geoff Payne (an FCC Vice Chair) have also been appointed to the Working Group. This group will be consulting widely within the Party to make sure that members have the chance to make their voices heard. It is our intention that the group should bring forward proposals to a joint meeting of FE and FCC in June, and, if necessary, put a joint motion to Conference in Autumn 2013. Tim Farron MP (Chair) Caron Lindsay Daisy Cooper Elaine Bagshaw Gordon Lishman Jock Gallagher Keith House Lorely Burt MP Qassim Afzal
Alison Goldsworthy (Deputy Chair) Chris White David Rendel Fiona Hall MEP James Gurling John Last Kevin Lang Martin Tod Ramesh Dewan
FE Membership January 2013
Brian Orrell Craig Harrow David Williams Gerald Vernon-Jackson Joanna Shaw Kath Pinnock Baroness Falkner Peter Ellis Sue Doughty
APPENDIX 1: LIAISON LIST Regions Devon & Cornwall East Midlands East of England London North East North West South Central South East West Midlands Western Counties Yorks & the Humber
Daisy Cooper Caron Lindsay Chris White Jo Shaw Martin Tod Gordon Lishman Qassim Afzal Elaine Bagshaw David Williams Jock Gallagher Keith House Kath Pinnock
Specified Associated Organisations Agents’ and Organisers’ Association ALDC (Association of Lib Dem Councillors)
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]
Gerald Vernon-Jackson [email protected]
ALDES (Assn of Lib Dem Engineers and Scientists) EMLD (Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats) LDLA (Liberal Democrat Lawyers’ Association) LGBT+ (Previously known as DELGA) Liberal Youth PCA (Parliamentary Candidates Association) WLD (Women Liberal Democrats)
James Gurling Ramesh Dewan Kevin Lang David Rendel Elaine Bagshaw Jock Gallagher Jo Shaw
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]
Associated Organisations ALDTU (Association of Lib Dem Trade Unionists) Chinese Liberal Democrats Green Liberal Democrats Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats LDDA (Liberal Democrat Disability Association) LDEA (Liberal Democrat Education Association) LDER (Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform) LDCF (Liberal Democrat Christian Forum) LDEG (Liberal Democrat European Group) LDFAF (Lib Dem Friends of the Armed Forces) Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel Liberal Democrat Friends of Kashmir Liberal Democrat Friends of Pakistan Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine Liberal Democrats for Peace and Security Liberal International
Daisy Cooper [email protected]
Ramesh Dewan [email protected]
Chris White [email protected]
Caron Lindsay [email protected]
Brian Orrell [email protected]
Martin Tod [email protected]
David Rendel [email protected]
Sue Doughty [email protected]
Peter Ellis [email protected]
k Gerald Vernon-Jackson [email protected]
Sue Doughty [email protected]
Qassim Afzal [email protected]
Qassim Afzal [email protected]
Keith House [email protected]
Kishwer Falkner [email protected]
Daisy Cooper [email protected]
Federal Policy Committee The Federal Policy Committee is responsible for researching and developing policy and overseeing the Federal Party’s policy-making process. This includes producing policy papers for debate at conference, and drawing up (in consultation with the relevant parliamentary party) the Federal election manifestos for Westminster and European elections. The FPC has 29 voting members: the Party Leader, four other MPs, the Party President, one peer, one MEP, three councillors, three state party reps and fifteen members directly elected by conference reps. It must be chaired by one of the five MP members and is currently chaired by Duncan Hames MP.
Change to Chair of FPC Since the last written report to Conference, there has been a change in the chair of FPC. Jo Swinson MP stood down as chair in September on becoming a Minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The FPC would like to record its thanks to Jo for her work as chair over the previous seven months. There are also two new Vice-Chairs of the Committee, Duncan Brack and Cllr Dr Julie Smith. I look forward to working with them and with Dr Julian Huppert MP who is continuing as the MP Vice Chair. FPC would like to express its thanks to the two former Vice Chairs, Jeremy Hargreaves and Evan Harris. Policy Development Since the Autumn Conference, consultation papers on Defence, Education and Skills, Europe, Political and Constitutional Reform and Tax, have been produced and are presented for discussion at Brighton. These groups anticipate bringing full policy papers to the Autumn Conference. The FPC is very grateful for the contribution made by the chairs and members of working groups who voluntarily give a great deal of time to assist the Party’s policy development process. Dr Julie Smith is currently leading some work on the way we run policy working groups to see how they can be more effective. FPC Work Programme The Facing the Future review group produced a report which was adopted at the Birmingham Conference in 2011. Facing the Future maps out a programme for policy development for the rest of this Parliament to ensure that we are in a position to present a distinctive, relevant and forward-looking manifesto at the next General Election. This programme will be taken forward by FPC working in co-operation with the Parliamentary Party Committees through both full policy papers and stand-alone motions to conference. The table below sets out the latest forward schedule of policy development work in the light of Facing the Future. This is obviously subject to further decisions by conference and is more likely to change in the later part of the Parliament. In accordance with this schedule, the FPC has recently set up a new working group on Immigration, Asylum, and Identity chaired by Andrew Stunell MP.
Taxation. Defence. Political Reform. Education and Skills Europe.
Immigration, Asylum & Identity. Public Services.
Taxation. Defence. Education and Skills Europe Balanced Working Life. Transition to a Zero Carbon Britain
Gender Equality. Crime and Justice. Challenges of an Ageing Population.
Immigration, Asylum & Identity. Public Services. European Pre Manifesto.
Gender Equality. Crime and Justice. Challenges of an Ageing Population.
