Liberal Democrats

F10 Constitutional amendment: A Registered Supporters’ Scheme

This item is for formal constitutional amendments, as some of the measures proposed in F9 require changes to the party’s rulebook (federal constitution and internal election regulations). F10 sets these out. Because these are changes to the rulebook, they require a two-thirds majority.

Group One would make the changes linked to creating a registered supporters scheme in general.

Group Two would make the changes to (A) allow registered supporters, subject to extra checks, to vote in party leadership contests, and (B) allow members who are not MPs to stand for leader.

Group Three would encourage state parties to allow members with relevant experience to apply to be candidates for public election without having to first wait 12 months from joining the party, provided they satisfy alternative conditions.


Federal Board

Mover: Mark Pack.

Summation: Miranda Roberts (Chair, FPDC).

Group One: Registered Supporter Scheme

  • In the title of Article 3, after ‘Membership’ insert ‘and Registered Supporters’.

    In 3.1 (a), after ‘Membership of the Party’ insert ‘or participation in its Registered Supporter Scheme’.

    In 3.1 (b), after ‘As a Member’ insert ‘or a Registered Supporter’; and after ‘any Party member’ insert ‘or Registered Supporter’

    In 3.1 (c), after ‘As a Member’ insert ‘or a Registered Supporter’.

    Insert new 3.3:

    3.3 The Federal Party shall operate and administer a Registered Supporter Scheme, open to those who wish to support the Party’s work without joining as a member. Except where otherwise dictated by this Constitution or those of the State Parties, the regulations governing the Registered Supporter Scheme shall be made by and administered on behalf of the Federal People Development Committee, notified to the Conference and published on the Party website.

    At the end of 3.6, after ‘Article 22.’ insert ‘Participation in the Party’s Registered Supporter Scheme may be refused by the Federal People Development Committee on the grounds set out in (a) and (b). The only right of appeal shall be pursuant to Article 21 on any matter relating to the interpretation of this Constitution.’.

    At the end of 3.7, after ‘Article 22.’ insert ‘Participation in the Party’s Registered Supporter Scheme may be revoked by the Federal People Development Committee on the grounds set out in (a)-(c) or (e)-(f). The only right of appeal shall be pursuant to Article 21 on any matter relating to the interpretation of this Constitution.’.

    Renumber 3.8 as 3.8 (a).

    Insert new 3.8 (b):

    • b) The Federal Party shall maintain a register of participants in the Registered Supporter Scheme, access to which shall be provided to party bodies as required for its efficient and effective operation. Any body holding or having access to such data shall ensure that it is not disclosed to any person other than for the proper purposes of the Party. Party bodies shall comply with the directives of the Federal Board in relation to the Party’s data protection registration.

  • In 8.10, after ‘Party members’ insert ‘, but others may be invited to attend in a non-voting role, including Registered Supporters’.

    In 13.2, Insert new (e):

    • e) Making regulations governing the Registered Supporter Scheme, supervising the administration and the promotion of the Scheme, notifying such regulations to the Conference and publishing them on the Party website.

Group Two (A): Electing the Leader

  • Insert new 3.8 (c):

    • c) In addition, the Federal Party shall administer as required a register of participants in the Registered Supporter Scheme who are eligible to vote in a party leadership election. This shall exclude Registered Supporters who are members of another party. It shall also exclude other Registered Supporters who fail such verification checks as the Federal People Development Committee deem necessary to ensure the integrity of this register and which are set out in the regulations made under Article 3.3.

    In 17.1, after ‘members of the Party’ insert ‘and Registered Supporters on the register created under Article 3.8 (c)’.

    In Leadership Election Regulations (LER) 1, delete ‘The Head of Compliance and Constitutional Support shall be’ and insert ‘A member of the Party’s compliance staff shall be appointed by the Acting Returning Officer as’.

    At the end of LER 2, after ‘before the closing date’ insert ‘, and participants in the Party’s Registered Supporter Scheme who are on the register administered under Article 3.8(c) of the Federal Constitution on the closing date for nominations’.

    In LER 3, after ‘membership register’ insert ‘and Registered Supporter Scheme register for the election’; and after ‘of members’ insert ‘and registered supporters’.

    In LER 5 (a), after ‘member’ insert ‘and Registered Supporter’; and after ‘members’ insert ‘and Registered Supporters’.

    In LER 5 (b), delete ‘Liberal Democrat News’.

    In LER 11, delete ‘Executive’ and insert ‘Board’.

    In LER 22, delete both instances of ‘Executive’ and insert ‘Board’.

Group Two (B): Standing for Leader

  • In 16.1, after ‘Its Leader shall be the Leader of the Party elected as provided in Article 17.’ insert ‘If such Leader of the Party is not a Member of the House of Commons, it shall elect a Leader of that Parliamentary Party from among its number.’.

