Lib Dems cancel spring conference over coronavirus fears

Sir Ed Davey at the Lib Dem conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

Sir Ed Davey at the Lib Dem conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Liberal Democrats have decided to cancel their spring conference in York this weekend due to coronavirus fears.

In a joint statement by president Mark Pack, federal conference committee chair Geoff Payne and chief executive Mike Dixon, the party said it felt holding a conference would be contrary to public health advice.

The statement said: 'We have paid close attention to the public health advice from the NHS, and note that some of the advice, such as around keeping distant from people who are ill, is in practice very hard to follow, given the format of our conference involves large numbers of strangers sitting close to each other for extended periods of time.

'We are aware that many people, particularly those in high-risk groups, have said in the last few days that they are not coming to conference.

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'We very much want to avoid a situation where people feel unable to particulate in our democratic decision-making because of fears over their health.'

The party said it would offer refunds on conference registration charges but that it was a 'matter of regret' that some people would not be able to recover travel and accommodation costs, with the party itself having to 'incur significant costs' as a result of the cancellation.

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