This assembly reaffirms the Liberal Party’s support for a free, independent Palestinian State. The Liberal Party also calls for:
1. the State of Palestine to be accepted as a member of the United
2. Her Majesty’s Government to recognise the State of Palestine and
to exchange ambassadors;
3. Palestine to be invited to join the Commonwealth as a Full Member;
4. Palestinian sporting teams to be invited to participate in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games;
5. British business to be encouraged to invest in the Palestinian economy to improve the economy of the new independent Palestinian nation.
The Liberal Party supports the Amnesty International led campaign for China to demonstrate its commitment to human rights in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The campaign is particularly pressing for reforms on:
1. The Death Penalty;
2. Fair trial and prevention of torture and ill treatment;
3. Protection of human rights defenders;
4. Freedom of expression and information.
To all these objectives the Liberal Party pledges its support.
The Liberal Party, whilst supporting the current policy of an inheritance grant of £10,000 to all young people believes this should be qualified by:
1. Where the young person of age 18 or more can show that the grant will be used individually or jointly, in whole or parts, to:
1. purchase a home or
2. purchase or fund further education or vocational training
3. fund an individual business where the young person is a sole owner or significant partner.
2. That grant be supplied earlier on request and reasonable evidence.
3. If the young person commits a crime and conviction the courts can instruct this grant be withheld or given in parts as compensation to the victims of that crime
Closure of Rural Post Offices
The Liberal Party views with great concern the proposals for the closure of more rural post offices.
Assembly believes that closures will have a significant impact on the quality of life for those who live in remote parts of the country where small schools and shops have already been lost to the community.
Assembly further urges the government to call a halt to the current closure programme and consider the social benefits of the rural post office and also recognise the environmental impact of greater dependence on car travel to more distant service locations.
School Catchment Areas
The Liberal Party believes that school admission should be managed within defined catchment areas which would reduce the need for car travel and its associated pollution; it would encourage walking and cycling, improve health and combat the rising level of child obesity.
Home Information Packs (HIPS)
The Liberal Party believes (1) that the requirements for the Home
Information Packs (HIPs) are a total waste of time and money and have
thrown the buy-to-let market into chaos in many parts of the country.
The Liberal Party believes:
1. that Government proposals for the planning system undermine local democracy; government concern for speedy decisions to be made on major infrastructure projects favours business interests at the price of public interest in long-term sustainable development; the suggested Independent Commission would remove the public accountability from major projects which is now exercised by Ministers before the House of Commons.
2. The proposed revision of the needs and impact tests for retail development could further weaken the retail position of town centres and neighbourhood centres.
The European Union
Referendum on the EU Reform Treaty
Assembly notes that the Liberal Party is opposed to the use of referenda save for the determination of constitutional changes. Further, Assembly recalls that the Liberal Party called for a referendum of the formerly proposed ‘Constitution for Europe’.
Accordingly the Liberal Party believes that the British people should be enabled, by a referendum, to decide the acceptance of the proposed ‘EU Reform Treaty’.
Assembly believes that a summary statement (available in minority languages) of the proposed EU Reform Treaty should be circulated to all households prior to any such referendum.
The EU Reform Treaty
Assembly believes that the EU Reform Treaty represents an attempt by the EU to force upon the peoples of Europe the provisions of the formerly proposed EU constitution, such a constitution having been rejected by popular votes in France and Holland.
Assembly, further noting that that proposed treaty contains provisions which provide for:
1. a European Head of State;
2. an EU diplomatic corps and foreign minister;
3. a common system of criminal justice and a European Public Prosecutor;
4. the EU having ‘legal personality’ and treaty making powers akin to a sovereign state;
5. the reduction in Britain’s voting strength in the Council of Ministers meetings by 30%;
resolves to campaign against the adoption of the EU Reform Treaty, whether as part of a wider referendum campaign or otherwise.
The Liberal Party deplores the actions of the illegal, unelected militaristic Burmese regime in their vicious attacks and repression of the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators. Whilst we welcome the intervention of the UN envoy we call upon Her Majesty’s Government to:
1. work in partnership with our EU colleagues to bring pressure within the UN to implement sanctions against the Burmese regime;
2. urge EU governments to take action against Businesses who are actively trading with Burma.
Assembly further deplores the attitude currently being taken by both Russia and China within the UN Security Council that the actions of the Burmese regime are a purely internal matter and urges HM Government, in partnership with our EU colleagues, to bring every possible pressure on Russia and China to prevent their vetoing their action.
The Liberal Party notes with alarm the increasing incidence of gun crime and violence in inner-cities such as the shooting of Rhys Jones in Liverpool. We call for an urgent review of the neighbourhood services and community safety in urban areas and we support calls for the greater provision of youth services and police resources in inner cities.
The Liberal Party asks social housing agencies to take a firmer stand in evicting families found guilty or violent criminal activities.
Furthermore we call for an urgent review of the provision of, and confidence in, witness support schemes.