Lib Dem Conference: Activists force party to keep commitment to national housebuilding targets

The Lib Dems still support building 380,000 new homes a year

Lib Dems

Party activists have forced the Liberal Democrats to maintain their commitment to national housebuilding targets. Members of the Lib Dems voted for an amendment to a housing policy motion at the party’s conference in Bournemouth. The amendment was proposed by the Young Liberals – the party’s youth wing.

The vote is a severe upset for the party’s leadership and MPs, who sought to resist members backing the amendment. The party now remains committed to building 380,000 new homes a year.

The debate on the conference floor was extremely bitter. Lib Dem council leaders were pitted against each other. The Young Liberals went head to head with the party’s MPs. The Lib Dem’s London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said “that speech was below you” to the party’s former leader Tim Farron who had described the amendment supporting a national housing target as “Thatcherite”. Farron was simultaneously booed and cheered by members.

In the debate key figures within the party argued that housing targets don’t themselves lead to more homes being built. Supporters of the amendment argued that abandoning a commitment to a national housebuilding target would make it harder for young people to get on the housing ladder and see them feeling let down by the party.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey had previously made comments to the media in support of the move to drop the target.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Liberal Democrats – Creative Commons

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