“No Secret Courts” Spring Conference motion submitted this morning

This morning we submitted the motion “No Secret Courts: the Liberal Democrat membership response to the Justice and Security Bill” to the party in good time for the 1pm deadline. The full text of the motion is set out below.

Spring Conference takes place on 8th-10th March in Brighton, and the meeting of the Federal Conference Committee which decides the agenda takes place on 19th January. We will keep you posted on the outcome of that meeting.

I reported earlier on the campaign Facebook page that we had submitted the motion, and that I had added in wording to reflect the inclusion of secret courts and the Justice and Security Bill in the mid-term review (page 37 if you want to check). The additional wording is in bold and underlined to make it clear. I hope the addition is not too controversial for any of the many people who supported the motion – please do let us know if any problems or questions. I’m sorry we didn’t have time to check about this – the inclusion of the Bill in the mid-term review took us rather by surprise [understatement].

Many thanks, as always, for all your support, kind words and action!

No Secret Courts – the Liberal Democrat membership response to the Justice & Security Bill

Conference notes:

  • The motion “No Government Above the Law – the Justice and Security Bill” passed
    overwhelmingly at the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference in September 2012
    called for:

    • Part II of the Justice and Security Bill to be withdrawn or defeated by Liberal
      Democrat parliamentarians; and
    • Public Interest Immunity to be put into legislation;
  • That the amendment calling for “CMPs to be used only as a last resort and in cases
    that would otherwise be incapable of being tried” was rejected overwhelmingly by the
    Liberal Democrat Conference;
  • That Liberal Democrat peers formed the majority of those voting in the Lords to
    remove secret courts from the Justice and Security Bill;
  • The Liberal Democrat party’s unique characteristic is that party members decide
    policy at Federal Conference;
  • That despite the above, the government’s intention as stated by Ken Clarke in the
    Commons on 18th December 2012, and as set out in the mid-term review published 7th January 2013, is to pursue enactment of Part II of the Justice and Security Bill including some, but not all, of the amendments proposed by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Conference believes:

  • That the measures in Part II of the Justice and Security Bill will mean the courts
    system of the United Kingdom will provide neither justice nor security in cases
    involving allegations against the state of the most serious nature including torture,
    rendition, negligence of armed forces, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment;
  • That the proposals in the Justice and Security Bill are directly contradictory to the
    core values and stated purpose of the Liberal Democrat party as enshrined in the
    Preamble to the Constitution, namely to “build and safeguard a fair, free and open
    society”;
  • That Part II of the Justice and Security Bill should be withdrawn immediately;
  • That active support for the proposals contained in Part II of the Justice and Security
    Bill in opposition to agreed party policy is tantamount to conduct evidencing material
    disagreement with the fundamental values and objectives of the Party.

Conference calls for:

  • In the event that Part II of the Justice and Security Bill is not withdrawn in accordance with the above, the agenda of the next Federal Conference shall include a debate to consider sanctions or other measures in accordance with the Constitution;
  • A pledge to repeal Part II of the Justice and Security Act (if so enacted) to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the next General Election.
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