Stephen Lloyd MP writes… A better future for our coastal communities and inshore waters

imageFor the past few years in my role as MP for Eastbourne, I have been working with residents and councillors from across the political spectrum on an outstanding, £80million redevelopment plan for Eastbourne’s harbour. Together we have drawn up plans which aim to bring 1,500 jobs, new and affordable housing, as well as leisure activities to the community.

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Clegg’s letter to Burnham: “you may have inadvertently misled” Commons on Labour’s NHS privatisation record

clegg on leveson 2Nick Clegg fielded Prime Minister’s Questions today, during which he noted that Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is “the only man in England who has ever privatised an NHS hospital”. Mr Burham complained that Nick had misled the House of Commons over the issue of Hichingbrooke Hospital, accusing him of “sheer inaccuracy”. The Lib Dem leader lost no time in responding:

Dear Andy,

I see that you raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons and that you accused me of “sheer inaccuracy”. I am always happy to confirm the accuracy of what I have said.

Posted in News, Parliament and PMQs | Tagged , , , , and | 32 Comments

Why IDS is still in his job is revealing of Conservative attitudes to social security

Iain Duncan SmithWhen Andrew Lansley’s health reforms ran into trouble – and his inability to take with him the public or those working in the NHS proved toxic – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Jeremy Hunt was brought in to make nice to the health sector and patients.

When Michael Gove’s education reforms started to run before they could walk – and his inability to take with him the public or the teachers proved toxic, especially in marginal constituencies – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Nicky …

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Poll: Young people appear more tolerant, open and happy with modern Britain

A recent survey by YouGov, for Business for New Europe, indicates that teenagers have markedly more positive views towards Europe and the free movement of labour than adults. This should encourage those who appreciate the economic advantages of an outward-facing UK. It could also fuel calls for 16 and 17 year-olds to be included in any forthcoming referendum on the EU.

The poll, based on the views of young people aged between 14 and 17 years old, showed:

  • If there was a referendum, approximately twice as many of those aged 14 to 17 would vote to stay in the EU (45%) as leave (23%).
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Video – Kirsty Williams bonus

As a follow on to our earlier post, this was the video played last night at Cardiff City hall just before Kirsty Williams received her award as Welsh Assembly Member of the year. It’s worth watching. Kirsty can certainly “kick arse”.

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PMQs: Nick Clegg comes back from Cornwall

clegg on leveson 2I stopped doing PMQ write-ups some time ago. They were getting so repetitive and mind-numbingly pointless that I was losing the will to live.

Today’s exchange between Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman was typical of the genre. Harriet Harman made some very good prepared points, and Nick Clegg blasted away on Labour’s record and mentioned some good bits from this government’s record. There was a lot huing and crying and then everyone went to lunch.

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Opinion: Why the Liberal Democrats must put reform first

It was rather warm for February 17th. I was lost looking around the many exits of St James’ Park tube station. I was after Dr. Ken Ritchie, the former CEO of the Electoral Reform Society. Graham Smith, the CEO of Republic had given him my details originally to help The Reform Foundation (which he chairs) get a website. This escalated quickly when a few weeks later I found myself voted in as a trustee during a meeting of the other trustees.

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Kirsty Williams named Welsh assembly member of the year

rally kirsty williams 1Many congratulations to Kirsty Williams, who has been named AM of the Year as part of the Welsh Political awards. The award, given to Kirsty last night at Cardiff City Hall, was “for exercising her political skills to enable the First Minister to achieve his budget, but also allow the Lib Dems to claim significant policy gains in the areas of health and education.”

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24 Lib Dem peers “rebel” as Lords reject government’s judicial review proposals

The Guardian reports:

A rebellion in the House of Lords has inflicted a second defeat on the government’s plans to restrict access to judicial review challenges.

The vote by 274 to 205 means that for a second time peers have rejected keys proposals in the criminal justice and courts bill. It will restore to judges their discretion in handling such cases.

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Something you didn’t know about Stephen Tall…

…but could probably have guessed.

Stephen got a mention in the Telegraph’s Morning Bulletin this morning for this tweet:

So, I asked around at LDV Towers and discovered that there was only one member of the team who has a Positive Candy Crush Status. And it isn’t me. I’m not going to out the person because they asked me not to.

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Who needs human rights?

Last week, in the run-up to Human Rights Day tomorrow,  the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish National Action Plan on human rights. This aims to ensure that every citizen can realise these internationally recognised rights.

Alison McInnes led for the Liberal Democrats and she went through the SNP Government like a dose of salts for its dreadful stance on stop and search. She highlighted how any one of us might need these rights to protect us one day should we find ourselves sick or vulnerable. If you read the Daily Mail, it’ll tell you that human rights are nasty things that let terrorists off the hook. Well, actually, they  protect all of us from abuse by the state in all sorts of ways.

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A day for Liberal Democrats to speak out for Justice?

It’s not a comfortable day to be a Liberal Democrat today.

