Category Archives: Parliament

Anything connected with business in the Houses of Commons or Lords (eg, PMQs).

28 Lib Dem MPs vote for recognition of state of Palestine, 1 against

As we trailed here, last night saw the House of Commons debate a backbench motion (which is therefore not binding on the government): ‘That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.’

By my count, 28 Lib Dem MPs backed the motion – their names are below – with just one against (Sir Alan Beith). As the BBC notes: “It is convention that ministers abstain when voting takes place on a backbench MP’s motion and those of both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties did so. It is, however, Lib Dem policy to support recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

The debate was a relatively short one, so there was time for only one speech from a Lib Dem: Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood’s contribution is reproduced below. You can catch up with the debate via Hansard here.

Lib Dem MPs backing the motion to recognise the state of Palestine:

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Coalition-Lite – a better way of doing coalition government?

Shortly before midnight on 11th May 2010, just five days after the General Election, Liberal Democrat MPs and Party chiefs voted to enter Coalition Government with the Conservatives and to support the difficult but inescapable compromise Coalition Programme for Government.

This was a sobering moment. No jubilation. Just a recognition that we had to make this work; and determined that, contrary to past history and evidence from elsewhere, it wouldn’t inflict terminal damage on the Party.

This was, of course, a “least worst” option. The public finances were in a mess; the economy in danger of catastrophic decline. The last thing the country needed was the routine tribalism of the Westminster Village. No party had a majority. The country needed stable government. We did what had to be done.

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Nick Clegg explains Liberal Democrat ministers’ decision to support air strikes on ISIL

RAF lightning II aircraft photo by defence imagesNick Clegg has sent an email to all party members this evening to explain why the parliamentary party will be supporting air strikes on ISIL in Iraq.

It contains the entire broadcast interview which he did this afternoon. He talks about what a”vile and murderous” outfit ISIL is, about how the action is legal and how this isn’t being done by “the west” to “the rest”. It comes as part of a coalition of countries acting on a formal request from the legitimate government of Iraq.

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What’s on in our Parliaments this week?

Senedd - Photo by Laurence EdmondsonA quick look at what’s going on in our Parliaments this week.

Holyrood

The Scottish Parliament is in recess. MSPs return in early August for 3 weeks before breaking again before the Referendum.

The Senedd

Some interesting events this week, not least a motion to create an independent investigator into breaches of the Ministerial Code. This is something that Liberal Democrats have been calling for for years but the rest of the opposition parties have finally caught up in the wake of the scandal over Alun Davies. He breached the …

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What’s on in our Parliaments this week?

Scottish Parliament 3What are our MPs, MSPs and AM’s going to be talking about this coming week?

Holyrood

It’s the last week of term for the Scottish Parliament this week until an earlier than usual return, on 3 August. MSPs will sit for 3 weeks before taking a further 4 week break for the Referendum.

One of the last items to be discussed in the Chamber this session will be a motion from Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes, not on her usual justice portfolio, but on the BMA’s Your GP cares campaign. Her motion …

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Lib Dem opposition to mandatory jail terms for second knife offences show our principles are intact

The Court House - Warwick - Coat of ArmsThe Lib Dems have sold our soul, abandoning all principle, since going into Coalition – so goes up the cry from the party’s detractors, both internal and the very many beyond.

That trite claim doesn’t sit very comfortably with the party’s actions today, voting against Labour and Conservative MPs’ united support of mandatory jail terms for any adult convicted in England or Wales of a second offence involving a knife. As the BBC reports:

Conservative MP Nick de Bois championed the policy, which won

photo by: ell brown
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What’s going on in our Parliaments this week?

Welsh National Assembly - Senedd - Some rights reserved by Wojtek GurakWhat will be on our parliamentarians’ minds this week?

The Senedd

The most important thing from a Liberal Democrat point of view is the ending of the consultation period on Kirsty Williams’ minimum nursing levels bill which she wrote about here in March. If you have something you want to say on this, you have till close of business tomorrow. Here’s the information you need to respond.

