Author Archives: Alistair Carmichael MP

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Suzanne Fletcher reminds us how one person can make a difference for vulnerable people

Today in Parliament the Minister for Immigration was forced to explain why G4S were housing asylum seekers behind red doors, leaving them open to targeted attacks. The Minister, who said he was “deeply concerned”, in response sprang into action announcing an audit of asylum seeker accommodation in the North East. Good to see the Minister reacting so quickly to something that was only in the papers that morning you might think. Not so.

Suzanne Fletcher, former Liberal Democrat Councillor and now Chair for Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary, has been campaigning on this issue doggedly for years. In fact, it is predominantly down to her campaign work that this became a news story today.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

Voting with the government to opt-in to Prum

Politicians tend to disagree with one another on a lot of issues – luckily, catching criminals is not one of them. That is why the Liberal Democrats will be voting with the Government on the decision to opt-in to Prum: an EU process which allows member states to quickly exchange DNA, fingerprint and vehicle information in order to identify and catch serious criminals and terrorists.

The last time this decision was put in front of Parliament during the Coalition the Liberal Democrats couldn’t agree to it. At that point there were still millions of innocent people on DNA databases and schoolchildren were having their fingerprints taken in schools. The Freedoms Act 2012 put a stop to this, and with the additional safeguards the Home Secretary is proposing we can support opting-in to Prum this time round.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Britain should not be rolling out the red carpet to President al-Sisi

Today, in the House of Commons our Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Tom Brake, asked an Urgent Question highlighting the appalling human rights record of the Egyptian Government – led by President al-Sisi, who has arrived in the UK for a state visit. While David Cameron was rolling out the red carpet for a human rights abuser in Downing Street, in parliament it was yet again Liberal Democrats who stood up for his victims.

The Egyptian President heads a government with a poor and deteriorating human rights record. The imprisonment and torture of political prisoners and an increasing use of the death penalty are at the heart of its suppression of dissent. Since January 2014 438 people have been sentenced to death – shooting up a league table on which no civilised government should want to feature. 63% of these sentences were handed down for involvement in political protests.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…A proud day as we move nearer to Liberal Democrat vision of home rule for Scotland

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2One of my first political campaigns was the 1979 referendum on a Scottish Assembly, as it was then styled.

The failure of that campaign was formative in my political thinking.  We all learned the hard way some simple political truths. Constitutional change is only achieved by working with people from other parties and of no party and that our liberal vision of Home Rule for Scotland within a strong federal United Kingdom is more relevant today than it has ever been.

As a teenager growing up in a small tight-knit island community I also quickly realised that local communities were best placed to make the decisions that affect them. We also understood that Government in Edinburgh was just as capable of getting things wrong for us as government in London.

Fast forward thirty five years and it was a proud day for me as Secretary of State for Scotland when we won decisively the vote to keep our 300 year old family of nations together with a promise of extensive new powers for our Scottish Parliament.

We set up the cross-party Smith Commission to bring people together and build consensus on what these new powers should be.

No party got everything they wanted but we owed it to the majority of Scotland who made the democratic decision to reject independence to see through their desire for more powers – a desire shared by our party.

I was pleased the Smith Commission aimed high.

The draft clauses I have published today will mean our Scottish Parliament will raise over half of what it spends. It will create a new Scottish Welfare State System with a starting budget of more than £2.5 billion.

And it will introduce votes for 16 and 17 years olds for Holyrood and local government elections.

Smith also made another important point that has not received the attention that it deserves, namely that the process of devolution should not stop in Edinburgh but should be driven to local communities across Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 18 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…how the Lib Dems in government worked together for Grangemouth

Three weeks ago when I was appointed as Secretary of State for Scotland many journalists and commentators (and even a few posters on Lib Dem Voice!) forecast a period of strife ahead as the “bruiser” from the Whips’ Office took over at Dover House.

I am not expecting anyone to say they were wrong but I hope that maybe some of them are feeling just a little sheepish this weekend.

The threat to the future of the petro-chemical plant at Grangemouth was one of the most serious to face Scotland for several years. It also produced a degree of political unity and …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

Alistair Carmichael writes…We should be talking about how Lib Dems won record investment for renewable energy

Yesterday I voted against the inclusion in the Energy Bill of a target for decarbonisation to be met by 2030. In truth I think that the setting of a target would have been sensible and that is why I am content with it being party policy. So why vote against it? I didn’t do so because I am a bad person who is determined to ignore party policy. The truth is a little more complex than that.

Firstly, it seems to be conveniently ignored by many that the Bill does include a power to set a target but in 2016 – …

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Why I’ve put the whip away for the Equal Marriage vote

Everybody knows that the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club.

I am no Brad Pitt but the same is also true of the Whips’ Office.

It is not normally my practice to discuss whipping arrangements for the parliamentary party, nor to discuss publicly the process by which decisions are reached. Today, however, I am prepared (exceptionally) to do so and to explain the decision taken last night to allow Liberal Democrat MPs a free vote …

Posted in News and Parliament | Tagged , , , and | 68 Comments
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  • User AvatarWilliam Summers 8th Feb - 1:14am
    I strongly believe in the need for more diverse political representation, including more women, BAME and disabled. But this simplistic one-dimensional identity politics really does...
  • User AvatarGareth Epps 7th Feb - 10:28pm
    Liberator is not preceded by a definite article. (You must owe us a sub!)
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 7th Feb - 10:20pm
    @Mick Taylor "Labour have shown us the AWS guarantees the selection of women candidates and in a more favourable electoral climate would lead to women...
  • User AvatarRsf7 7th Feb - 10:15pm
    The problem with all this is that it only works one way. For example, men earn more than women but for the under 30's women...
  • User AvatarIan Swales 7th Feb - 9:56pm
    I'll leave my comment to a fellow member from the North East - “As a woman with a disability I find this patronising and insulting...
  • User AvatarIan Swales 7th Feb - 9:53pm
    You're right David and a lot of people who would benefit from it agree too. Here's just a few comments from a NE blog on...