The House of Lords is debating the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Will it overturn the Commons’ rejection of its amendment protecting the right to Judicial Review? Jonathan Marks wrote of his concerns about this provision earlier this year. When it was last discussed, 17 Liberal Democrats supported the rebel amendment and 43 supported the Government position. You have to ask serious questions when even Lord Carlile thinks the Government is going too far.

It was a Judicial Review that ruled the appalling Prisoner Book ban unlawful last week. The state has more than enough power and screws things up, or at the very least pushes the boundaries all the time. It is vital that citizens have the chance to challenge government decisions in the courts. It’s a vital check on power that should not be being mucked around with.

How can citizens take the government on if the government throws all the tools at their disposal in the bin?

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Reasons to be careful about new analysis suggesting Lib Dems “set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict”

A new analysis by Oxford academic Stephen Fisher (a member of the team which was behind the scarily accurate BBC/ITN exit poll at the 2010 election) douses the comfort blanket to which many of us Lib Dems have been clinging, suggesting as it does that the Lib Dems are losing more votes in our strongest seats:

The most significant factor affecting party performance at the constituency level is prior Liberal Democrat strength. … the Liberal Democrats are clearly loosing most in the seats where they started strongest and losing least where they started weakest. Partly this is inevitable. There are over 100 seats where the Lib Dems got less than 16% of the vote in 2010 and so their vote share cannot fall by this much. Moreover it is unlikely that the party will fall exactly to zero even where it does very badly. So if the GB polls are right overall, the Liberal Democrats must be falling more where they started stronger, and the BES data suggest the drop is broadly proportional to their prior strength. This mirrors the pattern of change at the local authority level at the European Parliament elections this year, adding confidence that the effect is real. The implications for Liberal Democrat seats are straightforward. If they are indeed losing most heavily in the seats they are defending they are set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict.

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Paul Burstow MP writes…We need urgent action on home care

Care in the home Some rights reserved by British Red CrossThe extra £2 billion for health care services announced in the Autumn Statement last week is fantastic news. It is testament to Norman Lamb’s effective and high profile campaigning for urgent funding for the NHS, as well as the hard work behind the scenes by many colleagues making the case.

But in reality these additional funds will not be enough to put the NHS on a sustainable footing. As many of us know only too well, social care is in crisis, and with an ageing population, the existing strain can only become greater. If we don’t address this issue urgently, we risk creating a wholly avoidable additional burden on the NHS which would put its stability entirely out of reach.

photo by:
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Liam McArthur highlights Swinson’s and Featherstone’s work and supports ambition action on violence against women

Last week the Scottish Parliament debated violence against women during the 16 days of action between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and International Human Rights day. Liam McArthur led for the Liberal Democrats. He noted that in the ninety minutes of the debate, 9 women would face violence at the hands of their partners.

It was a sensible, consensual debate which you can read here.  Liam’s speech in full is published below:

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Vince Cable marks 2 million apprenticeships in 4 years – how that story could be told a bit better

Over at the party website, there’s a piece today marking the fact that the coalition government or, let’s not kid ourselves, Vince Cable, has created 2 million apprenticeships.

To mark the occasion, Vince met the two millionth apprentice, Paige McConville in Oxford. Paige, aged 16, started her Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture with high-tech engineering firm FMB Oxford in August.

Paige took Vince on a tour around FMB Oxford, explaining how her apprenticeship with the firm is giving her the skills she needs to begin her career as an engineer.

All young people should have the opportunity to get on in life, and apprenticeships are a great way to achieve that. That’s why the Liberal Democrats have prioritised creating jobs and apprenticeships in this Government.

Commenting on the good news, Vince Cable said:

“Reaching the 2 millionth apprenticeship is testament to this Government’s commitment to apprenticeships. Paige and her employer are a shining example of how apprenticeships give young people the chance to start a career and give businesses the talent to grow.

“This isn’t just about numbers. From space engineering, to TV production, to legal services, apprenticeships are the ticket to a great job and a route employers trust to access the skills they need.

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Opinion: Could PEVEL help to secure the triumph of good over EVEL?

england-flagEvery time a Tory mentions English Votes for English Laws they have a certain daemonic glint in their eyes. The power junkies think they are about to get the keys to the pharmacy. They say nature abhors a vacuum, but the Tories can hardly conceal their delight at the vacuum created by the meteoric rise up the political agenda of the West Lothian Question (which they and their friends in the media have helped to propagate). In 2010 they gained 56% of English MPs with 40% of the English vote. Implementing overdue boundary revisions and reducing MP numbers would tilt the balance further in their favour. Requiring a good deal less than 40%, they could gain a majority of English MPs for the foreseeable future if historic voting patterns persist.

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Michael Moore MP named as MP of the Year by Liberal Democrat Fairtrade Future

michael-moore-mp-secretary-of-state-for-scotlandMatt Whittles and I, as the co-founders of Liberal Democrat Fairtrade Future (LDFF), are delighted to announce that we’re awarding our first ever MP of the Year award to Michael Moore, the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

We’re awarding him this honour in recognition of all of the hard work he’s put in to his Private Members Bill – currently working its way through Parliament – which will enshrine into law the UK’s promise to spend 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income on International Aid.

