ARTICLE 1: NAME AND PRINCIPLES

The name of the Party is The Free Democratic Party.
The Objectives and Principles of the Party as set out above constitute the core of this Constitution.


ARTICLE 2: MEMBERSHIP
 

1) All UK citizens over the age of 16 are eligible as members, not being members of any other political party or organisation which the Party Management Committee (PMC) declares is incompatible with membership of this Party.

2) Applications for membership may be submitted either to the Party Head Office or to the Local branch (when established) in the area the applicant resides.

3) The FDP Party has the right to presume that all applicants for membership accept the Party's Principles and Objectives enshrined in this Constitution.

Registration of Party Members

Applications accepted for membership will be entered on the register of members maintained by the General Secretary upon payment of the annual membership fee set by the PMC.

Ordinarily annual membership shall run from the1st January in any year, expiring on the 31st of December, that year. Persons joining the Party after January shall pay a pro-rata subscription.


ARTICLE 3: BRANCHES and CONSTITUENCIES

During the launch phase of the Party's incorporation, separate constituencies or branches will not be established. As and when affiliated Branches become necessary this constitution will be up-dated/amended to facilitate such incorporation of Branches and Constituencies.


ARTICLE 4: STANDING ORDERS
 

1. The PMC shall establish a Standing Orders Committee (SOC) which shall draw up Party Rules and Standing Orders expressly for the purpose of governing all procedures of the Party and of the Party Conference. The SOC shall also nominate the SOC chairman/person.

2. The chairperson shall preside over meetings, sign the minutes of meetings as an authentic record, and exercise the overall management and supervision of its Officers.

3. The general secretary shall draw up minutes of meetings; maintain attendance records of members and shall maintain such other records and pertinent correspondence germane to the proper conduct of the Party.

4. The treasurer shall receive all donations, loans and subscriptions and keep all appropriate bank account records and all other financial accounts and records as necessary, particularly with respect to identity of donors and lenders.


ARTICLE 5: THE PARTY CONFERENCE

The Party shall hold an Annual Conference at places and times determined by the PMC. Only paid-up Party members may attend as delegates and vote at the Annual Conference.

The Conference will be open to Party members, guests and the Press. The agenda will facilitate consideration of motions on Party policy and strategy, and will adjudicate on such motions by simple majority: by show of hands or a card vote if so called by the Conference Chair.

Motions carried shall be advisory only, bearing in mind the limited attendance at the conference, ie. not the whole membership, and will be further deliberated upon by the PMC for ratification or further consideration.

(a) Delegate fees shall be fixed by the PMC.

(b) Delegates must provide their names and addresses and any other information the PMC may request when submitting their names to the head office together with the advised fee at least 30 days prior to the conference date.

(c) The Party may arrange such other conferences as the PMC may determine.


ARTICLE 6: THE PARTY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE (PMC)

The Party will establish a Party Management Committee responsible for ensuring that the Party conducts itself in a proper professional and legal manner. Election to the PMC shall take place on the basis of majority voting and be restricted to fully paid-up Party members.

1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the PMC shall be responsible for promulgating the policies, and activities of the Party, including the drafting of election manifestos.

2. The make up of the PMC shall include-

(i) the Party Leader, Party Deputy Leader, Party Chairperson and the National Treasurer;

(ii) 7 delegates nominated and endorsed by a vote at the Party Conference;

All of the above shall be voting members.

3. The PMC shall meet, at such times and places as it may determine. Upon receiving a written request for an unscheduled meeting, endorsed by 30% of the members of the PMC, the General Secretary shall schedule such a meeting.

4 A Finance Sub-Committee shall co-ordinate/liaise with the National Treasurer in the administration of the Party's finances, setting Conference fees, and annual expenditure budgets having regard to income and resources.

5. The Party will raise funds primarily by membership subscriptions but will accept contributions from any person, company, guild or trade union by way of donation or otherwise, all strictly in accordance with the prevailing law and disclosure regulations.

The PMC is authorised to make procedural rules and standing orders which shall in no circumstance be inconsistent with this Constitution.


ARTICLE 7: THE PARTY LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER

1. Axiomatically, the Party Leader and Deputy Leader are the leading spokespersons for Party policy, and they carry the responsibility for ensuring that Party Principles, Policies and expectations receive the widest publicity.

(a) Both appointments shall be for a period of 6 years. The electorate shall be all paid up registered members of the Party as of the election date.