Today sees an event to mark Welsh Refugee Week. Later in the week there …

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What’s on in our Parliaments next week? 7-10 April

Houses of ParliamentThe Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are in recess next week, but Westminster is still sitting.

House of Commons

The Commons is still dealing with the Finance Bill, implementing the measures in the Budget. There, is however, a Justice and Home Affairs debate on Monday.

Communities & Local Government, Foreign Office, the Department of International Development (therefore Lynne Featherstene) and Business, Innovation and Skills face questions.

photo by: wwarby
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Lord James Palumbo’s maiden speech

"Frozen Poetry" - Houses of Parliament, LondonIt is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 6 March, Lord Palumbo made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the contribution of women to economic life. His words are reproduced below.

Lord Palumbo of Southwark (LD): My Lords, I thank my …

photo by: Gaurav Pradhan
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Vince Cable in his own words on the sale of Royal Mail

Vincent CableThe publication of a report today by the National Audit Office criticising the “deep caution” of Vince Cable’s department in setting the sale price of shares in Royal Mail has, inevitably, been leapt on by opponents of the policy. Critics who would, of course, have been equally happy crowing if the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills had set the price too high causing the flotation flop.

Vince Cable went to the despatch box of the Commons today to defend his department’s actions, making headlines for unambiguously stating, “The last thing …

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Congratulations, Jo Baker: Lib Dem Researcher of the Year!

Huge congrats to Jo Baker – researcher for Mark Williams, Lib Dem MP for Ceredigion – for winning The House Magazine and PoliticsHome.com’s Liberal Democrat Researcher of the Year!

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Nick Clegg’s tribute to Tony Benn

Tony_BennTributes were paid in the House of Commons today to the former Labour MP Tony Benn, who died last week. Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg led them – here’s what he had to say…

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg):
May I, on behalf of the House, commence the tributes to the right hon. Tony Benn, following the warm words from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition yesterday?

As others have already commented, Tony Benn will be remembered as a dedicated constituency Member of Parliament, a tireless campaigner and, of course, an astute political diarist.

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A longer read for the weekend: Nick Harvey on how “the whole model of local Government funding is now fundamentally broken”

There was a mini-Lib Dem rebellion this week, when five MPs – Tim Farron, Nick Harvey, Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert and Adrian Sanders – all voted against this year’s funding settlement between the Treasury and local government.

As the New Statesman’s George Eaton points out here, “By the end of 2015-16, the budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government will have been reduced by a remarkable 60.6 per cent, with several years of austerity still ahead.” But Whitehall will have been emboldened by this recent ICM poll highlighted by the BBC showing 60% of the public …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Scotland’s place in the UK 

As the Referendum date quickly approaches, I was glad to have the chance to speak in a House of Commons debate last week on Scotland’s place in the UK.

As part of the United Kingdom we have fantastic economic opportunities through the single market, greater security due to having a seat at the top table at NATO, and the ability for Scotland to punch above its weight internationally due to the UK Foreign Office network around the world.

It …

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A longer read for the weekend: Lord (Paul) Strasburger’s submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament recently issued the following call for papers:

On 17 October 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) announced that it would be broadening its inquiry into the laws which govern the intelligence agencies’ ability to intercept private communications. In addition to considering whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate, the Committee is also considering the appropriate balance between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security. The ISC is now inviting written submissions from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry.

Lib Dem peer Paul Strasburger has sent us his submission, which we’re printing in full…

Submission to ISC Inquiry

paul strasburgerby Lord Strasburger

1. In January 2014 President Obama said to his country and the world “Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power. It depends on the law to constrain those in power.”
2. In the UK, the Snowden disclosures have confirmed that the legislation intended to constrain intrusive surveillance of its citizens by the State is not fit for purpose. In addition, scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies which is supposed to protect the privacy and liberty of the British people has comprehensively failed.

