The Liberal Democrat party has changed the dates of its 2014 annual conference to avoid a clash with the Scottish Referendum. The decision meant the booked host venue, ACC Liverpool, was unable to accommodate the conference at the revised dates. The conference will now be hosted at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.
The party had originally planned on hosting the conference in Liverpool from 13 September until Wednesday 17 September. The event will now take place three weeks after the Scottish Referendum, to open on 4 October 2014.
The date change will make the event the final of the three main political party conferences, rather than first as has traditionally been the case.
The 2013 autumn conference, which starts on 14 September, is taking place in Glasgow as planned.
Chair of the Liberal Democrat conference committee Andrew Wiseman said: "Ultimately we felt it was impossible to hold the party conference in Liverpool at a time when activists, party members, parliamentarians and the media would be in Scotland at the peak of the referendum campaign.
"By hosting the conference in Glasgow for a second year in a row, and immediately following the referendum, we’re sending a strong message about the commitment of the Liberal Democrats to build a stronger Scotland within the United Kingdom. Liverpool has proved to be a popular venue in the past and I hope we will be able to go back there soon."
Bob Prattey, Chief Executive of ACC Liverpool, commented: “We regret that, due to circumstances beyond our control regarding the Scottish Referendum, we are unable to accommodate the revised dates for the Liberal Democrats due to a busy conference calendar and commitments to events already booked into ACC Liverpool.
“We have a strong relationship with the Liberal Democrats after hosting their spring conference in 2008 and main gathering in 2010 and look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Scott Taylor, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB), said: "We’re delighted that the Liberal Democrats have chosen to bring their annual conference back to Glasgow in 2014, which will be a momentous year for the city given our hosting of the Commonwealth Games.
“It ensures that Glasgow continues to establish itself on the political party conference circuit, having hosted the Labour Party’s spring conferences in 2003 and 2007, and the Scottish National Party’s spring conference in 2012,” he adds.
Taylor says the conference will deliver a significant boost to the local economy, believed to be around £7m.