General Election Manifesto The FPC has now appointed the Working Group for the 2015 General Election Manifesto. This will comprise: David Laws MP (Chair) Nick Clegg MP Duncan Brack (Vice Chair) Sharon Bowles MEP (Vice Chair) Duncan Hames MP Cllr Dr Julie Smith Dr Julian Huppert MP Baroness Brinton Lord Shipley Tim Farron MP Jenny Willott MP Jo Swinson MP Munira Wilson The manifesto working group and the FPC plan to undertake an unprecedented programme of engagement in the party during the development of the manifesto, starting with the consultation session at the Brighton Conference. I hope to be able to say more about this in my report at conference and during the consultation session.
FPC Links To encourage policy debate across the party we have FPC representatives taking responsibility for promoting policy debate within each of the regions of England and to attend regional conferences where appropriate. Region Devon & Cornwall East of England East Midlands London Northern North West South Central South East West Midlands Western Counties Yorkshire & the Humber
Julia Church Geoff Payne Lucy Care Mark Pack Stan Collins Stan Collins Dinti Batstone/Gareth Epps Kelly-Marie Blundell Lucy Care Duncan Hames Duncan Brack
The FPC has also appointed representatives to Party SAOs: SAO ALDES ALDC LGBT+ WLD Liberal Youth PCA Liberal Democrat Lawyers EMLD LDDA (AO)
Lucy Care/Mark Pack Stan Collins/Mark Pack Evan Harris Louise Bloom Gareth Epps Chris Rennard Geoff Payne Gareth Epps Kelly-Marie Blundell
The FPC also has representatives on the Parliamentary Party Committees: Committee Co-Chairs Liaison DCLG DECC & DEFRA DWP Education & Culture Health Home, Justice & Equalities Monday International (inc Foreign, Defence, DFID) Political & Constitutional Reform (inc Scotland, Wales, NI) Scotland Only meetings Wales Only meetings Transport Wednesday Treasury & BIS 14
Duncan Hames MP Stan Collins Duncan Brack & Andrew Wiseman Kelly-Marie Blundell & Louise Bloom Evan Harris Prateek Buch Geoff Payne & Lucy Care Peter Price & Julie Smith Dinti Batstone & Evan Harris John Edward Peter Price Lucy Care Julie Smith & Gareth Epps
Member Engagement In addition to the formal consultative mechanisms of the policy process, and the specific arrangements around the Manifesto, the FPC is keen to do more to help party members to have an input to policy discussions. A review of how we can do this is being led by Gareth Epps. We have already tried some new initiatives to stimulate policy development in the party, for example the ‘Pizza and Politics’ pack that was prepared as part of the work of the Tax policy group. Policy Staffing The Policy Unit consists of Christian Moon (Head of Policy), Adam Pritchard (Senior Policy), Bess Mayhew (Senior Policy Manager and Communications Manager), Rory Belcher (Direct Communications Manager) and Ed Simpson (Direct Communications and Research Officer). We have also benefitted from the support of a secondee from PWC, Kevin Norton, and a secondee from KPMG, Andrew Johnson. Volunteers since the Autumn Conference have included: Simon Marlow, Alex Matthews, Rosie Gray and Jessica Mace. The FPC is grateful for the hard work of all staff, both paid and voluntary. Duncan Hames MP Chair, Federal Policy Committee January 2013
Federal Finance Administration Committee The FFAC committee, elected in January 2013 for a two year term, continues to monitor and report regularly to the Federal Executive on the Administration of the Party and its Finances (construed narrowly as the monies raised and spent by the Federal Party). As previously agreed the Committee now meets jointly with the Management Board of POLD (the Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats). A subgroup meets on a monthly basis to review the management accounts and cashflow.
2012 results Expenditure was £581,000 below budget due to a number of posts being kept vacant and very tight control of non-staff costs. Against this income was adversely affected by the non-receipt of a number of substantial donations that had been expected around the year-end and are now expected in 2013. By their nature, it is always difficult to be precise about the timing of such receipts. Conference and direct mail appeals incomes were below budget but other sources of income were broadly on budget Overall the draft figures for 2012 indicate a deficit for the year of around £327,000 (against a budgeted surplus of £207,000). During 2012 the Party was notified that it is the residuary beneficiary of a substantial legacy (of the order of £400,000). The bulk of the assets of the estate have now been realised and a significant proportion of the legacy should be received shortly. The receipt of this large legacy led to the launch of the legacy campaign at last autumn’s conference. Monies received will be held in a separate fund controlled by the Party’s Trustees (though included in the Federal Party’s accounts) to ensure that the legacy fund is used for the long term benefit of the Party. In early 2013 the first legacy (£129,000) was received to give the fund a good start to its existence. 2013 budget For 2013 the budget has been split between an Operational and an Elections Fund. This split is to ensure that core operations are only funded from core income and that specific identified fundraising is directed to Elections Fund expenditure. Although new innovative ways to maximise conference and appeals income will be introduced in 2013, the Operational Fund budget is based upon the conservative assumption that income in those areas will be no greater than that achieved in 2012. As the budget is for a break-even result any additional income will be used to reduce the accumulated deficit. To balance the Operational Fund budget has meant making difficult decisions with the result that expenditure has been cut by more than £100,000 from the level achieved in 2012, whilst at the same time increasing expenditure in key areas such as support for Regional Campaigns Officers. The Elections Fund is also budgeted to broadly break-even with any additional income ring-fenced for campaigns purposes. The budget is included in Appendix 1 attached.
