A welcome was given to the new members, Georgie and Alan. On being asked why they joined, Alan said it was due to the Revoke policy. Georgie was of the same opinion. Philip Knowles said that the policy had resulted in the loss of a few members who thought the policy undemocratic.
Membership continues to rise. Latest numbers – 212 members across the whole constituency in, including 89 in the Richmondshire branch. When supporters are included, the number increases to over 250. This represents a large increase (in 2015 there were fewer than 80 members in the whole constituency).
Brexit Update – Boris Johnson had met Leo Varadker, and a possible deal was discussed. Any new deal would have to be accepted by the EU and Parliament. Anti-Brexit march in London on the 19th October. Philip attending. Everyone very welcome. Yorkshire Remain Voice Choir plan to head straight to the Parliament Green. A leaflet about the buses arranged by NY for Europe march was distributed by Jo. Contact PK for further details.
Best guess from HQ for General Election date is 28th Nov, although this is subject to change. The imminent Queen’s Speech is not likely to be passed by Parliament. Philip discussed a possible series of events following the Queen’s Speech, including Labour’s position. Labour continue to give confused messages.
Philip asked for comments about starting a Climate Action Group, and whether it should be solely a LibDem initiative, or a joint one with the Greens. He gave an example of how the group might operate (encouraging food outlets to use cardboard instead of plastic). There was discussion about the timing in consideration of the coming election; it was thought that members would be otherwise occupied. Concern was expressed that we might miss the kudos associated with the initiative if nothing was done, and other parties might adopt the scheme. Philip closed the discussion by suggesting if electioneering is the reason for postponing the initiative, it may not be started at all this year. He stressed that we need to be aware of issues other than Brexit. PW to explore tentatively with Richmond Against Plastic action group about possibly working together on this. Timing to depend on resources/election timetable.
Philip asked for opinions about how future meetings should be organised. He suggested two options:
Hold a quarterly business meeting, with two monthly political meetings.
Keep to present monthly meetings, but allocate 30 minutes for business, and 90 minutes for politics. It was suggested that the meetings should include Liberal Democrat philosophies.
There was general agreement that option 2) should be adopted going forward. Suggestion to be forwarded to new Chair to follow up once appointed (Nov AGM).