    Delete 17.2 (c).

    In 17.5, delete ‘Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons’ and insert ‘the Party’.

    In LER 7 (a), delete ‘Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons’ and insert ‘Party’; and delete ‘other’ and Insert ‘the’.

Group Three: the twelve-month rule

  • At the end of 18.2 (b), after ‘within the relevant State;’ insert ‘new members of the Party may apply to be entered on the list, and if their application otherwise satisfies the States Candidates Committee their previous participation in other walks of life can be taken into account;’.

The existing text of the relevant articles of the Federal Constitution:

ARTICLE 3: Membership

3.1

  1. Membership of the Party is open to all persons who agree with its fundamental values and objectives without discrimination as to age, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  2. As a Member of the Liberal Democrats, you must treat others with respect and must not bully, harass, or intimidate any Party member, member of staff employed to support Liberal Democrats, Party volunteer, or member of the public. Such behaviour will be considered to be bringing the Party into disrepute.
  3. As a member of the Liberal Democrats, you must abide by the Party’s data protection rules as laid out in the Member’s Data Protection Code.

3.6 Membership may be refused by an enrolling body on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. material disagreement, evidenced by conduct, with the fundamental values and objectives of the Party;
  2. the admission of the applicant would be likely to bring the Party into disrepute; or
  3. membership of another political party in Great Britain.
  • Any person whose membership is refused shall have a right of appeal, which must be made in writing within 14 days of the applicant being advised of the refusal to admit, and which shall be dealt with in accordance with the guidance published under Article 22.

3.7 Membership may be revoked on one or more of the following grounds:

    1. material disagreement, evidenced by conduct, with the fundamental values and objectives of the Party;
    2. conduct which has brought, or is likely to bring, the Party into disrepute;
    3. standing against the candidate of the Party in any election to public office;
    4. membership of or support for another political party in Great Britain.
    5. a breach of the standards set out in Article 3.1(b);
    6. or
    7. discrimination against another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010.
  • Membership shall not be revoked unless the member has been notified of the grounds on which revocation is to be considered and has been given a reasonable opportunity to reply. Where paragraph (c), (d) or (e) of this Article 3.7 applies, membership shall be automatically and immediately suspended, and in other cases of urgency. The person or body designated in the procedures made under Article 22 may suspend membership while revocation is being considered. If the procedures do not designate such a person or body, the Chair/Convenor of the relevant State Party or their deputy, or for members outside the UK the Federal Board’s Chair or Vice-Chairs may suspend membership while revocation is being considered. ‘Any person whose membership is revoked shall have a right of appeal, which must be made in writing within 14 days of the applicant being advised of the revocation, and which shall be dealt with in accordance with Article 22. Any person whose membership is refused shall have a right of appeal, which must be made in writing within 14 days of the applicant being advised of the refusal to admit, and which shall be dealt with in accordance with the guidance published under Article 22.

3.8 A register of members shall be maintained by each State Party. A register of members resident outside Great Britain shall be maintained by a State Party designated by the Federal Board to act as agent for the Federal Party. Any body entitled to maintain a list of members may use the list for its own internal purposes. The Federal Party shall have direct access to such lists. Any body holding or having access to such lists shall ensure that the information contained in them is not disclosed to any person other than for the proper purposes of the Party. Party bodies shall comply with the directives of the Federal Board in relation to the Party’s data protection registration.

ARTICLE 8: The Policy-Making Process and Conference

8.10 The Conference shall consist of party members.

ARTICLE 13: The Federal People Development Committee

13.2 The functions of the FPDC, working with State Parties and other Party bodies as appropriate, shall be:

  1. Coordinating, planning and supervising the training strategy for the Federal Party;
  2. Coordinating, planning and supervising the diversity engagement strategy for the Party;
  3. Coordinating, planning and supervising the membership recruitment, retention and activation strategy for the party; and
  4. Working with AOs and SAOs as set out in Article 20 to support them in recruiting and maintaining membership and implementing the Party’s policies on diversity.

ARTICLE 16: The Parliamentary Parties

16.1 The Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons shall consist of all Members of that House in receipt of the Party’s whip. Its Leader shall be the Leader of the Party elected as provided in Article 17. It shall be entitled to make such regulations (not being inconsistent with this Constitution) as it thinks fit for the conduct of its own proceedings. In particular, these regulations shall make provision for a Chief Whip and, if thought fit, a Deputy Leader of such Parliamentary Party.

ARTICLE 17: The Leader

17.1 The Leader of the Party shall be elected by the members of the Party in accordance with election rules made pursuant to Article 6.6.