PPERA The party continues to meet the financial reporting requirements of the Electoral Commission on accounts, elections and donations with the very good co-operation of the vast majority of our volunteer Local Party and Regional Treasurers. We would like to place on record our continued thanks for this very good work. Consolidated Local Party accounts (including branches) for the 2012 calendar year that exceed £17,500 should be approved by Local Party Executives and submitted to Party Headquarters before 15th March in accordance with the revised accounting requirements issued by the Electoral Commission for the 2012 accounts. In conjunction with the Commission’s new requirements we have issued a new electronic format to help Local Parties produce their accounts ready to be submitted to the Electoral Commission if necessary. The declarations of donations made to the Party, statements of accounts submitted, and the Party’s Campaign Expenditure Returns are all made public and can be viewed on the Electoral Commission’s web site at http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/ These published records show that the Party continues to receive more in personal donations from more individuals than the Labour Party most of whose funds come from large Trade Unions. Over the Christmas holidays one of the Party's donors was challenged with the Electoral Commission. The EC found no evidence to support the allegations made and gave a clean bill of health to both the donor and the process undertaken by the Liberal Democrats to assess the permissibility of these donations. Membership and Fundraising Services The trend through 2012 was encouraging, with both the rates of renewal, direct debit payment and membership growth improving over the previous year. In particular, local parties which focused on membership achieved significant results. Areas such as Shropshire and Thornbury & Yate demonstrated that membership growth is achievable where an effort is made. The key challenges for 2013 are to improve member retention, in particular for people in their first year of membership, and to provide better support local parties in their recruitment activities.
Duncan Greenland FFAC Chair January 2013
Appendix A 2013 Outline Budget & 2012 budget
Income Appeals income Fundraising income Federal levy Conference Lib Dem News Cross charges to state parties Policy Development Fund Connect income Other income
2013 Outline budget £
605,000 1,503,000 800,000 1,650,000 114,000 623,000 455,000 111,000 175,000 6,036,000
710,900 1,865,754 820,248 1,650,000 108,000 570,145 450,000 111,175 179,685 6,465,997
1,080,000 678,000 531,000 260,000 75,000 2,624,000
1,195,753 652,032 491,032 258,942 75,076 2,672,835
Elections & Skills Membership Finance & Resources Commons Whips
1,127,000 275,000 668,000 33,000 3,285,000
1,145,056 329,833 754,094 32,962 3,592,983
Expenditure Staff costs Office of the Chief Executive Elections & Skills Membership Finance & Resources Commons Whips
Departmental non-staff costs Office of the Chief Executive Conference
Surplus for the period
Parliamentary Party (Commons) This has been yet another busy term for the Commons parliamentary party. In my report to Autumn Conference, I made reference to the coalition’s Programme for Government. Two and a half years ago, our parties came together in the national interest and formed a coalition at a time of real economic danger. The deficit was spiralling out of control, confidence was plummeting, and the world was looking to Britain with growing anxiety about our ability to service our debts. The mid-term review which was published in early January allowed us to take stock of the progress we have made in implementing the Coalition Agreement that we signed in May 2010. It also gave us a chance to look again at our progress and set out more reforms, to build on those already under way, to secure our country’s future and help people realise their ambitions. The Government has announced that it will look again at the support we give to families struggling with the cost of childcare; to build more houses and help to make home ownership a reality for more people aspiring to get their first step on the property ladder; to invest in our transport network for the long-term; to find a solution to the crippling costs of long-term care for the elderly and to bring dignity to those in old age; and to limit the powers of the state and to extend our freedoms. In addition to these commitments, the Government brought forward their plans for a single-tier pension. The brain child of our Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, these changes will see the greatest ever overhaul of our pensions system for fifty years and will simplify an increasingly complex and unfair system. Having already delivered the ‘triple lock’ for pensioners, Steve’s reforms will ensure that working people have access to a simple and decent pension; one which for the first time ever, treats men and women equally. The system also extends this equality to self-employed people and will ensure that no matter your profession, the same value will be placed on the contributions of a carer or stay-at-home part, as is already placed on a City high-flyer. Steve made a statement to the Commons, setting out these changes and was magnificent. It is a rare thing for Quentin Letts – the Daily Mail Sketch writer – to compliment an MP but even rarer for him to be complimentary about a Liberal Democrat! Letts went as far as to say, “This was a masterly performance on a policy which addresses a long-overdue hole in the nation’s financial planning. Not bad for any government, let alone a coalition.” Another statement, which caused something of a stir in Westminster was that made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg in response to Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for reform of the press. In a break from Parliamentary convention, Nick made a statement to the House as Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader; following David Cameron’s statement on the same issue, as Conservative party leader. As Liberal Democrats we have long believed in a free press that holds the powerful to account and isn’t subject to political interference. A free press does not mean a press that is free to bully innocent people, or free to abuse grieving families. People who feel they have been mistreated by powerful newspapers need to know there is somebody prepared to stand up for them. We still don’t yet know what the final shape of a reform of the press will look like but we do know that the status quo is broken and indefensible. As Liberal Democrats, we are fighting to ensure that the careful consideration between the freedom of speech and the equally important, right not to be abused, is struck in a fair and balanced way. In November 2012, the Energy Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Bill will be a flagship piece of legislation, which sets out our plan for energy supply for the long-term. The Energy Bill introduces positive reforms to deliver affordable low carbon energy and protect the UK’s energy security for future years. In supporting low carbon energy through the use of a diverse energy mix, including renewables, nuclear, and 19
