'The Lib Dem Conference is a recognisably democratic event in a sense that the other conferences can no longer claim to be. Policies are proposed, amended, debated and voted on in an impeccable manner'. (Martin Kettle, 'The Guardian', 18/09/09)
Voting, speaking and submitting motions and questions
Party conference gives you a chance to have your say on how the Liberal Democrats are run. Every party member has the right to participate and make their views heard – unlike the other main parties, where conferences are little more than leadership rallies.
The conference agenda is agreed by the Federal Conference Committee, which is itself elected by conference. The Committee chooses which motions conference will debate from amongst those selected, and adds speeches from party spokespeople, Q&A sessions, and presentations from Liberal Democrats in power to form the full agenda.
Democrats by name, democratic by nature. Every party member can take part in conference, in one of four ways:
Voting representative: Elected by your local party, voting reps receive full conference documentation and can speak in debates. Only elected voting reps can vote in debates and submit motions to conference.
Non-voting representative: Register for the whole conference (or the weekend at autumn) and you will receive full conference documentation and have the chance to speak in debates, just like elected reps.
Substitute for a voting representative: If you're registered as a non-voting rep, the local party executive has the power to appoint you as a substitute for a voting rep who's unable to attend.
Day visitor: Just want a taste of conference? Day passes are available for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of conference and can be booked in advance via the online registration system. Day passes are available for one day only and cannot be combined with other registration types. Note that they don't entitle visitors to speak or vote and conference documentations isn't included but can be booked as an additional bookable item at an additional charge.
Voting reps are elected by each Local Party; their allocation relates to their number of members – see below. In addition, all Liberal Democrat parliamentarians, selected parliamentary candidates, council group leaders and elected mayors are automatically voting reps.
|Membership of Local Party||Number of Representatives|
|30 to 50 members||4|
|51 to 75 members||5|
|76 to 100 members||6|
|101 to 150 members||7|
|151 to 200 members||8|
|201 to 250 members||9|
|251 to 300 members||10|
|301 to 350 members||11|
|351 to 400 members||12|
|401 to 450 members||13|
Together with a further representative for every 100 members (or part thereof in excess of 450.)
In addition to the pages linked from this page, you may find these brief guides helpful: