Constitution of a Federal Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom
Adopted by the Annual General Meeting of the Libertarian Party United Kingdom 24th March 2012
This Constitution shall govern the organisation known as the “Libertarian Party”, hereinafter referred to as the “Party”.
2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
2.1 Libertarianism is a political and philosophical ideology based upon the principles of self-ownership and self-responsibility. It posits that all individuals have the right to control their own lives, bodies, and property acquired by honest means. Further, each individual must also respect the equal rights of others.
2.2 Libertarians believe that the sole role of government and the state should be to protect these individually held rights from abuse by others.
2.3 The Party aims to further the libertarian cause by:
(a) bringing to greater public awareness libertarian philosophy;
(b) encouraging and supporting libertarian political activity within the legal framework of the electoral system;
(c) pursuing policies which seek at all times to minimise state intervention in the lives of citizens;
(d) legally codifying and protecting the rights of citizens, now and into the future, through such measures as establishing and maintaining a formal written Constitution and Bill of Rights within the United Kingdom;
(e) not making any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion; and shall ensure that no religious test be required as a qualification for any public office within the United Kingdom.
2.4 The Party, its members and representatives will never propose nor endorse any policy which would lead to an increase in the size, scope or powers of the government(s) of the United Kingdom or ancillary state infrastructure. Furthermore, the Party, its members and representatives will never tacitly support such proposals from any other party; rather, they shall, at all times, use any and all means at their disposal to oppose such proposals, wherever and whenever they may originate.
3. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
3.1 The affairs of the Party shall at all times be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Representation of the People Act 1983, and any other relevant or subsequently modifying legislation, hereinafter referred to as the “Legislation”.
3.2 Should any conflict arise between the Legislation and this Constitution, the Legislation shall take primacy and this Constitution will be amended to incorporate the necessary changes.
3.3 Should there be any specific query regarding the Legislation, the National Co-ordinating Committee shall submit such query to the Electoral Commission, whose response shall be deemed authoritative and final.
3.4 For compliance with the Legislation, the following specific, but not exclusive, items shall be noted:
3.4.1 the financial year of the Party will run from 1 January to 31 December;
3.4.2 the Party will operate as a single organisation for the purposes of section 26(2) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 unless or until deemed otherwise appropriate by the National Co-ordinating Committee;
3.4.3 the Party Leader will ensure, in the event of the post of Treasurer being vacant, that the Party complies with the financial controls of the Legislation until a new Treasurer is appointed;
3.4.4 a Nominating Officer will be appointed under the terms of Para 12.1 of this Constitution;
3.4.5 the National Party Treasurer shall submit in a timely manner to the Electoral Commission:
(a) notification of any changes to the registered addresses and officers of the Party;
(b) annual confirmation of the registered details and addresses of the Party;
(c) reports detailing donations and loans made to the Party as required by the Electoral
(d) the annual statement of accounts for the Party as required by the Electoral Commission,
externally audited where required
(e) returns detailing Party campaign spending.
Membership of the Party shall be open to all persons:
(a) who accept its Constitution;
(b) who are not members of any organisation whose objectives are incompatible with those of the Party;
(c) who are over sixteen years of age;
(d) who maintain their subscriptions;
(e) whose membership is not disapproved by the National Co-ordinating Committee, hereinafter
referred to as the “NCC”.
4.2 A member will automatically become a member of an approved local organisation.
5. FEDERATED ORGANISATIONS
5.1 The Party shall be structured as a Federation of regional, national, local or constituency organisations
5.2 No organisation may claim a relationship with the Party other than those formally recognised as an associated local organisation or constituency organisation.
5.3 The NCC shall have sole authority to vest or withdraw such recognition upon any group at any time as it sees fit.
5.4 The NCC may provide guidance to local organisations upon the conduct of their affairs. If proffered, such guidance shall be observed.
5.5 The financial affairs of local organisations shall at all times be conducted in compliance with instructions provided by the National Party Treasurer.
6.. AFFILIATED ORGANISATIONS
Affiliation to the Party shall be open to all organisations:
(a) who accept its Constitution;
(b) whose objectives are compatible with those of the Party;
(c) whose affiliation is approved by the NCC.
7.1 The officers of the Party shall be the:
(a) Party Leader;
(c) Treasurer and Secretary.
(d) Nominating Officer
(h) Five representatives from the regions as elected by their members
7.2 Offices which are not specifically required to be distinct and separate under electoral law may be combined.
7.3 The officers shall be full voting members of the NCC upon their registration with the Electoral Commission as registered officers.
