Tag Archives: annette brooke

Annette Brooke is new Chair of Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party

Annette BrookeAnnette Brooke is the new Chair of the Parliamentary Liberal Democrat Party. Annette was elected unopposed, and took her place as Chair of a meeting of Liberal Democrat MPs last night.

Annette’s new role will involve the chairing of Parliamentary Party meetings, interaction with all colleagues, providing a communication channel to represent views where appropriate and providing a listening and supportive pastoral role to complement the work of the Liberal Democrat Whips.

Annette will bring a wealth of experience to the role, having been a member of the Chairman’s Panel in Parliament …

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Mike Thornton MP takes his seat in the Commons

By-election winning Lib Dems Alan Beith, Simon Hughes, Mike Thornton, Sarah Teather, Mark Hunter and David Chidgey
By-election winning Lib Dems. Photo by Helen Duffett, on Flickr.

From the BBC:

The newly elected Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton has taken his seat in the House of Commons after winning the Eastleigh by-election.

He took his oath of allegiance to the Crown earlier.

New MPs are not allowed to speak in debates, vote, or get paid,

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes… Welcome news for park home residents

We all deserve a safe and secure place to live. But all too often for the 160,000 people living in park homes up and down the country the reality fails to live up to the utopian dream offered in the marketing brochure.

For those readers not familiar with the term, a ‘park home’ is a static caravan. Usually found grouped together in modestly sized communities (2,000 of them in all) often by the coast or in areas of natural beauty. This ‘peaceful’ life primarily attracts the retired, the elderly and the infirm – often seeking more peaceful surroundings to live out …

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Annette Brooke MP writes… A much improved national planning policy Framework

Back in October 2011, I submitted a response to the National Planning Policy Framework consultation on behalf of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Policy Committee on DCLG issues which I co-chair with Lord Graham Tope. The response was robust, so much so that The Telegraph claimed it as a huge Lib Dem rebellion. But, I believe that the committee was right to submit its concerns in an honest and straightforward way. Our role within the coalition must be to offer constructive criticism when we feel it is necessary! And I am very glad that we did. The document which was published …

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Council Tax – why not a premium for second homes?

In addition to the Government’s proposals to allow councils to charge full council tax on second homes, other Liberal Democrat MPs and I have tabled an amendment to the Local Government Finance Bill to give councils the discretion to introduce a Second Home Premium. Second home owners often ask why they should be ‘punished’ in this way just because they choose to spend their money on a second home or because they need a second home for work purposes. They may add, ‘we spend money in the area and we do not have the same call upon services as …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes… Park home residents must be looked after properly

For us all, the home we live in is one of the most important factors in how we live our lives. Whether it be a house, a flat, shared accommodation, or – as it is for almost a quarter of a million people in the UK – a ‘Park Home’.

Park Homes are modern, bungalow-style residential properties usually sited on private estates. The park home industry is a billion pound business. There are over two thousand park home sites within the UK, primarily but not exclusively centred in rural areas like my constituency in Cornwall.

For the vast majority of the quarter …

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Opinion: Saving School Transport

County councils all over England are making deep cuts to school transport that Liberal Democrats are right to fight against. School transport cuts are bad for child safety, bad for working parents and bad for congestion on local roads.

The cuts, which mostly have come into effect this term or will over the next 12 months are, in most cases, to reduce school transport to the very least permitted by statute. That means it is being axed for everyone who is not on free school meals or who lives more than 3 miles (2 for primary children) from their nearest …

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PMQs: Miliband misses a golden opportunity

LibDem Julian Huppert started Prime Minister’s Questions with a zinger today. He said that jobs and growth depend on consumer confidence, and asked if, therefore, the PM thinks that telling 25 million people that they have no job security and could be fired tomorrow will help consumer confidence (this refers to the proposal from Tory businessman Adrian Beecroft). David Cameron had no answer but instead, as always, threw his briefing notes at the questioner (metaphorically speaking).

I should also mention, en passant, that Julian asked for suggestions for his first question via Twitter. Good man.