Carbon Capture and Storage. These reforms will give greater certainty for investors, diversify the energy sector, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in low-carbon energy projects. The Bill is currently being considered at Committee Stage but having already been through the House of Lords, it will not (hopefully) be too long before it reaches the Statute Book. Similarly, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill represents a delivery of party policy, which would never have been secured without our presence in government. Marriage has never been a static institution and I am confident that these reforms strengthen its place in UK life. A government should never prevent people from marrying without good cause and loving someone of the same-sex has never struck me as a good cause. I pay tribute to my colleagues, Lynne Featherstone and Jo Swinson for securing this victory and ensuring that the right of religious groups has been protected through the quadruple lock. One of the most challenging days of coalition management and of recent times was the one on which it was necessary to issue different whipping instructions from most of our coalition partners in relation to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill as it related to the Boundary Review. As I reported at autumn conference 2012 this was an unfortunate consequence arising from the acts of Conservative backbenchers in wreaking the Lords Reform Bill. Voting with the Labour Party and other small parties meant the vote was won. Obviously it was necessary that we should carry out the actions that we had said we would at the point the Conservatives ended their commitment to Lords reform. That said, as a tactic it is one that is best to be used sparingly, the politics that it has to disrupt the daily workings of government is substantial. Parliamentary Party Organisation You will be aware that when we formed the coalition, the parliamentary party decided to structure itself differently, forming parliamentary party committees under each of the Government departments. Some committees were merged but each joined with our spokespeople in the Lords, to form co-chairs and each saw formal links with our local government base and FPC representatives. Following on from the Government reshuffle, which saw a number of co-chairs promoted, a reshuffle of co-chairs also took place. Printed below are the list of our committees and their new Commons co-chairs. Business, Innovation and Skills Communities and Local Government
Gordon Birtwistle MP Annette Brooke MP
Constitutional and Political Reform, Cabinet Office and Leader of the House, and Scotland
John Thurso MP
Culture, Media and Sport
John Leech MP
Education and Young People
Dan Rogerson MP
Energy and Climate Change
Mike Crockart MP
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Health and Social Care
Roger Williams MP John Pugh MP
Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities
Julian Huppert MP
International Affairs (Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development)
Martin Horwood MP
Stephen Lloyd MP
Alan Reid MP
Treasury and “chair of chairs”
Stephen Williams MP
Mark Williams MP
Work and Pensions
Greg Mulholland MP 20
Finally, having become Danny Alexander’s PPS in the September reshuffle, Lorely Burt stood down as chair of the parliamentary party in October 2012. Paul Burstow has taken over as our new chair. Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats (POLD) In my last report, I informed you of the creation of the Parliamentary Support Team (PST). This team of pooled staff are tasked with helping Liberal Democrat MPs to respond to the vast increase in casework and communication, since the formation of the coalition. Under the management of Jamie Saddler, Head of the Parliamentary Support Team and Victoria White, Deputy Head, Tom Brooks, Ben Rathe, Bradley Tully and Giles Derrington, have done a tremendous job in quickly establishing the unit and supporting the subscribing MPs and Peers, and their offices. They are now in the process of running a review with the aim to make their service even better. I would like to place on record my thanks to them all – and those who work to support them; their work has exponentially improved our ability to quickly and straightforwardly explain what our Government is doing. I would also like to put on record my thanks to the staff in the Whips Office for all their hard work and commitment too. Hollie Voyce, Head of Office and Jack Fletcher, our new Deputy, work with Ben Williams, my Special Adviser, to support the parliamentary party in Parliament. Our recently departed intern, Joe Edwards, who was on a placement from Hull University, also requires a specific mention. Joe was one of the most engaged, willing and enthusiastic placements we have ever hosted and having left at Christmas to return to Hull, is sorely missed in the office. And finally, so as not to be accused of missing them out, I would also like to pay tribute to my deputy, Mark Hunter and to Jenny Willott. I would also like to thank our party whips, the two “Sir Bobs” – Sir Bob Russell and Sir Robert Smith and Mr Ian Swales. Alistair Carmichael MP Chief Whip, Parliamentary Party (Commons) January 2013
Parliamentary Party (Lords) It has been an extremely eventful few months for the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the Lords since I last reported back to you in September. As a group, we have worked together with our colleagues in the Commons, our Ministerial team and staff to produce significant improvements to legislation which has come before us. Many of the improvements which we were able to make we did off the floor of the House through discussions with relevant Ministers and officials. As a result they often gained little publicity. They do, however, demonstrate the practical advantages in terms of the quality and content of legislation of having Liberal Democrats in government. We have also concentrated on being more outward-focussed as a group, and have done this by arranging more external visits with the wider Party and outside organisations than ever before.
Legislation and the Liberal Democrat influence Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill A little-trumpeted Bill, this aims to enable up to £50 billion in loans, financial backing and other support to be made to speed up much-needed infrastructure projects. This includes £10 billion for housing which is a Liberal Democrat priority and key to economic recovery. Financial Services Bill We saw the passage of the mammoth Finance Services Bill which restructures regulation of the financial service sector to make sure the regulatory failures that led to the financial crisis cannot happen again. Led by Susan Kramer and John Sharkey, we achieved a number of amendments designed to help businesses and people in deprived areas, including requiring the new regulator to have regard to the impact of regulation on these areas. Our influence on the Bill will make it easier to raise finance for socially beneficial products, for example, through social impact bonds, something we have long advocated. We also supported an amendment to regulate payday loans, which now allows an interest rate cap to be put in place to stop legal loan sharking. Civil Aviation Bill This Bill ensures better regulation of airports and aircrafts to help to reduce emissions and impacts on local residents, both of which have been longstanding Liberal Democrat campaigns. Due to our hard work, led by Bill Bradshaw, we ensured that measures were included in the Bill so that aviation regulators have to now look at the environmental impact of airports and aviation, areas which were originally omitted from the Bill. Crime and Courts Bill This was a wide-ranging Bill which included a significant step forward for restorative justice. It also triggered a debate on the provision in Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, which makes it an offence to use ‘ insulting’ words or behaviour which might cause ‘harassment, harm or offence.’ Liberal Democrats have long campaigned against this provision and our group members were part of a cross-party coalition which removed this unnecessary and harmful constraint on freedom of expression.
