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Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats Our Constitution - Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution

Preamble
The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

We look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, in which they live together in peace and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely. We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms.

Upholding these values of individual and social justice, we reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality. Recognising that the quest for freedom and justice can never end, we promote human rights and open government, a sustainable economy which serves genuine need, public services of the highest quality, international action based on a recognition of the interdependence of all the world's peoples and responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources.

We believe that people should be involved in running their communities. We are determined to strengthen the democratic process and ensure that there is a just and representative system of government with effective Parliamentary institutions, freedom of information, decisions taken at the lowest practicable level and a fair voting system for all elections. We will at all times defend the right to speak, write, worship, associate and vote freely, and we will protect the right of citizens to enjoy privacy in their own lives and homes. We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom. We similarly commit ourselves to the promotion of a flourishing system of democratic local government in which decisions are taken and services delivered at the most local level which is viable.

We will foster a strong and sustainable economy which encourages the necessary wealth creating processes, develops and uses the skills of the people and works to the benefit of all, with a just distribution of the rewards of success. We want to see democracy, participation and the co-operative principle in industry and commerce within a competitive environment in which the state allows the market to operate freely where possible but intervenes where necessary. We will promote scientific research and innovation and will harness technological change to human advantage.

We will work for a sense of partnership and community in all areas of life. We recognise that the independence of individuals is safeguarded by their personal ownership of property, but that the market alone does not distribute wealth or income fairly. We support the widest possible distribution of wealth and promote the rights of all citizens to social provision and cultural activity. We seek to make public services responsive to the people they serve, to encourage variety and innovation within them and to make them available on equal terms to all.

Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services. Setting aside national sovereignty when necessary, we will work with other countries towards an equitable and peaceful international order and a durable system of common security. Within the European Community we affirm the values of federalism and integration and work for unity based on these principles. We will contribute to the process of peace and disarmament, the elimination of world poverty and the collective safeguarding of democracy by playing a full and constructive role in international organisations which share similar aims and objectives.
These are the conditions of liberty and social justice which it is the responsibility of each citizen and the duty of the state to protect and enlarge. The Liberal Democrats consist of women and men working together for the achievement of these aims. Download the full Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution

Equality

Equality - At the core of Liberal Democrats philosophy is a belief in equality of opportunity. Fighting discrimination in all its forms underpins our policies. Helping people to help themselves is what the Liberal Democrat approach is all about.
Britain today is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, diverse society. It is a richer society as a result - culturally, socially and economically. Liberal Democrats embrace and celebrate a diverse Britain. We also recognise that the experiences of individuals varies enormously according to their overall combination of circumstances - whether they are male, female, rich, poor, heterosexual or gay, of black descent, Asian descent or Chinese descent, and we are sensitive to these many differences.
We will ensure that our laws reflect that diversity, protecting minorities from violence, discrimination and harassment and allowing everyone the freedom to live their lives.
We also recognise that though they are not a minority, women continue to receive a raw deal, whether its by being paid less than their male colleagues at work or suffering poverty when they retire because of career breaks to raise children or care for relatives.

Ethnic Minorities

Ethnic Minorities - Britain today is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, diverse society. It is a richer society as a result - culturally, socially and economically. The Liberal Democrats embrace and celebrate a diverse Britain.
We also recognise that the experiences of ethnic minorities differ depending on whether they are male, female, rich, poor, heterosexual, of black descent, Asian descent or Chinese descent, and we are sensitive to these many differences.
We will ensure that our laws reflect that diversity, protecting minorities from violence, discrimination and harassment and allowing everyone the freedom to live their lives. Labour can no longer lay exclusive claim to the votes of Britain’s ethnic minorities. The Liberal Democrats are the leading proponents of policies which call for tolerance and respect for human rights, both at home and abroad.

We have refused to join the other parties on their dangerous competition with anti-immigrant rhetoric that does little to actually promote a sensible immigration policy. We will promote a balanced approach to tackling terrorism which means tackling the breeding grounds of terrorism – inequality, extremism and oppression.
We will also work hard to promote positive examples of the many contributions ethnic minorities have made to this country such as in the health service, in construction and in driving forward small businesses and entrepreneurship. We will not engage in stigmatising whole communities by headline chasing on issues of ‘honour’, gun and knife crime.
Read the full policy briefing for Ethnic Minorities.

Diversity

Diversity "The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity."
Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution

The Liberal Democrats are committed to increasing diversity throughout the party. We have a range of well-established organisations which work hard to represent the values and empower all members of our diverse society. You can find out more about the work these groups do below.
Diversity Engagement Group - The Diversity Engagement Group (DEG) is chaired by Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Chancellor, Dr Vince Cable and demonstrates the commitment the party has to becoming more representative of British society. DEG is in place to specifically increase the number of candidates and members from diverse backgrounds.
Campaign for Gender Balance (CGB)
The Campaign for Gender Balance is the Liberal Democrat party initiative to address the under-representation of women within the Parliamentary Party. It provides encouragement and support for women standing, and considering standing, for Parliament through a range of training, mentoring and support activities. This has proved successful in increasing the total number of women candidates in the party and, significantly, those selected for winnable seats.

If you are a woman who is interested in becoming a candidate for the Liberal Democrats, or you would like further information about the Campaign, please contact: Vicky Booth - National Diversity Officer
Tel: 020 7340 4992 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The group includes the following organisations: - Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) - Chaired by Meral Ece
EMLD exists to develop the education, participation and representation of ethnic minorities and others within the party.
Liberal Democrats Disability Association (LDDA) - Chaired by Anne Diamond
LDDA works within the party to raise both understanding of disability and awareness of what disability is.
Liberal Democrats Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Action (DELGA) - Chaired by Jen Yockney
DELGA is the officially recognised party organisation committed to promoting the policies of the party to gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and to ensure that the party's policies address their needs.
Women Liberal Democrats (WLD) - Chaired by Claire Jackson
WLD is the party's official women's organisation and is open to all party members.

Diversity Unit - The Diversity Unit includes Diversity Advisers, Issan Ghanzi and Vicky Booth who both work internally to provide a strategic plan to increase diversity, BME and Specialist Media Press Officer Diana Yeboah promotes and supports this work.
For more information about the work of the Diversity Unit, please contact:
Issan Ghazni- National Diversity Adviser
Tel: 020 7227 1319 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Vicky Booth - National Diversity Officer
Tel: 020 7340 4992 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Diana Yeboah - BME and Specialist Press Officer
Tel: 020 7227 1262 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New Generation - The New Generation is a mentoring and training group which provides targeted support for BAME candidates. For more information, please contact: Vicky Booth - National Diversity Adviser
Tel: 020 7340 4992 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Diana Yeboah - BME and Specialist Press Officer
Tel: 020 7227 1262 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 

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