Author Archives: The Voice

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14.200 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Why I went from being Rugby Green party’s General Election candidate to a revived Liberal Democrat activist (60 comments) by Terry Green

Leaving UKIP for the Liberal Democrats (45 comments) by Jakob Whiten

++Tim Farron announces diverse spokesperson team (56 comments) by Newshound

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Rennie tackles Justice Secretary on allegations that Police Scotland spied illegally on journalists

Today’s Sunday Herald reports that Police Scotland has illegally spied on journalists to try to identify their sources, citing the Interception of Communication Commissioner’s Office:

However, IOCCO last month revealed that two unnamed forces had breached the revised Code since March 25.

It said: “Two police forces have acquired communications data to identify the interactions between journalists and their sources in two investigations without obtaining judicial approval.

“These breaches were identified during our inspections. In these cases the normal RIPA process was used and the data was approved by a designated person.”

In one of the cases, a force acquired the data of a newspaper’s suspected source and of a former police employee believed to be acting as an intermediary.

Willie Rennie has been quick to seek answers from the Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson. He wrote:

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Farron calls on Cameron to act to end “immeasurable suffering” of migrants

Tim Farron has written to David Cameron to urge him to ensure that the UK takes its fair share of those poor, desperate, vulnerable people we’ve all seen on our tv screens. He wrote:

I am writing to you about the current humanitarian crisis in Calais and its impact here in the UK.

I am sure you agree that it is heartbreaking to see hundreds of desperate people subsisting in makeshift camps night after night, willing to risk life and limb in the hope of a better future while many in Kent and across the country see their daily lives hugely disrupted through no fault of their own.

I welcome your commitment yesterday to providing France with the resources needed to deal with the situation and am writing to seek assurances that alongside the necessary security measures, support will also be given to humanely process those seeking asylum, return those who have no right to remain, and ensure that, in line with international obligations, standards of welfare and accommodation are urgently improved.

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When the Divine Ms Duffett met Mr Farron

Watch what happened when Helen sat down with Tim. Find out what VDV means:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

A site housekeeping note and how you can help Liberal Democrat Voice

After an Liberal Democrat Voice conclave, an appropriately coloured smoke signal has arisen from the chimney at LDV Towers, indicating that we will no longer put the word “Opinion” before contributions from readers to our site. We think it is obvious that what people write is their opinion (not necessarily shared by the LDV team) and the label was starting to look a bit “clunky”. We will still flag up such posts as being in our “Op-Ed” category.

The Voice is only a success because of the interest and support from our readers. For many people just lurking and reading the site is all they want to do – and that’s fine, we’re grateful for people taking the time to read the site.

You can though help us continue to produce interesting content for a growing audience. Here are four simple ways:

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Tim Farron calls for Lords reform in wake of Sewel

Tim Farron has written to party leaders and cross-bench peers calling for Lords reform in the wake of the Lord Sewel scandal.

Tim argues that this is not just about one bad apple, but rather it is about a system which is rotten to the core and allows unelected, unaccountable people to think they are above the law. It is yet another sorry reflection of an undemocratic system, and more than ever highlights the Liberal Democrat case for reform.

Posted in News | 32 Comments

A trio of Lib Dem Lords stand up for LGBT+ Asylum seekers

It was Home Office questions in the House of Lords this week. Three Liberal Democrat peers asked questions about the treatment of LGBT+ people in the asylum system and abroad which has to date been pretty awful. The first was Paul Scriven who asked whether the recommendations to change the disgraceful way LGBT+ people seeking asylum in this country are treated. Here’s the exchange in full:

Lord Scriven (LD): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to implement the recommendations in the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration of March–June 2014 regarding the handling of asylum claims made on the grounds of sexual orientation, and if so, when.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): My Lords, the Home Office has been actively working to implement the recommendations. An updated asylum instruction considering sexual identity issues in the asylum claim has been issued. Approved training for staff is under development. These will ensure the sensitive and effective exploration of asylum claims based on sexuality. The Home Office is conducting “second pair of eyes” checks on all such claims to ensure the consistent recording of cases and more accurate data.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Lamb and Williams warn on care cap delay

As Care Minister, Norman Lamb (and his Liberal Democrat predecessor) were pivotal in ensuring that the cap for care costs was introduced. The Conservatives have now delayed its implementation by 4 long years. Norman described this as an “outrageous betrayal of people at their most weak and most frail. He said:

This an extraordinary and devastating u-turn from the Tories and an outrageous betrayal of people at their most weak and most frail with conditions like dementia.

Crippling care costs need addressing urgently. In coalition we designed a solution that would help and was affordable. Local authorities have spent millions already preparing for the introduction of the cap, yet we now hear the Tories are turning their back on it. This delay is a total waste of public money.

