As a result of Freedom of Information request responses, the figures for all three major political party’s conference accreditation schemes have been released. When I looked at the numbers for 2010, Labour conference attendees were around twice as likely to be blocked as Conservative conference ones, with the LibDem conference somewhere in the middle.
The results for this year and previous years are as follows:
|LibDem||0.018% – 1 / 5,585||0.045% – 3 / 6,650||No accreditation|
|Labour||0.032% – 3 / 9,403||0.19% – 25 / 12,032||0.20% – 24 / 11,988|
|Tory||0.04% – 4 / 9,612||0.19% – 24 / 12,800||0.04% – 6 / 13,767|
The first thing to notice is that 2012 conference attendance is well down across all three parties – 15% for the Liberal Democrats and over 20% for both Labour and the Tories. Secondly, conference rejection rates this year have been lower than earlier years, which may be the effect of additional focus caused by the liberal backlash against the process. It is also interesting to note that the difference between the Tory and Labour conferences in 2010 was a one-off, and has not been reflected in later years.
It always puzzled me how the figures for this could be so low, given the significant number of people I know who have been willing to apply but been stopped by accreditation – I know personally of at least three people this year who were unable to attend the Liberal Democrat 2012 conference. If we ask the police the number of people who tried to attend but didn’t complete accreditation, the numbers are much higher:
|LibDem||0.70% – 39 / 5,585||No data||No accreditation|
|Labour||1.69% – 159 / 9,403||3.76% – 452 / 12,032||No data|
|Tory||1.04% – 100 / 9,612||3.42% – 438 / 12,800||No data|
So it seems that accreditation is having a more serious effect on excluding people than the headline rejection figures would initially show. For example, one cases I am aware of includes a situation where someone had moved around and the police asked for additional proof and information on previous addresses, too late for it to be reasonably produced. In the case of the Liberal Democrats, these people will never reach the Party President and Federal Conference Committee chair for consideration, so they will not even have the chance to argue their case as would someone who had been outright rejected.
Finally, although not available in all cases, the 2011 Tory conference response included number by type of applicant. The disparity between rejection/non-approval rates and types of applicant show we should be at least a little cautious with the above figures.
|Political Party Members||0.046% – 5 / 10,921||1.48% – 162 / 10,921|
|Ancillary||0.90% – 15 / 1,672||16.0% – 268 / 1,672|
|Security||1.93% – 4 / 207||3.86% – 8 / 207|