Author Archives: Joe Otten

Liberal Democrat spring conference agenda published

The agenda for the Liberal Democrat spring conference in York 17-19th March is now available here.

We already knew the topics to be covered from Zoe O’Connell’s report three weeks ago, but this is the first chance for most members of the party to see the full texts to be debated and consider proposing amendments.

Here’s my rapid summary of some key points (and I have decoded some of the titles):

F4 Sex work Decriminalise sex work as the best way to reduce harm from it and to …

Posted in Conference | 10 Comments

Tim Farron writes to Jeremy Corbyn: will you clarify your position on Article 50

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to Jeremy Corbyn to call on him to clear up ‘once and for all’ his party’s position on Article 50.

Posted in News | 20 Comments

+++Supreme Court rules against government on Article 50

In the last few minutes the supreme court has ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50 using perogative powers but must hold a vote in Parliament. The reasoning seems to be that triggering Article 50 would cut off a dynamic source of UK law, would be a change to the UK constitutional arrangements, and this can only be done by an act of Parliament.

The court also ruled that there was no obligation on the government to consult devolved administrations.

There is a summary of the judgement on the supreme court website here.

Posted in News | 23 Comments

Iconic coalition era building demolished

Do you remember the days when many an urgent TV news interview on the state of the nation was conducted in a plumbers’ yard? The yard contained the constituency office of Nick Clegg MP, and before him Richard Allan MP. Nick moved out around a year ago to a nearby alternative, and this morning on the school run I saw …

To be honest, even when standing it wasn’t much prettier than this. But the office was unpretentiously a place of ordinary decent hard work, at the heart of the community, next door to a church and a primary school. And it has years of memories for Sheffield Liberal Democrats.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

UK Ambassador to the EU resigns

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s ambassador to the European Union has resigned. Highly experienced and diligent, Rogers was expected to play a key role in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Nick Clegg has commented

The resignation of somebody as experienced as Sir Ivan Rogers is a body blow to the Government’s Brexit plans.

I worked for Ivan Rogers in the EU twenty years ago – then he worked for me and the rest of the Coalition Government several years later.

Throughout all that time Ivan was always punctiliously objective and rigorous in all he did and all the advice he provided.

If the reports are true that he has been hounded out by hostile Brexiteers in Government, it counts as a spectacular own goal.

The Government needs all the help it can get from good civil servants to deliver a workable Brexit.

Posted in News | 50 Comments

Michael Wilkinson appointed head of digital content

Telegraph political correspondent and web editor Michael Wilkinson has been appointed as head of digital content at the Liberal Democrats.

Posted in News | 18 Comments

Aleppo must be a wake up call

Amid the humanitarian catastrophe that has been the siege and fall of Aleppo, both supporters and opponents of earlier calls for military action by the West against Assad have been claiming vindication by events. Perhaps some are relieved that the TV pictures of bloodied children in rubble can be attributed to Russian bombs rather than Western ones.

And perhaps we are guilty – as the EU is supposedly guilty of welcoming closer ties with Ukraine – of seeing a potential for good in the Arab Spring. Torment nobody with the promise of freedom and democracy unless you can deliver it, at gunpoint if necessary? Don’t start a civil war you can’t win, however bad your government?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 29 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 28th Feb - 1:54am
    We had a chance to call for and build alliances to reform the EU into a pro-people institution rather than a pro-business or pro-globalisation institution....
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 28th Feb - 1:38am
    Thanks, Ed Thornley, for your enthusiasm for our constituency! It's good to read the differing viewpoints above, and, thanks to Peter Watson, the detailed voter...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 28th Feb - 1:18am
    David Evans, I agree. We must never, ever again settle for being a small-c conservative party.
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 28th Feb - 1:02am
    Peter and Mike, I love the way you both keep on demanding detailed answers to what Lib Dems offer practically, to fulfill our Preamble ideals...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 28th Feb - 12:33am
    Conor, We had done all that you suggest for over forty years, building our party up from nearly nothing to get up to 57 MPs...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 27th Feb - 11:10pm
    "in Copeland our vote has snuck above ten percent only twice; in 2005 and 2010" According to the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copeland_(UK_Parliament_constituency): 2001 10.7% 1983 15.9%...