Justice and Security Following the September Conference vote to oppose Part Two of this Bill, the group was faced with a choice. We could have indeed simply voted against it. However, with Labour supporting the principle of closed material proceedings, such a move would have been futile. The alternative course, which group members took, was to support a raft of cross-party amendments which enacted proposals from the Joint Committee on Human Rights which substantially improved the Bill. They put in place a number of major safeguards in respect of closed material proceedings and reducing the likelihood of their being instituted. Jim Wallace, as the Minister piloting the Bill through the Lords, played a major part in our deliberations and negotiations and Anthony Lester (a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights) and Jonathan Marks led for us in the debates. As I write, the Bill is now being considered by the Commons, but it appears likely that the thrust of the amendments which we obtained in the Lords will not be reversed there. Individually, and as a group, we are extremely conscious of the need stay as far as possible in step with the wider Party. In this case, arguably the most difficult we have faced, I believe that we achieved all that was politically possible. Electoral Registration Bill The principle purpose of this Bill is to make provision for the individual registration of electors. However, it became a major source of contention when Lord Hart – a Labour backbencher - submitted an amendment to delay implementation of the constituency boundary changes until after the next election. Nick Clegg had made it clear when Conservative backbenchers scuppered House of Lords reform last summer that a consequence would be that we would no longer support the boundary changes. As a result, the Hart amendment became co-sponsored by Chris Rennard and was supported by the group, including Ministers. In the vote, the amendment was carried by 69. The Bill then passed to the Commons who have recently endorsed the amendment, with the result that the boundary changes will not now happen for the 2015 election. During the debate, it was suggested by a number of Conservatives that Liberal Democrat Ministers were bound under the Ministerial code to resign if they wished to support the amendment, as we were voting against “Government” policy. This however was not the case: in the absence of agreement between the Prime Minster and Deputy Prime Minister there was not a Government policy and we were able to vote along Party lines. Although this is a precedent which I hope is very rarely followed, it was nevertheless important for it to be established. Coalitions cannot survive if, in the absence of agreement, the larger party can dictate policy for the Government as a whole. This vote was not the only Lib Dem win in this Bill. Following the efforts of Chris Rennard and Paul Tyler, there will be a new ‘trigger mechanism’ which ensures the electoral register must be up to scratch before the new system kicks in, and people in line at polling stations after 10pm will now be allowed to vote. As well as tackling difficult legislation, our peers have made many excellent contributions in more general debates in the Lords, such as Jane Bonham Carter and Anthony Lester on the Leveson report, Dee Doocey on the importance of the Olympic Legacy, John Alderdice on strengthening Mental Health provisions within the NHS, Floella Benjamin on the welfare of young people, and many more. 23
Our external work Visits As a group we have committed to helping to get the message out to the wider Party and the public by doing 1000 constituency visits before the next General Election. Many of our Peers are doing excellent work in going around to different constituencies to speak about the Party and what we do in the Lords. As group leader, Tom McNally has been setting the pace, with an extensive visit programme. We would however like to do more and are looking for opportunities to get more dates in the diary for our peers to meet with local Parties and organisations outside of Westminster. Media The group has upped its game in terms of the use of social media, blogging and communications under the watchful eye of one of our new members of staff Matt Withers, a former political correspondent. He has instituted a new weekly e-newsletter called ‘Letter of the Lords’ which has been very successful and explains to a wider audience what we do in the House of Lords. We like to think that that this helped encourage Nick Clegg to launch his similar email a few weeks after ours called ‘Letter of the Leader!’ You can subscribe to our weekly newsletter by emailing [email protected]
We now have a website, www.libdemlords.org.uk , which is updated regularly by many of our peers and features interesting news and articles about the work of our peers. We are also utilising Twitter much more as a communications tool, and have increased our Twitter followers tenfold since September. Follow us on Twitter @libdemlords
People Our newly structured Whips’ Office has been running on full throttle since September and has gelled well both as a team and most importantly with the Peers’ group as a whole. The office is ably led by Laura Gilmore, supported by Humphrey Amos, Giles Derrington and Matt Withers to assist our Peers with their work, as well as inputting into the Party more widely. Elizabeth Plummer our Special Advisor in the Lords has also been making an invaluable contribution as ever. I am particularly grateful to all my colleagues who support the office financially – it receives no funding other than from a levy on group members. Dick Newby Chief Whip, Parliamentary Party (Lords) January 2013
Parliamentary Party (Europe) Everyone has been talking about Europe recently, and it is about time too. It is a hugely important time for the European Parliament with final negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014/2020 taking place and with Parliament pushing into the final crucial stages of reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Cohesion policy and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). UK Lib Dem MEPs have a key role in these reforms and have a strong reputation for being the hardest working UK delegation in the European Parliament. Sharon Bowles (South East) continues to Chair the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and chairs negotiations with the Council on a huge array of dossiers including on banking capital and the setting up of the 'banking union'. The end game negotiations on market abuse which deals inter-alia with LIBOR type scandals, bank resolution, trading rules and infrastructure are now also in sight along with ongoing greater eurozone financial and economic integration. Vital single market interests are at stake which will influence the shape of the UK relationship with the EU. Negative fall-out from the Cameron veto and referendum blackmail continues to endanger outcomes. Fiona Hall (North East) is taking a lead role in trying to secure an ambitious 2030 climate and energy package with EU-wide targets on CO2 reduction, renewables and energy efficiency. Such a legislative framework will boost local industry and help create new jobs. Currently, Fiona is drafting the Industry, Research and Energy Committee's opinion on the review of CO2 emissions from cars, and leading for the ALDE group on a report on the future of EU policy on renewable energy. She is also keeping an eye on the implementation of the new Energy Efficiency Directive. On the International Development Committee she has been campaigning to protect the Development Aid budget within the next Multiannual Financial Framework, whilst working with Fairtrade groups on a report on the role that trade can play in development. As leader of LDEPP, Fiona is coordinating election planning for 2014 alongside George Lyon as Whip and is working with MPs and LDHQ to ensure a seamless 2014/2015 strategy. She is engaged in the policy working groups on Europe and Zero Carbon. George Lyon (Scotland) continues to lead the delegation and ALDE group in negotiations on reform of the CAP which is now in full swing following the Agriculture Committee's