Emergency Motion: Spring Conference 2013

Following the debate at the Liberal Democrats September conference in Brighton, we want to make sure that our MPs, Peers and Ministers deliver on the motion that was passed there.

Can you help? So far people have backed our Secret Courts Petition, but we are now asking as many conference delegates as possible to back our emergency motion to Spring Conference as outlined below:

Continuing our opposition to Secret Courts

Conference notes:

  1. 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:
    1. Part II of the Justice and Security Bill to be withdrawn or defeated by Liberal Democrat parliamentarians; and
    2. Public Interest Immunity to be put into legislation;
  2. 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;
  3. That Liberal Democrat peers formed the majority of those voting in the Lords to remove secret courts from the Justice and Security Bill;
  4. The Liberal Democrat party’s unique characteristic is that party members decide policy at Federal Conference;
  5. That despite the above, the government’s amendments passed in January and February 2013 undo the Lords amendments and put the Bill back into a non-JCHR compliant state;
  6. That on 5th February 2013 Liberal Democrat MPs Julian Huppert and Mike Crockart voted, along with Labour MPs, to remove clause 6 (the “secret courts clause”) from the Bill in Committee but were defeated by one vote;
  7. That the Report stage of the Bill debated government amendments which fail to deliver the last resort provision, or the judicial balancing of public interest in open and fair administration of justice against national security considerations;
  8. That the Commons Report stage of the Justice and Security Bill takes place on 4th and 7th March which falls immediately prior to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, and the outcome of that stage is unknown at the time of submitting this motion.

Conference believes:

  1. 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;
  2. 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”;
  3. That Part II of the Justice and Security Bill should be withdrawn immediately;

Conference repeats its call for:

  1. Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to vote to delete Part II of the Justice and Security Bill
  2. Party policy to remain that the Liberal Democrats will repeal Part II of the Justice and Security Act (if so enacted) as soon as we are in a position to do so.