Tag Archives: andrew george

Baroness Kate Parminter writes…Campaigning on green issues in the south west

With the Green Party announcing they are targeting 12 seats including a number of our key seats, and the Labour party acknowledging the threat they pose by appointing Sadiq Khan to lead the fightback, Green votes could make the difference between winning and losing – as we sadly saw with Graham Watson MEP.  So as our Environment Spokesperson in the House of Lords I’ve been keen to get out and help our candidates promote what we have achieved in Government and champion our 5 Green Bills which we’d introduce in a future Parliament.  Over the summer I spent two days visiting the Great Heath Project in Mid Dorset & North Poole with the Wildlife Trust and our parliamentary candidate, Vikki Slade.

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Coalition-Lite – a better way of doing coalition government?

Shortly before midnight on 11th May 2010, just five days after the General Election, Liberal Democrat MPs and Party chiefs voted to enter Coalition Government with the Conservatives and to support the difficult but inescapable compromise Coalition Programme for Government.

This was a sobering moment. No jubilation. Just a recognition that we had to make this work; and determined that, contrary to past history and evidence from elsewhere, it wouldn’t inflict terminal damage on the Party.

This was, of course, a “least worst” option. The public finances were in a mess; the economy in danger of catastrophic decline. The last thing the country needed was the routine tribalism of the Westminster Village. No party had a majority. The country needed stable government. We did what had to be done.

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Farron name checks Liberal Democrat PPCs Julie Pörksen and Vikki Slade in Commons Bedroom Tax speech

"Frozen Poetry" - Houses of Parliament, LondonDuring the debate on Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill yesterday, Tim Farron name-checked the two Liberal Democrat candidates whose motion on the Bedroom Tax was passed with just one vote against at Party Conference last year.  Julie Pörksen, PPC for Berwick and Vikki Slade, PPC for Mid Poole and Dorset North, argued strongly for the sort of reform to the policy that has now appeared in Andrew’s Bill.

Here’s what Tim had to say:

I am proud of my hon. Friend the Member for St Ives for bringing this Bill forward, and I am proud of my party for pushing us all collectively to reflect on the proposals before us today. I would like to mention Vikki Slade and Julie Pörksen, who proposed at our conference a year ago that we look again at this policy. Frankly, Members of all parties would do well to admit that, on reflection, things could have been done better. Given that we were put in this economic crisis in the first place, it would be lovely to see from Opposition Members a change of heart and an admission that things did not go as well as they could have done.

He then looked at the practical reasons why the Bill should be passed. It should be noted that it’s not all about the Bedroom Tax. It’s also about the wider issue of the lack of housing which drives rents and consequently Housing Benefit up.

photo by: Gaurav Pradhan
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‘Bedroom Tax': Lib Dem Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill wins key Commons vote backed by Lib Dem / Labour MPs

andrew georgeA year ago Lib Dem members voted at the party’s conference for an urgent review of the impact of what’s termed by critics the ‘Bedroom Tax’. Two months ago Danny Alexander announced he’d be recommending a major U-turn on the policy. And this afternoon, as the BBC reports, Lib Dem MPs teamed up with Labour to vote through reforms which mean that tenants who cannot be found a smaller home will be exempt from the cuts, as well as disabled people who need a spare bedroom or who have adapted homes:

Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs have joined forces to defeat Conservatives in a Commons vote to partly overturn housing benefit changes. MPs backed the Affordable Homes Bill at second reading by 306 votes to 231.

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It’s been a while since Liberal Democrats got 25% in a ballot…

JUMP 4 JOYThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Actually, it wasn’t so much a ballot but a great big raffle. This morning the annual draw took place to select twenty MPs to select Private Members’ Bills. Five Liberal Democrats were allotted slots, with the top two places going to Andrew George and Michael Moore. John Hemming, Sarah Teather and Martin Horwood complete our quintet.

photo by: Renee Silverman
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What’s on in our Parliaments next week? 7-10 April

Houses of ParliamentThe Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are in recess next week, but Westminster is still sitting.

