LIBG chair's report 2010-11

12 Aug 2011

LIBG Chairman's Annual Report 2011

LIBG has had a good year. We have begun to cooperate with other groups within the party and plan to continue such cooperation in the coming year. To date, we have held a joint meeting with the Chinese Lib Dems at which Martin Jacques gave us the benefit of his insights into the rise of China and its likely impact on the rest of the world. We are planning a joint fringe on the Arab Spring with the Lib Dem European Group at Autumn Federal Conference, and will share our conference stall with a new Lib Dem Friends of Brazil group. Last, but by no means least, our AGM and this evening's meeting on the 2011 Polish EU presidency, kindly hosted by Her Excellency the Ambassador of Poland to the Court of St. James, arose in part from links with the Lib Dem Friends of Poland. I very much hope that we can continue with such collaboration in future as it enables us both to pool costs and resources with like-minded liberals with an interest in international affairs, and reach out beyond our own members. In particular, I look forward to working with Sarah Harding of Liberal Youth to organise an event in the North West in the autumn.


Since the last AGM we have held a garden party in London thanks to the generous hospitality of Robert and Barbara Woodthorpe Browne and our traditional Diplomats' Reception, impeccably organized by Wendy Kyrle-Pope. Speaker meetings were held on Darfur at which Becky Tinsley spoke, on the Arab Spring at which Robert Woodthorpe Browne gave a fascinating overview of the situation in a large number of Middle Eastern and North African states, and on China as already mentioned. In addition, Lord (Peter) Hennessy gave the fourth Tim Garden Annual Lecture at Chatham House, a full transcript of which will appear in the September edition of InterLIB.

Lib Dem Party Conference

The stall in Liverpool was manned by my mother, who kindly spent all day, every day of Conference meeting and greeting those who were interested in LIBG, with regular support from Allan Witherick and Dirk Hazell. We recruited several new members and held a fringe meeting on the role of party foundations in international politics, at which we were addressed by two of our Vice-Presidents: Lord Alderdice and Gordon Lishman.


John Melling is stepping down as a Vice-President after many years of service and will be replaced, subject to confirmation at the AGM by John Barrett.

Liberal International

We are delighted that LIBG Vice-President was elected co-Treasurer of Liberal International at the Manila Congress last month. Looking to the future, LIBG will be hosting the next Liberal International Executive meeting in London on 14th October 2011. This will be followed by a workshop on the Responsibility to Protect on 15th October. Further details will be provided as soon as possible.

LIBG's relations with the Lib Dems

LIBG has been an Associated Organisation (AO) of the Liberal Democrats, which gives certain benefits, including the ability to book rooms and stalls at Federal Conference at 'party' rates. As part of a regular review of such organisations, a motion from the Federal Executive will be going to Federal Conference recommending that LIBG be renewed as an AO subject to a minor constitutional amendment. Since we were only made aware of this requirement after the deadline for motions to this AGM I will be discussing the requirements with the party and the Executive and will bring forward a proposed amendment to the next AGM, or to an EGM should this be necessary.

Finally, I would like to thank all the members of the Executive for their support during the last year. Particular thanks go to those who are not re-standing. I hope you will continue to join us at LIBG events in future.

Julie Smith, Cambridge

18th July 2011