Leader Sir Ed Davey MP outlined his vision for building a fairer, greener and more caring country and to back small businesses by putting recovery first, as the UK Liberal Democrats convened virtually for their Spring Conference.
In his keynote speech, he repeated his call for an independent inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, affirmed the right to protest, and rallied the party ahead of the forthcoming local elections in England, and assembly elections in London, Scotland and Wales.
“In May’s bumper crop of elections, we must get out there and make our case across the UK. Because our communities need us. They need us to campaign harder than ever before. To knock on every door. Speak to every voter. Deliver every leaflet. And they need us to win,” he said. “After all the pain our country has endured, our communities cannot afford the Tories to take us backwards or the SNP to tear us apart. It’s up to us to stop them – and to offer something better.”
Delegates adopted a number of motions during the Conference, including on the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Future of the UK–EU Relationship setting out a desire for closer cooperation with the EU on areas such as climate change, health, science and security, in aid of a stronger relationship with their European neighbours.
Sir Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU – he first trade deal in history to put up new barriers to trade – is hurting our businesses and seriously harming our recovery. [It is] an act of economic vandalism at the worst possible time.”
“I’m proud it’s Liberal Democrats leading the argument that the Government must get back round the table, to talk with our European neighbours and rebuild those relationships,” he continued. “I’m proud that – as we have affirmed once again this weekend – Liberal Democrats remain a strongly pro-European party making the argument for the closest possible relationship with the EU – so we can put recovery first.”
More than 800 participated in the Conference, including ALDE Party Vice President Baroness Sal Brinton who in her capacity as party Spokesperson for Health in the House of Lords held a Q&A briefing session for members.
The Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG) organised a fringe meeting during the Conference programme on the topic of freedom of movement which featured Trine Skei Grande MP, former leader of Venstre, Norway, and Andri Silberschmidt, Member of Parliament for FDP Switzerland.
The ALDE Party maintained a stand at the virtual conference centre where delegates were able to learn more and sign-up as a Liberal Associate. Visitors of the ALDE Booth got the chance to win a 1-year Premium Liberal Associate subscription. We are proud to announce that the winner is Thorsten Altenkirch.
"Liberal Democrats will put recovery first." - @EdwardJDavey ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5IclZtmzZw— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) March 22, 2021