The UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter

Why the UK badly needs true democracy – and how to get it

Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference is taking place online this year!

Join Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform at our Conference fringe debate.

Time: 18.45-19.35, Saturday 26 September

Speakers:

  • Wendy Chamberlain MP, until recently Lib Dem spokesperson on Political and Constitutional Reform
  • Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society
  • Peter Dunphy, Unite to Reform
  • Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter

To join us, you need to register for the conference. The fringe debate will be hosted live via the conference’s HopIn platform. Our panel members will each speak for around five minutes, after which you’ll have the opportunity to ask them questions.

LDER Autumn Conference Newsletter

Electoral Reform – at the heart of the debate

LDER has never had a more timely or crucial debate than this year’s fringe meeting. There is growing recognition on all fronts that Johnson’s Government is riding roughshod over our democracy on a gross minority of electoral support. Recent LD Voice posts show our members are more aware than ever of the importance of political reform.

So join our Conference fringe debate – listen to our great panel of speakers and put your questions to them.

18.45 -19.35 Saturday September 26
The UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter

Why the UK badly needs true democracy – and how to get it.

Our speakers: Wendy Chamberlain MP,  until recently our front bench spokesperson; Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society; Peter Dunphy, Unite to Reform; Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter.

AND…

Our ‘virtual’ exhibition stall

Throughout the conference, we will be running our stall, so please ‘call in’ on us. We’ll have volunteers on duty; and videos about electoral reform. If you’re not already a LDER member or donor, please sign up to join us! We want to hear from you.

How to join our virtual fringe and exhibition stall:

You have to be registered for the conference.

Then, using a Google Chrome browser and a computer, you can access the virtual Conference ‘HopIn’ platform and choose our debate and visit our stall. Really quite easy!

Other Conference events you might like

Friday

F2 Standing Orders for a Conference Held Remotely: 2.15pm Conference Hall

Essential for understanding how our online conference will work.

 

F4 Party Strategy: 15.00 – 16.15 Consultative session: The hard questions we need to get right

An excellent opportunity to raise the profile of electoral reform within the Party by putting in a speaker’s card.

 

Saturday

F11 Policy Motion: 11.15 – 12.00 The Creation of a Federal United Kingdom

Though not directly related to electoral reform, plenty on improving our governance more generally

 

F13 Leader of the Liberal Democrats Q&A 15.05 – 16.00

Another opportunity this time to ask Ed a question on electoral reform

 

Other opportunities to raise questions about electoral reform will be available at the many fringe meetings – including our own, of course.

Another meeting that might be of interest is:

Sunday 13.00–13.50 Social Liberal Forum Radical Federalism

Wendy Chamberlain MP, Lib Dem spokesperson on the Constitution, and Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, discuss liberal federalism, the UK’s shocking regional inequalities and Keir Starmer’s new idea. Chair: Cllr Gordon Lishman, SLF Council.

Enjoy Conference!

Our 2020 AGM

This year’s AGM will take place virtually via Zoom. It will be held in late October – final date and time to be confirmed shortly.

In accordance with our constitution all executive positions are up for re-election. Details of how to put your name forward will be in our formal AGM mailing (early October), but there are two key vacancies this year:

Secretary

The Secretary’s main responsibility is to take the minutes of exec meetings and update the action list, pass both to the chair for checking after the meeting and then circulate them to the exec committee mailing list

And an exciting new position, because we want to be highly strategic and pro-active in the social media space —

Online Content Manager

— involves producing and posting content for our Facebook page and managing our website, though we also want to expand our online presence to include a Twitter feed. The ideal post holder would additionally be able to manage our account with the website hosting service (currently IONOS).

Any immediate questions – let us know. We’ll be in touch further.

 

A word about us

LDER is an officially recognised Associated Organisation of the party. Our remit is to educate and inform all members and supporters about electoral and political reform; and to assure the policy is high on the party’s priority agenda. We also work with like-minded organisations such as Make Votes Matter, Unlock Democracy and the Electoral Reform Society on joint campaigns and to facilitate collaboration between interested parties.

But to achieve our goals, we do need funding. The online fringe meeting (as above) alone costs hundreds of pounds. Our sole income is from those of you who, as well as supporting us, also pay to be members of LDER.

