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1. NAME AND AREA: 1.1 The name of the body governed by this Constitution shall be “The Peterborough Liberal Democrats.” 1.2 The area of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be the Peterborough Parliamentary Constituency.
2. DEFINITIONS: 2.1 In this Constitution “The Peterborough Liberal Democrats” means the Peterborough Liberal Democrats Party; “The Party Constitution” means the Constitutions of the Federal Party and the Liberal Democrats in England; “The Party” means the Liberal Democrats; “The Regional Party” means the Eastern Region Liberal Democrats; “The Constituency/(ies)” means the Parliamentary Constituency/(ies) of Peterborough; “Conference Representatives” means members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats elected to be its representatives at federal and/or Regional Conferences; “Party’s youth and Student Organisation” means the Specified Associated Organisation representing youth and students; “Majority” at any meeting means majority of those present and voting; and “Executive Committee” means the Executive Committee of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats.
3. OBJECTS: 3.1 The objects of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be: (a) Be the successor within its area to the Peterborough Liberal Association and to the Peterborough SDP Area Party; and (b) to promote and support the values and objects of the Party in the Constituency and in particular through its members: (i) to secure the election of Liberal Democrats as Members of Parliament, UK Members of the European Parliament, members of regional, local and other elected public authorities and other public office; (ii) to admit and actively recruit new members to the Party, and encourage existing members to renew their membership; (iii) to participate in the formulation of the policy of the Party; (iv) to be recognised as a Peterborough Liberal Democrats; to play a full role in the democratic processes of the Party; and to send representatives, in accordance with the constitutions of the bodies concerned, to Party bodies; (v) to play a full part in the campaigning activities of the party at all levels; (vi) to campaign and work with local people to achieve the objectives set out in the Preamble to the Party Constitution; (vii) to help all local people, without regard to party or any other factor, to secure their rights and to protect them against oppression; and (viii) to promote diversity of cultures within the Party and to represent the interests of under-represented groups in the locality.
4. MEMBERSHIP: 4.1 The Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall administer membership in accordance with the Membership Rules of the Liberal Democrats in England. 4.2 All persons shall be eligible to join the Peterborough Liberal Democrats if they agree with the fundamental values and objectives of the party; and (a) they live, work or study within the area of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats, or (b) if not eligible under Section 4.2 (a) they acquire membership with the consent of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats Executive Committee, or (c) they are an MP, MEP, prospective Westminster or European parliamentary candidate or member of the local authority for a seat wholly or partly within area of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. 4.3 Eligible persons shall become members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats: (a) on enrolment through the Peterborough Liberal Democrats; or (b) on enrolment through the party’s Youth and Student Organisation giving an address within the Constituency; or (c) if already members of the Party, on re-registration as a member of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats.
Members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats who are also members of the Party’s Youth and Student Organisation may be restrained under the Party Constitution from exercising certain rights as members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats if they exercise equivalent rights as members of the Youth and Student Organisation.
4.4 (a) An applicant shall become a member on acceptance by the enrolling body, payment of the requisite subscription and registration on the register kept by the Party in England. (b) An application shall be deemed accepted if not rejected in accordance with the Membership Rules. (c) Initial membership shall run for one year from the quarter day (last day of March, June, September or December0 following commencement. (d) Members whose subscriptions are due shall receive notices of meetings and elections for a further 3 months. (e) Members who do not renew their subscriptions before the end of the 3 months period must reapply for the membership.
4.5 The Executive Committee may refuse membership to, or revoke the membership of, any person, on the grounds provided by the party Constitution, using the procedure defined in the Membership Rules of the Liberal Democrats in England. Any Person whose membership is revoked shall have the right to appeal to a General Meeting of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats under section 7.5, and shall be informed of this and any further rights of appeal. Such a meeting shall not proceed if not quorate. 4.6 A member of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats who ceases to be eligible under section 4.2 (a) may retain membership of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats with the consent of the Executive Committee,
5. OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 5.1 The officers of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Political Officer, Fundraiser, Recruitment and Computer. Their duties shall include: (a) The Chair – to chair all General and Executive Committee Meetings [;in the event of a tied vote the Chair shall have an additional casting vote]; to be jointly responsible with the Treasurer for the Peterborough Liberal Democrats compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000; (b) The Vice-Chair – to chair General and Executive Committee Meetings if the Chair is unable to do so; (c) The Secretary – to handle the Peterborough Liberal Democrats correspondence; to maintain minutes of meetings; (d) The Treasurer – to handle the Peterborough Liberal Democrats financial business and present financial reports to General Meetings; to be jointly responsible with the Chair for the Peterborough Liberal Democrats compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000; (e) The Membership Secretary – to; (i) receive all notices of application for membership and refer them to the Executive Committee for acceptance; (ii) maintain a membership register and provide Branch and Peterborough Liberal Democrats Officers with lists of members as necessary under this Constitution; and (iii) ensure compliance with data protection legislation. (iv) The Fundraiser – to help acquire financial assistance to the Peterborough Liberal Democrats participation within Local and General Elections, as well as helping raise awareness of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. (v) Political Officer – to represent on issues relating to the internal position of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. Also to act as the Peterborough Liberal Democrats spokesman on the House of Commons. (vi) Computer Officer – to gain an understanding of the ‘EARS’ programme. To provide useful statistical data throughout the year. to help with any repairs or purchases of technical equipment. (vii) Press Officer – To provide regular press releases ( especially following AGM’s and EGM’s) to the local media and to act as a mediator to the local media during campaigns. (viii) Recruitment Officer – To work in the capacity of assistant, to the Membership Secretary, in attaining new members to the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. Providing ideas and undertaking practices to reach relevant targets.