The difference between watching anybody and watching everybody

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Lord (Mike) Storey writes on the Children and Families Bill: “At its very core, this is a Lib Dem Bill”

We’ve just had the final days of ‘Report’ of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords and on Monday, MPs will consider our amendments – including the proposal to ban smoking in cars carrying children. But as the dust settles on the red benches (or perhaps I should say, smoke has lifted?) I wanted to let Lib Dem Voice readers know about some of the things we’ve achieved, which Liberal Democrats can rightly be proud of.

I should start by saying that, at its very core, this is a ‘Lib Dem Bill’. The …

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Vince on Scottish independence: RBS would ‘inevitably’ move to London

It’s not often we hear from the Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable on constitutional matters. But today he appeared before Parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to discuss the implications for business of Scottish independence, ahead of September’s referendum. Here’s what he said (via the BBC):

RBS would “inevitably” move its headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence, UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed. Mr Cable told a committee of MPs that the bank would want to be based where it was “protected against the risk of collapse”. …

William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, asked

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

A Stronger Economy 

Last week, I welcomed the announcement of the strongest GDP growth figures since before the financial crisis began in 2007, with the UK growing by 0.7% in the last financial quarter and 1.9% throughout the whole of 2013.  Growth is vital for our prosperity so this is a really important development.

We have also seen the inflation rate dropping to 2% from a peak of 5.2% in September 2011, decreasing unemployment and both the World Bank and the IMF indicating …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Free Childcare

My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have been making the case for extending child care provision in Scotland for some time. So the fact that from August 2014 thousands of two-year-olds in Scotland will be entitled a free childcare place for 15 hours a week is excellent news for families across the Borders.

This means that we now catch up with the situation in England where the Liberal Democrats have helped to deliver a similar plan for two years now. The …

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Vince Cable nails Labour’s crass and inaccurate attacks on Lib Dems’ support for the minimum wage

Sometimes you’ll hear Labour folk claim, with absolute certainty, that the Lib Dems opposed the introduction of the minimum wage in 1998. They’re wrong, as a glance at the voting record shows not a single Lib Dem MP voted against and 26 voted in favour.

Today Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, upped the ante, demanding to know:

where was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable)? He was nowhere to be seen in the debates. He was nowhere to be seen on the voting record. On Second Reading and Third Reading, he failed to vote. Apparently, he abstained because he had reservations about a minimum wage. Perhaps he will stand up today to profess his concern for the plight of the low-paid.

Vince didn’t respond directly immediately. But he did respond:

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“Annoying” behaviour – Baroness Sally Hamwee responds

On Wednesday the House of Lords debated the first part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. As has been reported , the main issue discussed concerned the definition that will be used in the new ‘Injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour’ of IPNAs that will replace ASBOs. The Government was proposing the IPNAs can be issued against behaviour that can reasonably be expected to cause ‘nuisance or annoyance’.

However, an amendment by Lord Dear proposed changing this test (except when it comes to social housing) likely to cause ‘harassment, alarm and distress’.

I know many Lib Dem Voice readers feel a …

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What’s on in the Commons next week? 6-10 January 2014

MPs return to Westminster from their Christmas holidays next week. What does the parliamentary agenda have in store for them and when are Liberal Democrat ministers in action?

On Monday, it’s Education questions, followed by the completion of Commons stages for the Water Bill. I wonder how quickly the first Blackadder reference will creep in.

On Tuesday, Nick Clegg’s in action at Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions. Then the Mesothelioma Bill completes its Commons stages.

Wednesday sees the first PMQs of the year. I can’t see any prospect of this weekly pantomime becoming any less depressing. It would be so nice if our MPs …

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Lord Rumi Verjee’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Thursday, Lord Verjee made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. His words are reproduced below.

Lord Verjee (LD): My Lords, it is with a very full set of emotions that I stand before noble Lords this afternoon …

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Baroness Christine Humphreys’ maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 28 November, Baroness Humphreys made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on broadcast media and its role in the economy. Her words are reproduced below.

Baroness Humphreys (LD): My Lords, I thank my noble friend for initiating this debate and for allowing me the opportunity to make …

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EDMWatch #6 Pubs, badgers and elephants – but what about people?

