Autumn Conference, 17-21 September - so much for HSLD members and supporters
Every day of this year's Autumn Conference holds important debates and events that are of special significance to us, covering
- Friday - Conversion therapy;
- Saturday - The right to dignity and chose at the end of life, for the terminally ill;
- Saturday - Global abuses of the human right to freedom of religion or belief;
- Sunday - Religious school assemblies;
- Monday - Recognition in our party's constitution of religious and non-religious belief.
We hope you'll be able to join us (virtually) at Conference, to exercise your vote and help decide party policy on these and many other issues, as well as enjoying the rich variety of events and training activities and meeting with some of the party's campaigners in the exhibition.
You can also meet members of your committee and have a chat at our conference exhibition booth during exhibition hours.
If you've never been to Conference before, this would be a great time to start, and the first-timer cost is just £1.
You can find out more about Conference, and register, at www.libdems.org.uk/conference.
And here's our quick guide to those Essential Events for HSLD members and supporters:
Policy motion: Ban Conversion Therapy
Friday, 2.30 - 3.10pm
We usually leave this sort of issue for LGBT+ LibDems, but this motion also has a strong religious angle: a major 2017 government survey of LGBT+ people indicated that half of incidents of so-called conversion therapy on LGBT+ people have been conducted by faith organisations.
The motion calls for a ban on conversion therapy, which can leave major psychological scars on its victims, with "no exemption for religious and faith-based organisations for any of the above", and it singles out "a religious practice such as a prayer or exorcism".
Fringe: Banning Conversion Therapy - an LGBT+ Liberal Democrats event.
Friday, 5.35 - 6.45pm
"With the government dragging its feet on conversion therapy, Wera Hobhouse MP is fighting to hold their feet to the fire. Join us to explore the issues at stake and help us hold the government accountable for their promises."
Policy motion: Dignity Care and Choice at the End of Life
Saturday, Midday - 1pm
Last year, Christine Jardine secured a House of Commons debate on assisted dying.
This June, Liam McArthur lodged an Assisted Dying Bill in the Scottish Parliament.
Together, they'll be opening and closing this policy debate, which calls for terminally ill people to be able "to live and die with as much dignity and control as possible."
Party policy on assisted dying came out of HSLD motions to Conference, so it's really important that we should support our parliamentarians as they take up the campaign in Westminster and Holyrood - and at Conference.
Fringe: The Forgotten Human Right: Freedom of Religion or Belief - a joint HSLD / LDCF event
Saturday, 1.05 - 2.15pm
The fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief protects everyone, whatever their beliefs, but is increasingly attacked around the world; it needs protecting.
- Marguerite Ohan, from Christian Solidarity Worldwide);
- Emma Wadsworth-Jones (Humanists International).
Chaired by Wera Hobhouse MP, our party's Equalities spokesperson.
Fringe: Why Aren't School Assemblies Inclusive? - our second fringe event
Sunday, 1.05 - 2.15pm
Baroness Lorely Burt's Inclusive Assemblies Bill is now awaiting its 2nd reading in the House of Lords. How could it make assemblies in non-religious schools inclusive for all students, regardless of their religion or belief, and why does this matter?
- Baroness Lorely Burt, our Co-President, and LibDem Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group;
- Reverend Stephen Terry, Chair of the Accord Coalition, which campaigns to end religious discrimination in state schools;
- Lee and Lizanne Harris, who had to go to court to assert their right not to have a religion they don't hold imposed on their children.
Policy Motion: Updating the Party Constitution's Language on Equality and Inclusion
Monday, 2.50 - 3.05pm
The motion updates the party constitution's preamble so as to include rejection of prejudice and discrimination based on ethnicity, caste, class or gender.
Please join the debate and support our amendment, which would add two further words so as to reject prejudice and discrimination based on religion "or belief" as well. This is a key issue for us, and we've been calling for this change for years.
A big thank you to the 49 supporters who have already put their names to this amendment.