What is a party conference?

Last updated at 05:33
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Every year political parties in the UK hold something called a party conference.

This year the three main parties - Labour, The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats - are all starting their conferences in September. The last party conference of the season, the SNP's, is scheduled for 13 October.

Here is everything you need to know about what has been called 'festival season' for MPs.

What happens at a party conference?
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Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson gives a speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference

The party conference is a chance for members of a political party to discuss, debate and vote on party issues.

The main event is usually a speech by the leader of the party.

There are also informal fringe events held. These are smaller events that take place outside of the main conference.

At party conferences, there are usually big decisions made. At their 2019 conference the Liberal Democrat party voted for a policy to promise to cancel Brexit at the next election.

Who goes to a party conference?

Party conferences aren't just for MPs, ordinary party members can attend.

They receive a pass and access to all the speeches by politicians in the main auditorium, as well as the conference fringe.

Where are they held?
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Seaside towns used to be popular places to hold party conferences

Traditionally the conferences used to take place in seaside towns, but now bigger cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool also host them.

In 2019, the Liberal Democrat conference is taking place in Bournemouth. The Labour conference, which was held in Liverpool in 2018, is returning to Brighton on 21 September, 2019.

The Conservative Party conference is taking place on 29 September to 2 October in Manchester.

Plaid Cymru and the Green Party both have their conferences 4-6 October in Swansea and Newport in Wales, while the SNP's conference is on 13 October in Aberdeen.

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