It’s only £10 per year (£5 concessions) to join so we hope as many of you as possible will do so by clicking this link.

Joining allows you to participate in our AGM and put yourself forward for membership of our Executive as well as improving our standing within the Party.

Virtual Conference 2020: Electoral Reform, the strategic debate

For your calendar – Our Fringe:

‘The UK: A Democracy that Cheats the Voter’;
6.45pm Saturday September 26

Electoral reform is emerging as a strategic issue between now and the next General Election.

It must be our price for any form of cooperation with Labour, for the sake of the millions of voiceless voters left disenfranchised and cut off by the present system; and therefore for the future health of our democracy.

How do we win the argument for equal, proportionate voting; and how can we make it happen next time round?

We have a great, timely fringe meeting to discuss all this:

Wendy Chamberlain MP, until now Political and Electoral Reform* spokesperson, will lead the meeting.

Our guest speakers:

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society;

Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter,

Peter Dunphy, Unite to Reform

There will of course be plenty of time for you to put your questions to our panel. LDER Chair, Denis Mollison, chairs the meeting.

Look for party Conference announcements about how to sign up and log in to this debate.

* As members will have seen, in early September, Wendy moved to an exciting new role as Chief Whip and Work and Pensions spokesperson. At LDER, we were delighted that she kindly agreed to fulfil this commitment of leading our fringe meeting. Political and Constitutional Reform now moves to our Home Affairs remit under Alistair Carmichael and we look forward to working with Alistair and his team.

Our ‘Virtual’ Exhibition Stall

As always, LDER will have a stall at conference, so we can reach as many members as possible.  Naturally, it will be a virtual stall, hosted as part of the online Conference.  Details are still being finalised, but we can confirm that we will have members of the LDER Exec available for online Q&A, at 17.30 – 18.30 on the Friday, and 12.00 – 12.45 & 16.30 – 17.15 on the other three days.  Alternatively, members and supporters will be able to send queries to us at conference@lder.org during the conference period.

Our Annual General Meeting

We’re going on-line (zoom) for this year’s AGM. Papers and details will follow, but note the date/time now:

October 27, 2020; 7-8.30pm

We will have, at the AGM, our annual elections to the LDER executive. We particularly encourage and welcome applications from individuals interested in joining the exec whose background or identity is not currently well-represented within LDER. This encompasses factors such as regions or countries (e.g. Wales) in the UK, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status and caring responsibilities.

Ed Davey

Congratulations to Ed Davey on becoming our new leader. Ed is a strong and powerful advocate for electoral reform and LDER is already in touch, working with him and his team.

Reform debate on LD Voice

LDER exec members have been active in this online debate, started by Neal Lawson of the pro-reform Labour group, Compass.

Make Votes Matter

Day of Action…

On August 22, thousands of Liberal Democrats around the country joined other reformers in an innovative campaigning day. The report is here.

…and Speaker Programme

MVM is still looking for more people to join its speaker programme – click here to get involved.

Also, speakers are now available to speak to local and regional LD parties. If you want to invite a guest speaker to your group, please click here.

Review of Associated Organisations – LDER

The Party has commissioned a review of Party organisations – known as Associated Organisations (AO) and Specified Associated Organisations (SAO).

This review is highly relevant to LDER as an established AO. The Review Group has created a survey so that all SAO or AO members can have their say on the support the Party gives SAOs and AOs and what changes can and should be made.

So, as a member of LDER please fill in this survey – so our voice is heard and so we can create a better future for our organisation. All responses will be treated anonymously.

A word from us:

LDER is an officially recognised Associated Organisation of the party. Our remit is to educate and inform all members and supporters about electoral and political reform; and to assure the policy is high on the party’s priority agenda. We also work with like-minded organisations such as Make Votes Matter, Unlock Democracy and the Electoral Reform Society on joint campaigns and to facilitate collaboration between interested parties.

This newsletter goes to around 1,000 party members and we very much hope you like it. Most of you are registered supporters with us – we’ve met at exhibition stalls at a party conference or similar occasions.

