Tag Archives: bob russell

Lib Dem opposition to mandatory jail terms for second knife offences show our principles are intact

The Court House - Warwick - Coat of ArmsThe Lib Dems have sold our soul, abandoning all principle, since going into Coalition – so goes up the cry from the party’s detractors, both internal and the very many beyond.

That trite claim doesn’t sit very comfortably with the party’s actions today, voting against Labour and Conservative MPs’ united support of mandatory jail terms for any adult convicted in England or Wales of a second offence involving a knife. As the BBC reports:

Conservative MP Nick de Bois championed the policy, which won

photo by: ell brown
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Bob Russell’s surgery lasts for 12 hours – is this a record?

bob russell_2Bob Russell, the Lib Dem MP for Colchester, claims to have set a record by holding a surgery that lasted for 12 hours.

It seems that 36 people made appointments to see him last Friday. It’s not entirely clear whether he had originally planned it to go on for so long, or whether he just had a very long list of people who wanted to see him.

He claims to have seen 10,000 constituents at his surgeries since he was elected in 1997.

So your challenge today is to establish whether …

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Lib Dem MP Sir Bob Russell slams Israeli parliament for “ethnically cleansing between 40,000 and 60,000 Bedouin”

bob russell_2Lib Dem MP Sir Bob Russell launched a broadside in the Commons last week against the Israeli parliament for approving (in his words) “what can be described only as ethnically cleansing between 40,000 and 60,000 Bedouin”.

He went on to attack the US Government and the European Union for their inaction and the British media for its silence — but singled out for praise Jewish Voice for Peace, which is campaigning against what it terms “this massive violation of human rights”. His call was echoed by the Conservative …

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In other news… Hemming “resignation threat”, Rogerson on second home tax, Russell on Israel & more

MP John Hemming’s fury over ‘cover-ups’ (Daily Express)

A LIB Dem MP threatened to resign the party whip last night and sit as an independent unless child protection was treated “more seriously”. John Hemming said the Government was “dangerously complacent” about the level of cover-ups at ­children’s homes and in the ­wider family justice system. He said if ministers did not demonstrate “a change of attitude”, he would withdraw his “personal support for the Government”.

Mentally impaired people ‘exploited by court-appointed deputies’ (BBC News)

Action is needed to prevent vulnerable people being ripped-off by those appointed by the courts to manage

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Liberal Democrat MPs fight for blind people hit by welfare changes

The Independent reports that Liberal Democrat MPs are trying to change the new assessment process for the Personal Independence Payments  which will replace Disability Living Allowance. They believe that they may lead to blind people being denied the help that they need. This is a measure introduced by the Welfare Reform Act. The MPs are concerned that the new assessment process focuses on mobility  and does not sufficiently take into account the ways in which being blind or partially sighted can affect everyday life.

People who have sight loss need the extra help to, for example, help with cleaning, ironing …

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LDV Caption Competition | Sir Bob Russell “snookered by Nick Clegg” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

(Hat-tip to the Colchester Daily Gazette.)

Here’s veteran Lib Dem MP for Colchester Sir Bob Russell, knighted for public service in this year’s honours, enjoying a frame of snooker with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. What do you think might be being said or thought by or about those pictured?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Jeremy Browne “it’s not always this black-and-white” Edition.

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Sir Bob Russell MP: “I have spent my entire adult life fighting the establishment but clearly, I have failed.”

Bob Russell MP, who who was first elected when Nick Clegg was only four years old, has received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list.

Sir Bob, who received the honour for his public service, has described the honour as “A matter of great personal importance and significance to me.”

The BBC reports:

The Liberal Democrat, who’s been involved in local politics for more than 40 years is among the region’s most outspoken MPs, particularly since the formation of the coalition.

This is a significant honour for a man who for decades has been one of the most colourful characters on

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PMQs: Jo Swinson on the role of women in Aghanistan

Liberal Democrat questions first this week:

Jo Swinson asked:

Ten years on from the military intervention, more than 3 million girls in Afghanistan are now in school. With the Bonn conference on Monday, will the Prime Minister send a clear message that the rights of those girls should not be traded away in a false choice between women’s rights and security? The evidence shows that women’s involvement in post-conflict resolution is essential for stability.

The Prime Minister agreed:

All those of us who have been to Afghanistan and met women MPs and other leaders in that country who want to stand up for women’s

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Join the Liberal Youth invasion

After a very successful Federal Conference earlier this month, Liberal Youth will hold its Autumn Conference on 22nd & 23rd October. It’s in the Roman town of Colchester* (home to the UK’s oldest market on record).

Conference, as all Liberal Democrats know, is a fantastic opportunity for party members to shape policies and hold elected officers to account – and Liberal Youth is no different.

Along with all the usual reports from officers (and the odd constitutional amendment), there will be policy debates on the Arab Spring, MMR jabs, Women’s Rights & Bank Shares. As we have seen from this year’s conference with the Employment and Support Allowance motion, Liberal Youth policy can become federal policy – and might now even become Government policy. This is a brilliant opportunity for young Liberal Democrats to get involved with policy making and gain experience in public speaking!

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

The 7 Lib Dem MPs unaffected by the Boundary Commission proposals

The last 24 hours’ political news has been dominated by the Boundary Commission for England’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies — and in particular the reduction from 533 to 502 in accordance with the Coalition Agreement to reduce the size of the House of Commons.

I’m a self-confessed politics geek, so I find this stuff interesting. But I was surprised that it should be the lead news item on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning — does the public care as much as us anoraks? I doubt it.