The distress and heartbreak that people feel when a loved one is in care, is being exacerbated by the fear of how to pay for it. We must not allow this to continue.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14,800 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Channel 4, Cathy Newman, Tim Farron, sex and sin (286 comments) by Joe Otten

What could a Jeremy Corbyn victory mean for the Lib Dems? (85 comments) by Mark Argent

On Farron’s lurch to the left (64 comments) by Caron Lindsay

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Veronica German to head South Wales East list for Welsh Assembly elections

Former AM Veronica German has been chosen to lead the South Wales East list for the Welsh Assembly elections next May.

From the Welsh Lib Dems website:

A democratic postal ballot of all members in the region chose the following candidates for the regional list in 2016:

1. Veronica German

2. Paul Halliday

3. Bob Griffin

Veronica German is a former Assembly Member for the region who has served as the Welsh Lib Dem spokesperson on health, local government and equalities. She is a former county councillor in both Newport and Torfaen, and worked as a science teacher for over 20 years.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Can you help with a research project about civic participation in London next week?

From the LDV inbox this week, a request from Jorge Miguel, a research student at University College London’s Institute of Education for volunteers to help him with a study he is carrying out about civic participation:

The research aims to explore the reasons for participation in civic and political groups and it is based on interviews to people involved in different civic or political groups. With this purpose, I would like to interview three people who collaborate with your organization in a voluntary basis (not being paid for it). The views of the people participating in the interview are not thought to represent the view of the organization, just the personal stories and reasons of each person to get involved in a particular organization.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Double by-election success and a new 18 year old councillor for the Liberal Democrats

The #libdemfightback continues with two good by-election wins in the south east. First of all, Neil Houston held on to the Long Ditton Ward of Elmbridge Council:

LIB DEM – 770

CON – 611

GRN – 79

UKIP – 61

And in Seaford, in East Sussex, 18 year old Isabelle Murray, who wasn’t even old enough to vote in May, won the Seaford Central ward on the Town Council by quite some margin.

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Tim Farron writes to Harriet Harman asking her to oppose Welfare Bill

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman to ask her to ensure that her party opposes the Government’s Welfare Bill.

Here is the text of his letter:

Dear Harriet
The Conservative Government last night brought forward plans for £12bn of cuts to welfare that will directly impact millions of people across the country including the poorest families in our constituencies.

The Conservatives do not need to make these cuts, especially at the same time as giving tax breaks to millionaires.

The people who will be hit by these changes need someone to give them a voice in Parliament and fight their corner, and last night Labour failed to stand up for them.

You have said that you do not want to oppose absolutely every saving that the Government suggests, but these cuts will hurt the poorest in our communities.

Cuts to employment support allowance, lowering the benefit cap and slashing tax credits for those in low paid work are not policies that any progressive should support.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 26 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 16,700 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

And the new leader of the Liberal Democrats is… (180 comments) by Caron Lindsay 

“Soggy Syriza with sandals”? Thanks, Danny, for giving George Osborne another stick to beat us with (45 comments) by Caron Lindsay

Channel 4, Cathy Newman, Tim Farron, Sex and Sin (133 comments) by Joe Otten

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In Full: Tim Farron’s speech, transcribed by Joanne Ferguson

Since she joined the party in May, Joanne Ferguson from Hamilton has thrown herself into Lib Dem life. She’s stood for election in Liberal Youth, she’s been to hustings meetings, policy roadshows and worked like a demon for Tim Farron’s leadership campaign. She’s also written twice for us.

I wanted to put a full transcript of Tim’s speech from the rally. The one on the party website is good enough, but I decided to go for the one Joanne did on her blog because of her commentary and because of the effort she put in to doing it. So, enjoy.

“Shall I … Do you want me to say something? Is it a cunning ploy to make sure we get a standing ovation by just … making you stand?

Wow, well look, for years I stood where you are now. I joined this party when I was sixteen. I watched some great liberal leaders give some incredible speeches: Steel, Ashdown, Kennedy, Campbell, *he looks at Nick* Clegg. Imagine following in their footsteps. To say it’s an honour is an understatement of epic proportions. I remember sitting in the winter gardens at the Blackpool conference, watching Paddy give his first leader’s speech when I was 18. I remember feeling not just inspired but incredibly guilty, because I’d left home in Preston that morning, and there on the kitchen table was my round of Focus leaflets and I’d not delivered them yet. I got home and discovered that my mother had done them for me … just … bless her.