(b) The votes in the election of the Party Leader and/or Deputy Leader shall be declared on the day preceding the date of the outgoing Party Leader and/or Deputy Leader.

(c) The election shall be by means of the single member vote, on a secret postal ballot.

Duties of Party Leader

In addition to the responsibility to ensure the widest publicity for Party Policy the Party Leader shall deliver a report to the Party Conference covering the prevailing political situation and any significant political events since the last Conference Report and propose priorities and strategies to be pursued in order to advance the Party's objectives over both the near and long term.


ARTICLE 8: PARTY OFFICERS

Party Officers are the body of people charged with the responsibility of administering the Party in a proper professional manner, and comprise:

1. The Party Leader, Deputy Leader, Party Chairperson, General Secretary, and National Treasurer.

2. (a) The Party Chairperson will be chosen by the Party Leader (in consultation with the Deputy) and the National Treasurer shall be appointed by the PMC.

(b) The General Secretary shall be appointed by the PMC, upon terms of office as the PMC determines.

3. The General Secretary shall be responsible for the overall management of the Party and shall:-

a) be responsible for the general administration of the Party organisation and all activities, and of any properties leased or owned by the Party.

(b) maintain full minuted records of all meetings and motions of the PMC and the Party Conference,

(c) maintain a register of members and subscriptions (segregated by branch as and when established)

(d) implement decisions of the PMC and the Party Conference when ratified by the PMC.

4. The National Treasurer's prime responsibilities are to ensure that the financial accounts of the Party are maintained in good order and that all accounting records are maintained for such statutory period as the Law demands, particularly with respect to donations or loans.


ARTICLE 9: GENERAL FINANCE

1. The level of annual membership and Conference delegate fees shall be as determined by the PMC.

2. All moneys received by the Party, direct or via any Party Officer, from whatever source, shall be acknowledged by the National Treasurer who will be responsible for its proper appropriation and allocation.

3. The financial accounts of the Party shall be audited annually by an independent auditor (ie. Not a party member) appointed by the PMC. The financial year of the Party runs from the 1st, of January, ends on the 31st December each year.


ARTICLE 10: ELECTIONS and CANDIDATES

Candidates must be mindfull that the Party has a right to presume an enduring duty to disclose any matter to the PMC that may have a bearing on their suitability to stand for election.

The PMC shall, in accordance with Party policies, approve and publish all Parliamentary Election Manifestos.

The PMC shall publish procedures for selecting and appointing Party candidates. For elections to any political assemblies, candidate selection committees will be established under terms of reference determined by the PMC.

a) The PMC may, in its sole discretion, adjudicate as to whether a candidate nominated by selection committee is acceptable to the Party.

b) In the event the PMC feels unable to endorse a proposed candidate, the relevant selection committee will be instructed to offer an alternative nominee.

c) A deselected candidate may ask the PMC to provide reasons for its decision but it shall not be conditionally bound to do so.


ARTICLE
11: COMPLAINTS DISCIPLINE AND APPEALS

The Party will establish a Discipline Committee (DC) comprising of the Party Secretary and five members of the PMC.

If a Party member complains that the activities of another member are contrary to the Party's Principles and

Objectives or behaves in any manner contrary to standing orders or behaves in a manner likely to bring the

Party into disrepute, the aggrieved person may make a complaint to the General Secretary.

The General Secretary must advise the PMC of every complaint that was referred to him/her..

The General Secretary must refer every complaint to a standing Complaints Committee, which must comprise of at least 3 members of the DC.

The Complaints Committee shall formally report its decision to the General Secretary who shall so advise the PMC; the complainant; and the person against whom the complaint was brought.

The person against whom a complaint is up-held may, within 14 days of being advised of the complaints committee's decision, appeal to the PMC against that decision or the penalty to be imposed. The decision of the PMC in any appeal shall be final. All such decisions must be included in the General secretary's report to the next Party Conference.


ARTICLE 12: INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION

1. This Constitution may only be amended by a resolution of the PMC. Any proposal/s for such amendment resolution/s must be submitted in writing to the Party Secretary.

2. Amendments to this Constitution must be ratified by a 55 % majority of members by a postal ballot.

3. This Constitution will be subject to review at the Party Conference, in the event that such a motion is tabled for debate.

Amendments to this constitution will take affect immediately following approval by members voting in the ballot.

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