Monday, February 25, 2019

Details of Vince Cable's Lib Dem 'supporter' scheme published

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When Vince Cable first  proposed allowing people to register as Liberal Democrat 'supporters' I
wrote that it reminded me of the more relaxed arrangements that prevailed in the old Liberal Party.

Active local parties naturally acquired a wider circle of people who wished them well but did not wish to join.

For that reason, I find it hard to get too concerned about the idea. Though the decision to allow people to register as potential supporters before the new status has been endorsed by the party's democratic machinery is a pretty blatant attempt to bounce members in to accepting it.

The details of the scheme that will be put to the party's spring conference in York have now been published:
Registered supporters will have regular contact with the Federal Party about news and campaigns and invitations from local parties to events and campaigning activities. (Local parties will have access to their details to contact them, just as with members.) 
Supporters will be able to attend conferences in a non-voting capacity and will be consulted on campaign issues and policy ideas (separate from member consultations). If approved at the Spring conference in York, they will also be eligible to vote for the leader of the party, subject to further requirements and protections. 
Members will continue to be the only ones to decide party policy and governance, vote at conference, serve on party committees and as party officers, select party candidates and stand for election to Parliament, devolved bodies and local councils.
The "further requirements" surrounding the right to vote in leadership elections are set out in detail, but I do wonder if we are not being a little naive in this age of Boaty McBoatface.

If you want to read an enthusiast for the scheme, try Christine Jardine on Liberal Democrat Voice.

No doubt she will be the first of many MPs to write enthusiastic articles about it there.

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