Author Archives: NewsHound

Duncan Hames cleared of wrongdoing over election expenses

Remember the ongoing controversy over the Conservatives bussing activists into marginal seats and whether the costs should feature on local expenses returns? Around 20 police forces are still carrying out investigations into a serious issue.

At the same time, there were a few complaints about former Liberal Democrat MPs’ expenses. There were suggestions that visits to constituencies by the Leader’s Tour should somehow be put on local expenses. Given that these visits were about promoting the Liberal Democrats to the country and providing the piece for nightly news bulletins, the costs were, of course, included on the national return.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: The media’s reporting of the Child’s Review sums up why we are still light years from equality

Recently Jo Swinson commented on the media coverage of the Childs Review, a report which made a number of recommendations about how the diversity of Parliament could be improved. The reporting put a huge emphasis on breastfeeding in the Chamber despite this having barely been mentioned in passing.

She wrote this for the Huffington Post:

None of these 43 recommendations are about breastfeeding. The word ‘breast’ is mentioned just twice in the body of the report, in a sub-section under recommendation 12 on page 21, which covers the need for a clear policy on maternity, paternity, parental,

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: The honeymoon will be short if Theresa May can’t tame the Tory right

In his regular column for the Standard, Nick Clegg predicts that the current harmony in the Conservative Party will be short-lived and they will soon be just as divided as Labour again as the dogma of the Brexiteers gets in the way of what is actually good for the country.

The signs of trouble are already there.

Stories have emerged that the awkward squad on the Tory backbenches are organising themselves to oppose anything other than a “hard Brexit”, whatever that means. And their outliers in the press, such as columnist Melanie Phillips, are already issuing breathless warnings that there will be a “revolt” if May doesn’t do exactly as they say.

He describes an encounter with two of the main proponents of Brexit.

When I recently bumped into Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan — two arch-Brexiteers — I pointed out that they are now key members of the new Brexit elite which runs our country. They both looked startled.

They have spent so long acting as anti-establishment insurgents that they are clearly unprepared for the responsibility that comes with actually getting their way.

This mirrors the ashen faces of Gove and Boris on 24th June.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Scrapping Minister for Refugees shows May’s Govt shrinking from role in solving refugee crisis

Syrian refugees by Syria Freedom Freedom House Flickr CCL 2In an article for the Huffington Post, Tim Farron has slammed Theresa May for scrapping the post of Minister for Refugees, a post which was only established by David Cameron last September to make it look like he was doing something.

The minister, amongst other things, oversaw the implementation of Britain’s commitment to take 20,000 Syrian refugees from the region and an additional 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from the Middle East over the course of this Parliament. This process was already moving at a snail’s pace – by the end of March of this year only 1,602 people had been resettled in the UK. Now, with no one holding the ball on this issue you have to wonder how anyone can remain optimistic that we will hit this target.

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: We put an end to child detention. Now the Tories have backtracked

Alistair Carmichael writes for STV News about the Tories sneaking out the announcement about the closure of the Cedars facility:

It is the oldest trick in the parliamentary book. Slip out all the bad news on the last day when MPs are already looking out the Ambre Solaire and the flip flops. By the time the Commons returns in September the moment for protest will have passed and the pressure will be off.

Thursday’s clutch brought the usual mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent. And one more — the shameful. Buried in amongst announcements about schools funding, Ecofin and Armed Forces Pay Review Body appointments, there is one entitled “Cedars pre-departure accommodation”. It is a cosy-sounding title that betrays its true nature.

Cedars was the accommodation set up under the coalition government when implementing the commitment in the coalition agreement to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. It meant that children in families awaiting removal from the UK would no longer have to spend time in lock-down institutions.

Why should we treat children of asylum seekers less well than we would want our own to be treated, he asks.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Turmoil makes case for voting reform

Tim Farron has written a thoughtful article for the Yorkshire Post saying that we need to reform our voting system to make it fairer and to reflect the views of the people.

What’s surprising is that there’s more than just Lib Dems talking about it:

But just as extraordinary in its way has been the letters page of The Yorkshire Post. It has been bursting with debate on the need for electoral reform in the light of Brexit and the divided state of our country.

Tim went on to talk about conversations with Leave voters in Preston who felt that their concerns were not reflected in Westminster:

Many said that London had boomed while places that had been hit hard by the recession still haven’t seen much evidence of a recovery.

True, there were some who had voted Leave because they were worried about what they saw as an erosion of sovereignty. But many raised issues such as low wages, poor housing and lack of investment.

Even when immigration was mentioned, it was in the context of lack of training and opportunities for people in cities such as Preston to improve their lives and share in prosperity. I pointed out that London certainly has its share of disadvantaged people, but several people asked: “Where is the infrastructure investment in other parts of the UK?”

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Nick Clegg: We need more than warm words and bromide from May

In his first few hours as our EU Spokesperson, we’ve had more sense from Nick Clegg than we’ve had from the whole government in the four awful weeks since the referendum.

Tonight he was on Radio 4’s PM programme saying that it was really important that we started to see some detail from the Government on its plans for Britain’s exit from the EU. We need, he said, a very detailed plan to extricate ourselves from the complex web of economic and legal ties between us and the EU.

He said that if the Government wanted to retain the closest possible ties with the single market, their own backbenchers would kick off.

You can listen to his interview here from about 39:30.

In a piece for the i newspaper, Nick pointed out a few discrepancies between what the Tories say they want and the likelihood of it happening without compromise:

Theresa May can’t, for example, promise that we will be able to enjoy all the benefits to our economy that full access to the world’s largest borderless single market will bring, without accepting freedom of movement in return. So which is it? What matters more – our economy and jobs or clamping down on immigration?

David Davis, Theresa May’s new Brexit minister, appears to believe the single market is just a free trade arrangement. It isn’t. Free trade means removing tariffs so that companies can trade without paying different levels of tax on the goods they buy and sell. But the single market is much more ambitious. It is about harmonising all the standards and regulations that apply to goods and services across Europe, so that companies can trade with each other on a truly level playing field.

So it’s good that someone is on the case. He sets out his own plans:

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

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    Now two articles, and dozens of responses to a man on a train? As I've said before...A pound worth 'sweet Fanny Adams', a government with...
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  • User AvatarRoland 25th Aug - 1:09am
    Richard Underhill - many apologies for my unintentional mistake.
  • User AvatarLyn Newman 25th Aug - 12:35am
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  • User AvatarLeave The EU 25th Aug - 12:16am
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRjl4biSmZ4 - For any pro-Brexiters, I liked the "theater" of BJ from 0-31 seconds in - it felt like "a moment in history". :-)
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