Liberal Democrats Winning Here Sign

By-Election Report – 29/09/2016

Last night was another very successful night for Liberal Democrat candidates up and down the country.

Normally I would start with congratulating those Lib Dem teams that have gained a seat, however, gains would mean nothing if we weren’t able to hold on to what we already had. So congratulations go to Karen Ward and team for successfully defending the Glaven Valley seat in North Norfolk. Not only did she hold the seat, she managed to increase vote share and overall majority taking over 55% of the vote. Very well done!

Glaven Valley (North Norfolk) result:
LDEM: 55.3% (+8.4)
CON: 36.2% (+3.8)
UKIP: 4.1% (-6.8)
LAB: 3.0% (-2.8)
GRN: 1.4% (-2.5)

Cynics might say I state with the hold as we have no gains, but they would be wrong!

Congratulations to Adrian England and team in Adeyfield West who went from a very tight second to a massive win! Doubling the Lib Dem vote share to take the seat with a fraction under half the vote with a very healthy majority.

Adeyfield West (Dacorum) result:
LDEM: 49.5% (+24.4)
CON: 22.2% (-4.6)
LAB: 15.8% (-8.7)
UKIP: 10.9% (-12.7)
GRN: 1.6% (+1.6)

Congratulations are also in order for Dilys Neill and the Stow team who took the Cotswold seat for the Conservatives, turning round a 2 horse race to win with a vote share increase of 21%.

Stow (Cotswold) result:
LDEM: 64.9% (+21.0)
CON: 35.1% (-21.0)

All this leaves the Lib Dems with an increase to 18 net Gains in the Tier 1 and 2 elections far and away above anyone else.

By-election net changes graph - 29/09/2016 - The Liberal Democrats Number 1 in local council by-elections since 6th May 2016. Net Up 18, Gained 18, lost 0.

Well done to all those standing in yesterday’s elections particularly those in Allestree who went up to 2nd more than doubling their previous vote share to take nearly 29% of the vote, and Finedon who took 7% when no candidate stood last time.

Allestree (Derby) result:
CON: 54.6% (-6.1)
LDEM: 28.7% (+17.2)
LAB: 11.1% (-5.8)
GRN: 3.1% (+3.1)
UKIP: 2.5% (-8.5)

Finedon (Wellingborough) result:
CON: 62.3% (+15.5)
LAB: 19.3% (-7.7)
UKIP: 11.3% (-14.9)
LDEM: 7.1% (+7.1)
Con HOLD.

At the lower lever, congratulations to Mark Clark who held the seat for the Lib Dems on the Hythe & Dibden Parish Council winning 62% of the vote.
Mark had this to say : “I would like to thank the good people of the Furzedown Ward in electing me as their Parish Councillor this evening. From my background of business I really look forward to getting to grips with some of the key issues that came up during the election, and ensuring that the Council continues to address people’s concerns and worries. Hythe & Dibden is a fantastic place to live and work. My aim is to keep it that way.”

In the remaining 3 by-elections things weren’t quite so good with us remaining in 4th place in Tyldesley, and not putting forward a candidate in Cherry Willingham (despite getting a good share previously) or in Brynmwar.

Tyldesley (Blackpool) result:
LAB: 48.3% (+10.0)
CON: 26.8% (-2.4)
UKIP: 21.5% (-0.5)
LDEM: 3.3% (-2.3)

Cherry Willingham (West Lindsey) result:
CON: 51.1% (+12.2)
LAB: 26.5% (+0.6)
UKIP: 22.4% (+22.4)

Brynmawr (Blaenau Gwent) result:
IND: 80.1% (+80.1)
LAB: 19.9% (-0.4)
Ind GAIN from Ind.

Full details of last nights By-Election results can be found on the ALDC’s By-Election Results page and details of that is coming next on our Forthcoming Elections page. Hat Tip to Britain Elects for their results too.

Well done to all who stood last night regardless of the result. It is really important that we stand candidates in all by-elections in order to build the habit of voting Liberal Democrat. If there is no candidate of ours on the ballot paper we are depriving someone of their ability to vote for us. If you are interested in standing as a candidate please get in touch with your Local Party or ALDC.

