Amendments and Emergency Motions at Conference

Federal Conference Committee met yesterday afternoon to discuss all the last minute items required to make conference happen such as amendments, topical & emergency motions, appeals and so on. It is nominally a two hour meeting, so it has to be quick considering there were 55 amendments to get through – despite getting stuck straight in at the start, we still overran slightly.

First up, amendments. When discussing motions, the ultimate decision is a yes or a no, but with amendments there is also the option of accepting it as a drafting change, i.e. it’s a simple enough change that it does not need to be formally moved and can be published in Conference Daily.

And, as with motions, there are a few reasons for rejection, such as it’s a topic that’s already been well debated as policy, it’s not considered significant enough for debate as an amendment, it’s covered by another amendment or simply we don’t have time. You can reasonably get one or two amendments in a 45 minute policy motion slot and two or three in a one-hour slot. Going beyond that leaves no time for actual debate.

Finally, before I list the amendments I should mention that the descriptions given here are my own summaries, as unlike with motions no title is submitted by the author.

F4 – Mental Health
11 amendments submitted for a 60 minute slot.

  • Accepted for debate
    • F4D: Conversion Therapy – LGBT+ Liberal Democrats (In reworded form)
    • F4F: Support for children & Young People – Liberal Youth
  • Accepted as Drafting Change
    • F4A: Local Government inclusion – ALDC
    • F4B: MH PSHE & Support – Bassetlaw and Sherwood & 28 reps
    • F4G: Mental Health First Aid – Oxford East (Parts only)
    • F4H: CCG governing body membership – South Central Region
    • F4I: Mental Health & Debt – 13 conference reps
    • F4J: “…get into and remain in work” – 14 conference reps
  • Not taken
    • F4C: Multidisciplinary integration & co-location – Hastings and Rye
    • F4E: Gender Identity Clinic Funding – LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

F6 – Stronger Economy, Fairer Society, Opportunity For All (Manifesto Motion)
16 amendments submitted for a 100 minute slot.

  • Accepted for Debate
    • F6C: Independent Living Fund – Central Beds, 18 conference reps, EMLD
    • F6I: Limiting reductions in Welfare Budget – 4 local parties, 57 reps (The Mark Pack Amendment)
    • F6J: Regulating Biometric data & gov’t databases – 10 conference reps
  • Accepted as Drafting Change
    • F6H: Working towards Land Value Tax – Tatton, 26 conference reps
    • F6O: Religion, Belief, Humanist Marriage & Caste Discrimination – 17 conference reps (Parts Only)
  • Not taken
    • F6A: Fairer Economy, Stronger Society – Camberwell and Peckham
    • F6B: Tackling Discrimination – Central Beds, 14 conference reps, EMLD
    • F6D: Youth Development Find – Central Beds, 18 conference reps
    • F6E: Promoting Fair Trade – Liverpool
    • F6F: Promoting the Living Wage – Liverpool
    • F6G: Ending “taxes on poverty” – Liverpool
    • F6K: Environmentally Sustainable Economy – 10 conference reps
    • F6L: Mental and Physical Health care & accessibility – 12 conference reps
    • F6N: Legal Aid & Court Fees – 14 conference reps
    • F6P: Religion – 19 conference reps
  • Withdrawn
    • F6M: Legal Aid, Judicial Review & Court Fees – 14 conference reps

F8 – Five Green Laws
17 amendments submitted for a 45 minute slot

  • Accepted for Debate
    • F8O: Resource Efficiency & Zero Waste Britain Act – 22 conference reps
    • F8P: Energy efficient housing & Fuel Poverty – 23 conference reps
  • Accepted as Drafting Change
    • F8B: Promote Cycling & Walking – Calderdale, 14 reps (Slightly shortened)
    • F8K: Include “conserve nature” in Nature Act heading – 11 conference reps
    • F8M: Correction – 11 conference reps
    • F8Q: Correction
  • Not taken
    • F8A: Funding for Local Government – ALDC
    • F8C: Ending fossil fuel use on railways – Calderdale, 15 reps
    • F8D: Environmental planning & building – 11 conference reps
    • F8E: Detection & prosecution of waste crimes – 11 conference reps
    • F8F: Delete open tendering clause (2a) – 11 conference reps
    • F8G: Delete 10mph clause (3d) – 11 conference reps
    • F8H: Thorium Cycle Reactors – 11 conference reps
    • F8I: Rewording IV – 11 conference reps
    • F8J: Rewording 3c – 11 conference reps
    • F8L: Rewording 4b – 11 conference reps
    • F8N: Rewording 3i – 11 conference reps
    • Request for separate vote on lines 86-88

F11 – A Better Deal for Britain’s Workforce
5 amendments submitted for an 45 minute slot

  • Accepted for Debate
    • F11A: Review Employment Tribunal feels & benefit sanctions – Barrow & Furness
    • F11C: Strengthen Minimum Wage enforcement – Liberal Youth
  • Not taken
    • F11B: Raise Minimum to Living Wage, Phase out zero-hours contracts – Camberwell & Peckham
    • F11D: Living Wage by 2020 – 3 local parties, 26 reps
    • F11E: Large political donations – 10 conference reps

F18 – Freedom of Expression in Europe and Beyond
7 amendments submitted for a 45 minute slot

  • Accepted for Debate
    • F18E: Right to practice and change religion – 19 conference reps (Merged with F)
    • F18F: Repeal of laws restricting practice or change of religion – 19 conference reps (Merged with E)
    • Request for separate vote on line 41 “considered” to end of line 42
  • Accepted as Drafting Change
    • F18B: Abolition of blasphemy & Apostasy laws – Merton
    • F18C: Police data requests against journalists – 10 conference reps
    • F18D: Drafting Amendments – 17 conference reps
    • F18G: Drafting Amendments
  • Not taken
    • F18A: Peaceful protest & Freedom of association – Calderdale, 14 conference reps

Next up was Emergency motions and topical issues. FCC needs to decide if submitted motions are genuine emergencies that could not have been foreseen at the time of the initial motion deadline. If more than one emergency motion is considered valid, there is a ballot of members at conference to decide which is debated.

Four motions/topics were submitted in total:

  • Access to Justice 800 years after Magna Carta
  • Making a Fairer Immigration System for All
  • Leaders’ Debates
  • The detention of women in Immigration Centres (Topical issue)

The Magna Carta motion was withdrawn and the Fairer Immigration motion was not considered an emergency, so only the Leaders’ Debates motion remains. The topical issue will also be discussed in that slot, but as it is not a motion there is no vote at the end.

Finally, there was one appeal against non-selection of a motion on coalition negotiations. The appeal was not successful.

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