ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, has announced that the Liberal Democrats will return for its third party conference at the venue.
The coalition government partner will stage its annual autumn conference in September 2014, and is likely to attract more than 7,500 attendees.
It will be the second time the Lib Dems have chosen to hold their most important date on the political calendar in the city and their third visit to Liverpool overall.
In 2008, they held their spring conference in Liverpool, returning two years later, in September 2010, for their main gathering, which was the first ever major party political event held at the waterfront venue.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool, said the return of the Lib Dems was the result of ACC Liverpool’s previous track record to deliver and years of building up a relationship with the party conference organiser.
He said: “Lib Dems coming to us for a third time is further confirmation that Liverpool is stronger than ever as a conference destination.
“The party came to us in our inaugural year in 2008, then again in 2010, so organisers know that we can deliver a first-class conference for delegates here at ACC Liverpool.
“Each time, the economic impact benefit for the city was terrific and we received positive feedback from delegates about the venue and the city.
“Our team, along with Liverpool Convention Bureau, have been in talks for many years with the Lib Dems, and with all the political parties, to come to the city to hold their key conferences. When conference finishes is doesn’t just stop there, there is a lot of continuous work that goes on behind the scenes.
“We want to build on the success of our hosting of last year’s Labour Party conference by attracting even more party political events. For now, we look forward to welcoming the Lib Dems to the city in two years’ time.”
The last time the party was in Liverpool, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrats leader, was joined in the city by 6,000 delegates and 1,600 global media. The event generated £10m for the city economy with 206 fringe meetings hosted at ACC Liverpool and around 300 additional fringe meetings taking place elsewhere in the city.
Lucy Billingsley, head of conference office at the Liberal Democrats, said: “We held our spring conference in Liverpool four years ago and returned for autumn season in 2010, both proved to be immensely successful.
“We are confident that 2014 will be just as positive and look forward to returning to such a vibrant and dynamic city.”
ACC Liverpool has already hosted the Labour Party Conference, in September last year, which saw 11,000 delegates descend on Liverpool, delivering a £15m boost to the city economy.
The venue is ideally located for high-security events of this nature, being effectively surrounded by water on three sides which creates a secure campus site and enables it to lockdown quickly and efficiently.
The Labour Party Conference saw maximum security procedures implemented and rigorous plans put into place in collaboration with Merseyside Police, Liverpool Convention Bureau and Liverpool City Council.
Joe Anderson, the newly-elected mayor of Liverpool, welcomed the news that the Lib Dems will be returning to Liverpool for the third time.
He said: “Large scale conferences are extremely positive as they give us an opportunity to show what Liverpool can offer as a conference and business destination.
“The fact that the Lib Dems are returning for a third time is proof in the party’s confidence in ACC Liverpool and the city. It shows that we are a national player when it comes to UK party politicals.”
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, added: “This is excellent news and it comes as no surprise to me that the Lib Dems wish to hold their annual gathering in Liverpool again, because there can be few better venues in the UK for conference delegates.
“We recently held the hugely-successful Global Entrepreneurship Congress at ACC Liverpool and the unanimous response from visitors was that Liverpool is a city like no other – beautiful and exciting with a broad range of attractions, hotels, restaurants and bars all within walking distance of this spectacular state-of-the-art complex, set in a stunning waterside location.
“Congratulations to Bob and his team, competition is fierce to hold conferences of this size and the economic prize is great. Whatever your political hue this benefits all of Liverpool.”