We are of course happy to send this newsletter to as many supporters as possible.

But to achieve our goals, we do need funding. The on-line fringe meeting (as above) alone costs hundreds of pounds. Our sole income is from those of you who, as well as supporting us, also pay to be members of LDER.

It’s only £10 per year (£5 concessions) so we hope as many of you as possible will join. You can do so here.

Thank you for reading –

If you enjoyed reading this; can you think of other Liberal Democrats who would like to get it?

Please forward it on email, FB or twitter – or share the newsletter sign up page – with other people you know. Thanks!

August 2020 newsletter

Calling all activists

Make Votes Matter (MVM)  has announced an Electoral Reform Action Day this coming August 22. 

MVM is calling on proportional representation supporters to join in a nationwide groundbreaking campaign day.

It will be online due to COVID; a brilliantly effective virtual action day was held recently in Lewes, Sussex. Activists posted online pictures of family, friends and themselves by local landmarks. Lewes campaigners report reaching even more people online and through social media than through traditional methods such as street stalls.

MVM is using this as the template for grassroots local action on August 22.

So do sign up. Work with local like-minded people who would like to see true democracy in this country. With Labour showing some positive signs, we want to press hard for reform and make sure it’s the Liberal Democrats, long believers in the principle of equal, proportional voting, that are leading the charge.

Sign up here.

 

Join the MVM speaker panel

‘Sharing points and arguments for reform with like-minded people was a real and unexpected boost. I’m geared up like never before to spread the message’ – MVM speaker panel introductory session participant.

The MVM speaker panel is going well — and the response to the appeal in our last newsletter has been – well, not bad! That means – we’ve room for many more LD members to join the panel!!

Sign up and you’ll join an online group of about eight others and you each have a five minute speech slot for everyone to listen to and share feedback on. It is a very positive experience – so don’t wait!

Read more about volunteering to be a cross-party speaker here.

Sign up here (tick the box for ‘Cross party speaker’)

Then you’re lined up to speak to local LD parties or to other civic groups as MVM finds the speaking slots.

Our virtual conference fringe meeting is… ON!

Breaking new ground – 18.45 on Saturday September 26 is the date and time for our first-ever virtual fringe meeting. Our front bench spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP will be our key speaker, along with Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform SocietyPeter Dunphy of Unite to Reform; and Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter.

It’s titled – UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter and we’ll explore how voters are left voiceless in the present rigged system; and how we are going to get change this time.

More to come – we’re also staging an online conference exhibition stall!

Sign up for the session as soon as the party announces more details.

 

PR questions at leadership hustings

We have to report disappointment here. LDER tried very hard to get the party HQ to agree to a themed leadership hustings on electoral reform. But we were turned down. We then applied for a Q&A session, which after initial encouragement, was also turned down… We move on…

LDER members have put forward questions about electoral reform to the various hustings that are taking place.  If it’s not too late by the time you get this, it would be great if you submitted questions that commit both Ed and Layla to PR as a key thrust of party policy.

Submit your question here.

 

Plenty else has been happening

Collaboration with the Green Liberal Democrats:

After a very quick turn-around, an event about PR and the environment took place during the Green Liberal Democrat (GLD) conference on 22nd June with Wendy Chamberlain and Klina Jordan as speakers, highlighting research showing that countries with PR are better at reducing carbon emissions etc. Klina and Wendy have each submitted an article each for the GLD magazine which is to be distributed to GLD members in August.

Building on our positive GLD experience, we are getting in touch with the Young Liberals to find ways of collaborating.

 

And other party groups…?

If you are a member of or have contacts in other Party Associated Organisations or SAOs, then it would be great if you could help us contact them. Let us know.

