Liberal Democrats cancel conference after Queen’s death
The Liberal Democrats have canceled their upcoming autumn conference and postponed major debates until the spring after the Queen’s death.
Sir Ed Davey’s party conference – which was due to take place from September 17-20 – clashed with the late Queen Sovereign Elizabeth II’s 10-day mourning period, including the September 19 funeral.
Nick da Costa, who chairs the party’s conference committee, said the Lib Dems ‘want and need to show our respect to the Queen and the period of national mourning’.
In an email update, he said: “The sad news of the past few days has deeply affected our country. And we now know that the Queen’s funeral will take place on the Monday of our conference.
“After very careful consideration … the conference committee and the federal council have together reluctantly decided to cancel our fall conference and postpone the major debates to the spring,” Da Costa added.
Labor plans to continue its autumn conference, The Independent understand. Keir Starmer’s party kicks off his conference in Liverpool on September 25, days after the end of the mourning.
The Tories are also believed to be pushing ahead with their plans for the Birmingham conference from October 2, although the two sides have yet to decide whether to cancel, delay or significantly change their schedule of events.
Cancellation could cost millions of pounds, with businesses, charities and other civic organizations paying significant sums to gain access to MPs and party figures.
The Lib Dems said they had considered the possibility of postponing the conference until later in October, but said doing so would have imposed “significant additional costs” on members and proved logistically difficult.
Earlier on Saturday, Liz Truss, along with her ministers, opposition party leaders and other high-profile figures, swore allegiance to the new king as parliament convened for a rare Saturday sitting.
The King also held an audience with the new Prime Minister and his Cabinet, followed by a separate audience with Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed and the leader of the SNP at Westminster, Ian Blackford.
In other tributes to the Commons, Senior Labor MP Yvette Cooper paid tribute to a ‘truly remarkable Queen’ who embodied ‘the resilience, strength, kindness, fairness, common decency, determined optimism that things will be better because we will make them that way”.
Former Tory minister Damian Green said the Queen had ‘not the slightest trace of selfish pomposity’ and had ‘a genius for needed reform, to talk about an old institution of enormous importance and change it small little by little to keep it relevant”.
The leader of the “one nation” caucus of the conservative centrists said: “She has kept the monarchy old and modern. It is an extraordinary historic achievement,’ adding that today’s televised membership council showed the King is ‘continuing on the same path’.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry paid tribute to the late sovereign’s ‘love of Scotland’ – calling her ‘Queen of Scotland’ and reciting Robert Burns My Heart’s in Highlands in tribute.
She added: “At a time of change, there are many people in my country – especially young people – who might prefer a republic to a constitutional monarch. But that didn’t stop the affection our late Queen had for Scotland from being returned in equal measure.