vote at the end of January. He is VicePresident of the Budgets Committee, sits on the Parliament's influential MFF Contact Group and is heavily involved in negotiations over the new 7 year financial framework. George also chairs the cross-party working group tasked with finding savings in the Parliament budget and has been appointed to lead the delegation's negotiations on the Parliament's budget for 2014. Sarah Ludford (London) As Liberal Democrat European spokeswoman on justice & human rights and a leading member of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs committee Sarah’s major effort since last autumn has been on law enforcement and justice matters. She is a leading participant in the campaign calling for the UK government to continue working with our EU partners to fight serious crossborder crime and terrorism, which David Cameron agrees is vital, and not withdraw from essential policing and prosecution measures - as proposed perversely by the Conservatives. Sarah initiated a petition in 2012 ‘Nowhere for criminals to hide’ calling for the UK to continue using key tools like the European Arrest Warrant to catch dangerous and violent criminals as well as contributing to raising fair trial standards. She is currently helping to shape new EU laws to ensure suspects get access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and that evidence is exchanged, subject to safeguards, between European police forces.
She is also actively continuing her campaign for full accountability on rendition and torture after 9/11 and for amendment of EU export regulations to prevent EU drugs being misused in executions abroad. Chris Davies (North West) has taken a lead role in securing the support of the European Parliament for ambitious reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, aimed at rebuilding fish stocks and ending the discard of perfectly edible fish. In the environmental field he has argued for measures to strengthen the EU's emissions trading system, backed the European Commission in its attempts to secure an international agreement to reduce aviation measures, and promoted the setting of long term targets to step up the development of more fuel efficient vehicles. In December it was announced that €1.2 billion of EU money from a fund that Chris brought into being would be allocated to support innovative renewable energy projects. But this was a bittersweet pill, for the money had originally been intended to promote the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects. He continues to take a lead within Parliament to promote this technology. Andrew Duff (East) joins hostilities against Mr Cameron's reckless EU policy. In particular, he is engaged in forming Parliament's views on the constitutional implications of banking and fiscal union. His latest pamphlet On Governing Europe (Policy Network) continues to attract publicity. As ALDE coordinator on constitutional affairs, Andrew is involved in boosting the role of the European political parties and in preparing the Parliament for the 2014 election campaign. He has continued to engage in the strategic debates on EU enlargement policy, and has been on missions to Cyprus, Warsaw and Kosovo. As the only British Vice-President of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott (Yorkshire & Humber) sits on the Parliament's most senior decision-making body: its Bureau, with a mandate for organisational, management and financial issues. Edward represents the European Parliament on matters related to democracy and human rights and transatlantic relations. Internationally recognised and respected as a staunch defender of human rights, from dissidents in the ex-Soviet bloc to China and the Arab World, Edward lends his voice to the voiceless. He is the founder of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which makes 160 million Euros a year available to those fighting for human rights and democracy; it is the largest fund of its kind. As Rapporteur of the 2013 annual report of the Petitions Committee, he oversees the right of any citizen, acting individually or jointly with others, to petition the European Parliament. Edward leads the Single Seat campaign to end the wasteful travelling circus to Strasbourg, which costs an extra 180 million Euros and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. A lifelong proEuropean, Edward supports EU economic governance after the euro crisis in order to sustain the EUs Single Market Bill Newton Dunn (East Midlands) continues to lead the Liberal (ALDE) group of MEPs on the Special Committee tackling Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. The committee's final report, which will be completed in September, will estimate how many millions of jobs are lost and how many billions of tax revenues are being lost, and will recommend what Europeans together must do to fight Organised Crime more successfully. He believes it is a great opportunity for Lib Dems, as the pro-European party, to take the lead on this issue in the UK. He also continues on the Committee on Development and is currently working on a legislative report on the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (EVHAC). Sir Graham Watson MEP (South West and Gibraltar) enthusiastically continues his work as President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party ahead of the 2014 European elections. In the European Parliament he continues his work as Chair of the Delegation for relations with India at the time 26
when the EU is negotiating Free Trade Agreement. Currently he is also the shadow rapporteur of the EU-China relations report and a Member of the Conciliation Committee which negotiates the terms of micro-financial assistance to Georgia with Member States. Graham serves as Chairman of the global Climate Parliament, winning a key vote in December 2012 to stop EU taxpayer money going towards fossil fuels. Catherine Bearder (South East) has been continuing her work on the issue of child labour, contributing to a report aimed at eradicating this type of slavery in the Trade Committee. She is also working on a report to reconcile negotiations with the dual objectives of trade and development. Her commitment to biodiversity protection has continued over the last year and, through her role as an active member of the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly, she obtained a commitment from the JPA through a Joint Declaration for action to end elephant poaching and sales of African ivory. Catherine has continued her role in raising the profile of the vile trade of human trafficking in the South East and beyond. She is working with several community groups across the South East and has started an awareness raising campaign calling on the public to “Open Your Eyes” to human trafficking. Having just finished his first year as MEP for West Midlands, Phil Bennion (West-Midlands) has been busy campaigning for SMEs in the Employment Committee and had a major win for Ceramics producers in the UK, securing an anti-dumping duty to be imposed on illegal Chinese imports which had been flooding the EU market and costing British jobs. In the Transport Committee, Phil has had successes developing innovative solutions to the challenges of local airport capacity in Europe, and fighting to secure the future of two major initiatives: "Transeuropean Transport networks" and "Connecting Europe Facility" which are essential to the transport backbone of the European single market. Phil is also a highly active Member of the South Asia Delegation, and has drafted two recent Parliamentary resolutions; on the Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai, and recent factory fires - notably in Bangladesh. Rebecca Taylor (Yorkshire and the Humber), is leading on two data protection initiatives in the Legal Affairs committee, and on several health related proposals in the Environment committee including cross-border health threats (e-coli, pandemic flu etc) and the regulation of medical devices. Rebecca is also supporting local residents in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire and the RSPB in relation to an investigation of potential breaches of EU environmental legislation.