 

Wendy’s adjournment debate

Wendy Chamberlain led an adjournment debate in the Commons on June 8, where she cited the inequality and undemocratic results of the present electoral system. In particular, she told of the plight of the millions of ‘voiceless’ people in this country. For the Government, Chloe Smith MP came up with some rather esoteric responses, notably the unexplained politics of place… Thanks to good teamwork from our MPs (Christine Jardine, Wera Hobhouse and Layla Moran supported Wendy) Ms Smith acknowledged and agreed that proportional systems also maintain constituency links between electors and elected! Good ammunition for us next time our opponents try to hide behind that facade as an excuse for clinging onto the present system.
Over at the Labour Party

Many of us will have seen that the Labour Party recently decided to use the single transferable vote (ditching FPTP) for its internal elections to its National Executive Committee. This is great news in itself as it means Labour has taken a big step towards being more democratic. It also of course suggests more commitment to reform going forward. It’s too early to be over-optimistic (and we’ve been disappointed before) but we should acknowledge the efforts of reformers within the Labour Party who have battled long and hard to get this step forward.

May 2020 newsletter

Firstly, all best wishes to our readers; we trust you are keeping well, occupied and positive in these extraordinary times.

Much political work has of course been delayed or stopped due to the pandemic; however, we had a LDER executive meeting (via Zoom of course – though in our case we’ve already been using Zoom for a few years, so it was biz as usual in that regard!) and have this report.

 

MAKE VOTES MATTER – call for PR speakers
Do you want to raise awareness of proportional representation and the urgency of electoral reform? Now is your chance –

Make Votes Matter (MVM) already has a PR speaker database. Until now it has focused mainly on Labour; going forward it wants to expand its speakers list to include local Liberal Democrat parties, as well as other relevant organisations and parties.

LDER is backing this expansion of speakers.  Local and regional Liberal Democrat parties sometimes ask us for a PR speaker – it has not always been possible to respond positively and we want to change that.

We appreciate this initiative from our MVM colleagues: getting electoral reform onto local party events and agendas will be a very positive upgrading of our efforts. Informing and motivating our own grass roots members is an LDER key goal. (Obviously face to face meetings will depend on lifting of lockdown restrictions: in the meantime we can use remote platforms such as Zoom).

If you would be willing to join the MVM PR speaker list, please click and complete this form. MVM will respond directly. Thanks in advance for joining this effort.

 

PETITIONING MPs FOR PR

Liberal Democrat member Theo Morgan has set up a petition, demanding a parliamentary debate on PR. It needs 100,000 signatures by September to be debated in Parliament, so please click and sign: Introduce proportional representation for all UK elections. We need to use all tools to keep up the pressure for change and for a democracy fit for the 21st century.

 

ELECTORAL REFORM PODCAST

John Potter’s ‘LibDemPod’ no 16 (April 24 2020) has an interview with LDER exec member Keith Sharp on the prospects for electoral reform. John’s idea is to find out what visitors to our exhibition stall in York would have heard, had the conference not been cancelled due to COVID. Listen to it here.

 

AUTUMN CONFERENCE – GOING VIRTUAL

We had a great York Conference in March lined up – as well as our popular exhibition stall, we were set for a great fringe meeting, led by Wendy Chamberlain MP, our spokesperson on political and electoral reform, and with speakers from allied organisations Make Votes Matter, the Electoral Reform Society and Unite to Reform. There was also to be a conference debate on our electoral reform policy.

And then — all of course stopped when COVID caused the conference to be cancelled.

We’ll keep trying! We know the September Conference will have to be held remotely, given continuing social safety restrictions. Once we know the conditions and format of this first virtual conference, we will do our best to recreate the excitement and activities that were set for York. We’re already discussing possibilities with the Federal Policy Committee.

It’s early days: as soon is this situation becomes clearer, we’ll be back in touch.

Conference motion amendments, fringe event and stall

Electoral Reform Motion

In our January newsletter we reflected on last year’s general election, calling for the Liberal Democrats to stand up and campaign boldly for our core liberal and social beliefs – including electoral and associated political reform.

We are pleased that the Federal Policy Committee has put forward a policy motion on electoral reform for the upcoming Spring Conference in York. The motion will be debated on Saturday 14th March at 14:10 and you can see full details here. If you will be joining us in York, please come along to support the motion.

The deadline is looming for the submission of amendments to the motion and both LDER and other friends across the Party are doing so.

LDER amendment

Members of Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform Executive Committee will submit the following amendment. Please email info@lder.org by Sunday 1 March with your name, local Party and membership number if you are happy to lend your name to the amendment.