So I get to lead the party I joined as a kid. Thank you, thank you very much. I will work every day to repay the trust you have put in me, but there is someone else I want to say thank you to as well, and that is Norman. *clapping* There’s more. *more clapping*. Norman is an outstanding liberal who’s been a mentor of mine since I was first elected in 2005. I got really bored of hearing myself speak during the leadership campaign, but I never got bored with Norman. As I consider Norman’s achievements on improving mental health, I am reminded how vital it is that we win elections so we can make that kind of difference again. If there were more Norman Lambs in politics, people’s opinions of politicians would be so much better. They said of Jo Grimond that he gave politics a good name. Now I don’t go around comparing people to Jo Grimond lightly, but Norman is exactly in that mould. I am proud of his achievements in government. I am incredibly proud to work alongside Norman as we rebuild our party. To Norman and all of his team, you fought a brilliant campaign. We owe you a massive debt of thanks.

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Sal Brinton’s message for Eid-ul-Fitr

Party President Sal Brinton issued the following message for Eid-ul-Fitr.

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, I would like to wish Muslims in the United Kingdom and all over the world a happy Eid-ul-Fitr.

Eid is a joyful occasion and a time for family, friends and neighbours to come together and celebrate the common values that unite us in our humanity.

But even during this festive time, the attitude of Muslims to remember those in parts of the world less fortunate than us is exemplary.

Throughout Ramadan, Muslim communities collect and distribute Zakat-ul-fitr so that all Muslims are able to

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Who are your human rights heroes?

Liberty is looking for nominations for its 2015 Human Rights Awards.

Here’s what you need to do by 5pm tonight:

We’re looking for the NGOs, the national campaigners, the local activists, the volunteers or professionals who are working on human rights issues – whether it be inspiring or organising, providing support or challenging misconceptions. Often individuals and organisations work tirelessly and with little recognition – this is our chance to thanks them for all they do, and shine a light on this crucial work.

Past award categories have included Human Rights Lawyer of the Year, Human Rights Young Person of the Year, and our ‘Close to Home’ award, which acknowledges those who battle for the rights and freedoms of their own families, streets and communities. These categories are not fixed so please nominate anyone you believe deserves recognition for their work to protect, promote or broaden understanding of human rights.

Who is eligible?

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Liberal Democrats win three by-elections in Kingston, Wrexham and Battle

Well, that was a turn up for the books. Liberal Democrats in Kingston have stormed to victory in the Grove Ward by-election. The Tories threw the kitchen sink at the ward, even sending Chris Grayling and Sol Campbell there along with a huge amounts of activists, but their vote was pretty embarrassing to be honest.

UKIP: 58
Greens: 88
Conservatives: 688
Labour: 223
Lib Dems: 1577

In Wales, we took a seat from Labour by some margin.

And in Battle, Cllr Kevin Dixon regained the seat he lost in May:

Posted in News | Tagged | 29 Comments

Leadership update: How they count the votes

The party is catering for all the process geeks amongst its membership well this afternoon with an explanation of exactly how the votes are being counted. The result is expected in the next hour:

All of the ballot papers have been returned directly to Electoral Reform Services (the commercial arm of the Electoral Reform Society) who are running the election for us.

Ahead of the count, the ERS opened all of the returned envelopes, and put the votes into batches of 100 ready for counting.

The count is conducted by ERS staff as is supervised by a small team from party HQ (Tim Gordon our CEO, Darren Briddock from the party’s compliance team and Austin Rathe form the membership team) along with the agents and additional observers from each of the two campaigns. The count is a sterile environment, so representatives from both campaigns will have to hand in their mobile phones before entering the count area – hence why you won’t hear anything during the count!

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What you can do while waiting for the new leader to be announced.

Fed up waiting for the result of the leadership election? Here’s something to take your mind of it whether you’re a Tim or a Norman supporter.

There is a major by-election in a key marginal seat in Kingston going on today.  It was caused by the death of popular Liberal Democrat Councillor Chrissie Hitchcock. Our candidate is Jon Tolley who owns a record shop and has massively high name recognition in the ward. He’s clearly very well thought of.

The Tories have thrown the kitchen sink at the ward and have stopped to all sorts of lows. Think this leaflet slating Jon Tolley comes from the Greens?

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Chris Huhne talks to Robert Peston and Eddie Mair about his downfall, prison, Balzac and phlegmatism

Huhne, Mair, PestonBBC journalists Robert Peston and Eddie Mair have teamed up over recent weeks to make a late-night Radio 4 interview show with a difference. Each week, the presenters take it in turn to choose a guest to be interviewed by them both — but the one not choosing does not know who the guest is until the recording begins. This week’s episode was the last in the series, and Eddie Mair’s guest of choice was Chris Huhne, formerly the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh and energy secretary in the coalition, who was convicted in  2013 of perverting the course of justice, and sentenced to eight months in prison.

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Kirsty Williams: Liberal Democrats fight for the underdog, we fight for what is right, leading on the issues that no-one else will

In a speech in Cardiff today, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams made a considered, candid speech in which she started to chart the direction of the post-coalition party. She has to lead her AMs into challenging Welsh Assembly elections in less than ten months’ time.

