In March 2023, the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference took place in York, UK.
A team representing Lib Dems Abroad hosted a stand highlighting the upcoming changes to the voting rights of citizens living overseas, and some of the unique challenges faced by British citizens living outside the UK.
The Chair, Membership Officer and Data Officer from Lib Dems Overseas were part of this in-person team. There was real excitement and enthusiasm around overseas voters.
Ed Davey visited the stand and discussed the challenges faced by 550,000 pensioners (primarily in commonwealth countries), whose pensions are frozen.
"Frozen pensioners do not receive any annual uprating adjustments to their State Pensions, resulting in pension payments of declining real terms value throughout their retirement. This leaves some facing poverty in old age."
More details: Unfreeze Frozen Pensions
The conference closed with a 40-minute speech in which Ed Davey set out some of the areas of focus for the Lib Dems. A large part of his speech was about events outside of the British Isles, and their impact within the UK – here are some highlights:
PROUD INTERNATIONALISTS: "Because as liberals we are proud internationalists. Who understand that our country thrives most when it is open and outward-looking. When it stands tall in the world, instead of shrinking back from it. We understand that no nation – even one as resourceful and resilient as our great United Kingdom – no nation can afford to cut itself off. And we know that our country can be an incredible force for good when it plays an active role on the world stage – Guided by our fundamental British values of equality, democracy, human rights and the rule of law."
FOREIGN POLICY IS CORE: "Foreign policy is not secondary to economic and social policy. Good, ethical foreign policy is good economic and social policy. That’s why we stand for human rights everywhere in the world."
Ed Davey subsequently made the commitment to return UK’s overseas aid to 0.7 percent of
REPAIR OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EUROPE: " [there’s a historic], longstanding difference between the Liberal Democrat economic vision – and those of others. More relevant today than ever. I call it the elephant in the room of British politics. An elephant we always point to, even though other parties daren’t even whisper its name. So let me shout it, yet again: if you want to boost our economy, you have to repair our broken relationship with Europe."
The Lib Dems are an internationalist party. Lib Dems Overseas is the local group representing members who live around the world – and we help link our members views and insight back into the party.