Political

Liberal Democrat federal committee elections: what are they all about?

For the first time this year, the elections for the main Liberal Democrat committees are being carried out by a ballot of all party members rather than the electorate being restricted only to party conference representatives. (That expansion of the party’s democracy was originally proposed in a very flawed way by the Federal Executive – something which I and others than managed to get sorted.)

Here are some details about the bodies being elected, taken from A glossary of Liberal Democrat terms. Bearing in mind in particular just how many people will be voting in this sort of election for the first time, I hope you find the information useful – and of course the comment threads awaits for any queries.

ALDE: The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe is the European political party to which the Liberal Democrats belong. It has political groups in the European Parliament, the EU Committee of the Regions, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Every three years a ballot of party members elects our ALDE Council Delegation. The ALDE Council meets twice a year and makes decisions such as which parties can join and who the Secretary General should be.

Federal Board (FB): the successor to the Federal Executive (FE) under the constitutional reforms passed in 2016. The Federal Board is the ‘ruling board’ of the party, a majority of whose members are elected by party members and the rest of whom come from MPs, representatives of councillors etc. The party member elections are held every three years. There is quite a lot of lively discussion about how much power the FB really has to steer the party but under the post-2016 plans it has a new formal role in drawing up the party’s strategy and coordinating its implementation.

FCC (Federal Conference Committee): the body which organises the party’s two federal (UK-wide) party conferences each year, a weekend in the spring and a longer one in the autumn. The majority of its members are directly elected by party members in a ballot held every three years.

FPC (Federal Policy Committee): the party’s national (UK-wide) policy committee, a majority of whose members are elected by party members and the rest of whom come from MPs, representatives of councillors etc. The party member elections are held every three years. The FPC is responsible for the Liberal Democrat general election manifestos.

IRC (Federal International Relations Committee): manages relationships with our sister parties internationally, including overseeing the provision of training for them. Under changes introduced in 2016, it was given the ‘Federal’ prefix, but – so far – the acronym in common use has not changed. A minority of its members are elected every three years in a ballot of all party members. Its other members are the Party Presidents and representatives from other party bodies and groups.

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