Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…
The Liberal Democrat MP and minister at the Department of Education Sarah Teather, said the policy is about “changing the whole way schools think”. Speaking to The World At One, she said there is a “scandalous gap” between those from poor backgrounds and those from wealthier backgrounds. “[This is] about focusing money on the individual child regardless of where that child is,” she told Martha Kearney. Under the policy, by this September schools in England will get an extra £600 a year for every pupil in receipt of free school meals or in local authority care. Headteachers will be free to spend the money as they choose.
State of Play 3 – The Lib Dems (BBC Wales)
On a recent visit, Nick Clegg was asked during an interview about the Welsh Lib Dems open opposition to his government’s proposals for regional pay. He smiled and replied along the lines of “Kirsty never leaves me in any doubt about where she and her colleagues here stand”. Subtext: this isn’t exactly unhelpful for me either. … the bigger picture for the five Lib Dem AMs is whether their five year push to distance themselves from some of the unpopular decisions of the UK coalition is enough to prevent their vote falling even further in 2016.
Labour to oust Tories in Corby, poll suggests (The Independent)
The poll of 1,500 voters, commissioned by the Tory billionaire Lord Ashcroft, gives Labour 52 per cent of the vote, the Conservatives 37 per cent and the Liberal Democrats seven per cent. The most striking difference between this poll and the 2010 general election result in Corby is the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote, which has fallen from 14 per cent.
Opposition to longer Sunday opening hours (This Is Bristol)
Liberal Democrat Bristol West MP Stephen Williams said: “I thought the relaxation for the Olympics was a pretty poor justification. I could understand near venues, but I saw no proper case for it across the country. I would certainly not want to see us move to full seven day-a-week retailing, not necessarily from a religious perspective, but because having one day a week as a slightly more relaxing day is good for everyone, whether they have got a faith or not. Humanity has done that for thousands of years.” Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury and Yate and Pensions Minister, said he would also be opposed to any change.
Lib Dems celebrate success in council by-election (Newbury & Thatcham Chronicle)
A FORMER policeman who has vowed to support young people in Thatcham has stormed to victory in a council by-election by more than 300 votes. Bob Morgan retained the Thatcham South and Crookham seat on the town council for the Liberal Democrats with 863 votes, a 306 majority over Conservative opponent Robert Denton-Powell last Thursday.
Former Mayor quits the Lib-Dems for Labour (Halifax Courier)
Nader Fekri, a former Mayor of Calderdale, has quit the Liberal Democrats and has applied to join the Labour Party. Liberal Democrat group leader Janet Battye (Calder) said he should resign his seat: “Earlier in the year Coun Fekri relocated to Turkey after his wife started a job a new job in Instanbul. We believed it was clearly impossible for him to remain as a councillor while he was spending a large amount of time living over 2,000 miles away. We therefore told him we expected him to resign. It is clear that Coun Fekri cares more about his councillor allowance rather than representing the people of Calder ward. This is something we could not allow to continue. We believe the pressure we put on Coun Fekri to resign is the real reason he has left the Liberal Democrats rather than any spurious national policy issues.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, below, has called for the resignation of the chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. Mr Rennie said Martin Sime should quit, claiming that the SCVO had become too closely associated with the SNP.
ALDC are pleased to announce the appointment of our fifteen Regional Representatives, who will assist our co-ordination with regional parties and take part in regional conferences and events as parts of the ALDC team.
CONTROVERSIAL Birmingham MP John Hemming has celebrated the birth of his fifth child at the age of 52 – and the second with his mistress. … “I’m very pleased – we wanted a healthy baby and we’ve got one,” said Mr Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham‘s Yardley constituency. We didn’t ask the gender because we didn’t mind that at all – so were just pleased, if still rather tired.”
Senior Liberal Democrat councillor Jeremy Hilton is believed to have left the home he and his Chilean wife shared after she found out about his affair with the much younger wife of a political rival. … Mr Hilton said: “I have always made a point of not commenting in public on other people’s private matters. I don’t intend to comment on my own private life and those involved.”
Q1. Do you cycle? If so, what sort of cyclist would you describe yourself? (eg commuter, wobbler, lycra-wearer)
A: I do cycle regularly, but I also walk, drive and use buses, trains, planes, ferries and taxis when appropriate. I am also a member of the City Car Club. I am a confident commuter. I wear working clothes including suits, but always have some waterproofs in my bag – Bristol weather can be unpredictable!
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.