7.4 Party officers are expected to attend all Annual Conferences, Special General Meetings, and NCC meetings.
7.5 The Party Leader shall give political and administrative direction to the Party, and shall approve the Party’s manifesto and national statements of the Party’s policies.
7.6 The Chairman shall preside at all Conferences, Special General Meetings and all meetings of the NCC.
7.7 The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party and shall perform such duties as are assigned by the Chairman or the NCC. The Secretary shall attend all Conferences, Special General Meetings and all meetings of the NCC and shall act as Secretary thereof, keeping such minutes and records as necessary.
7.8 The Treasurer shall receive, expend and account for the funds of the Party under the supervision and direction of the Party Leader, Chairman and the NCC. The Treasurer shall make an annual financial report to the NCC and shall perform all duties required of the office by the Legislation. The Treasurer is responsible for oversight of all financial functions, including, but not limited to receipts, disbursements, and internal and external reporting. The Treasurer shall report to the NCC both the financial situation of the Party and the results of its activities. The Accounts and Financial Report to year end is given to the NCC and a business SGM is to be held within sixty days of the year end of 31st December. Where Party finances require external auditing in order to comply with the Legislation, the Treasurer shall ensure that such independent audit is undertaken.
7.9 The Treasurer is allowed to accept donations from any source with the following provisos.
(a) That the donation is legal in terms of the prevailing electoral law.
(b) That the donor may direct where the funds should be spent, but not have any influence on policy whatsoever.
(c) That any member with the signed support of five members may object to the NCC to a donation if it is felt to be influencing Party Policy. The NCC shall be the final arbiter in such a situation
7.10 Party officers shall take office when registered as officers by the Electoral Commission.
7.11 The NCC shall appoint new officers if vacancies occur.
8. NATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE
8.1. The NCC shall have control and management of all the affairs, properties and funds of the Party consistent with this Constitution. The NCC shall establish and oversee an organisational structure to implement the aims and purposes of the Party as stated in Article 2. The NCC shall adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of its meetings and the carrying out of its duties and responsibilities. The NCC may delegate its authority in any manner it deems necessary.
8.2 The NCC shall be composed of the following members:
(a) the officers of the Party as per para 7.1
(b) Any direct appointments as per para 7.11 may be challenged by Party Members via the mechanism of a Special General Meeting.
(c) No member may stand for election to the NCC unless he or she has been a paid up member for ninety days
8.3 The NCC shall take office as per para 7.10
8.4 The NCC may, for cause, suspend any Party officer serving on the NCC, Party member or affiliated organisation by a vote of two thirds of the entire NCC. The suspended party may challenge the suspension by an appeal in writing to the NCC within seven days of receipt of notice of suspension. Failure to appeal within seven days shall confirm the suspension and bar any later challenge or appeal. The NCC shall set a date for hearing the appeal between 20 and 40 days of receipt of the appeal and shall notify all interested persons, which persons shall have the right to appear and present evidence and argument. At the hearing the burden of persuasion shall rest upon the appellant. The NCC shall within 30 days of the hearing either affirm the NCC’s suspension of the appellant, or order reinstatement of the appellant. At such times as the suspension is final, and where the appellant held a Party office that office in question shall be deemed vacant.
8.5 Any member of the NCC who fails to attend two consecutive regular meetings of the NCC may be removed from his position upon the report of the Secretary. The affected party shall have until the opening of the next regular meeting of the NCC to appeal this action ; once the report of the Secretary at this meeting has been issued, the suspension shall be final unless the NCC Committee rules to re-instate the suspended party.
8.6 The NCC shall meet at such times and places as may be determined by:
(a) actions of the Committee;
(b) call of the Chair;
(c) a written request of one third or more of its members.
8.7 The NCC may, without meeting together, transact business by mail, either via the postal service or electronically using email, facsimile or the World Wide Web. The Secretary shall post mail ballots on any question submitted by the Chair or by at least two of the members of the NCC. Seven working days shall be allowed for the return of the votes cast to the Secretary. If, at the expiration of this period, a quorum of the NCC have not returned their votes, the measure being voted upon shall be deemed to have failed; in all other cases, a majority of the votes returned shall carry the measure, except where a higher vote is required by this Constitution.
8.8 A majority of the membership of the NCC shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of its business at all times, excepting where otherwise specified in this Constitution.
8.9 The NCC shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. Additionally, the NCC must have a roll call vote upon request of any single Committee member present on any motion. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes.
9. JUDICIAL COMMITTEE
9.1 The Judicial Committee powers in previous Constitutions shall be vested in the NCC.
10.1 The power to make and change policy shall be vested in the Annual Party Conference, but the NCC may deal with urgent matters arising between Conferences in line with the general aims and policies of the Party.