Witney By-Election Action Day 24/09/2016

Witney By-Election – How to get involved

Hi all!

I have been asked to write up a quick list of the sorts of things you can do to help our in the Witney By-Election. There are plenty of things to do, so let’s get stuck in!

Leafleting
I can’t stress this enough – while yes, we live in a digital age, leafleting is vital to making sure we are visible and that we spread our key messages. Bear in mind that while not everyone has a smart phone, a landline or access to the internet, everyone who can vote has a letter box and so it is still the viable way of letting the public know who we are and what we’re about, so leafleting makes up the ‘bread-and-butter’ of a political campaign. This campaign is no exception, so we need as many people to help us get out our leaflets as much as possible!

Door Canvassing
Along with getting our message out there and being visible, another key element to the campaign is knocking on doors and talking to the electorate. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s really important that we find out more from local residents about the issues that matter t them the most, both national and local. It also allows us to talk about our candidate Liz Leffman and how she is a champion for local NHS services plus how the Lib Dems at large believe in an open, tolerant and united society. If it’s something you would like to do then please let us know!

Phone Canvassing
The great thing about using the Virtual Phone Bank is you can do it anywhere at any time (on saying that, please don’t call people in the middle of the night!) and it means that if you can’t make it down to Witney one day you can still be at the heart of the campaign. By logging into Connect you will be provided with a specifically written script to use when calling local residents (so don’t worry, you won’t be dropped in the deep end!) so then we can encourage them to vote Lib Dem. You can access the Virtual Phone Bank by logging into Connect (http://tiny.cc/ldconnect) and clicking on the Virtual Phone Bank option on the side menu.

Clerical Work
Election campaigns are not all about pounding the streets – there are a number of vital clerical tasks that need to be done to help keep the campaign going. This can range from printing and bundling leaflets and addressing and stuffing envelopes to helping organise teams and helping run the HQ itself – there is plenty to do!

A few tips:
1) Travel down together
From car sharing to group tickets, it’s easier and cheaper to travel to Witney with others than separately – plus it means you can encourage more people to come!
2) Meet new people
We Lib Dems are a friendly bunch, so take the chance to introduce yourself to other Lib Dems floating around the Witney HQ – we’re all in this together!
3) Take lots of photos
We want to hear from as many people as possible about their campaigning experiences and how it was for you – and that includes phones (no excuses!)
4) Bring a bottle of water
Campaigning is thirsty work and while there are refreshments (and even biscuits) at Witney HQ there is no guarantee there will be a nearby shop when you’re out and out – so best to be prepared!
5) Don’t forget to write on the wall
Not literally! There are blank A3 sheets of paper up on the walls around Witney HQ for everyone to sign and we want them all filled by polling day – so don’t forget to scribble your name!

If you want to get involved let the Witney team know by going to http://www.witneylibdems.org.uk/volunteer

Tim Farron New Member Welcome – September 2016

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron offers a warm welcome to all new members joining the party.

Alison Healey

My New Member Journey – Alison Healey

As a teenager/young adult I voted Tory; I hadn’t really given it much thought, it was just because my mother voted Tory and I was constantly exposed to Conservative dogma.

I toyed with the idea of voting for the SDP because even my mother respected and begrudgingly liked Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins but I never got round to it and when the SDP and the Liberal party formed their alliance and Spitting Image did THOSE puppets (younger members should Google David Steel and David Owen) it didn’t really encourage me to give any credence to Centre politics.

But a new dawn came with the emergence of Paddy Ashdown and I began to question what it was I really wanted my political views to say about me.

I voted in every election since for the Lib Dems and that was enough for me to feel that I was properly engaged and that my political conscience was clear.

When Nick Clegg negotiated a coalition with the Tories in 2010 I was fully behind him – I still believe that it was morally the correct thing to do.  The Tories had, after all, won the race and it wouldn’t have sat well with me to have the winners nobbled by the 2nd and 3rd placed parties.