After the MiliCam exchange, I was …

Posted in News and PMQs | Also tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

That’s the way to do it! How Liberal Democrats made the running on the Localism Bill

Annette Brooke MP and Lord (Graham) Tope are the Lib Dem Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Policy Committee on Communities and Local Government, and led the Lib Dem response to the Localism Bill. Here they outline what they, working with colleagues in the party and many beyond, helped achieve.

Last night the Localism Bill completed its final stage in Parliament and is set to become law when it achieves Royal Assent next week.

As Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Policy Committee on Communities and Local Government, it has been our job over the last ten months to lead on the Bill for the party. We’ve helped shepherd it through both Houses of Parliament, and have led a Lib Dem team that in many ways has made the running on the Bill.

We’ve had strong engagement with Coalition ministers, who engaged with us constructively, particularly Greg Clark, Baroness Hanham and our very own Andrew Stunell, who was very helpful and willing to work together with us to improve the Bill considerably.

Colleagues in local government were also a constant source of help and good ideas, which never ceased to better inform our Bill team as the process went on.

Where we started from: “a good bill in theory, with several flaws in practice”

When it was first introduced, I think many Liberal Democrats would agree that it was a good bill in theory, with several flaws in practice.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 13 Comments

PMQs: Listen very carefully, I shall wave this shroud only five times

Someone must have told Ed Miliband that he shouldn’t flit around, butterfly-like, between subjects at Prime Minister’s Questions. He did that last week and got a caning for it. So this week he was doggedly persistent – monomaniac even – on just one subject. Indeed, just one question. He repeated the same words over and over and over and over again. The impression was that he had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it worked and he ostensibly wrong-footed David Cameron.

Ed Miliband said that the government’s welfare reform plans would make 7,000 cancer sufferers worse off by up …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , and | 17 Comments

PMQs: Pots, kettles, medians and Erskine May

Pity poor old Ken Clarke. When your own side are saying you are too old for the job, then you know things are bad. Phillip Hollobone (Con) asked at Prime Ministers’ Questions why magistrates have to retire at 70 years old while the man who appoints them, the Justice Secretary – Clarke, is 71 years old. With friends like that….

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Brooke, Horwood and Huppert join the list of Liberal Democrat co-chairs

A news release from the party brings the news of the following three appointments:

  • Martin Horwood, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee for International Affairs (replacing Tim Farron, who has stood down on becoming President)
  • Julian Huppert, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee for Transport
  • Stephen Lloyd, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee for Northern Ireland
  • Annette Brooke, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee for Communities and Local Government (covering for Simon Hughes for six months during his tenure as the Government’s Advocate for Access to Education

The full list of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Opinion: Control orders – not the only problem with restrictions on liberty

How far do we want to permit detention without trial? If Control Orders are regarded as an unacceptable deprivation of liberty under Article 5 of the ECHR legislation, what are we to make of police officers who summarily impose long curfews on those arrested but not charged with any offence?

Fanciful as it may seem, it is perfectly possible for a police officer to arrest someone, take them to a police station, have an interview with them, and then release the person on police bail for four weeks but impose a curfew from 9pm to 6am requiring the person to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Annette Brooke wins MP of the Year

Congratulations to Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole, for winning MP of the Year in the Dods & Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards.

The accolade was awarded by a panel of judges which included Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of The Charity Commission and Dame Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam.
Annette Brooke
The judges said that Annette Brooke deserved to win thanks to her record of “tirelessly lending her wisdom, position and huge skill to help hundreds …

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Lib Dem MPs in the news

Lembit Opik is interested in becoming Mayor of London, while The Guardian has a round-up of comments from backbenchers about the Budget. Although all are anxious about one aspect or another, notably they all overall support is as with Annette Brooke:

I don’t like the budget but I dislike the economic situation we find ourselves in even more. The Lib Dems have done their utmost to address the fairness issue. In an ideal word I would not choose to put up VAT. But I was convinced, even at the hustings meeting, that the books were much worse than we

Posted in Conference, London and News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

If you want to understand modern government, understand the Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) neatly encapsulates much of how modern government is run, its weaknesses and the problems our democratic systems face in trying to control or improve bureaucracy.