She spoke honestly about the coalition experience and what she felt the Liberal Democrats had got wrong as well as right. She said it was now time to reset the dial and talked about those values of social justice, individual liberty and Keynesian economic efficiency which are the cornerstones of our values.

The whole speech is reproduced below, and you can listen along to the audio here.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the  12,500 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Opinion: Britain’s Liberal Youth can flourish in a Lamb-led Liberal Democrats (107 comments) by Darren Grimes

Grayling: I’d rather face 56 SNP MPs than 57 Liberal Democrats (20 comments) by Caron Lindsay

Senior Lib Dems react to the budget (40 comments) by Caron Lindsay

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Liberal Democrat Leadership: Farron and Lamb answer questions on engineering and science

One of the great things about the leadership contest is that every party organisation has submitted questions to the candidates on their area of interest.

The Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists is no exception and you can see all Tim’s and Norman’s answers to a series of questions about science.

You can read them all here, but here’s a flavour of one question:

Both of you signed an EDM in 2007 supporting provision of homeopathic medicines through the NHS but then revised your support after a Commons STC report questioned the evidence in favour of homeopathic treatments. What resources would you call on personally as leader in order to obtain expert advice and how could the parliamentary party make better use of evidence?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Liberal Democrat Leadership: Young activists’ letters of support for Farron and Lamb – and a bit of controversy too

Liberal Youth at Eastleigh - Some rights reserved by Helen Duffett

Young activists have written open letters in support of the respective candidates in  the Liberal Democrat leadership contest.

Earlier this week, 50 young activists, including Sam Bennett, the chair of IR Cymru, Liberal Youth Executive members and members from Scotland, England and Wales, wrote an open letter of support for Tim, saying:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

New Leader to be announced on social media ahead of members’ rally

tim farron norman lamb square5 by Paul Walter

Historically leaders have been announced very formally, with an audience of party grandees listening to the party president read the results.

Not this time. Next Thursday, about this time, we’ll all be refreshing our Twitter like idiots waiting for news for this time the result will be announced on social media at some point in the “late afternoon.”

Then, at 6pm, there will be a members’ rally at a Central London venue where the new leader will make his first speech. As I write, members are being emailed details of how to register.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Willie Rennie on the roar of the Ginger Rodent

Never forget what Chris Grayling said to SNP MP Pete Wishart on Tuesday night. Here’s the exact quote from Hansard:

Let me also say to him and his colleagues that I regard their presence in the House as a great asset. I would much rather have them than 57 Liberal Democrats.

That would have nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats spending five years making life very difficult for the Tories and stopping them from brining in the sorts of measures that give to the rich while taking from the poorest and youngest at the most difficult stages in their lives as they did in yesterday’s budget.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 14 Comments

Budget Live Blog as Osborne helps rich – but casts young and poor adrift.

Caron Lindsay 12:30 pm

“A budget for working people” says George Osborne. We’ll see.  I guess if you are a rich working person, maybe.

I’ve had an official hiding behind pillow for all budgets in the last five years. I need it more than ever today.

So, let the budget live blog kick-off.

The measures we do know about seem very much about giving to the rich and taking to the poor.

People struggling to get by, stuck in private rented accommodation, will find it hard to see Inheritance Tax thresholds being lifted to more than £1 million while their entitlements to tax credits are being limited.

It’s worth pointing out that those are exactly the sorts of measure that the Liberal Democrats spent the last five years stopping or at least limiting. Everything announced today would have been done by now if it hadn’t been for us.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 90 Comments

LibLink: Claire Tyler delivers the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture

Baroness-Claire-Tyler-1Baroness Claire Tyler is our spokesperson for mental health in the Lords, and on Saturday she gave the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture at the Social Liberal Forum conference. The full text has now been published, but we can give you a taster here.

The title of the lecture was ‘Wellbeing – a modern take on Beveridge’ and she began by saying:

I think it is entirely appropriate to be revisiting Beveridge at a conference entitled ‘Rebooting Liberalism’. It’s neither regressive nor intellectually lazy to be looking to the past as we seek to move forward. Far from it – we are fortunate to have an incredibly strong intellectual tradition within the party and in seeking to both clarify and communicate exactly what we stand for, we could do much worse than draw on the ground-breaking work of one of the grandfathers of modern Liberalism.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 2 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 10,800 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

A small step for trust in the manifesto (126 comments) by Joe Otten

Lib Dem Geraldine Locke takes safe Tory seat in Richmond (38 comments) by The Voice

Opinion: the twin conceits that damaged the Lib Dems’ electoral hopes in 2015 (37 comments) by David Thorpe

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