George Lyon MEP Chief Whip, Parliamentary Party (Europe) January 2013
Campaign for Gender Balance The Campaign for Gender Balance was established by the Federal Executive in response to the conference debate on gender balance in September 2001, and is now being run within the strategic framework of the Diversity Unit at Cowley Street. It continues to form a key central initiative for supporting potential women candidates within the Party, and it implements a range of training, mentoring and support activities in order to increase the number of women standing for Parliament. Current approval / selection figures (as of 18th January 2013): Four Women have been selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidates from the six Westminster selections which have taken place so far this electoral cycle in Newbury, Oxford West and Abingdon, Hampstead and Kilburn and Chesterfield. Three of them have attended our annual Future Women MPs Weekend in the past and the other has benefited from CGB mentoring and support before and throughout her selection campaign. Total no of women on the Euro list for England – 19 candidates out of a total of 59 candidates (32%) The selections of candidates in Wales and Scotland are in progress. Euro elections will take place in 2014. Total number of approved candidates eligible to stand for Parliamentary selections (excluding current Parliamentarians) – 964 No of women candidates on the approved list – 267 (27.7%) One of our key aims in 2013 is to ensure that all potential women candidates have all the encouragement, skills and support necessary to become effective Parliamentary candidates. We continue to work closely with the Elections and Field team at HQ, and with the Candidate Leadership Programme to ensure that this happens. We continue to focus on increasing female representation in Parliament; in particular we are looking at how we can ensure that the policies and culture of the party and relevant Parliaments is conducive to electing more women Parliamentarians in addition to our on-going support for potential women candidates. Recent Developments CGB and Women Liberal Democrats (WLD currently incorporates Scottish Women Liberal Democrats) have made considerable progress in deciding on the structure of the new women’s organisation within the party that would offer a stronger voice to their views and an updated style of organisation which will have more general appeal to our women members. A New Women Organisation Survey was sent out to all party members in order to express their opinions about this new initiative and the priorities the new organisation should focus on. Almost 800 members filled in the survey. Under-representation of women in politics/public life came in top; next was pay/workplace inequality then trafficking and violence against women; then childcare and last women’s health services e.g. breast cancer, maternity services. More than 200 members took the time to add further ideas. Some challenged the concept of 'women's issues', pointing out that many men cared about these issues, and there are few issues women do not care about.
Nonetheless, there was overwhelming support for a new women's organisation, and members stressed the need for it to be inclusive and true to Lib Dem values; "LD women should not be self-serving: they should NOT focus on 'women's issues', but on justice for everybody." The CGB and WLD executives met at Autumn Conference in Brighton and in January in London. They, taking into account consultation sessions at Autumn Conference and the Survey decided that the new organisation will:
be called Liberal Democrat Women and will be officially be launched in June 2013.
retain SAO status.
be run by a management committee whose structure will consist of Chair, treasurer, secretary, vice chair, eight elected members, one vice president, up to three co-opted members, one member elected each by the state organisations and one member from Liberal Youth.
have four Sub-Groups - Policy, Fundraising and Networking, Media, Representation of Women (chairs will be appointed by the management committee from their elected members)
will be able to develop and present policy motions directly to conference.
Provide expertise to and for the party, be a point of information/knowledge to the party on issues important to women.
Key aspects for CGB Supporters
CGB’s aims and objectives will be incorporated into the new Constitution which will have to be approved by the Federal Executive.
The “Representation of Women” Group will take on all the previous responsibilities of CGB regarding parliamentary candidates.
We will retain the current arrangement for two days of the Diversity Officer’s time.
The organisation should continue to recruit, mentor and support female parliamentary candidates.
Provide/facilitate relevant training, support and mentoring to members.
Offer significant networking opportunities (via the Fundraising and Networking Group).
We would encourage you all to join up to the new LDW organisation to help us continue the work we have started in CGB. Current and planned activities
The Campaign will be running a training programme at the 2013 Spring Conference. Due to the stage of the electoral cycle, these sessions will predominantly focus on key information and skills that help potential candidates to win target/winnable Parliamentary seat selections.
CGB provides mentoring to women candidates at different stages of their careers, including a number who applied for the Leadership Programme (27 women have been accepted onto the programme). We view the Leadership Programme as complementary to the work CGB conducts. We would like to highlight that CGB are available to assist women no matter what stage or level of support they are receiving, if they would like to become Parliamentary Candidates/MPs – our aim is to help them make that happen.
