Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lib Dem Conference motion against police accreditation of representatives

At the start of the month I wrote a post critical of the plans to to allow West Midlands Police to impose new security conditions upon representatives attending the party's Annual Conference in September.

As Complicity said at the time, "We can hardly defend our position on being against ID Cards if we give in to this. We’re basically admitting that the database state is required to ensure our security."

Now David Grace (aka Disgruntled Radical) is attempting to get a motion critical of the plans debated at the conference. He says:
You may be aware that arrangements for this autumn’s federal conference include requirements to disclose personal date to the police which they will then hold for several years and which will they use to advise the party whether any representatives should be excluded. This is not a theoretical danger. Conservative and Labour Parties have accepted these procedures and people have been excluded. The procedure goes against what the party stands for, what we have fought for and even the provisions of our own constitution. If you agree, please support the attached motion for debate this autumn.
If you are a conference representative and want to support the motion - the full text of which appears below - you need to email David Grace your name, membership number and local party name before Tuesday 28 June so that he can assemble his list of proposers in time for the deadline on Wednesday. Whether you are a representative or not, you may like to ask your local party to support the motion.

Anyway, that motion in full...

Motion on accreditation for Federal Conference

Conference accepts the need for physical security measures to protect those attending  but does not accept that such measures can  interfere with the democratic decision-making processes of a political party.

Conference affirms that Liberal Democrats have always defended and promoted the fundamental rights of freedom of association and assembly, protected by Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, by Article 12 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Conference recalls that
  1. the preamble to the party constitution states that “ We will at all times defend the right to speak, write, worship, associate and vote freely...”;
  2. the party specifically claims in the “What we stand for” section of its website: “Successive governments obsessed with power have chipped away at our liberty in the name of security. Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to defending our most important rights. The threat of terrorist attacks must be taken seriously but it does not mean that we should sacrifice our liberty in the name of security.”
Conference therefore condemns the system of police accreditation adopted for this conference which requires party members to disclose personal data to the police and which is designed to enable the police to advise that certain party members should not be allowed to attend.

Conference therefore calls upon
  1. The parliamentary party and Liberal Democrat ministers to question the current police guidance on accreditation and to seek to persuade the Home Office to change guidance on current practice to reflect the rights of association and assembly and the internal democracy of all political parties;
  2. The Federal Conference Committee to negotiate security arrangements for future conferences which protect the privacy of members’ personal data and which respect the party’s constitution and internal democracy.
  3. The Party President to ensure that conference arrangements respect Article 6 of the federal constitution which provides that Local Parties elect representatives and that no other body within or without the party has the power to exclude in advance their attendance at conference.

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