Liberty Fringe Events 2012

21 September 2012
Sophie Farthing, Policy Officer

If you’re heading to an upcoming Party Conference, be sure to leave space in your schedule for Liberty’s fringe events. We’ve got brilliant speakers lined up to discuss the major human rights and civil liberties issues currently facing the UK and we’d love to see you there.

Our conference season kicked off last Monday at the Trade Union Congress with a jointly hosted Liberty and TUC event. Our lively fringe, entitled ‘Selling out on policing: the real cost of privatisation’, addressed the threat posed to our internationally respected policing model by private sector outsourcing. Liberty has long expressed reservations about the privatisation of core public services, and this was a timely opportunity to interrogate the current program of police reforms with the Assistant General Secretaries from UNITE and Unison, the Deputy General Secretary of the PCS and the General Secretary of the Police Federation. Beyond the fringe event, we were encouraged to see two motions adopted recognising Liberty’s work on blacklisting and the threat posed by secret courts.

We are also staging fringe events at the Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. This Monday at the Lib Dem Conference we’ll be talking about Civil Liberties and the Lib Dem identity in a discussion hosted by Liberty’s Director Shami Chakrabarti. Panel guests include leading party figures: former leader Lord Paddy Ashdown and the Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable MP. They will be joined by Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, the Lib Dem European spokeswoman on justice and human rights and a member of the European Parliament's civil liberties, justice & home affairs committee. Peter Kellner, the President of YouGov, will bring his extensive political analysis to the debate, alongside distinguished QC Professor Philippe Sands, who, among many professional achievements, authored Torture Team, a thorough investigation into the treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees. Our event will take place outside the conference zone in the Hilton Metropole – all are welcome and no pass will be needed to attend.

At the Labour conference we’ll be focusing on equality under the law at our fringe event on the 1st of October. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP and the Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry MP will be part of our panel, and are joined by two pre-eminent journalists, Polly Toynbee (Guardian columnist) and Kevin Maguire (Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror), as well as Keith Vaz MP, influential chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. With the Government’s secret courts proposals and the impacts of legal aid cuts about to bite, this should be an animated discussion on the preservation of fairness and equality in our justice system.

To round off the season, we’ll be talking about the dangers of the unchecked state at a Conservative Conference fringe event on Monday 8th October. We’ll be joined by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP, as well as the MPs Nicola Blackwood and Jesse Norman, whose groundbreaking pamphlet Churchill’s Legacy, co-authored with fellow panellist Peter Oborne and published by Liberty, persuasively made the Conservative case for the Human Rights Act. Journalist and political commentator Peter Oborne will bring his incisive take on UK politics to bear on issues such as the current proposal to massively extend the collection and storage of communications data under a Snoopers’ Charter.

So come along and get involved - help us provoke constructive debate and seek the answers on the current agendas of each of the main political parties. We look forward to seeing you there!

Visit to find out more.