Author Archives: Lynne Featherstone MP

Lynne Featherstone MP writes…A great leap backwards for gay rights

Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality legislation is abhorrent. It imposes draconian penalties for repeat offences of homosexuality, so-called ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, same-sex marriage, attempting to commit homosexuality and for the loosely defined ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. This is nothing short of a great leap backward – not just for Uganda but for gay rights across Africa. I believe it marks a growing state-backed homophobic trend across the continent, one we cannot and should not ignore.

From Day 1 in my role as Africa minister at the Department for International Development (DFID), strengthening the department’s LGBT rights strategy has been one of my top priorities. I …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Lib Dem action on tax helps to ease the cost of living

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

There are so many perks of living in Haringey – vibrant high streets, good transport links, wonderful parks and views – to name but a few!

But on the downside, our bin collections, roads and other public services are notoriously bad. Haringey Council – which is run by Labour – has been rated the worst in London.

Week in, week out, Haringey Labour seem to lurch from one crisis to another. They failed to meet their own targets for making our local …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes…Giving residents a say on High St redevelopment

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

I declare an interest in Hornsey High Street. My constituency office is based there, above the Three Compasses pub! As such, I spend a lot of time on the High Street – popping into the shops and cafes and talking to local residents.

The old Depot site on the High Street (almost opposite the pub) has been a point of contention for many years. Parts of the site have been derelict since 1998 and the land is desperately underused, as Labour-run Haringey Council …

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Bonuses for Homes for Haringey staff are sickening when tenants need repairs and there aren’t enough homes

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Social housing in Haringey is in high demand. There are currently over 10,000 individuals and families stuck on the waiting list – and many will not have the chance to bid for a property in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, people are often in cramped conditions in the private sector, or waiting in low quality ‘temporary’ accommodation. This has a detrimental effect on both the children and adults in these situations.

And once families are given social housing in Haringey, it’s …

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Lynne Featherstone writes … My visit to Uganda: “Disability is not inability”

Lynne Featherstone in UgandaMore than one billion people worldwide – that’s 1 in 7 people – live with a disability. And last year’s Paralympics reminded us that people with disabilities can achieve incredible feats. But for every disabled person celebrated for their achievements, there are millions more in the developing world who are treated as sub-human, hidden from view and forgotten. They are the great neglect in international development and I am determined to right this wrong.

Last week, UK Paralympic wheelchair basketball star Ade Adepitan travelled with me to Uganda with …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Lynne Featherstone writes… One Million Jobs

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Campaigning on the doorstep - Lynne FeatherstoneThe Liberal Democrats in Government have helped businesses create over one million jobs. Now we are working to create one million more!

Work is so important to individuals and families in the UK. It pays the bills, gives us purpose and fulfilment, and provides security for our long term futures.

I was so happy when I got my first job with a small design …

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Fairer tax for low earners and part time workers

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

Week after week, I meet local residents at my constituency advice surgeries. Many are working hard in full or part time jobs, but still struggling to make ends meet due to the current economic climate.

The unemployed and part timers often tell me they want to work more but also keep more of the money they earn.

The Lib Dems have known this for a long time. And from now, the amount you can earn before being taxed has risen to £9,440. …

Posted in LibLink | Tagged | 3 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes…the Aid budget and the Ministry of Defence

Despite extensive media coverage this morning, the aid budget is not about to be slashed to fund the Ministry of Defence.

All aid spending from the Department of International Development (DFID) is in line with internationally agreed guidelines. There is a strict definition of what can count as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), which was established by the OECD. For example, aid cannot be spent on combat operations nor on military equipment.

It can be (and is) used to train another country’s security forces in human rights awareness, including gender-based violence issues – something I’m sure all …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Education, education, education

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Lynne Feahterstone visiting a Haringey primary school. Some rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnefeatherstone/3010645357/My mother and father were not that enthused about education. Going out to work as soon as possible and earning a living came higher up on their agenda. When you had known poverty as they had – earning took precedence over learning. I went to my local school – Highgate Primary. (We are talking over fifty years ago). Luckily for me …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Three Lib Dem policies really stand out for me in 2012

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

What a year 2012 has been! There are three Lib Dem policies that really stand out for me this year: the Pupil Premium, income tax reductions for low paid and middle income workers and equal marriage.

Before entering Government, the Lib Dems knew there were serious social mobility problems in the UK. Only one in five young people from the poorest families achieve five good GCSEs compared to three out of four from the richest families. Through the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Royal Mail plans fail to deliver!

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

When I get in and find a little card saying ‘we tried to deliver but you were out’ – I am always annoyed – because it means extra bother. Currently that bother is either re-organising delivery on another day, organising for it to go to a neighbour or popping into Archway Road post office to collect it at my convenience. With my schedule – only the last of those is a real possibility. But that small bother is about to get a whole lot worse!