17.2 An election for the Leader shall be called upon:

  1. the Leader asking for an election;
  2. the death or incapacity of the Leader;
  3. the Leader ceasing to be a Member of the House of Commons (other than a temporary cessation by reason of a dissolution);
  4. the receipt by the President of the resignation of the Leader or of a declaration of intent to resign upon the election of a new Leader;
  5. a vote of no confidence in the Leader being passed by a majority of all Members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons;
  6. the receipt by the President of a requisition submitted by at least 75 Local Parties (including for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisation or Organisations representing youth and/or students) following the decision of a quorate general meeting; or
  7. the first anniversary of the preceding general election being reached without an election being called under any of paragraphs (a) through (f), provided that:
  8. the Federal Board may postpone such an election for no more than one year by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting; and
  9. this paragraph (g) shall not apply if the Leader is a member of the Government.

17.5 Nominations must be of a Member of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, who must be proposed by at least ten percent of other members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and supported by 200 members in aggregate in not less than 20 Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations representing youth and students as provided by Article 20.8) and must indicate acceptance of nomination.

ARTICLE 18: Parliamentary Candidates

18.2 In deciding whether to enter an applicant on a list, each State Candidates Committee shall take into account:

  1. the support shown by the applicant for the fundamental values and objectives of the Party;
  2. the previous participation by the applicant in the work of the Party or a former Party, both generally and within the relevant State;
  3. the need to ensure that the list contains a reasonable balance between both sexes and different age groups, and includes representatives of different social and economic groups and of ethnic minorities; and
  4. such other considerations as may be relevant in the circumstances.

LEADERSHIP ELECTION REGULATIONS (LER)

  1. The Chair of the Federal Appeals Panel shall be the Returning Officer. The rules of the Federal Appeals Panel shall make provision for a process to replace the Chair in this role if necessary. The Chief Executive shall be the Acting Returning Officer. The Head of Compliance and Constitutional Support shall be the Deputy Acting Returning Officer. Other Deputy Acting Returning Officers may be appointed if required by the Acting Returning Officer.
  2. The electorate for the purpose of the election shall be those members with current membership of the Liberal Democrats on the closing date for nominations, including those members whose subscriptions were due not more than three months before the closing date.
  3. The sections of the membership register containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of members will be released in electronic version to each candidate subject to the candidate signing a data protection statement agreeing to abide by the party’s data protection polices under article 3 of the Federal Party Constitution. Any candidate or supporter of a candidate facilitating a breach of this clause will be deemed to be in breach of the Party’s Data Protection Registration. Candidates should also have due regard to their own data protection responsibilities when collecting and using any data of their own in a Party Election.
    1. The Acting Returning Officer shall co-ordinate arrangements for official party member hustings events via the states and regions with a view to balancing the competing demands for media coverage of the campaign, parliamentary and other duties and the desirability of party members to have a chance to attend a hustings. One or more of the official hustings may take place partly or wholly online and at least one shall be wholly online. Other party bodies may only hold hustings-type events if they invite all candidates to attend, but they do not require the agreement of all candidates to attend or send a representative in order to proceed. Events designated as official hustings by the Acting Returning Officer shall take precedence over any other arrangements a candidate may have made.
    2. Official party communications channels may only be used to promote hustings events approved by the Acting Returning Officer. Responsibility for organising and paying for any hustings event shall lie with the hosting organisation, but the Acting Returning Officer will assist in publicising official hustings events via the party’s website, e-mail communications, Liberal Democrat News, etc.

7. (a) Nominations must be of a Member of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, who must be proposed by at least ten percent of other members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and supported by 200 members in aggregate in not less than 20 Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations representing youth and/or students)

11. The Federal Executive shall set a spending limit for election expenses, not including travel or subsistence, for each leadership candidate, when they set the timetable for the election. No candidate, or their agent, shall exceed this limit in the production of publicity material and all other expenditures connected with the campaign. All donations above £500 must comply with the provisions of Schedule 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

22. These regulations will be reviewed by the Federal Executive no later than six months after the completion of the elections. Before conducting the review, the Federal Executive shall first ask the Returning Officer and Acting Returning Officer to submit a report to it on the conduct of the elections. The report must include a report on any diversity measures taken as a result of any requirement under the Federal Party Constitution, potential data protection breaches and any changes or clarifications required by rulings made by the Returning Officer or the Federal Appeals Panel.

Applicability: Federal.

F9 and F10 will be debated together, but voted on separately.

Mover and summation of motions: 16 minutes combined; movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes. For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 9.

The deadline for amendments to these motions – see page 11 – and for requests for separate votes – see page 8 – is 13.00, Monday 4 March. Those selected for debate will be printed in Conference Extra and Saturday’s Conference Daily.

The vote on F10 will be split into the four groups indicated. F10 is a constitutional amendment, so each group requires a two-thirds majority to pass.