10.2 The Conference of the Party shall be held at least once every year and not more than fifteen months shall elapse between one Conference and the next.
10.3 Attendance at the Conference shall be open to all paid up party members on the production of a valid membership card, affiliated organisations and the media, excepting those Party members or affiliated organisations who are suspended from the Party at the time of the Conference.
10.4 Each affiliated organisation may be represented at a Conference with a delegation not exceeding three persons in number.
10.5 The NCC shall:
(a) give notice of the date and place of the Conference to members and affiliated organisations at least three months before the intended date;
(b) make standing orders governing the conduct of the Conference;
(c) place before the Conference its comments and recommendations.
10.6 Party members may submit resolutions to the Conference for debate through their elected regional representative or the national chairman
Such resolutions shall be:
(a) made in writing and signed by at least five non-suspended party members
(b) submitted to the NCC at least one month prior to the date of the Conference.
10.8 All NCC recommendations and membership resolutions will be subject to voted approval:
(a) only attending paid up party members will be entitled to vote unless granted a proxy vote by
the Chairman two weeks before conference.
(b) a two thirds majority of those voting will be required for a vote to be carried.
10.9 For the election of Party officers on the NCC:
(a) existing post holders may seek renomination without condition;
(b) Party members seeking nomination must secure the backing, in writing, of five non-suspended paid up party members and submit such nomination to the NCC one month prior to the Conference.
10.10 The NCC reserves the right to defray organisational costs by making a modest charge for Conference attendance.
11. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS
11.1 The NCC may, at any time, call a Special General Meeting, hereinafter referred to as a “SGM”.
11.2 Attendance at a SGM is open to non-suspended paid up party members only.
11.3 The NCC shall:
(a) give notice of the date and place of the SGM to members at least four weeks before the intended date;
(b) set the entire agenda for the SGM.
11.4 At a SGM:
(a) only attending Party members unless granted a proxy by the chairman will be entitled to vote;
(b) a two thirds majority of those voting will be required for a vote to be carried.
12. ELECTION CANDIDATE SELECTION AND SUPPORT
12.1 The NCC shall appoint one of its number to fulfil the legal obligations of Nominating Officer as defined under the Legislation.
12.2 The NCC shall maintain a list of approved electoral candidates, where:
(a) any Party member may put themselves forward to the NCC as a potential candidate by submitting such a request in writing together with the seconding signatures of five other Party members;
(b) selection of approved candidates will be by processes determined by the NCC alone;
(c) suspension or termination of a Party member will immediately revoke their status as an approved candidate;
(d) all other factors being equal, preference will be given to potential candidates currently living or working within the geographical boundaries of the electoral area to be contested.
12.3 The Party shall, where it is deemed possible and appropriate by the NCC, provide financial and logistical support to approved candidates prior to and during election campaigns.
13. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP OR AFFILIATION STATUS
13.1 The NCC shall have the power, for cause, and having voted to act in such a manner by a two thirds majority, to terminate the membership of the Party of any member, or the affiliation status of any affiliated organisation.
13.2 Where the NCC acts under Article 13.1, the Chair shall give 14 days written notice to the party in question and inform them of their right to appeal the decision.
13.3 Should the party wish to exercise their right to appeal, they must inform the NCC of their intent to do so within 14 days of receipt of the notification of intent to terminate.
13.4 Any such appeal will be heard by the Judicial Committee, within a reasonable timeframe. The NCC shall not dismiss the appeal unless:
(a) the continued membership or affiliation would, in the opinion of the NCC, be contrary to the best interests of the Party;
(b) the appellant consents;
(c) the appellant fails to prosecute the appeal;
(d) the membership or affiliation ends otherwise than under this clause;
(e) the membership of affiliation ends by reason of default in the payment of a membership or affiliation fee.
13.5 Notification of the decision of the NCC shall be proved by recorded letter.
13.6 Where a termination is upheld, any monies previously paid by the appellant to the Party by way of, but not exclusively, membership or affiliation fees, shall remain the property of the Party.
14. AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION
14.1 Proposals to amend this Constitution shall be submitted to a Conference as detailed in Articles 10.5 and 10.7.
14.2 In order for a motion to amend the Constitution to be carried, a three quarters majority of those attending the Conference must vote in favour.
14.3 In order for a motion to amend Article 14.3 (this Article) or any of the clauses of Article 2 to be carried, unanimity of those attending and voting at the Conference must be achieved.
14.4 Where changes to the Constitution are adopted, they will come into force immediately following the close of the Conference at which the changes were made.