From 17 to 19 March our UK member party, the Liberal Democrats, held their annual Spring Conference in York. The conference started with positive news as 1,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats in the last 9 days alone, strengthening the party's position as "the real opposition."
This message was emphasised in LibDems leader Tim Farron's speech on Sunday, where he clearly stated: "Whether you support Brexit or not, Britain needs a decent opposition."
"In January, Theresa May gave her big speech at Lancaster House where she set out her priorities for the Brexit negotiations. After months of saying Brexit means Brexit, she finally came clean. Brexit means Hard Brexit. Brexit means Brexit at any cost. Brexit means jumping out of the Single Market, the world’s biggest marketplace, with all the consequences that will have for people’s jobs and our economy. That wasn’t what people voted for in June last year. Narrowly the British people chose Brexit. But it is this Conservative Government that has chosen this Brexit," said Farron.
"There is only one party in British politics right now fighting to keep you in the world’s biggest marketplace, who wants to encourage an economy built on dynamism, innovation and opportunity, who believes in a genuinely free market; who wants challengers, ideas, innovation and who wants a liberal economy. That party is the Liberal Democrats. If you want to stop the Conservative Government taking our country out of the single market without any mandate to do so, you don’t have long to do it, and you don’t have time to do it subtly, but you can help rescue Britain’s economy and protect your business. You need to dump the Tories and back the Liberal Democrats right now."
"Because Liberal Democrats are defiant. We haven’t given up. We won’t become indifferent. We reject the Hard Brexit world view and we will fight it every step of the way," he concluded.
You can read Tim Farron's full speech here.
Participants at this LibDems conference also had the chance to join a powerful rally featuring prominent Liberal Democrats personalities, such as LibDems leader Tim Farron, LibDems Spokesperson on Brexit and Europe Nick Clegg and the winner of the Richmond Park by-election Sarah Olney.
The Liberal Democrats Spring Conference also serves as an occasion for policy discussion. This year, LibDems members passed resolutions on a wide range of topics, from refugee schemes to nuclear deterrence or decriminalisation of the possession of drugs for personal use.
The ALDE Party was present in the conference with a stand promoting ALDE Party individual membership, which recruited 55 new members over the weekend. ALDE Party Vice President Ros Scott and Catherine Bearder MEP were among the active promoters.