We take  an occasional look at the Early Day Motions tabled by MPs. These are basically House of Commons petition and are used to raise awareness of an issue. One of the biggest elements of an MP’s postbag or inbox is a pile of requests from supporters of a particular organisation or charity to sign a particular EDM. As a rule, ministers don’t sign EDMs.

Most popular

Winning for this session so far is our own Greg Mulholland’s EDM 57, on getting pub tenants a fair deal from breweries, signed by 166 MPs.

Now this is where I get annoyed, …

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Lord Jeremy Purvis’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 28 November, Lord Purvis of Tweed made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on broadcast media and its role in the economy. His words are reproduced below.

Jeremy PurvisLord Purvis of Tweed (LD): My Lords, it is a daunting task to follow the noble Lord, Lord Birt, in this debate. However, I crave the indulgence of your Lordships’ House to make my maiden speech. In doing so, I will perhaps draw the House’s attention north from London and the south-east towards the north of England and Scotland.

I am conscious that many maiden speeches have been made in recent weeks, including in this debate. I, too, add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, and to my noble friend Lady Grender; I associate myself with the kind words of the noble Lord, Lord Birt, in paying rich tribute to her maiden speech. I have been a poor pupil of media training by my noble friend Lady Grender; participation in this House was perhaps not a topic on our agenda. However, there is a perverse pleasure in seeing her now having to tackle the tough questions on behalf of her party.

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Nick Clegg’s Commons tribute to Mandela: “let us honour his memory by ensuring that the hope he gave lives on”

clegg on leveson 2Nick Clegg offered his tribute on behalf of the Lib Dems today to Nelson Mandela’s immense contribution to leading South Africa away from apartheid and towards democracy. Here’s what he had to say:

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg):
On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, let me add my voice to the many tributes to Nelson Mandela, the father of modern South Africa. Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones, the people of South Africa, and everyone around the world who is grieving his loss.

Nelson Mandela’s message

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Baroness Alison Suttie’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Wednesday, Baroness Suttie made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on human rights. Her words are reproduced below.

Baroness Suttie (LD): My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Alton, on securing this timely and important debate. I congratulate my noble friend Lord Finkelstein on his …

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Norman Baker writes… “We’re not turning into authoritarians!”

Today the Independent published a story about the Coalition Government’s plans to reform anti-social behaviour legislation.  I know that many Lib Dems may well be concerned by the story. Indeed, if it were true I would be worried! But it is not. It is utter nonsense to suggest we are targeting skateboarders, ramblers, youngsters playing in their local park, or anyone else going about their daily lives perfectly reasonably.

In reality the new anti-social behaviour powers are designed to protect such activities. Rather, the power is designed to stop problem drinking, aggressive begging, dog fouling – any behaviour that spoils the …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Mike Moore rocket look of wonderment croppedLiberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Apprenticeships Campaign

Over the last few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices. I have visited many businesses across the constituency to see how they have managed to create very successful apprenticeship schemes.

As part of this ongoing campaign to increase apprenticeships in the Borders, last week I visited Hawick Cashmere to meet the apprentices there.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSIMON BANKS 24th Oct - 3:49pm
    To abolish all WAR. Not "all was"!
  • User AvatarSIMON BANKS 24th Oct - 3:48pm
    Political vanity is hardly fair. While only one member of the cabinet saw action (Churchill), most had sons in the trenches. Lloyd George had two...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 24th Oct - 3:28pm
    Matthew, Apologies that last comment got whisked off before I had if finished. It should have ended But I think you are just factually incorrect...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 24th Oct - 3:27pm
    Protest politics is as legitimate a form of politics as making arguments door-to-door — and even if it is not effective at convincing politicians to...
  • User AvatarMatthew Green 24th Oct - 3:14pm
    Well I certainly agree that proper engagement in politics is better than single-issue protests - I so do I agree with much of this article....
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 24th Oct - 3:06pm
    Matthew I agree with you when you say -- "...So we have been pouring enormous subsidies into nuclear power stations for more than fifty years...