by Gareth Wilson on 17 May, 2010
Pauline and I went to Birmingham on Sunday 16 May to attend the Liberal Democrat Special Conference. The only item on the agenda was the coalition agreement. You can read this ageement in full by clicking on the “-Coalition Agreement” heading on useful links on the left of the web site.
Over 2,000 Lib Dem activists debated the agreement for four hours. There were many thoughtful and stiring speeches. The team that had done the negotiating told the Conference about how it went. Their surprise that so many of our policies were accepted by the Conservative team. They spoke of the complete lack of preparation or response from the Labour team who were so concerned about their future leadership contests that they were unable to agree any of our requests. They were not even prepared to discuss the referendum on Alternative Vote which was in their own manifesto.
The Liberal Democrat Special Conference in Birmingham overwhelmingly approved the party’s Coalition Agreement with the Conservative Party.
Speaking after the vote, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:
“It is five days since I accepted the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
“Just five days, and we now know there will be no ID cards, no third runway at Heathrow, no more fingerprinting in schools without parents’ consent, no more child detention.
“Changes Liberal Democrats have spent months, years, campaigning for, are happening.
“Promises we were making to people on their doorsteps just a few weeks ago are becoming realities.
“Fair taxes. The income tax threshold is now going to rise to £10,000. That is this Government’s priority, not tax cuts for millionaires.
“The best start at school for every child. Extra money is now going to be targeted to pupils who need it most. That is a huge leap in creating a truly mobile society.
“A new, sustainable economy. The banks are going to be taxed, the bonus culture is going to be cracked.
“And instead of pinning all our hopes on financial wizardry in the City of London we’ll build a new economy where we rediscover our talents for building and making things again, with green industry given new prominence as we head towards a zero-carbon future.
“Fixed term parliaments – happening.
“The power of recall to get rid of corrupt MPs – happening.
“A clean up of party funding, a clamp down on lobbying in Parliament, an elected House of Lords – all happening.
“Our Freedom Bill is going to come off our leaflets and go onto the statute book, ending gross state intrusion into people’s every day lives.
“Patients, parents, communities are all going to have a much greater say over the decisions that affect them.
“And voting reform is going to be put to the British people, in a referendum in which Liberal Democrats will fight to deliver real change.
“I know the stakes are high – for me personally, as well as the party.
“But I came into politics to change things, and that means taking risks.
“Real, big change never comes easy.
“So it would simply be wrong for us to let this chance of real change pass us by.
“The chance to transform politics, the chance to hardwire fairness into our society, the chance to change Britain for good.”Leave a comment