Chair’s Report 2018

Since I took over the Chair of the Liberal Democrats in Europe, we have made significant progress on several fronts.

Over the past few years we have had various legacy issues with collating the various bank accounts set up in our name. Thanks to the determination of our treasurer, Deborah Griffith, we‘ve located and secured full access to our funds.

Our second major achievement has been the launch of a new website, we‘ve transferred from a previous provider to one that gives us greater flexibility as we continue to grow as an organisation. Tom McAdam delivered this for us and we are tremendously grateful to him for delivering on this long term objective.

Nathan has been excellent in organizing and documenting our regular executive meetings. And many of us have been involved in the citizen‘s rights movements.

We supported a number of local parties in their local election campaigns this year and are already planning support for the forthcoming year.

There has been a decline in our membership since last year, however i am delighted to report that this was for a very positive reason: our former members in France decided that they had the resources to set up their own local party. We will continue to work closely together over the next few years. As it stands our membership is….( We are committed to maintaining and developing our membership.

Thanks to the explosion in our membership numbers since 2016 we have become an influential force within the party. Our presence at the party‘s conference in Brighton this year was the best for a long while. We launched Liberal Democrats Abroad with our colleagues in LibDems Overseas. Several senior party figures joined us, including party president Sal Brinton, as we launched the campaign for votes for Britons abroad. We made a substantial contribution to the party’s policy development: several of our amendments were accepted for conference motions, i spoke on the importance  of individual liberties for liberal democrat foreign policy.

Voting rights is one of the key issues for affecting British citizens living outside the UK. I‘m pleased to say the private members bill is steadily going through parliament. Layla Moran, who hosted an event for our members in Brussels in April, is on the committee scrutinizing the bill and it should be passed next year. Unfortunately, the Labour Party leadership have decided to oppose the bill on the grounds that granting expatriates the right to vote will be too expensive.

Voting brings me to the last thing in my report - and that is Brexit - or the PeoplesVote. We will continue to press for a vote on the final deal (or non-deal?) and hope that you will support us.

Finally I‘d like to than two retiring members of the Executive. Dave Chadwick is planning to return to the UK - we wish him well. Finally a special tribute to Anne Jarivs who has been a stalwart of our Brussels group. We wish her well and I‘d like to propose a special vote of thanks to her.

I‘ve signed out a few members of the Executive in this report. I’ve not forgotten their contribution over the years. Thank you all.

Rob Harrison

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