We couldn’t be more proud that it is a Lib Dem MP who has brought this Bill before Parliament and we fervently hope it gets signed on to the Statute Books.

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Opinion: Is the centre ground disappearing from British politics?

Ballot boxIs it just me, or has something recently changed in British politics? In fact, this apparent move towards what some might see as extremism may also be a characteristic of the political scene in Europe and further afield, too. It is almost akin to the frenzy that seems to hit societies at the end of each century, but manifesting itself a decade and a half late.

What the opinion polls appear to show is that the centre ground, represented primarily by the Liberal Democrats, has lost ground in favour of a …

photo by: FutUndBeidl
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Douglas Carswell: Free Liberal – How it might have been (pt. 3)

This is the concluding part of a trilogy of counterfactual pieces previously published on LDV.

For Part 1 and Part 2, including the full results of the by-elections in Clacton and Heywood & Middleton in this continuity, please click the links.

…while some on principles baptized/To strict party platforms ties/
Social clubs in drag disguise/Outsiders they can freely criticize/
Tell nothing except who to idolize….”

-‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’, Bob Dylan

The dual results in in Clacton and Heywood & Middleton on 9th October threw UK Politics into complete disarray.

Posted in Humour | Tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: A step forward in reforming the UN

United Nations complexWe Liberal Democrats do like a challenge. From taking on Labour/Conservatives in entrenched local authorities to being the smaller party in an austerity coalition, we’ve fought the good fight for liberal values and policies.

Whatever the difficulties in national and local politics, international issues are often more intractable. Conflicts and disputes, whether frozen, like Northern Cyprus, or persistently violent, like Israel/Palestine, linger on for decades. These different problems require different solutions, but I do think that better global governance would help things along.

The UN security council is still dominated by …

photo by:
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LibLink: Danny Alexander – Liberal Democrats have no part in Tory plans for harsh cuts and empty tax promises

The two Coalition parties continue the process of “conscious uncoupling” today. Yesterday, George Osborne said the Lib Dems threatened the economic recovery. Today, it’s a case of straight back atcha from Danny Alexander, as he lays bare the difference between the Lib Dem and Tory economic approach ahead of the May 2015 election in an article in today’s Telegraph:

Last Wednesday, the Coalition delivered another Autumn Statement that stuck to the strategy we’ve had since 2010: clearing up Labour’s mess in the public finances and doing so fairly; reforms to reward work and improve the UK’s long-term growth prospects. This

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In the next month 21 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | Tagged | 4 Comments

Opinion: Localism is dead – what hope for Local Government ?

Sheffield Town HallThe Localism Act was introduced in November 2011 on a promise of new freedoms and flexibilities for local government, new rights and powers for communities and individuals, and a guarantee to make the planning system more democratic so as to ensure decisions about housing reflect local community wishes. Even the most ardent supporters of this coalition government will be hard pushed to provide evidence that localism has done anything of the sort.

Instead, what we have witnessed in the past four years is a constant reduction of local government budgets …

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“Tories running dirty tricks call campaign against Lib Dems”

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsThat’s the headline in today’s Mirror newspaper:

The Tories have launched a nasty dirty tricks campaign in a knife-edge constituency ahead of the next election. Conservative activists are ringing voters in marginal Wells and pretending to be calling on behalf of the respected local Lib-Dem MP Tessa Munt. They then ask the voters if they wanted to see David Cameron or Ed Miliband as Prime Minister at the next election. The calls were all made from a number in Southend, Essex. The Mirror has confirmed that

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Reviewing the papers on Radio Scotland’s Crossfire

Driving to Glasgow at 6am on a wintry Sunday morning was slightly scary, especially for someone who really doesn’t do Winter, but that’s what I did to take part in the review of the Sunday papers on the Radio Scotland programme Crossfire. I was on with former Herald editor Murray Ritchie and Cat Boyd from the Radical Independence campaign.

Obviously we talked about some bloke deciding he wants to stand for the Westminster Parliament he claims to revile.  Former Special Adviser Sam Ghibaldan on Sunday Politics Scotland and I both made the case that Salmond’s victory is far from assured.

I raised …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #401

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 401st weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (30 November -, 6 December 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats select Rachel Gilmour

Rachel GilmourFrom the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat website:

Rachel Gilmour was selected at the members’ hustings on 6 Dec 2014 in Taunton by a full turnout of Members as their prospective Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.  She succeeds Jeremy Browne , MP,  who will stand down when parliament is dissolved in March 2015.

 

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Jeremy Thorpe – a life in videos

As a companion to my earlier picture post, here are some videos embedded from YouTube featuring Jeremy Thorpe.

Posted in Obituaries | Tagged and | 8 Comments

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 16,600  visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Abusive site Wings over Scotland is embedded into the Scottish Government and Yes movement: Willie Rennie proves what we knew already (62 comments) by Caron Lindsay

And it’s goodbye from me as Lib Dem Voice co-editor (37 comments) by Stephen Tall

What is going on with the Liberal Democrat Media Strategy? (26 comments) by Caron Lindsay

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