The annual Future Women MPs Weekend was held on the last weekend of November and it was a real success. Three of our participants are now parliamentary approved candidates and one participant, Emily Frith has been selected as PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn. One other participant who attended in 2011, Judith Bunting has been selected as PPC for Newbury and Layla Moran who attended in 2009 and is also a Leadership Programme candidate got selected as PPC for OXWAB. This 29
event is meant to provide targeted training for potential women candidates. Participants benefited from a 2-day intense training course mainly focused on planning and winning your selection campaign and building your winning team aiming to give attendees the skills needed to be selected in winnable seats and networking with the other attendees.
An e-mail newsletter is sent out every month to almost 1000 subscribers, including details of training events, relevant news items and seat adverts.
The Campaign continues to closely monitor information regarding approval and selection figures, to gain an accurate picture of the women’s representation within the Party.
I would like to thank my Vice Chairs; Dinti Batstone and Tam Langley and committee members Jo Shaw and Katy Gordon for all their work this year for CGB. Also, Candy Piercy for her support in providing training and all those who offer their services for our training and events. In addition, I would like to include a vote of thanks in particular to Miranda Whitehead, Chair of WLD and Vera Head for joining Tam and myself on the subgroup which has been driving the creation of the new LDW organisation. Also to the current WLD executive, for helping to create a modern approach for the new organisation. I would like to congratulate Vicky Booth who has gone on maternity leave, and wish her and her husband and new daughter Molly well. We welcome Jemima Jefferson, who is covering for Vicky whilst she is on leave.
Rosalyn Gordon Chair, Campaign for Gender Balance January 2013
Diversity Engagement Group (DEG) Report The Diversity Engagement Group (DEG) was established to oversee the achievement of the Party’s equality and diversity priorities. The group brings together nominated ‘Champions’ from all sections of the Party in leading the strategic and accountable body responsible for delivering our diversity agenda and reporting back to every Federal Conference. DEG acts as a steering group for a dedicated Diversity Unit based at Liberal Democrat HQ, and is chaired by Baroness Sal Brinton. Current areas of work Regional/State Diversity Champions The Diversity Unit supports a network of Regional Diversity Champions to deliver activities at a regional and local party level. Regional Diversity Champions and their teams are responsible for driving through strategic action plans within each region, to promote and support the diversity of the local parties and candidates. Champions report back on progress on the action plans in each region at the quarterly Diversity Engagement Group meetings. An Inspiration Day designed to give members from ethnic minority backgrounds the opportunity to develop their skills, learn more about becoming active in the party and meet other like-minded individuals in and around their area will be held on 9th February at Liberal Democrats HQ, with Simon Hughes MP as speaker. Candidate initiatives The Leadership Programme participants had one-to-one sessions to discuss their end of the year reviews and to assess their priorities for 2013. They will take part in the Wyboston General Election Summit (25 – 27 January), a briefing and training weekend for MPs, Strategic Seat PPCs, Leadership Programme candidates, key volunteers and Agents/Organisers in Strategic Seats to begin their preparations for the 2015 General Election. A further training session is organised for Leadership Programme participants on Friday at Spring Conference.
One Leadership Programme participant, Layla Moran, was selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon. More strategic seats are selecting over the next few months.
The Unit continues to run the New Generation initiative and Campaign for Gender Balance (see separate report), which provides targeted training, mentoring and support for potential BAME and women candidates.
Diversity awareness within the Party
A new working group was set up within the party to conduct Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) on proposed party policy developed by Federal Policy Committee (FPC) and comprises of two DEG members and three FPC members and is chaired by Kelly-Marie Blundell (a member of FPC and Diversity Champion for the South East). A first meeting will take place at the end of January. The new process of conducting EIAs will start in the new round of policy development.
Training sessions are being offered at Spring Conference on how diversity and inclusion can support a winning strategy.
A package of diversity awareness training (Building a Diverse and Inclusive Membership) was put together and the pilot session was delivered in January. This will be rolled out to all Regional
Executives. We hope that training will then be cascaded to local parties by Regional Diversity Champions and other trainers in each region and state.
Approval and selection data is regularly monitored and analysed in order to gain an accurate picture of candidate diversity within the Party.
Anonymous candidate diversity monitoring information has now been uploaded onto the Party website, as recommended in the Equality Act 2010.
A diversity monitoring survey was sent out to all members who have a registered e-mail address on the system and a good number of members responded. The findings of this survey were distributed to DEG members.
External engagement and activities
The Diversity team has been working closely with the Government Equalities Office (GEO) on the Access to Elected Office Strategy, which aims to provide financial assistance and training to disabled individuals who want to stand as candidates for national or local elections.
The Access to Elected Office Fund is open for applications and the Diversity team has been promoting this scheme through newsletters, information on the main website, the new members’ magazine and through materials provided at Federal Party Conferences.
The team is working with several external organisations, such as the ‘Counting Women In’ coalition, to look at how we can increase representation of women at all levels.
One DEG meeting took place this year in January. The next three meetings will be held at Spring Conference, at Liberal Democrats HQ (conference call meeting) in June and at Autumn Conference. I would like to thank Vicky Booth our Head of Diversity Services and Candidates Office, and Roxana Cimpeanu for their hard work during 2012. Vicky has gone on maternity leave, and we wish her and her husband and new daughter Molly well. We welcome Jemima Jefferson, who is covering for Vicky whilst she is on leave, and I also want to thank her for getting up to speed so quickly in a very busy office.
Baroness Sal Brinton Chair, Diversity Engagement Group January 2013