After line 48, insert new paragraph:

Conference recognises that restating the party’s principled commitment to electoral reform is important, but that, historically, efforts to bring the policy about have failed. And yet reform is ever more urgently needed, due to the evident, deepening crisis in our democracy.

Remove item 7, lines 72 – 75 and replace with new item 7:

7. The implementation of a system of automatic voter registration using existing databases.

Insert new items 8, 9 and 10:

8.The Party to view electoral reform as a key strategic issue for our democracy and party, and to create a fresh campaign strategy, focused on millions of voters’ dissatisfaction with their undemocratic predicament;
9. Take the lead in seeking non-party and cross-party alliances, recognising that we cannot achieve this goal on our own; and that there are others who also want reform;
10. Refuse to cooperate with or sustain any future national government unless it commits to enacting legislation to bring in voting reform for the House of Commons and for English local government.

The purposes of this amendment are:
To convey the importance and urgency of fully endorsing electoral and constitutional reform for the Party at this time, sentiments we feel the motion lacks. This amendment if passed will help to reverse what we see as neglect over recent years. This in turn will alter our campaigning, messaging and internal priorities.
To enable the Party to adopt a policy of moving to fully automatic electoral registration (AER) and campaign on this at every opportunity. The present system of annual electoral registration is time consuming, inefficient, ineffective and increasingly costly.

Helen Belcher’s amendment on the Good Systems Agreement

Helen Belcher, a long-standing advocate for electoral reform, will submit the following amendment. Please contact her at ld.helenb@gmail.com by noon this Friday 28th February with your name, local Party and membership number, if you are happy to lend your name to the amendment.

Replace lines 50 to 52 with the following (bold type indicates proposed additions):

1. Proportional representation by the Single Transferable Vote system to elect all MPs UK-wide and local councillors in England, being one of the voting mechanisms that would meet the Make Votes Matter Good Systems Agreement, signed by the Liberal Democrats in April 2019, which would:

Purposes of this amendment:
Make Votes Matter is a cross-party campaign, started after the 2015 general election, to introduce proportional representation for electing MPs. In 2018, the Liberal Democrats worked as part of the cross-party Make Votes Matter Alliance to create the Good Systems Agreement, which outlines the various criteria that need to be met for a voting system to be considered proportional. The party signed this agreement in April 2019, along with other political parties and campaign groups. It is aimed to assure agreement for PR in principle rather than getting bogged down in technical discussions about any particular voting system, thereby making it easier for other political parties to agree to.

LDER Fringe Event

With the support of Wendy Chamberlain MP, our parliamentary spokesperson for political and constitutional reform, LDER will host a participatory fringe event to discuss the ways in which we, as Party members, can take meaningful campaign action to bring about PR.

Is it time to “Unite to Reform”? And other ways to win PR.  
Saturday 14th March, 19:45 – 21:00, Novotel (Meeting Room 6)
Join Wendy Chamberlain MP and guests from the Electoral Reform Society, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and Unite to Reform for a lively workshop on what it will take to win proportional representation for Westminster – and how each of us can play our part. Refreshments will be available.

LDER Conference Stall

Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform will be hosting a stall in the Exhibition at York. Our stall will be active throughout the Conference. Do come and say “hello” to find out more about our campaign for electoral reform.

We’re also looking for members willing and able to spare an hour or two to help staff the stand. It’s great fun and don’t worry if it’s your first time – we’ll make sure an experienced member is there with you. If you can help, fill in our doodle poll here.

What do we do now?

Prioritising reform

For the past three elections (’15, ’17, ’19) the party has relegated electoral and linked political reform to the back pages (literally — see page 83 of the 2019 manifesto).

This has proven a big, strategic mistake.  If the idea was that we would be more successful if only we played down boring constitutional stuff, then our wretched performance in these three elections shows that was plain wrong.

At LDER, we are not naive enough to claim electoral reform as a stand-alone election winner.  But we do better as a principled party if we stand up and campaign boldly for our core liberal and social beliefs. Otherwise, our manifestos are reduced to well-intentioned, random-looking shopping lists of things we hope will please the voter. Electorate as Consumer is not what we are about. And it doesn’t work.

 

Any positive signs?