The Secretary shall not later than 2nd January and within seven days after any subsequent change notify the names and addresses of all Officers to the Regional Party and to the Chief Executive of the Federal Party.
5.2 There may be an Honorary President to be elected by the Annual General Meeting. 5.3 The general and financial business of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be controlled and carried on by the Executive Committee, subject to the decisions of General Meetings and in compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The Executive Committee shall consist of: (a) The Officers; (b) Up to ten ordinary members to be elected annually in the same manner as the officers. (c) The Party’s Member of Parliament for the Constituency, and the prospective Parliamentary Candidate; (d) Up to ten representatives of the Party’s members from the Peterborough/Cambridgeshire [District]/[Borough]/[Unitary] Council(s) representing wards within the constituency, elected by and from such members; (e) Up to five representatives elected by and from each local branch of the Party’s Youth and Student Organisation; (f) The Peterborough Liberal Democrats Agent or Organiser.
5.4 The Executive Committee may co-opt up to ten additional members, for a term expiring not later than the next following AGM. The power of co-option shall be used, inter alia, to ensure if possible that no more than two-thirds of the Executive Committee (other than under sections 5.3 (d) – (h)), are of the same sex, and that there is fair representation of under represented communities in the locality, taking into account race, religion, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation and that this would create a composition of the Executive that reflects the community the Peterborough Liberal Democrats serves. 5.5 [The Honorary President is entitled to attend all meetings of the Executive Committee.] Conference Representatives who are not members of the executive Committee shall be entitled to attend any meeting of the Committee at which business relating to the Conferences is discussed. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats as space permits. 5.6 The Executive Committee may fill any vacancy occurring among the Officers or Ordinary members. Any vacancy in the Chair shall be filled from amongst the existing Executive Committee members. The secretary shall within seven days notify any change of Officers to the Regional Party and to the Chief Executive of the Federal Party. 5.7 The Executive Committee may assign special responsibilities to any of its members, including duties which would otherwise pertain to one of the Officers. 5.8 The Executive Committee shall meet at least quarterly and not less than four times in a year. The Secretary shall give at least 7 days notice of meetings to all members of the Executive Committee. 5.9 The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees for any specified purpose. No sub-committee or Executive Member may take action on behalf of the Executive Committee beyond their terms of appointment. All sub-committees will report on their ‘activities’ to the Executive Committee. 5.10 In urgent circumstances the Officers may act on behalf of the Executive Committee. They shall report on such actions to the next meeting of the Executive Committee.
6. ELECTION OF OFFICERS, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND CONFERENCE REPRESENTATIVES: 6.1 The Officers, Ordinary Members and Conference representatives shall be elected by and from members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats at the time of the Annual General Meeting. If an election is contested, there shall be a ballot [in which all Peterborough Liberal Democrats members are sent ballot papers]. 6.2 The term of office of Officers, Ordinary Members and Conference Representatives shall be from the 1st January following their election until the following 31st December. 6.3 The Executive Committee shall appoint some disinterested person to act as Returning Officer. The returning Officer shall be responsible for the receipt of nominations and for the preparation and distribution of ballot paper, their receipt and counting on return, and declaration of the results. 6.4 An unsuccessful candidate who alleges that there has been or may have been an irregularity in the election may within one calendar month after the declaration of the result ask for an investigation by the Regional Party in accordance with the Party Constitution. Subject to any order made after such an investigation, no irregularity shall invalidate an election.
7. GENERAL MEETINGS: 7.1 The Annual General meeting shall be on a day appointed by the Executive Committee, between 1st October and 30th November. The Executive Committee may postpone the AGM if it would conflict with a Parliamentary Election in the Constituency, or for other urgent reasons. 7.2 The business of the AGM shall include: (a) to receive a report from the Chair on the activities of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats and the executive Committee since the previous AGM; (b) to consider and, if thought fit, approve the accounts of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats for the previous financial year together with an independent report on those accounts. (c) to receive reports from the Conference Representatives on the proceedings of the Federal and Regional Conferences since the previous AGM; (d) to receive informative reports from each of the Executive Committee Officers of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats; (e) to receive reports from sitting Councillors, regarding issues surrounding Peterborough City Council and respective Wards; (f) to transact any other business specified by the Constitution, or directed by the Executive Committee; (g) to consider any motion which has been submitted by any member of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats to the Secretary in time for circulation with the notice of the AGM; (h) [to receive nominations for the election of]/[to elect] Officers, Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee and Conference Representatives – this action to be undertaken, only if a ballot is not agreed on as a fair deciding practice.