Some people I knew who had been impressed by Nick’s performance in the debates and voted Lib Dem, or who had always voted Lib Dem became disillusioned that Lib Dem manifesto promises weren’t being kept; but I would argue in defence and point out that WE hadn’t actually won and that our role was to keep Tory feet on the ground and to keep some of their more extreme ideas off the table – and in that we succeeded. For the first time I was beginning to realise that this all meant a lot more to me than just putting an X next to the candidate’s name.

And then came the morning of May 8th 2015. We had been punished so cruelly by some people who felt let down and didn’t recognise the good that had been done by Nick and his team; and abandoned by others who were scared of the possibility of a Conservative UKIP coalition or a Labour SNP one. Nick himself looked devastated. Vince Cable and Simon Hughes amongst so many others had been thrown out with the bath water.

I felt an urge to reach out and let the party know that I still believed, I still remember proudly telling my youngest daughter that I had taken the plunge and was thrilled when she told me that SHE had too, especially as neither my husband or I had ever wanted to impose our beliefs on our children but wanted them to find their own way – hell, we didn’t even impose them on each other, it’s just a happy coincidence that we both vote Lib Dem.

I haven’t done much since then, I’ve shared stuff on Facebook that I hope might encourage people join. No local party activists got in touch but I’ve recently learned that there was no local party – at some point I would like to ask my local councillor why he became independent AFTER being elected but that’s another story.  

But I’m thrilled to know that there will soon be a meeting for the new local party branch which I will be attending with my daughter and I am very open to getting involved as much as health issues will allow. I’m excited to be a part of the Lib Dem fight back and can’t wait to see where my journey goes. 

Polling Station Sign

Upcoming By-Elections – 29/09/2016

Graven Valley (North Norfolk DC)

LD seat. Cause: Resignation.
LD candidate – Karen Ward.

Tyldesley (Blackpool UA)

Conservative seat. Cause: death.
LD candidate – Paul Richard Hindley.

Adeyfield West (Dacorum BC)

Conservative seat. Cause: death.
LD candidate: Adrian England.
To help, please contact Lloyd Harris on 07932 251 945 or email agent@hhlibdems.org.uk.

Allestree (Derby UA)

Conservative seat. Cause: resignation.
LD candidate: Deena Smith.

Finedon (Wellingborough BC)

Conservative seat. Cause: death.
LD candidate: John Barnes Wheaver.

Stow (Cotswold DC)

Conservative seat. Cause: Death.
LD candidate – Dilys Neill.
To help, please contact Chris Twells on 07952 450943 or email chris@cotswoldlibdems.co.uk.

Hythe & Dibden Parish Council, New Forest, Hampshire

Lib Dem seat. Cause: Resignation
LD candidate: Mark Clark

To keep up to date on all upcoming elections visit the ALDC By-Election pages.

Liberal Democrats Winning Here Sign

By-Election Report – 22/09/2016

I’ve not been writing these weekly updates long, however each week I’ve been able to use the “Winning Here!” Sign and started with “Congratulations to…” As we have gained. This week we we don’t have 1 gain… We have 3!

Congratulations to the Plasnewydd team in Cardiff who closed our conference in style by winning their by election on Tuesday – obviously timed to catch us off guard. Taking yet another Labour seat the team increased their vote share by 15 points to almost take half the votes and took our net gains to 15.
Plasnewydd (Cardiff) result:
LDEM: 48.1% (+15.4)
LAB: 34.8% (-2.0)
PC: 6.8% (-5.3)
CON: 4.4% (-1.2)
GRN: 3.6% (-9.3)
UKIP: 2.4% (+2.4)

By-election net changes graph - 20/09/2016 - The Liberal Democrats Number 1 in local council by-elections since 5th May 2016. Net Up 15, Gained 15, lost 0.
Now those that follow these wonderful Gain charts regularly may be thinking “15? Weren’t we on 13 on Thursday?” And you would be right, sort of.