House of Commons

The Commons is still dealing with the Finance Bill, implementing the measures in the Budget. There, is however, a Justice and Home Affairs debate on Monday.

Communities & Local Government, Foreign Office, the Department of International Development (therefore Lynne Featherstene) and Business, Innovation and Skills face questions.

photo by: wwarby
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A longer read for the weekend: Nick Harvey on how “the whole model of local Government funding is now fundamentally broken”

There was a mini-Lib Dem rebellion this week, when five MPs – Tim Farron, Nick Harvey, Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert and Adrian Sanders – all voted against this year’s funding settlement between the Treasury and local government.

As the New Statesman’s George Eaton points out here, “By the end of 2015-16, the budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government will have been reduced by a remarkable 60.6 per cent, with several years of austerity still ahead.” But Whitehall will have been emboldened by this recent ICM poll highlighted by the BBC showing 60% of the public …

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Tim Farron “set to vote against the “Bedroom Tax” while Swales, Mulholland, R Williams and Sanders table motion against it

From the Guardian‘s live politics blog (3:15)

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is set to vote against the government on the bedroom tax tonight, I’m told. A friend of Farron’s tells me: “Party conference in Glasgow expressed its will very strongly against the bedroom tax and so Tim is listening to party members and will probably be voting against the government tonight. Tim is the voice of the party members, they have expressed their view and Tim wants to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Here’s the motion on the bedroom tax that the Lib Dems passed at their party

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Nick Clegg on the Royal birth: “Good news to make the whole country smile”

Here’s how Lib Dem MPs responded to the news of the new addition to the Royal Family…

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11 Liberal Democrat MPs vote for registrars to be exempt from marrying same sex couples

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has made fairly easy progress through the Commons tonight. After a Government/Labour compromise on a review for extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, and the heavy defeat or withdrawal of amendments, including “son of Section 28″, it looks as though many of the barriers to this Bill’s passage have been removed.

There is still a further day of debate tomorrow, though, and further amendments to be debated.

One of the amendments discussed today, defeated by 340 votes to 150 in favour, was to allow registrars to exempt themselves from marrying same sex couples. Eleven Liberal …

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Benefits Uprating Bill: Andrew George and Charles Kennedy’s arguments AGAINST

The Government last night won the vote for its Benefits Uprating Bill, with the third and final reading passed by 305 votes to 246. A fortnight ago, six Lib Dem MPs voted against or abstained from the Coalition line that benefits rises should be capped at the same rate as public sector pay (a below inflation 1% pa) for each of the next three years.

Andrew George, Charles Kennedy and other Lib Dems sought to move an amendment to the Bill, linking future welfare increases to the rise in average earnings. However, time expired before it was put …

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++ Government wins vote on Benefits Uprating Bill; 6 Lib Dem MPs rebel

There were no serious doubts the Coalition Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill — pegging increases in welfare payments at a below-inflation 1%, the same as public sector wage rises, for the next three years — would be approved. The only question was the size of majority and how many Lib Dems would rebel (I’ve been keeping a running tally here this afternoon).

There were two votes tonight. First, a Labour amendment to the Bill, defeated by 321 votes to 262, a government majority of 59. Then a vote on the unamended second reading, which the government won by 324 votes to …

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Andrew George joins Stephen Fry in support of returning the Parthenon Marbles

Andrew George, Lib Dem MP for St Ives, joined forces with Stephen Fry earlier this week to debate the return of the Parthenon Marbles. The Marbles – which were stolen acquired from Athens by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century – comprise a large portion of the Parthenon Frieze, the metopes and some of the statues that formed the east and west pediments of the building and are currently displayed in the British Museum. Most of the remaining marbles are displayed in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Here’s how …

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LDVideo: Oakeshott on Osborne, Oaten on BSkyB, George on fishermen

You can catch up with many of the recent appearances of Lib Dems in the media on LibDemVoice’s ‘Video’ page.

