Liberal Democrat virtual Conference 2020

A message from Councillor Howard Sykes


I must admit I didn’t know what to expect of the Virtual Liberal Democrat Conference last weekend, especially as I have been a regular attendee in person since I joined the party in 1986.

I have always looked forward to our September trip to a windy (or sunny) seaside town to meet up with Liberal Democrat colleagues and chew the fat about what was happening in the party and in their areas.

I understand that the party had over 3,000 registrations which must be a record in my view. There were over 20,000 votes cast on a range of motions, several which had a direct effect on local government. I was particularly pleased to see our councils being name-checked in a number of these, especially our response to the COVID-19 crisis.

How can I forget the emergency debate that, working together with ALDC, we secured on the government’s planned “Power Grab” with their proposed planning changes. One of the biggest turnouts for an early Sunday morning debate in the conference’s history, with some great speeches from councillors across the country!

A massive effort by all staff at party HQ and members of the Federal Conference Committee. They should be very proud, thank you all.

When it comes to the ALDC and LGA conference offer, we saw record number take part on the training and fringe offer. At the last count, ALDC told me that 860 took part in their conference training, with more doing one to one mentoring sessions.

As for our fringe offer, we had over 700 people across the five meetings we held; we would have never managed to get the same number of people into meeting rooms at conference.

We also launched our Annual Report (pdf) at Conference.

I am sure no one missed the warm glass of wine nor the sandwiches! Many thanks to all those people who spoke, despite a few IT hiccups for a few of us (including me), it all went  well. Terry Stacy and Rob Banks and all our speakers should also be thanked for putting on such a great and interesting offer: feedback has been positive.

One of the things I did pick up from people was how varied our approach has been to delivering leaflets recently, so can you reply to this email and let me know if you have been delivering Focus or surveys in the last few months? To send us examples, please drop Rob a line on rob.banks@local.gov.uk .