The Office of the Public Guardian was created for the best of reasons following the 2005 Mental Capacity Act in order to administer a new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) process by which people can lay down what should happen to them and who can make decisions for them if they lose the ability to decide for themselves.

Giving people more and clear control over their own lives is what government should do. Moreover, the OPG is, in theory, an accountable public body with annual reports, performance standards laid down by the Ministry of Justice and its operations open to questioning in Parliament.

But the reality of how it works also reveals the dark side of modern government.

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Update from conference


The conference has definitely now begun, and members of the Voice team are beginning to assemble, although transport difficulties, crashing holiday companies and the channel tunnel fire have all contributed to making today a little fraught.

Over in the main hall, Annette Brooke MP is formally opening the conference and kicking off the day’s business, so that gives me a chance to update you on the decisions of the Conf Ctte about how conference will be run.

The Urgent Issues will be

  1. Polar Ice Caps: Acceleration of Climate Change
  2. Recession and Rising Energy and Food Prices: Impact on Poverty

There will be a separate vote …

Posted in Conference | 4 Comments

How the MPs are lining up (UPDATED)

By popular request, here’s the current list of which Lib Dem MPs have declared for which leadership candidate so far. (Originally compiled with the help of Jonathan Isaby of The Daily Telegraph.)

The list shows that Nick has attracted two MPs who supported Chris as leader in 2006: Greg Mulholland and Stephen Williams; and eight who supported Simon Hughes (all listed below). Chris has attracted one former Ming Campbell backer – Tom Brake – and three MPs who supported Simon Hughes last time.

Eight MPs have stated they will not declare for any candidate; four have yet – so far as I’m aware – to state their intentions.

As we continue to note, the number of MPs who declare for any one candidate is, in one sense, irrelevant: we are a one-member-one-vote party. Clearly, however, MPs’ endorsements will carry some influence with party members, especially among non-activists.

The full list appears below:

Posted in Leadership Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

How the MPs are lining up (UPDATED)

I’m grateful to Jonathan Isaby of The Daily Telegraph, who has compiled (and allowed me to reproduce here) his up-to-date list of which Lib Dem MPs have declared for which leadership candidate so far.

Jonathan comments: “Below are my most up-to-date lists, which suggest that Huhne now cannot possibly overtake Clegg in terms of MPs declaring. Brackets state where they went in the 2006 election.”

The list shows that Nick has attracted two MPs who supported Chris as leader in 2006: Greg Mulholland and Stephen Williams; and seven who supported Simon Hughes (all listed below). Chris has attracted one former Ming Campbell backer – Tom Brake – and two MPs who supported Simon Hughes last time.

Nine MPs have stated they will not declare for any candidate; 14 have yet to state their intentions.

As was pointed out in the comments on yesterday’s thread, the number of MPs who declare for any one candidate is, in one sense, irrelevant: we are a one-member-one-vote party. Clearly, however, MPs’ endorsements will carry some influence with party members, especially among non-activists.

It will also influence how the media perceives, and then reports, the strengths of the respective leadership campaigns. Though, of course, being seen as the favourite is not always the most comfortable of positions, as Ming Campbell discovered last time. Lib Dems do love an underdog.

Posted in Leadership Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 26 Comments

What Lib Dem MPs will be reading this summer

We’re into July, yet summer seems to have decided to give the UK a miss this year (so far). No matter.

Packing books for the beach (or wherever) is as much a summer ritual as the Brits crashing out of Wimbledon, and helping out in the latest Parliamentary by-elections. So Lib Dem Voice asked a few of the party’s MPs which books they’d be taking with them on holiday this year. Here’s what they told us:

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Should the Lib Dems support a total ban on smacking?

That’s the call from Annette Brooke MP, Lib Dem Children and Young Persons Spokesperson, after the Labour Government announced a policy review:

“There needs to be a clear signal that physical punishment is counter-productive and damaging. Children that are hit are more likely to hit others and are more likely to be bullies. If it is wrong to hit an adult, it is wrong to hit a child – children deserve equal protection. There should be a total ban accompanied by supportive measures for parents, so that they can find different ways to change their children’s behaviour.”

What do Lib …

Posted in News | 18 Comments



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