Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader, No. 5: Leveson – “the Prime Minister and I disagreed”

Here’s Nick Clegg’s latest missive to Lib Dem members and supporters — and no prizes for guessing which topic is the subject this week: Lord Justice Leveson’s report into media standards…

On Thursday afternoon I made a statement in Parliament on the Liberal Democrat response to the Leveson Inquiry. I spoke after the Prime Minister, to outline my view that we must implement Leveson’s plans for an effective new press watchdog, underpinned by legal guarantees.

As you may have picked up, the Prime Minister and I disagreed; there is not yet an agreed “government line”. That’s in part why we had to make separate statements – a major departure from Parliamentary protocol, apparently.

I’m often non-plussed by the arcane rules of the House of Commons, most of which make no sense to ordinary human beings. To me it felt like the most natural thing in the world: two opinions, two statements.

Rather than repeat here what I said in the Commons do watch for yourself here.

Best wishes,

Ps I’m keen to here your views on this extremely important issue, do get in touch with me here.

Do you know someone who would like to get Nick’s weekly email? Forward this message and they can sign up here:

A much shorter letter this week, with greater use made instead of a link to a video of Nick Clegg’s 8-minute speech to the House of Commons on Thursday. And — let’s rejoice! — there is at last a link in the letter enabling anyone, whether party supporter or not, to sign up to receive Nick’s emails.

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

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  • Two opinions, two statements… About time too..

    The problem is that too often there have only been two opinions in private. If the chance for coalition comes again an absolute requirement must be a change in how collective responsibility is exercised. There needs to be the agreed right for Ministers to state openly they / their party disagree with a policy but are voting for it or abstaining as a price of coalition. This would allow people to know what the views of those they are asked to vote for are..

  • Daniel Henry 2nd Dec '12 - 4:58pm

    Strongly agreed with Steve.
    Ideally there should be two “collective responsibilities”, one for each party involved which will allow them to put their own position towards the electorate and preserve their identity. Ministers from both parties would still have to vote for government policies they disagree with, but at least they’d be able to be more honest and transparent over their position on it.

  • Tony Dawson 2nd Dec '12 - 5:46pm

    @Steve Way

    “The problem is that too often there have only been two opinions in private. If the chance for coalition comes again an absolute requirement must be a change in how collective responsibility is exercised. ”

    This appears to be so glaringly obvious that many of us assumed it was the unspoken ‘given’ of the coalition when we voted to accept it.

  • Richard Harris 4th Dec '12 - 9:48pm

    Quite frankly I don’t think it would matter if Lib Dem ministers stood up and vocalised their disagreement to 90% of what the government were doing because it will always come down to the fact that it is only because of their compliance that any of it is happening. Worse still it would start to look like straight forward hypocrisy (intellectual disagreement whilst grabbing power for power’s sake).

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