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Haringey deserves better

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

I’m often asked why I got in to politics. There were a number of causes– but prominent amongst them was (and still is) complete and utter frustration with the Labour-run Haringey Council!

I live in a small cul-de-sac and whilst most dwellings here have one off street parking space (including me) many don’t. Some years ago now – Haringey decided to paint double yellow lines on both sides of the road – completely unnecessarily – which would have meant no parking …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… First ever Lib Dem DFID Minister, first trip to Africa

A month after taking up my new role as Minister for Africa in the Department for International Development, I’m currently on my first trip to the continent – South Sudan, via an overnight stop in Kenya.

Though I’ve actually been to Africa in my role as International Champion for Tackling Violence against Women Overseas, a role I’ve held since soon after the Coalition was formed, I’m anxious to see first-hand the work that DFID does toward alleviating suffering, bettering people’s lives and working with partner governments to improve their

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Local services matter!

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

What would we do without our schools, hospitals, post and sorting offices, small businesses and pubs? Our local services are the backbone of our community and need to be protected – but they have been under threat in Haringey for years.

Right from our childhood, we begin to benefit from one of the most important local services – schools. It is vital that schools have enough money to provide a good education and pay their teachers decent wages. Haringey’s schools, however, faced

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… The Equality Games

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, her last whilst at the Home Office…..

Wow! I have screamed, shouted, cheered, laughed and cried through the Olympics and Paralympics. And like everyone, I am just so proud of what we have achieved – and the friendly, cheerful way we have achieved it.

With my work on equalities issue, it is the increasing parity between male and female sports and sports stars and between the Olympics and Paralympics which has particular caught my eye. I would simply call the 2012 Games the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… George Galloway’s comments on rape are totally unacceptable, and they have an effect

In recent days, on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been not one, but two expressions of the kind of attitudes on rape you had hoped died with the Dark Ages.

First, a US Republican Senate Candidate, Todd Akin, suggested that most women do not become pregnant after being raped as their body can, and I quote, ‘shut that whole thing down’.

Then Britain’s own George Galloway, while offering his opinions on the Julian Assange case, took it upon himself to assert that certain acts of sexual violence are nothing more than ‘bad manners’, and that having …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 49 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… The worst roads in the country?

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, turning on the local council’s record on road repairs.

It sometimes seems that the only thing Haringey Council is good at is finding new ways to fail local people. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised to read that the borough has the worst maintained roads in England.

A new survey by the Department for Transport shows that one in five of Haringey’s main roads are in need of some kind of repair. No other council area in England has …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… In the summertime

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, on that very British subject of the weather.

In the summertime, when the weather is hot… is how the song goes – but as I put on heavy stockings and boots to go to a community picnic on the day I am writing this column, with the wind howling and rain predicted for the next several days yet again, summer and hot do not seem to go together!

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 2 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Banning, or rather not banning, crosses at work

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, looking at the legal action over people wearing crosses at work.

I was walking down Crescent Road in my constituency the other day when a woman came up to me and said something to the effect of, ‘I think you are a fantastic MP – but I am so upset that you are banning people from wearing the cross’.

So – from the mischievous misinformation from the pages of our print …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes: How the Liberal Democrats are delivering for women

As we celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’m proud to represent Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. I know that our involvement has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of women in a range of ways.

We’ve got lots to shout about, so please spread the word: blog and tweet about it and forward this to your friends.

Here’s how we’re delivering for women -

  • When it comes to shielding women in need from the brunt of the economic squeeze, our policy to free the lowest paid from income tax has played a key role in protecting women. Women make

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… We do not just elect individuals, we elect people to be members of a team

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest edition, looking at Parliamentary representation.

Our Parliament has come a long way in recent years. In fact, watching ‘The Iron Lady’ with Margaret Thatcher sticking out like a blue female sore thumb amongst the total male greyness of the then chamber – it reminded me of how recently in history this establishment was nearly all male.

However, despite real progress, it is still nowhere near reflecting the percentage of women in the country – and that is without even starting to talk about …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone’s speech to conference

Conference – the Liberal Democrats have now been in Government for more than 500 days.

And I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking – this is tough.

And I know that it hasn’t always been easy; and that at times the reality of this Coalition business is very tough.

But that is the point. That is what we are here for.

Because who are we – if not the party who makes the hard calls?

We are the ones who opposed Iraq – when no one else did;

Who championed the Green agenda – when no one else did;

Who warned of the banking crisis – …

Posted in Conference | 3 Comments

Lynne Featherstone’s speech to conference

Liberal Democrats.

I look around and I see the faces of so many friends, colleagues, Cabinet Members. Yes – I did just say that – Liberal Democrat members of the Cabinet.

