Amna Ahmad selected to fight Sutton and Cheam

Selections for a potential snap general election continue. Amna Ahmad has been selected to fight Sutton and Cheam, the seat held until the 2015 general election by former health and social care minister Paul Burstow.

She announced the news in a tweet:

You can find out more about Amna and what makes her tick in an interview she gave to the Croydon Citizen when standing for the GLA for Sutton and Croydon this year:

I grew up in south London, but I was born in Pakistan, moving to London when I was less than a year old. When I was growing up, there was domestic violence in my home, and I spent some time in foster care. I spent a lot of time dealing with the authorities at a young age and realised that it can be difficult to speak up and be heard. These experiences have given me the drive to speak up for others wherever I can. That’s why I got involved in politics, and I joined the Liberal Democrats because I believed that going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision. The Liberal Democrats were the only party to wholeheartedly campaign against that war.

I believe in community politics and local decision making, which is why I am a Liberal Democrat…

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How Lib Dems are using Pokemon Go

This week I succumbed, only for the sake of family bonding, to the latest craze sweeping the planet, or at least that part of it that can afford a mobile phone with enough 4G data to do it. Pokemon Go is, actually, a good thing. If it does nothing other than get the nerds some Vitamin D, it will have succeeded. It’s also a pretty social occupation. It’s great to see crowds of people gathering around landmarks actually talking to each other. The speed at which phrases like “I only have to walk another 5k to hatch my egg” have become normal is quite staggering.

Everyone seems to be doing it. Even the Lib Dem Press Office claimed to me that they were hunting Pokemon in a London car park when they found this:

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Liberal Democrat position on Police merger vindicated by Scottish think tank

The Lib Dems have form for calling things right – the Iraq War, the Credit Crunch, Mystic Clegg’s account of what would happen post Brexit vote. We also said from the beginning that merging Scotland’s eight police forces into one was a disaster waiting to happen. So it has been proven in many ways from routine arming of Police in the Highlands to the failures related to the M9 crash where two people died after being left for 3 days, to the closing down of saunas in Edinburgh, ruining years of a system that worked.

Now think tank Reform Scotland has published a report that vindicates the Lib Dem position and supports the measures for reintroduction of local accountability that we called for in our Scottish Parliament election manifesto. Its research director said:

However we remain concerned that, under the current centralised structure, there is no obvious way to actually make localism happen.

For that reason, we have proposed that both the funding and governance structure must change. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and on that principle we believe that local authorities should again be responsible for funding 50% of policing, with the Scottish Government continuing to fund the other 50%.

Furthermore, we believe that each local authority should be able to nominate a member of the Scottish Police Authority to ensure that local priorities are adequately represented.

The creation of Police Scotland was a mistake, and in the absence of any further wholesale reform we all have a responsibility to make the smaller changes which can help re-create local policing.

Liam McArthur, Scottish Lib Dem Justice spokesperson said:

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Suggestions for constitutional changes after Brexit and Chilcot

The EU referendum was both democratic and dictatorial.

This form of democracy was, is and will be profoundly self-harming of our nation. It destroyed opportunities, such as negotiating for a more democratic and less finance controlled EU, and precipitated unnecessary difficulties, such as having to deal with a massive range of trade negotiations from a position of weakness.

It was imposed unilaterally by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, in an inept and selfish attempt to cohere his party and keep in his job. It has cost us our powerful place in Europe and may cost the United Kingdom the kingdom of Scotland and lead to problems resulting from an intensified Anglo-Irish border.

The Chilcot Report proves that Great Britain was misled into a bloody war by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and an unaccountable clique of cronies and apparatchiks. Its dangerous and cruel consequences increase daily. The costs to our armed forces were, and are needless death, mutilation and mental damage.

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Brexit: How we could be in the single market with greater control over immigration – the Adam Smith Institute

The words of President Hollande on Thursday reinforced the UK’s apparent dilemma:

It’s the most crucial point… Britain will have to choose: stay in the single market and accept free movement or have another status.

I have banged on about this since the referendum. There is a halfway house – that of being in the EEA and EFTA.

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ALDC’s by-election report: 21 July 2016

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)From one week of fantastic by-election results to another, with a Liberal Democrat gain in the Northampton Council, where the local Westone team increased the Lib Dem vote share by 36.4% to get our candidate Brian Markham elected. Councillor Markham received 49.7% of the vote, compared to the Conservatives’ 27.2% and Labour’s 23.0%.

The local team ran a fantastic campaign to “Bring Back Brian” to the area, as Brian first won the seat at another by-election in 1993 and represented the area for 18 years. Team Lib Dem engaged many of their new members in Westone as part of the campaign, with Brian saying that “we have had quite a few new members recently and it’s been great to be able to get them involved and see their enthusiasm”.

We also enjoyed success in the town council by-election in Burbage Parish, where the Conservatives enjoyed a 200 vote majority in the Stretton ward last year, but was gained yesterday by the Liberal Democrats with a 58 vote majority, receiving 47.2% of the vote.

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In protecting the liberal age, the charge of elitism must be avoided

There is a sense that if an election happens at any time in the next year, it will be fought out as much on values as economic policy. The argument is no longer just about fairness and equality. It is also about a philosophy of life.

Fears that the liberal age is now under threat both from Right and Left has the potential to galvanise those who have previously taken our liberal traditions for granted. The #libdemfightback has the potential to happen.

Identifying the 48% Remain voters as fertile ground for the Liberal Democrats was a fast and valid response, not just a sound political gambit for a party polling so low but one that was true to the party’s internationalist values.

Remain voters are desperate to embrace a coherent narrative and the liberal attitudes held by many of them will only turn into Lib Dem votes if that narrative is provided.

But that should only be the beginning. The Lib Dems must also respond powerfully and clearly to the illiberal, isolationist and anti-elite sentiment that lay behind Brexit.

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    Why does the site use a photo of the first ever female Lord Chancellor , a post that's a millennium old , to illustrate an...
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    What's that saying? No-one likes change, until they find themselves obsolete. That's the way mainstream, moderate politics is heading in the UK right now. Something...
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    I am astounded that anyone thinks there is any merit in this idea. An organisation that has a spread of members and as has been...
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    My colleague Tony Greaves comments "Why does Paddy never learn?". What I learnt a Leader and learn again now, is that, for a Party who...
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    I agree with Paul. If this works, then it will help to break-down preconceptions about how an individual votes. So many people vote one way...
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    Simon: "Would that be the Nigel Farage who more than anyone else is responsible for our leaving the EU, a course of action opposed by...
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