'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Tuesday 5 March 2013

#No2secretcourts; Is there hope? Not much

So it seems that we are doomed to have secret courts after all.

We still have the Third reading to go - helpfully scheduled for Thursday so it's safely out of the way before the horror of Spring Conference. I asked Twitter last night when was the last occasion a bill was defeated at third reading. A C McGregor was able to fill me in...

Here is the said bill. It's a wowser.

So here are a few posers:

1. What is the point of conference anymore. Here's a comment from LDV from Alex Marsh that I think sums up the situation rather well...

As a couple of commenters have already noted, this vote raises important questions about the relationship between Conference and the Parliamentary Party. It isn’t the first time since 2010 that Conference has very clearly voted one way and Parliamentary Party has voted the other. But in the other cases it would be possible for supporters of the parliamentary party’s position to justify this (however unconvincingly) on the basis of dealing with the deficit etc (eg on WCA and the welfare reform bill) and the compromises of coalition.
But the secret courts bill is different. It isn’t about dealing with the deficit. It isn’t in the coalition agreement. It is in conflict with core principles of the party and conference signaled clearly that it was against it. The message to the Parliamentary Party couldn’t have been more obvious. Yet it was (largely) ignored.
We all know that the Parliamentary Party is not absolutely bound by Conference votes. But there needs to be good reason for departing from party policy. Is someone going to explain what the good reason is here?
As it is, the leadership seems to be saying pretty clearly that Conference motions, the views of the membership – the principles of liberalism? – are pretty much an irrelevance to whatever they want to do.
I’m going to Brighton this week as a voting rep. But I increasingly wonder whether there is any point.
Is anyone working on a book entitled “How we killed a long established and honorable political tradition over a few months of coalition”? If not then they should be.

2. Why do our parliamentarians think anyone from the grass roots is going to turn up and campaign for them a la Eastleigh if the wishes of the party are so singularly ignored? 

3. Lord Bonkers sums it up beautifully

And finally - thanks to those MPs who did support conference policy..

    Mike Crockart
    Tim Farron
    John Hemming
    Simon Hughes
    Julian Huppert
    Greg Mulholland
    Sarah Teather

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