Now conference, I was pretty clear at the time as to just what I thought of having an all male all pale team sent to negotiate on our behalves in May. Often for some of us women we get frustrated when we see mediocrity promoted above us.

But in this case, they weren’t mediocre – our negotiating team did one hell of a job and I thank them all …

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

The majority of voters are female, so does it matter that the majority of MPs are men?

Women now have the vote on the same terms as men. With the majority of the electorate female – and indeed the majority of actual voters at the last general election female too – what’s there left to worry about, one might ask?

Well – with only around one in five MPs female, there’s a big difference between what goes in to the electoral system (majority: female) and what comes out (overwhelming majority: male).

So what I want to address in this piece head on why I believe this matters.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Where is the British Obama?

Earlier this month Lynne Featherstone gave the Heather Larkin Annual Lecture in Yate:

I am really pleased to be here tonight – yes it is a long trek here and back but worth it to pay tribute to Steve Webb. Steve is a great MP, a great campaigner, a great innovator on the internet – and a great intellectual force. The fact that we often agree on policy may have something to do with that!

But one of the highlights of Parliament is listening to thoughtful and powerful speeches from which you learn and which help shape your own views. Steve’s speeches …

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

Opinion: Why we should be learning lessons from Howard Dean

Howard Dean is coming to town! Barack Obama certainly has two up on him in the Presidential election stakes – Obama got the nomination and got the Presidency – but for many interested in the question of how best to engage with the public and with active supporters in the internet age, Howard Dean is the real inspiration.

What Obama did last year was truly impressive – but impressive in quality and scale and eloquence rather than in innovation. When it came to breaking new ground in picking technologies to use and structuring a campaign around involving people rather than ordering …

Posted in Conference and Online politics | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Opinion: Civil liberties in a modern context

What does an innocent person have to fear?” That’s one of the most common arguments rolled out time and time again to justify chipping away at our freedoms. If you’re innocent why should you be worried if the government can do X, knows Y or stops Z?

The counter-arguments tend to be a mix of principle and pragmatism. Principled arguments around issues such as rights that we have as humans and the restrictions there should be on what governments can do. Pragmatic arguments such as the costs (e.g. spend money on ID cards or on police?), practicalities (e.g. what odds that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Don’t moan about the media – make-up for it instead!

Stephen Tall’s post last week– Lib Dem tax policy: the media’s starting to listen, so now will the public get to hear about it? – highlighted how the media are increasingly rating our approach – and Vince Cable’s in particular – to economic issues.

As ever with Stephen, the post was full of good points and insight, but I think a key point was missed when he said that the reason for this not translating yet into higher support for the party is in part due to “anti-Lib Dem media bias and external factors beyond our control.”

Well yes – both …

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

The brittleness of British politics

Although on the surface, British politics appears to have settled down a little in the last few months (Conservatives ahead, Gordon Brown in Michael Foot territory), underneath it all there is still a huge brittleness about it all.

You see it many weeks in council by-election results, where the Liberal Democrats often notch up dramatic swings from the Conservatives in by-elections in the southern-half of England.

You see it in research such as Newsnight’s focus group comparing Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. At the start – few very had heard of Nick – but by the end – he …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Lessons from May’s elections

To start, three pieces of promising news: in six of the last seven annual rounds of local elections, the number of Liberal Democrat councillors has gone up. Secondly, the change in our vote in Crewe & Nantwich was pretty much the same as in Dudley West, South East Staffordshire and Wirral South – the three big Labour gains from the Conservatives in the run-up to 1997 – a general election at which we then made huge gains in the numbers of MPs we had.

Add in to that the steady but very clear improvement in our poll ratings since Nick Clegg became leader, and there’s plenty of cause for quiet optimism about our electoral prospects – provded we put in the hard work necessary.

But we shouldn’t be complacent that just any sort of hard work will deliver the right results, and there are two signs in that news that we need, in particular, to broaden our strength across the country.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 44 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 20th Oct - 3:42am
    Prostitution is legal in England. It is illegal in Thailand.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Oct - 3:13am
    Dear Paul, I feel strongly that George Osborne is a con man. He's not an economic liberal or a conservative.
  • User AvatarPaul Fox 20th Oct - 12:02am
    The decision is consistent with the LD narrative that Labour crashed the economy and the Coalition was a partnership of principle to rescue the UK...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 19th Oct - 11:59pm
    @Tony Miller "It isn’t a matter of proportional responsibility for action on individual items, but how one partner can persuade the other to do (or...
  • User AvatarEd Shepherd 19th Oct - 11:16pm
    @ Simon Shaw. The article you refer to supports the view that I put forward. Financial support from firms andfor those training to be corporate...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 19th Oct - 10:59pm
    I think Stephen Hesketh is right about the principle of press regulation. Others will disagree, but the press often give the same prominence to inaccurate...