Lord Oakeshott: Osborne ‘should focus on the day job’

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LDVideo: Lib Dem MP Andrew George calls for NHS risk register publication

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George voted on Wednesday to publish the NHS “risk register”, a document containing a detailed analysis of what could go wrong with the proposed changes in the health service in England. Here he explains why, and that though the Health Bill is now “less bad” he is yet to be persuaded it should go through:

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PMQs: Miliband hoist by his Balls’ petard

Let’s start with what Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said in the Guardian on January 14th:

My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is £15bn by 2015. We are going to have to start from that being the baseline. At this stage, we can make no commitments to reverse any of that, on spending or on tax. So I am being absolutely clear about that.

So, it was something of a surprise when Ed …

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Andrew George writes… A veil of initiatives

The Iron Lady cast a steely shadow over the Westminster village last week.

Memories of Baroness Thatcher’s reign of heavy metal terror still strike fear in those who inhabited the place in the days when she would mercilessly handbag anyone who dared to cross her path.

Last week, of course, her major Hollywood biopic was released. Fearing unfavourable comparisons, the PM appears to have gone into manic overdrive; launching an overlapping series of popular-sounding and eye-catching initiatives.

Having spotted that City fat cats are still awarding themselves performance-related perks, which bear no relation to their performance, the PM has become quite cross. …

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LibLink: From David Laws to Andrew George – The Lib Dem rebellion league table

Over on Left Foot Forward, Mark Pack has blogged an infographic analysing the patterns of rebellion amongst Liberal Democrat MPs:

Liberal Democrat peers used to be in a remarkably privileged position in the party. Not only because they have held office without the pesky need for elections but also because for many years the third party in the House of Lords has been the key swing vote when the government has been wanting to get legislation through…

 helped by the primacy of the Commons, revolts by Liberal Democrat MPs which could cost the government its majority are now no longer the neglected,

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PMQs: Bits start to fall off Cameron’s wagon

After last week’s Miliband success at Prime Minister’s Questions, this time we started off with Ed Miliband in softly softly mode. He asked about Libya and the service chiefs’ concern about an extended campaign. Displaying a becoming measure of gravitas, he also asked whether the defence review should be revisited in the light of the “Arab Spring” which William Hague has described as more important than 9-11. That’s a good question given that the review didn’t mention Libya, Tunisia or Egypt.

David Cameron said he has been assured by the military grand fromage that we could keep the campaign going as …

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Parliament debates Libya: what Liberal Democrat MPs have been saying

Here are some selections from today’s debate in Parliament so far on the United Nations resolution on Libya and subsequent military action which touch on the questions of international law, the Liberal Democrat position, what is happening in other countries and the question of Iraq:

Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD):In view of the obviously barbaric attacks by Gaddafi on his own people, does the Prime Minister agree that those officials and military chiefs who are still standing firm with Gaddafi stand every chance of being hauled before the war crimes tribunal?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. The

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The developing dynamics of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Party

Just over 100 days into coalition, it’s becoming clearer how the Parliamentary Party (in the Commons) is shaping up and where dissent is likely to come from in future. As I’ve argued previously, overall the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party has been remarkably united over the last few years. (Even the ousting of Charles Kennedy was conducted with a remarkable degree of speed and agreement amongst MPs, especially when compared with the long-running leadership agonies in Labour and, pre-2005, the Conservatives.)

Coalition is putting that Lib Dem cohesion to the test in new ways and we’re starting to see who the …

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When is a rebellion not a rebellion?

The Coalition decision to raise VAT was, by some measure, the most controversial aspect of the Government’s first budget. In our recent survey of party members, 42% opposed the move, though 48% endorsed it (however reluctantly) to deal with the deficit.

The party’s MPs have also been wrestling with the issue. The VAT increase was debated on Tuesday night in the Commons – in the end only Colchester’s Bob Russell from the Lib Dems voted against the Government, siding with a Labour amendment.