Well there are a few, and LDER is following up on all of them:

  1. Public and even media disgust that the Tories, with their undemocratic Commons majority, are now forcing the UK out of the EU, on 44% of a 67% turnout, far less than voted Remain in 2016.
  2. Whether we like referendums or not, the 2016 referendum did mean that everyone’s vote counted equally toward the result and this has been noted as a positive. This is why we must call for an equal as well of course as proportional voting system when we advocate PR/STV. The word ‘fair’ (or ‘fairer’) hasn’t resonated and is also forever associated with the massively unsuccessful 2011 AV referendum. We need this new messaging to reinforce and communicate our argument.
  3. Acting Leader Ed Davey has upgraded electoral reform to a shadow cabinet position. Newly-elected NE Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain has the Political and Constitutional Reform brief in the Commons. She has already advocated electoral reform in a Commons speech. LDER Chair Denis Mollison is in contact with Wendy, to help reinforce the arguments and give her all possible support. We continue of course to work with Paul Tyler, our indefatigable Lords spokesperson on reform.
  4. Federal Policy Committee has put forward a policy motion, embracing electoral reform, that will be on the agenda of the York Spring Conference. This is a key step forward. LDER has summarily and wrongly had attempts to put motions to Conference rejected in the past – even being informed on one occasion that PR was already party policy! As with Wendy Chamberlain, LDER exec is keeping close to the progress of this motion and will propose content as its shape becomes clear.
  5. Our alliance partners, Make Votes Matter, plan a major ‘Congress’ type public event in the near future. This will involve all parties, but excitingly also non-party movements such as Extinction Rebellion. LDER exec member `Keith Sharp is on the Congress working party and we’ll keep you informed.

 

On to the York Spring Conference (March 13-15)

LDER has an exhibition stall booked for Conference.

Here are some key questions we want to hear from you about – either at our stall in March or via our Facebook page:

  1. Do you agree electoral reform needs to be higher on our policy priorities than in the last three elections? Or do you think it’s right to play it down in favour of more ‘voter-eye-catching’ policies (what would those be?).
  2. How can we link electoral reform, make it enablingly relevant, to other key changes that need to happen? For example, in Germany, PR has seen Greens in Government. Is that a route to addressing the climate emergency in political terms?
  3. To win, we need the right policy and we need to win the argument. Our key messages in the past haven’t cut through, which is why (positive signs 2 above) our messaging is shaping up around ‘equal’ and ‘proportional’. But we also have to overcome the negative argument that voters don’t care; no-one calls for electoral reform on the doorstep. Maybe not, but we have seen huge voter dissatisfaction with FPTP.
  4. Can we still go it alone? Or to get reform, do we need a ‘Unite to Reform’ cross party collaboration at the next election? (modelled on but an expanded version of the promising if ultimately ill-fated ‘Unite to Remain’ agreement for the 2019 election).

LDER exec members believe it is essential to work with other parties – do you agree?

What else should we discuss? Join us in York in the battle for Equality at the Ballot Box.

 

Since last time

The meeting at the Royal Statistical Society on the bicentenary of STV (17 December) was well attended.  Klina Jordan of Make Votes Matter enlisted audience participation in the arguments for proportional voting. Ian Simpson of the Electoral Reform Society looked at the contrast between local elections in Scotland, which have used STV since 2007), and in England which still uses FPTP. Denis Mollison reviewed the history and rationale of STV since the first small-scale election pioneered by Thomas Wright Hill in 1819; a written version of Denis’s talk is in preparation.

 

Reform moves in Wales

Legislation to give councils the option of using STV for local elections is currently going through the Welsh Parliament (the Senedd).  And a Committee of that Parliament is consulting on electoral systems, following the recommendation of the 2017 McAllister Commission report that the Parliament should use STV rather than AMS. This consultation closes on 19th February; please email info@lder.org if you are interested in contributing to our response.

Bournemouth Conference’s Electoral Reform Agenda

Our AGM

As announced in our previous newsletter, we will hold the LDER AGM during Conference. As well as official business, it’s a chance for members to discuss the broader strategy for electoral and political reform; what we should be doing and what opportunities exist in the present social and political crisis.

