Author Archives: Paul Tyler

Preventing the Tories tilting the political scales (again)

House of Lords

Last week saw the largest Government defeat yet in the Lords during this Parliament, putting a brake on Conservative plans to cut trade union funding to the Labour Party. The move they are attempting to make MUST be coupled with a fair cap on individual donations to get ALL the big money out of politics. Ministers repeatedly allege that their bill is not about party funding, but this is arrant poppycock. Plainly, it IS party funding reform but it is for one party only.

This attempt to tilt the political scales in a Conservative direction is hardly without precedent. In this Parliament alone we have seen up to 1.9 million registered voters unilaterally wiped off the electoral roll, cuts to the funding which enables opposition parties to be effective, and of course boundary changes continue apace. In the year up to the election 57% of Labour funds came from trade unions, while 59% of ALL individual donations to all parties put together went to the Conservatives. To stem one form of funding, without the remotest movement on the other form, is another naked attempt to entrench Conservative undiluted power. It is also a breach of the Conservative manifesto which promised:

In the next Parliament, we will legislate to ensure trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for subscriptions to political parties. AND We will continue to seek agreement on a comprehensive package of party funding reform.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Lib Dems expose Tory self-interest on the Trade Union Bill

Yesterday, Lorely Burt, Cathy Bakewell, Ben Stoneham, Barbara Janke, Chris Rennard and I all spoke on the Government’s Trade Union Bill.

As our BIS spokesperson, Lorely gave an excellent run down of the issues,

and of the Liberal Democrat approach to them, pointing out the flaws in the parts of the Bill which deal with strike action. She argued the measures in the Bill will entrench positions on either side of an industrial dispute, and take workers more frequently and quickly down the path to industrial action as a result.

Posted in Parliament | Tagged | 6 Comments

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Votes at 16: Labour flunks it again

As soon as it was known that 16 and 17 year old would have a say in the referendum on Scottish independence, I tabled a Bill in the Lords for a comprehensive change in the franchise. I have long believed that there is a strong case for lowering the voting age, in light of the maturity and political awareness of this group, and the many, much rehearsed adult responsibilities they take on. There is a pragmatic argument too, which is simply that creating a seamless link for as many young people as possible between citizenship education in schools, electoral registration in the classroom, and then actual participation at the ballot box, is likely to instil the habit of voting throughout later life.

With the advent of the EU Referendum Bill, I thought that even those who had reservations would surely accept that 16 and 17 year olds who had so successfully been given a say in the 2014 Scottish referendum could not be excluded from the franchise in a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.  Labour told us that they agreed.

Our campaign then started out quite well.  With cross-party support for the principle at Committee Stage (when the Lords rarely votes), and then a thumping majority of 82 for the amendment at Report Stage, we were set-fair to force a government rethink. Or so you would think.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 15 Comments

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Effective opposition?

While most of the unusual attention paid to the House of Lords this week focused on for the important tax-credit debates on Monday – in which Labour failed to support us in killing off Osborne’s cuts – there was another ‘fatal motion’ in my name the following day.

With support from Tom Brake, Chris Rennard, William Wallace and Tony Greaves, I moved to stop the Conservatives deleting 1.9 million entries from the electoral register, against the express advice of the Electoral Commission .  The Government is dead set on ending the transitionary period – carefully negotiated in the Coalition – for the change from household to individual electoral registration.

By using an order-making power to bring forward the end-date for the transition, the Government calculates that the 2016 boundary review will produce fewer urban, Conservative-hostile constituencies because most of the people they are taking off are in densely populated areas. In Hackney, 23% will be deleted.

Posted in News | Tagged | 23 Comments

Lord (Paul) Tyler writes…Government is playing a dangerous game by resisting democratic reform of the Lords

 

This week the House of Lords is set to do one of the things it loves most: talking about itself. How wonderful it is; how learned are its members, but how beastly it is that anyone new is ever placed here. We will hear many wise heads opine that the Prime Minister is guilty of a gross abuse of process in appointing new peers this year, and that he is making the place “unsustainable”.  We will hear over and over that the “reputation of the House” is under threat. Some Peers seem to imagine that the public would view as entirely peachy an unelected chamber of Parliament predicated on patronage, just as long as only those who have already been appointed are the only ones ever allowed in.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Paul Tyler writes…Lessons for our new campaigner-in-chief?

I was lucky enough to be invited to a symposium of academics, pollsters and (a very few) politicians this week at Nuffield College on “Beyond General Election 2015”. It was sponsored by the British Election Study, which takes an in depth look at the voting behaviour and motivations of a 30,000 strong sample.

The discussion was held under the Chatham House rule, so I cannot disclose who said what, but here are some themes.

The incumbency factor for sitting Liberal Democrat MPs seems to have been worth some 11%+ on the national vote share. Our 334 lost deposits are very troubling but these figures do show that without fairly ruthless (some might say not ruthless enough) targeting, we could not have maximised what little advantage we had.

Posted in Op-eds | 21 Comments

Cities and Local Government Bill report back

The Government’s plan to impose Mayors where they were previously rejected is progressing apace in Parliament. Fairly unusually for a controversial Bill, it has started out in the Lords.

Our Lib Dem team, led by John Shipley, is seeking to make three campaigning points about the Bill. First, that if areas are to have powerful Mayors imposed upon them, these should be scrutinised by directly elected assemblies, as in London. Secondly, that all of local government should be elected by STV, ending modern rotten Boroughs. Thirdly, that the franchise for these (and all other) elections should be expanded to include 16 and 17 year olds.

Posted in News and Parliament | 6 Comments
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  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 12th Feb - 2:04pm
    LORENZO CHERIN 12th Feb '16 - 1:32pm Of course there are many varieties of left - social justice Liberal Democracy is one of them -...
  • User Avatarexpats 12th Feb - 1:53pm
    When Cameron's Mum, Aunty and his local council, take him to task over his 'cuts' I think that says it all...
  • User AvatarManfarang 12th Feb - 1:52pm
    John The Channel Islands are not part of the EU- Lincolnshire next?
  • User Avatarexpats 12th Feb - 1:50pm
    LORENZO CHERIN 12th Feb '16 - 1:13pm..............I believe , instead of shutting up about recent events ie not mentioning the coalition , and pretending it...
  • User AvatarLORENZO CHERIN 12th Feb - 1:32pm
    Stephen I cannot know whether all the recent members of the Labour party are the sort of Jeremy Corbyn socialists you allude to.As an ex...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 12th Feb - 1:24pm
    And that's my first ever anti-Nick Clegg post. Do I get a gold star now or something?