7.3 The AGM may by a two-thirds majority agree to consider urgent or important business which has arisen since notice of the AGM was given.
7.4 Extraordinary General Meetings may be convened by Officers, only with the agreement of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Party Secretary. 7.5 Notice and minutes of all Annual and Special General Meetings shall be sent to the secretary of the Regional Party.
7.6 Minutes shall be maintained of all proceedings of all AGM’s, EGM’s and General Meetings. In the absence of the Executive Member charged with the duty, the Meeting shall appoint a member to take minutes.
8. LOCAL BRANCHES: If the Peterborough Liberal Democrats decide to incorporate/set-up Local Branches, the regulations will be as follows; 8.1 The Executive Committee may authorise the setting up of Branches covering defined areas by the Peterborough Liberal Democrats, provided that no Branch shall be formed with less than five members. The object of the Branch shall be to further the objects of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. The Branch shall be subject to the ultimate authority of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats. 8.2 The members of the Branch shall be: (a) All members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats whose registered Membership address is within the Branch area. (b) Any Councillor who represents a ward. (c) Other members of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats – if the Branch Committee agree.
8.3 A Branch shall not incur any debts for which the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be responsible. 8.4 The Branch shall provide one (up to two) Ordinary Member to the General Meetings. 8.5 A Branch maybe dissolved by the Executive Committee on the grounds that: (a) it is no longer functioning or able to hold such a meeting; (b) there have been serious irregularities in the conduct of the affairs of the Branch; (c) the affairs of the Branch have not been conducted in compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and with its Constitution, this Constitution and the Party Constitution. (d) the membership of the Branch has fallen below 5; or (e) the affairs of the Branch are being conducted in a manner contrary to the interests of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats as a whole.
If a Branch is dissolved or suspended, any member of the Branch may request the Regional Party conduct and investigation.
8.6 The funds of a Branch shall, upon dissolution, be applied in paying its debts, and any surplus shall be added to the funds of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats.
9. CANDIDATES FOR AND ELECTIONS TO PUBLIC OFFICE 9.1 The electoral college shall comprise of [members within the relevant constituency]/[all Peterborough Liberal Democrats Members]. 9.2 The Executive Committee shall seek to ensure that, so far as is practicable, all seats within the Constituency are contested. 9.3 When it is necessary to select candidates for local/national elections, the Executive Committee retain the right to arrange a General Meeting, whereby a ballot will take place amongst the Executive Committee Members. While Peterborough Liberal Democrats members who are resident in the electoral area concerned may also vote. 9.4 in any case in which time does not permit the holding of a [General Meeting/Postal ballot] the [Branch Committee, or if there is no Branch the Executive Committee]/[the Executive Committee] may select the candidate. 9.5 A Delegated Nominating Officer can/may be appointed and shall act in accordance to the rules made by the Party for Delegated Nominating Officers. 9.6 When a Parliamentary Election takes place, the activities of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall be suspended except as necessary to comply with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and such power vested in an agent to act on its behalf as necessary for the conduct of the Election. 9.7 The membership of any member of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats who stands at any public election as a candidate or agent in opposition to a properly nominated candidate of the Party shall automatically and immediately be suspended and, subject to any appeal, shall be revoked. 9.8 Any Candidate for election to public office standing as a representative of the Party must be a current member of the Party. 9.9 Candidates must present themselves accordingly to the principles of the Liberal Democrats in England. Any such failure by individuals, will prompt the arrangement of an EGM, so that Officers may discuss potential action.
10. FINANCE: 10.1 The Peterborough Liberal Democrats accounting shall be annual, ending on 31st December each year. 10.2 The Treasurer shall keep, maintain for six years, and pass to his/her successor accounting records which shall be available for inspection in accordance with the Political parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. 10.3 The Treasurer shall ensure that no donation of over £200 is accepted except from a permissible donor and shall keep records and submit donations reports to the Executive Committee. 10.4 The Treasurer must annually produce accounts, which must be approved by the Executive Committee. 10.5 A copy of the accounts shall be sent to the Treasurer of the Regional Party and to the Chief Executive of the Federal Party. 10.6 The Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall maintain one or more bank accounts in the name of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats for which the mandate to withdrawal shall require the signature of at least two Officers. 10.7 If the Peterborough Liberal Democrats fails by 15th January to notify the Chief Executive of the Federal party of the appointment of a Chair and Treasurer the Peterborough Liberal Democrats shall automatically be suspended.
11. CONSTITUTION AND INTERPRETATION: 11.1 Amendments may only be made by a two-thirds majority at a quorate General meeting. No amendment shall be made that conflicts with the Constitution of the Party or of the Regional Party. 11.2 Details of any proposed amendment shall be sent to all members with the notice of the General Meeting. 11.3 In the event of any question of interpretation arising, or any question on which this Constitution is silent, the Executive Committee shall have power to act according to its interpretation of the Constitution, or at its discretion, subject to Article 8 of the Constitution of the Liberal Democrats in England and Article 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Party. 11.4 No word or construction in this Constitution shall be taken to imply any discrimination whatsoever with regard to sex, race, colour, creed, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other than political belief or practice.