Here are full details of the agenda and meeting timing and location (we’ve arranged this so you can easily get to the Conference Centre in time for Leader Jo’s closing speech).

Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Tuesday 17 September 2019, 12:30 – 13:30

Breakfast Room, Chocolate Box Hotel, 2 West Cliff Road, BH2 5EY

(Approx. 5 minutes walk from the main Conference Centre)

AGENDA

1.    Apologies for Absence

2.    Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 16 September 2018

a.    Accuracy

b.    Matters Arising

3.    Reports

a.    Chair

b.    Treasurer

c.    Membership Secretary

4.    Annual Accounts

To consider and approve the annual accounts for 2018.

5.    Membership fee

To set the annual membership fee at £10 and the concessionary fee at £5 for the year commencing 1 October 2019.

6.    Election of Officers and Executive Committee Members

a.    Chair

b.    Secretary

c.    Treasurer

d.    Membership Secretary

e.    Up to five Ordinary Members of the committee

7.    Appointment of Examiner

To appoint an Examiner of the accounts for 2018.

8.    Activities:

To discuss

(a) possible widening of the remit of LDER;

(b) programme of LDER activities for 2019/20.

 

Our exhibition stall

You will find us on stand 32 in the main exhibition hall. As well as literature, questions and discussion, this year we’re offering the chance for you to rank, in order of importance, the qualities of a good electoral system.

We’re indebted here to Make Votes Matter, who launched the Good Systems Agreement in the Summer. The Agreement features several qualities inherent to a good electoral system — but which ones are the most important? Come to our stand and let us know (voting by 1,2,3…of course)!

 

Staffing the stall

Our stall will be active throughout the Conference. We’re looking for members willing and able to spare an hour or two to help staff the stand. It’s great fun and don’t worry if it’s your first time — we’ll make sure an experienced member is there with you.

Can you spare some time to help out? Fill in our doodle poll here.

 

Electoral Reform Fringe

‘Reining in the political Wild West’ — Electoral Reform Society (ERS)* and the Social Liberal Forum. Sunday, September 15, 2019: 18.15 Purbeck Suite, Highcliffe Marriott Hotel.

Real Democracy Now: a chance for Proportional Representation in 2019? Make Votes Matter, the campaign for PR for the House of Commons, is hosting a fringe event to mark International Democracy Day. The event will be held at St Stephen’s Church Hall, St Stephen’s Way BH2 6JZ at 19:30 on 15th September. Lord Paul Tyler, Liberal Democrat Constitution Spokesperson, and Wera Hobhouse MP are already confirmed speakers, with others to be confirmed shortly.

*Are you also an ERS member? If so, please note that, in the current Council elections, LDER exec member Peter Hirst is a candidate. Please consider a high preference for him: it would be good to have direct LDER/ERS links.

Summer special newsletter

Chuka talks to LDER

LDER exec member and Vauxhall PPC Sarah Lewis recently interviewed our new MP – Chuka Umunna – about his long-held belief in the need for electoral reform. It’s great to see him so resolutely supporting key Liberal Democrat principles and policies.

Click here or visit our Facebook page to watch the interview.

Jo talks to the Electoral Reform Society

During the recent leadership contest, Jo Swinson found time to discuss matters electoral reform with Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. Her commitment to PR/STV as a priority shines through the conversation. Click here to watch.

Notice of LDER AGM and elections to the Executive

Our 2019 AGM will be held during the Bournemouth Conference  — venue and timings will follow shortly.

A key activity is to elect a new executive for 2019/20. Positions available are:

Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary; plus five ordinary members.

The executive meets, usually for an hour-long conference call, about ten times per year to pursue our remit of promoting an understanding of electoral reform among party members and to highlight its priority as party policy. Please let us know if you are interested in being on the executive; although it is also possible to nominate yourself at the AGM itself.

LDER at spring conference in York

Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform have had a busy weekend at the party conference in York. We had lots of visitors calling by at our stall, including Party President Sal Brinton. We were also pleased to support and attend the Electoral Reform Society’s panel discussion on Citizens’ Assemblies. A very enjoyable weekend spent furthering the cause of fairer, more representative politics!