How the Lib Dem manifesto was finalised
On Friday, the Liberal Democrat general election manifesto was finalised. In a special piece, Federal Policy Committee Vice Chair Jeremy Hargreaves explains what happened.
On Friday night, I chaired the Federal Policy Committee’s meeting to make the final decisions about our party’s manifesto for this general election. It was a marathon seven-hour session for the FPC, where we went through the whole document again, line by line. We had a total of 604 individual suggested amendments in front of us and discussed many specific proposals, from precise tax changes, to foreign affairs issues and details of how individual public services work and much, much more.
We looked very carefully at what our proposals will cost, and have a precise programme showing exactly how we will pay for them. Other parties are often very vague about how they will pay for their bright ideas – by contrast, we will show our costings clearly. There’s been a great example of that this week, when the IFS, the respected independent guardians of financial responsibility, said our Remain Bonus was reasonable – as close to a green light as they give, and in contrast to what they said about some other parties’ plans!
And of course, our manifesto is drawn from the existing body of Liberal Democrat policy passed by party conference. Something the many lobbyists who’ve been contacting me over recent weeks never seem to understand is that if you are looking for it to reverse agreed policy in a major area I’m afraid you will be disappointed!
Because our policy is made by our members at conference, the challenge of writing the manifesto – which has seen a massive amount of work underway for several months, especially by party staff – is to draw together our ideas into a consistent programme, and highlight priorities which help people understand what Liberal Democrats believe, and which will attract voters to us.
The result is a programme for changing Britain that as a party we can be proud of. It is clear, highly distinctive – even apart from Brexit – and practical and implementable policy. Most importantly of all, it is distinctively Liberal Democrat, and is a programme of policies which will make Britain a more liberal place.
There will now be a few days’ work to incorporate all the decisions, iron out any wrinkles, get it proofed, designed and printed – and it will then be formally launched! We hope you like the more liberal society and world it describes.