Federal Policy Committee - July 2023 Report

17 Jul 2023
A child and two adults look at a sunset


This month's meeting was a first for the Federal Policy Committee! From a hybrid set-up with some of us in LDHQ and others at home, FPC members took part in a Maraphone session - calling voters in a rural part of the Somerton & Frome constituency, in advance of next week’s by election. As well as helping the Party’s crucial efforts by directly contacting around 125 voters, this served as a timely reminder of some of their concerns to feed into committee deliberations.

This was also a great primer for our conversation with Mike Dixon - the Party’s Chief Executive - about the latest research into voter attitudes to politics and political parties generally, as well as questions specifically relating to us. Unsurprisingly, it's overwhelmingly clear that voters do not feel that the solution to their real day to day challenges lie in the hands of the Conservatives, and indeed they are very cynical about politics as a whole. This led to discourse on how we can most usefully present our own approach and policies in ways that help voters to see the Liberal Democrats as solving their problems - obviously an ongoing theme as we continue to work towards the manifesto next year.

The FPC had a most engaging and stimulating discussion with Dee Doocey - the Party’s very active spokesperson on tourism in the House of Lords - about policies that can help the British economy in this key sector. Dee led us through a picture in which although there clearly has been some recovery since the pandemic years, the UK is in a very competitive international market. Some recent government decisions, for example in relation to VAT and to facilitating holiday travel, are holding the country back. Helping people and businesses in the tourism and heritage sectors touches a wide range of policy areas, from transport and the environment, to equalities; business support; and housing. 

That’s us now done with committee meetings for the summer. We held nine meetings so far this year, including a full awayday, and will be back in the autumn to think further about how we can engage even more members in policy discussion; policies to bring to next year’s conferences; and of course the manifesto.

If you’re looking for some light summer reading about where the Party is and where it wants to go, I can recommend our pre-manifesto paper, For a Fair Deal, which we anticipate being published with the papers for Autumn Conference in late July or early August. Happy reading, and happy summer!




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