In other news… Paddy in Lords bust-up; Manchester elects Lib Dem lord mayor; Defections round-up

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Lord Ashdown and Lord Phillips in Lords reform clash (BBC News)

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has clashed with one of his party colleagues during a debate on government plans to reform the House of Lords. Lord Phillips of Sudbury complained that the proposal would turn Parliament’s second chamber into a clone of the House of Commons, with politicians simply following the party line when it comes to voting. In finger-jabbing exchanges, Lord Ashdown argued that most peers should be elected. A system with “some contact with democracy” was to be welcomed and that had been Liberal and Liberal Democrat for a century, he added. But Lord Phillips refused to back down, and the row took a more personal turn after he reminded his former party boss that he had chosen to send him to the Lords in the first place. He said he would not “bloody well” follow the Lib Dem line on all issues and called Lord Ashdown a “headmaster”, to the amusement of some in the chamber.

Lib Dem councillor becomes new Lord Mayor of Manchester (Mancunian Matters)

Manchester’s Liberal Democrats can celebrate some good news at last for them, as one of their own became Lord Mayor this morning. Liberal Democrat councillor Elaine Boyes, 60, will don the chains of office for a year following the Annual Meeting at Manchester Town Hall. The Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Elaine Boyes said, “”It has been a privilege to serve the residents of the city centre for over six years and it is a real honour to have the opportunity to now represent all of Manchester as Lord Mayor.

Latest Lib Dem defections round-up:

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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9 Comments

  • Martin Pierce 20th May '12 - 11:08pm

    Credit to you Stephen for posting defections FROM the Lib Dems. All too many blogs these days it seems to me try – rather desperately it sometimes feels – to jolly us all along and say how really, really well we’re doing. Well whatever we might think the voters clearly don’t agree and I think we would do better to spend more time thinking how we’re actually going to get out of this hole. And the first step to doing that is recognising we’re in one. It’s what we had to do in 1988-89.

  • Peter Chegwyn 21st May '12 - 3:47am

    Very sorry to hear about David Stone quitting the Party. Chris Rennard and I got him elected just prior to the Chesterfield parliamentary by-election in 1984 and he has been a councillor ever since. When councillors as good as David are quitting it’s a very sad reflection of the state the Party is currently in.

  • John Heyworth 21st May '12 - 9:51am

    Sorry to see another group of Lib Dem councillors leave the party. Once again betraying the people who elected them and the party members who supported their campaigns. I can only hope they go the same way as the defectors in Rochdale all of whom who were up for election this year lost their seats….although sadly not back to us.

  • When I left (while not a sitting councillor) I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing; there could have been a move back to where I felt comfortable, certainly in the run up to 2015, I had invested a huge amount of time and effort, and I was still respected locally for what I did as a Lib Dem. Being on the receiving end of comments such as John’s changed my position to one where I know I will almost certainly never go back, and when I vote in future it will not be out of any residual party loyalty. Anyone who can’t accept that parties and individuals change opinions (particularly as events unfold in the uncharted territory of coalition-land), and accept it with good grace, needs to grow up before they alienate the people they need most.

  • paul barker 21st May '12 - 2:11pm

    As a multiple “defector” myself* I wish we could all accept that people change their minds & the only honest response to that is to acknowledge it.
    On the question of whether such moves have any larger significance its very hard to say. There is a constant trickle of activists & councillors moving from one party to another. Under normal circumstances there is very little publicity, even locally. Whether more than the normal numbers are leaving the libdems I dont know & I doubt its possible to know.
    It would be useful if party HQ produced regular membership figures & gave them publicity, that would at least give us some sort of general picture.

    *trot-labour-SDP-libdem-green-libdem over along time.

  • LondonLiberal 21st May '12 - 3:47pm

    John heyworth – so it was defectors who betrayed their party’s hard work? not a leadership that lied about its economic approach to deficit reduction before the election? or said last year that ‘i don’t particularly remember campaigning on student fees’, or whose acolyte, Mr Laws, uses every opportunity he can to praise George Osborne?

  • Dave Hennigan 21st May '12 - 6:59pm

    John H – Whilst I share your disspointment about defectors to other parties, we should look at the reasons why. Some defectors are self-serving admittedly but others are simply exasperated at the current state of the party. Yes, we are doing good things – taking the poorest out of tax, pupil premium etc.

    We need to acknowledge though the damage that is happening – propping up a chaotic Government who are making error after error and tuition fees (Let’s not pretend that this will go away) etc. etc!

    The defections in Rochdale were over local issues though and can’t be treated in the same catagory.

  • Helen Dudden 22nd May '12 - 9:03am

    Yes I withdrew my membership just last week after over 15 years, I concentrate on other issues, I think what is being said is the truth, but then we do have minds of our own, and this is now being proven.

    I decided that I could not support the changes that are going through.

  • I’ve spoken to a number of people who let their membership lapse through plain fed-up-ness, and it’s quite telling that none heard anything from the national party or in some cases even senior local party people. No “please stay” letter, no attempt to find out more. All I got after 17 years membership was a terse email telling me I’d been denied access to one online forum. I get the feeling that there’s an attitude of “if you’re not 100% sure about us, we don’t want you” that’s becoming more prevalent as the waverers move on.

    ( I should add that I didn’t defect to another party, I’m giving my time to non-party-political causes right now and finding it both more productive and more enjoyable. )

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