As we all gathered on Saturday in Brighton (or Friday for those who attended the excellent Lib Dem Pint) still basking in the glorious 13th gain from Tupton, we eagerly listened to Sal Brinton’s speech to open the Rally. In this she proudly proclaimed our 15 gains, then proceeded to read out 17 names as the crowd proudly shouted “GAIN!”. Immediately my eye brows were raised. 15? Surely Sal and here team couldn’t have made a mistake, but where was our mistake? It turns out both of us were wrong. As I went through the list along with John, Brian and Glynn it became clear that 3 of the names Sal read out were actually Town Council wins and whilst great we were counting those (dif we did the gains would be much higher!). That left just one, Amesbury East in Wiltshire UA, this was indeed a gain! This actually dates back to the 5th of May, the day of the 2016 local elections, however this wasn’t one of those this was actually a by-election and so we decided it should be in our list of gains. There is still debate going on as to whether this is a sound methodology though, plus hints that there are 2 others we are missing so this could change again before Next Thursday!

So having got that sorted and agreeing that with the Cardiff win we were on 15 gains, the chart now needs updating again as last night we gained again!

Congratulations to the team in Teignmouth Central who took the seat from the Conservatives showing we are taking from Red, Blue, and Purple! Increasing vote share by nearly 30 points to take over half the votes is a brilliant example of what can be achieved.
Teignmouth Central (Teignbridge) result:
LDEM: 51.1% (+28.3)
CON: 29.8% (-12.6)
UKIP: 11.6% (+11.6)
LAB: 7.5% (-8.7)

Congratulations also to the team in Hadleigh who had to wait till almost lunchtime to find out that they had also won, defeating the Conservatives with a healthy 12 point increase to take 36% of the vote.
Hadleigh (Suffolk) result:
LDEM: 36.2% (+12.0)
CON: 25.9% (-5.6)
LAB: 22.4% (+5.8)
UKIP: 11.5% (-11.3)
GRN: 3.9% (-0.9)
There were also other positives from the night with vote share increases in Carmarthenshire, Gateshead and Allerdale.
Cilycwm (Carmarthenshire) result:
PC: 27.8% (+27.8)
IND: 20.9% (+20.9)
LAB: 17.0% (+17.0)
IND: 14.7% (+14.7)
PF: 8.9% (+8.9)
LD: 8.6% (+8.6)
CON: 2.1% (-17.2)

Chopwell & Rowlands Gill (Gateshead) result:
LAB: 59.1% (-3.7)
UKIP: 15.6% (+1.3)
LDEM: 12.3% (+7.9)
CON: 8.6% (-2.3)
GRN: 4.4% (-3.2)

Christchurch (Allerdale) result:
LAB: 40.7% (+5.8)
LDEM: 29.4% (+20.0)
CON: 25.9% (-19.3)
UKIP: 4.0% (+4.0)

Although in Cherwell the Conservatives took votes from everyone meaning we stayed in last place with a slight loss in vote share.
Adderbury, Bloxham & Bodicote (Cherwell) result:
CON: 57.4% (+8.5)
LAB: 16.2% (-0.3)
GRN: 15.7% (-5.5)
LDEM: 10.7% (-2.8)

Disappointingly the final 3 results of the night failed to have a Lib Dem candidate standing.
Coatbridge North & Glenboig first prefs:
LAB: 41.7% (-11.3)
SNP: 39.0% (+8.2)
CON: 11.3% (+5.3)
GRN: 6.0% (+6.0)
UKIP: 1.9% (+1.9)
Old Stratford (South Northamptonshire) result:
CON: 77.2% (+77.2)
UKIP: 22.8% (+22.8)
Conservative HOLD.
Con previously elected unopposed.

Arley & Whitacre (North Warwickshire) result:
LAB: 59.7% (+33.7)
CON: 40.3% (+1.7)
Greens and UKIP didn’t stand this time round.

This also doesn’t include our Town Council results where we gained 4 seats in total. 1 from Labour in Hailsham, 1 in Cockermouth and 2 in Teignmouth all from the Conservatives.

