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F6: Expanding the Democracy of our Party with 'One Member, One Vote'
(Passed with Amendment 1)
Conference notes that currently, voting at conference is confined to a limited number of members including MPs, Peers, Prospective UK and European Parliamentary Candidates, Elected Mayors, Leaders of Principal Councils and those who have been elected as Conference Representatives by Local Parties, the number of Representatives being determined by the size of the Local Party.
Conference believes that all members of the Federal Party should be entitled, subject to the payment of the relevant registration fee, to:
1. Vote at Federal conference.
2. Vote for and stand for election to those Federal Committees which include directly elected members.
Conference, however, regrets the multiple flaws in the proposed constitutional and standing order amendments proposed to this conference, and the inclusion of new measures not previously consulted on, including (but not limited to):
a) Ambiguous or confusing wording in the amendments to Articles 2.7, 7.2 and 8.1.
b) The failure to amend Article 6.10(h), on the Federal Conference Committee.
c) The abolition of the requirement for those calling for a special conference to come from 20 different local parties, making it possible for one local party on its own to call a special conference in many cases.
d) A new and uncosted requirement for policy consultation papers to be sent to every party member, whether or not the party has a working email address for them.
e) The failure to amend conference standing orders 1.3(b), 1.4, 1.6, 3.1, 3.2 and 4.5, all of which would retain references to conference representatives despite other amendments abolishing them.
f) The failure to propose any amendments to committee election regulations.
Conference also believes that any expansion of the electorate must be accompanied by other reforms to improve the flow of information on the activity of party committees and their elected members to the newly increased electorate.
Conference therefore agrees in principle to expanding the rights of members as set out above, but subject first to federal conference voting through:
i) A newly drafted set of constitutional and standing order amendments and election regulations that accurately and comprehensively cover the changes required for implementing this principle.
ii) Amendments to the party constitution requiring the Federal Conference Committee, the Federal Executive, the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, the Federal Policy Committee and the International Relations Committee each to produce a written report after each full meeting of the committee, with the report to be made available to all party members via the party's website or such other electronic means as the Chief Executive shall decide is practical.
iii) A new confidentiality policy for attendees at federal committee meetings which significantly relaxes the current de facto situation while protecting necessary confidentiality over personnel decisions and information that would advantage our political opponents if made public and which writes the confidentiality policy into the party's constitution.
iv) A new process for members of a federal committee to request that a public vote be recorded on any decision, with the terms of the vote and the voting record for each committee member.
v) One of a range of options tabled to amend the Federal Committee Election regulations to allow more campaigning by candidates and to require any online voting system to prompt voters to first view candidates' manifestos before being able to vote.