As Jim Pickard in the FT notes, St Ives MP Andrew George, and four other Lib …

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LibLink: Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander on the Budget

Writing in The Observer Danny Alexander says,

Labour’s approach of denial and complacency would bring higher interest rates, fewer jobs, less growth, more debt. It exposes us to much greater risks of financial irresponsibility – being forced by others to cut harder, with less care and control. That is the position of some European countries – it must never be Britain’s. There is nothing progressive about the consequences of denial and delay.

The coalition has chosen responsibility. We are restoring order to the nation’s finances, credibility to our position internationally, and confidence in our economy that is essential for growth. Having chosen

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Revisiting Jo Swinson and the Telegraph’s #mpexpenses stories

Remember the Telegraph’s hatchet job on Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson during their series of revelations about MPs’ expenses? (Lib Dem blogger James Graham has followed-up the issue on his own Quaequam Blog! HERE).

Well, on Monday evening, as billed here, I had the chance to put these points direct to the Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor, Andrew Pierce, at a debate posing the question, A triumph for journalism? (You can watch the debate online here – worth watching in full, but the section focusing on Jo starts about 29 minutes in).

The issues of dodgy …

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Daily View 2×2: 21 May 09

What’s up in blogs and news.

In the media

The expenses row continues to rumble with the MP for my ancestral  home of Leominster getting scalped by the Telegraph alongside Ruth Kelly and a duck, if the pictures are to be believed.

Meanwhile over the Daily Mail has been working hard to bring you this extreme comparison with Cornish MP Andrew George – they’ve found one of his constituents who commutes to LB Barking & Dagenham, but whose weekday residence is a £30 tent.  There’s some grass left in Parliament Square, isn’t there?  We could have a tent city for MPs …

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The Telegraph should apologise to Andrew George and Alan Reid

Not the kind of stern injunction I was expecting to come out with after a day of Liberal Democrat expenses revelations, I must say. I was all prepared to be angry, disappointed, humbled and even-handedly condemnatory. It has become a sort of communally agreed ceasefire in the political blogosphere and the media in the past few days – no-one’s allowed to query, say “eh?” or doubt the word of the Telegraph. That would be being cocky and partisan. One must only observe the same humilities as everybody else. Shock horror expressions must be worn at

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The restoration of Andrew George?

There’s no peace for a blogger this morning. Earlier today I gave Andrew George, whose flat is sometimes used by his daughter, a stern 4/5 for piggy-wiggyness. My basis for this was that, whatever the precise ratio of usage between Andrew and his daughter, I didn’t want to pay for something that was for her benefit as well as his.

Andrew has just made the following statement on his website:

Fact 1: We purchased nearly 1/3 of the flat ourselves and bought half of the furniture and fittings without making a claim from taxpayers’ money.

Continue reading »

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Lib Dem MPs’ expenses: it could’ve been worse (and might still be)

The Telegraph has now published its Lib Dem MPs’ expenses revelations. At first glance, my initial reaction is… phew: compared to the Labour and Tory abuses covered in previous days it looks like the Lib Dem expense claims are – relatively speaking – minor.

Of course, I realise that’s not entirely the point – to have ill-advisedly claimed even the most minor items brings the system and Parliament into disrepute, allowing the media and our opponents to say we’re all the same. And as Hywel notes in an LDV comment thread below, ‘“Not as corrupt as other MPs”

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatartom 19th Dec - 9:19am
    You've been an excellent party president.
  • User AvatarAndrew Emmerson 19th Dec - 9:12am
    We may not always have agreed, and you may have had to listen to me moan at you more than once, but i for one...
  • User AvatarRoland 19th Dec - 9:11am
    JohnTilley - Thanks for the confirmation, I did suspect that I was suggesting something similar to what was promoted to industry in the 80's, namely...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 19th Dec - 8:42am
    Mark Valladares as so often is a voice of sanity in LDV. How many people will have read this from him and quietly nodded in...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 19th Dec - 8:32am
    Roland 18th Dec '14 - 9:59pm Roland I am guessing that your research into the beginnings of what came to be commonly known as West...
  • User Avatargl 19th Dec - 8:24am
    It's all so confusing, they voted for the Bedroom Tax as part of the Coalition, then they said they didn't like it, but when given...