East (Hailsham TC)
LD Graham Moore 161 [59.6%]
Independent 109 [40.4%]
Majority 52 Turnout 13.3%
LD gain from Labour (last election 2015 uncontested)

Christchurch (Cockermouth TC)
LD Rebecca Hanson 228 [41.1%]
Labour 189 [34.1%]
No Description 138 [24.8%]
Majority 39
Turnout 36%
LD gain from Conservatives
Last contested 2015

Central (Teignmouth TC)
LD Julie Philips 451 [48.3%]
LD Roy Gordon Philips 399
Conservative 355 [38.0%]
Conservative 326
Labour 128 [13.7%]
Labour 119
Majority 96
Turnout 24.9%
LD gains (x2) from Conservatives

Full details of last nights By-Election results can be found on the ALDC website’s By-Election Results page and details of that is coming next on my preview page.

Well done to all who stood last night regardless of the result. It is really important that we stand candidates in all by-elections in order to build the habit of voting Liberal Democrat. If there is no candidate of ours on the ballot paper we are depriving someone of their ability to vote for us. If you are interested in standing as a candidate please get in touch with your Local Party or ALDC.

Update – 23/08/2016 16:55 : added Teignmouth Town Council gains missed earlier.

Update – 30/09/2016 14:30 : after much debate we decided to drop Amesbury East and all 5th May by-elections as if we included this we would need to include all the other elections on that day which would then massively skew the graph. All future charts for this period will now have a start date of 6th May 2016

Local Media Training Session at Conference

Hi All, so conference was really good… I didn’t manage the whole thing but the bits I did were back to back. We went from the main speaking/motion events, to training, to lunching, to meeting big cheeses and to drinking!

One of the Training sessions I attended was at 9am on Saturday (cruel) and it was all about dealing with and getting closer to your local media outlets.

Do you know what/who they are? I actually didn’t know all of our local press (I do now). Make a list, talk to them and get in touch to say who (candidate/activist) and what you are about (local/national liberal issues) – start to build a relationship with them. Send emails, follow on twitter and have a coffee with them.

You can send them pieces that are ‘short, sharp, relevant’ – work on the principle that six words is enough for the headline. Whatever you want to tell them about should be all in the first paragraph. The rest is just detail (not necessarily unimportant) but get the key messages out at the start.

Make sure that if there is anything that you think is news is sent to them pronto and follow up on twitter, facebook, in person….

It isn’t rocket science but it is critical to get the relationship working and right.

Liberal Democrats Winning Here Sign

By-Election Report – 15/09/2016

Apologies as this is a little brief but I’m on my way to conference.

Congratulations are in order in a number of places tonight as it was another great night for Liberal Democrats last night.

In Tupton, North East Derbyshire David Hancock shocked Labour by going from the seat not being contested to winning with 38% of the votes while Labour dropped 30% of their vote share. This is even more surprising considering the local party had completely collapsed and was only reborn in January joining with Bolsover. Ross Shipman has done a great job to lead the local party back from the brink and help David win this stunning victory. Hopefully David and Ross will be writing us a blog post shortly about their journey.

Tupton (North East Derbyshire) result:
LDEM: 38.3% (+38.3)
LAB: 34.7% (-32.4)
CON: 17.5% (-15.4)
UKIP: 8.9% (+8.9)
BPP: 0.7% (+0.7)

There was also a gain at Town Council level where Jenny Davies topped the polls to win 1 of 2 seats on offer on Burton Latimer Town Council. According to Chris Nelson this is the 1st Council by-election win for the Lib Dems in the Kettering constituency since 1999 – great work. As a side note, the beaten Labour candidate was also Jenny’s Grandson!

Lib Dem Jenny Davies 597 E
Ind 564 E
Ind 328
Lab 289

Gains don’t mean anything though if you can’t hold your own seats (no matter what Labour say!) so it’s also very good news that Jonny Keeley successfully defended our seat Bishop’s Castle with a very healthy 61% vote share.

Bishop’s Castle (Shropshire) result:
LDEM: 60.5% (-1.5)
CON: 30.2% (-0.5)
LAB: 6.7% (+6.7)
GRN: 2.6% (-4.7)

Elsewhere while we didn’t win in Puckeridge Sara Mihajlovic made a good impression with very little time to campaign taking 3rd place with 18% of the vote from a standing start.

