The Countryside Alliance will once again be attending all three of the main national party conferences this autumn.

  • Liberal Democrats: Bournemouth, 19 – 23 September
  • Labour Party: Brighton, 27 – 30 September
  • Conservative Party: Manchester, 4 – 7 October

This year’s conferences are the first since the General Election and are particularly important given the changes that have taken place in the political landscape. The Liberal Democrats and Labour both have new leadership and the Conservatives are in power with a majority government for the first time in 18 years.

In light of these changes the Countryside Alliance will be working harder than ever to make sure that the voice of rural communities is heard at these conferences. We will be holding a series of fringe events listed below:

Liberal Democrats

At the Liberal Democrat Conference we will be hosting an event entitled How can the Lib Dems win again in the Countryside? The event will be an opportunity to discuss the main issues facing rural communities and the Liberal Democrat vision for rural Britain. The event is taking place in Bayview 1 at the Bournemouth International Centre on Monday 21st September, 13:00-14:00. Joining the discussion will be:

  • Mark Williams MP: Member of Parliament for Ceredigion and Member of the Federal Policy Committee with responsibility for rural issues
  • Councillor Tim Pickstone: Chief Executive of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Spokesperson for Grassroot Campaigns
  • Nick Tyrone: Executive Director of the CentreForum think tank

Labour and Conservatives

We will be hosting two events at the Labour and Conservative party conferences which will focus on countryside conservation and rural broadband. The conservation event is entitled Who are the Real Conservationists? and will be an opportunity to discuss the true meaning of conservation and the contribution of those who farm, hunt, fish and shoot to the management of the countryside.  The rural broadband event is entitled Broadband: Why the Final 10% Matter and will highlight the importance of high-speed broadband to rural households and businesses across the country.


Countryside Conservation –  Osborne Room at the Hilton Hotel

Monday 28th September, 08:15 – 09:30

  • Teresa Dent: Chief Executive of the GWCT
  • David Bowles: Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA
  • Liam Stokes: Lecturer in Gamekeeping and Countryside Management at Wiltshire College
  • Jim Barrington: Animal Welfare Consultant

Rural Broadband – Ashdown 1 at the Holiday Inn

Monday 28th September, 12:30 – 14:00

  • Chris Byrant MP: Shadow Secretary of State for DCMS
  • Iain Wood: Public Affairs Manager at TalkTalk
  • Tim O’Sullivan: Director, Public Affairs, BT Group
  • Sarah Lee: Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance



Countryside Conservation – Cobden 3 at Manchester Central

Monday 5 October, 12:45 – 14:00

  • Rory Stewart MP: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA
  • Ian Coghill: Chairman of GWCT
  • David Bowles: Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA
  • Jim Barrington: Animal Welfare Consultant

Rural Broadband – Central 3 and 4 at Manchester Central

Monday 5 October from 17:45 – 19:00

  • Matt Warman MP: Co-Chair of the APPG on Internet, Technology and Communication
  • Iain Wood: Public Affairs Manager at TalkTalk
  • Kim Mears: MD Infrastructure Delivery, Openreach
  • John Roebuck: Director of Watts Auctioneers, a business that increasingly relies on the internet

These events are taking place within the conference secure zones and admittance is restricted to those with conference passes.

The Countryside Alliance will also be at the Plaid Cymru Conference in Aberystwyth from 23 – 24 October and the Scottish Countryside Alliance will be at the SNP Conference in Aberdeen from 15 – 17 October.

For more information about our conference events please contact [email protected] or 0207 840 9260.