Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Northern Region Conference

Off to the Northern Region Liberal Democrats' Summer Conference on Saturday at Gateshead Civic Centre. During the morning session I was part of the panel of speakers in our review of the local elections.
Across the Region, the Lib Dems secured 182 seats with 24% of the votes cast, well ahead of the Conservatives with 116 seats and 19% of the votes. We comfortably retained control of Durham and Newcastle and were the largest party in Berwick.
The main talking point of the afternoon session was the appearance of Boris van der Ham, a Dutch Liberal MP, on stage with our own Fiona Hall MEP and John Shipley, Leader of Newcastle City Council, in a presentation and debate about Energy Efficiency.
Also during the day, a motion was debated about the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act, where MPs recently and deplorably, voted to exempt themselves from the FoI Act. Conference unanimously deplored the actions of these MPs and urged the Lords to vote down this self-serving and anti-democratic proposal.
We also heard a speech from the Chair of the English Liberal Democrats and from the English Party Membership Development Officer.
Finally, the day ended with my announcement of the details of this year's Regional Awards Scheme, which I set up last year to reward good practice in Focus design and production, electoral and political campaigning, individual achievement and membership and recruitment.
The success of last year's inaugural Awards Scheme has apparently led to the English Party considering establishing a similar Scheme for the whole country.

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