Puckeridge (East Hertfordshire) result:
CON: 42.9% (-24.6)
UKIP: 18.9% (+18.9)
LDEM: 18.0% (+18.0)
LAB: 11.0% (-8.9)
GRN: 9.1% (-3.5)

The other results from the night are also below with a good increase in vote share in Blakelaw taken no doubt from Labour, but not so good in Castle (Carlisle) where we only held ground (Are our expectations now where we expect to always make up ground?).

Blakelaw (Newcastle upon Tyne) result:
LAB: 43.2% (-20.0)
LDEM: 28.1% (+19.0)
UKIP: 19.1% (+3.0)
CON: 5.1% (-2.4)
GRN: 4.5% (+0.5)

Castle (Carlisle) result:
LAB: 46.5% (+9.2)
CON: 26.7% (+7.7)
UKIP: 12.5% (-10.4)
LDEM: 10.3% (-0.6)
GRN: 4.0% (-3.5)

As for the all important Lib Dem bar chart? Well this has been updated by John Grout and Brian Milnes to show we are now at 13 NET Gains.

By-election net changes graph - 16/09/2016 - The Liberal Democrats Number 1 in local council by-elections since 5th May 2016. Net Up 13, Gained 13, lost 0.

Full details of last nights By-Election results can be found on the ALDC website’s By-Election Results page and details of that is coming next on my preview page.

Well done to all who stood last night regardless of the result. It is really important that we stand candidates in all by-elections in order to build the habit of voting Liberal Democrat. If there is no candidate of ours on the ballot paper we are depriving someone of their ability to vote for us. If you are interested in standing as a candidate please get in touch with your Local Party or ALDC.

Polling Station Sign

Upcoming By-Elections – 22/09/2016

Plasnewydd (Cardiff UA)

Note : Election actually 20th September 2016 unusually.

Labour seat. Cause: Death.
LD candidate – Robin Rea.
To help, please contact Robin on 07800 559668 or visit www.CardiffLD.org.uk/roath-volunteer

Cil-y-Cwm (Carmarthenshire UA)

Independent seat. Cause: Death.
LD candidate – Catherine Nakielny.

Teignmouth Central (Teignbridge DC)

Conservative seat. Cause: Death.
LD candidate- Alison Eden.
To help, please email Sally Morgan on sallmrgn@aol.com.

Coatbridge North & Glenboig (North Lanarkshire UA)

SNP seat. Cause: Resignation.
No Lib Dem Candidate

Christchurch (Allerdale BC)

Conservative seat. Cause: Resignation.
LD candidate – Debbie Taylor.

Adderbury, Bloxham & Bodicote (Cherwell DC)

Conservative seat. Cause: Resignation.
LD candidate: Ian Richard Thomas.

Chopwell & Rolands Gill (Gateshead MB)

Labour seat. Cause: Resignation.
LD candidate: Amelia Louise Ord.

Hadleigh (Suffolk CC)

Conservative seat. Cause: resignation.
LD candidate: Trevor Sheldrick.
To help, please contact Dave Busby on 01473 311576/07855 777147 or email busbydathome@aol.com.
A phone bank has been set up and if you would be able to help the link to the phone bank is available on https://www.openvpb.com/ngpvanui/login?destination=vpb_bycode%2FC16EB1N-9539#register

Arley & Whitacre (North Warwickshire)

Conservative seat. Cause: Resignation.
No Lib Dem Candidate

Old Stratford (South Northamptonshire)

Conservative seat. Cause: Resignation.
No Lib Dem Candidate.

East (Hailsham TC)

Labour seat. Cause: Resignation.
LD candidate – Graham Moore.

To keep up to date on all upcoming elections visit the ALDC By-Election pages.

Brighton Pier

Autumn Federal Conference 2016 Newbie Special

Despite the glorious weather bathing (a large chunk of) the UK in summer sunshine Autumn is upon us, and what surer sign of its arrival is there than the Liberal Democrat Autumn Federal Conference! This year Lib Dems from all over the country will descend on Brighton for fun, policy, debate, and (most likely) drink! Also this year there will be record breaking numbers of Newbies and First Time Attendees, following on from Spring Conference’s record breaking numbers of Newbies and First Time Attendees!
Going to conference is incredibly fun, giving you a chance to chat to people who you may only see once or twice a year, or to meet people in real life who you only ever talk to on Twitter or Facebook (I’m not the only one to have started talking to someone before realising that they have no idea who I am as I’ve only ever spoke to them online… Am I???). It is also the serious policy making heart of our Party, and sets us apart from other parties. If you have never been you might think it isn’t for you, however having felt the same last year I can confirm after Spring conference in York that it absolutely is for you.
Attending your first conference can be bit daunting so I thought I’d set out a few thoughts about things to do, what to expect, and a few tips from my first time and from a few others here at Newbie HQ. This is by no means exhaustive and I’d recommend also reading Caron Lindsay’s excellent articles about conference on Lib Dem Voice here and here.
 
Things to do…
Lib Dem Pint – Friday 16th September 2016 20:00-23:00
Before conference starts Newbie HQ have arranged a social event to welcome members new and old to Brighton. As those who follow #LibDemPint events know it is traditional to secure a speaker for these events and for Brighton we have a cracking line up with some new members speaking, and some VERY well known member speaking. Taking place at Horatio’s Bar, Brighton Pier, you can find full details here, respond to the Facebook event, and book your free ticket here.
First Timers FCC Q&A – Saturday 17th September 13:30-14:30
Your chance to quiz the Federal Conference Committee on all things conference or about how the party works in general.
 
Members Rally – Saturday 17th September 2016 18:15-19:30
Technically a fringe event the members rally is a set of speeches by a variety of speakers that is a way of energising everyone who has come to conference. I promise it is a lot more fun than I’m making it sound!
 
First Timers Reception – Saturday  17th September 2016 20:00-20:45
If you are a first time attendee you should have already received an invite to this event, and is sadly only for first timers. Whilst billed as a session to orientate new comers to conference and to answer any questions you might have this was probably my highlight of York’s Spring conference this year. As well as answering your questions and meeting other people who are at their first conference too it’s a great chance to hear the likes of Tim Farron and Sal Brinton (and Andrew Wiseman) up close and to get a free drink or 2. To my surprise this wasn’t a whistle stop drop in my Tim fresh from his Rally speech he hung around for a long time chatting to people and posing for numerous selfies and if that is what you are after (and let’s face it who doesn’t want a selfie with the leader?) this is your best bet.
Tim Hallam, James Harvey, Tim Farron, Chris Cooke, Ross Shipman
 
Conference itself – Saturday 17th – Tuesday 20th September
There is lots on offer and too much to list highlights as that will depend on what you want to get out of the 4 days. I would recommend that to get the most out of your time try and attend at least 1 of each type event from social events, fringe events, training, consultations, speeches, and policy debates.
 
Tips…
Some of these tips are my own and others from members of Newbie HQ and as such are offered with no guarantee!
  • If at a loose end head to the conference bar. There will always be lots of people milling around to chat to. Don’t be afraid to talk to other members that you don’t know – Lib Dems may have strange taste in foot wear but the never bite!
  • Find out who from your local party or region is also going and make arrangements to meet up early in the weekend that way you know you’ll have a touch point early on and can arrange further meet ups then.
  • Plan but plan in pencil, things will change as you talk to people and do things.
  • Read the motion papers and get hold of conference daily. I know it seems a bit dull at first, but if you want to follow any of the policy debates you really need to have read the motion and the amendments. Some of this can sound complicated, and it is, but after a couple of sessions it will start to make sense.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak on a motion. The phrase “This is my first conference” or “this is my first time speaking at conference” in your opening statement will be bound to get you a cheer and boost your confidence.
  • Make sure you eat, drink and sleep! With everything going on and sessions running from early morning to past midnight it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day! Make sure you allow time to get some food, many fringe events offer food and some offer drinks (be it coffee or wine) and these can be vital pit stops as well and interesting sessions.
  • Be prepared for a lot of selfies, if you come across any of Newbie HQ we will be sure to grab a selfie with you!
My final piece of advice is relax and enjoy it. Yes conference is serious and critical to the functioning of our party, but it can also be a hell of a lot of fun!
If you have any tips of your own please add them in the comments section.
See you all in Brighton this weekend!