True, some members of the public will have particular concerns about …

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Nick Clegg celebrates Bob Russell’s big break

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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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Disability Living Allowance and NHS motions: the aftermath

There’s a common theme to the party’s official reactions to both the Disability Living Allowance (Mobility Component) and health reform motions being passed at conference today. That is to welcome the party staking out its own views on the issues, even where they clearly contradict those of Conservative ministers, and for two reasons.

First, it more clearly sets out where the coalition partners disagree on policy. As having a relaxed, adult approach to admitting in public that people in government don’t always agree on everything is something I’ve talked about in the past, this is certainly good to see – and …

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PMQs: The Pillsbury Doughboy takes on Motherhood and Apple pie – and loses

For the second time in three weeks, a LibDem asked the first question at Prime Minister’s Question time. Bob Russell asked, first of all, for the PM to list his engagements for the day. As usual, there was the same response as there has been for virtually every week since Noah was in short trousers. “This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and, in addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings later today.” Same question, same answer, every blinking week. It is hard not to have a mite of sympathy with …

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Opinion: Bob Russell’s advice over housing benefit should be heeded by the coalition

During yesterday’s PMQs, the most vocal Lib Dem rebel MP today made an exceptionally well-stated and compassionate plea for the coalition government to rethink their plans to cut housing benefit.

Bob Russell, who stood to cries of “hear, hear” from those on the benches opposite when John Bercow called his name, voiced his concerns that as a result of the changes, thousands of children could possibly become homeless.

It is certainly a consideration that has to be taken seriously by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and their cabinet colleagues.

They may well respond – as the Prime Minister did this afternoon – by saying …

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PMQs: Bob Russell teaches Ed Miliband how to do it

These days, Ed Miliband is getting a lot of advice on how to deal with Prime Minister’s Questions. A leaked memo advised him to “get to your feet looking as though you are seizing on something new”, and to ensure that he has a “cheer line” so his speech can be “clipped by the broadcasters”.

David Cameron, of course, reminded Ed Miliband of this advice today. But the best advice came in the form of an example of excellent questioning by Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester.

In the last question today, Bob referred to the “fun and games” that …

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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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Two Lib Dem MPs rebel over VAT

The Guardian:

The coalition faced its first rebellion last night when two Liberal Democrat MPs voted against a budget proposal to increase VAT to 20%.

Bob Russell and Mike Hancock voted with Labour to oppose the increase, which has alarmed many Lib Dems who warned during the election of a Tory VAT “bombshell”.

To shouts of “shame” from the Labour benches, the 2.5% increase in VAT from January was backed by 346 to 270, majority 76. Russell, MP for Colchester, and Hancock, MP for Porstmouth South, had earlier supported a backbench Lib Dem motion demanding a Treasury investigation into the impact on the

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Britain’s best MP competition: the results

Our ‘Britain’s Best MP’ competition has come to a close with Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Harwich, a clear winner. The final results are:

Douglas Carswell 47%
Gisela Stuart 16%
Tom Harris 12%
Lynne Featherstone 9%
Bob Russell 6%
Jo Swinson 6%
David Howarth 2%
Chris Mullin 2%

I appreciate that the results do not make happy reading for visitors to this site and the results of online polls cannot be taken too seriously, but please don’t dismiss this competition just yet.

Whilst acknowledging that our hope of getting people to listen to the MPs answers and then vote for their ‘best MP’ based on what they heard probably …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 10 Comments

Voting started in Britain’s best MP campaign

You may remember that back at the beginning of December we launched our ‘Best MP’ campaign to highlight the fact that not all MPs should be tarred with the same brush as the ‘expenses cheats.’

We asked users of our website – Yoosk –  to send in their nominations for Best MP and to send us the questions they would like to put to the nominees. All eight nominated MPs agreed to answer and you can compare what they said on our website now and cast your vote in our Poll, which will be ‘live’ until the 31st December.

Here is a sample of how we edited the answers together to make them easier to compare.  This question came from ‘artichelper’ and received most votes from our users:

‘What do you believe is the best change in policy that you, yourself played a significant role in making that change happen?’ And you can view a compilation of the answers below.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

What the papers say…

Vince makes the front page of the Daily Express, Nick scores two page leads in the Mail, Huhne forces a Tory U-turn, Paddy  bazookas a Brigadier, Bob Russell biffs a Bishop and The Telegraph’s Deputy Editor says George Osbourne is a childish prat … A few press clippings you may have missed, in our Newspaper Review of the Week.

“Tories lack clarity” – Simon Heffer, columnist: Daily Telegraph, 16.12.09

“Do the Tories enunciate a clear alternative that will benefit not merely their supporters, but also the country? Not yet. It’s not just that George Osborne seems to have no clear plans to …

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What makes a ‘good’ MP?

Well, there has been plenty in the news recently about what makes a ‘bad’ MP so we at Yoosk thought that it might be a good idea to focus for a while on the qualities of a ‘good’ MP. End the year on a positive note.

And that is why we started our ‘Britain’s Best MP’ campaign two weeks ago. We want to find out who the good MPs are and what differentiates them from the rest. We asked our users at Yoosk to nominate their candidates and these are the people they put forward:

Gisela Stuart (Lab)
Lynne …

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Can you help save Bletchley Park for the nation?

Lib Dem councillor and blogger Mary Reid has issued the following plea, which The Voice is delighted to advertise further:

Lib Dem MP Phil Willis has put down EDM 1935 as follows:

FUNDING FOR BLETCHLEY PARK (20.07.2009)
Willis, Phil

That this House recognises the signficance of Bletchley Park, historic site of secret British code-breaking activities during the Second World War and birthplace of the modern computer; acknowledges that the use of the intelligence gained at Bletchley Park and subsequent related actions of the Allies is said to have shortened the Second World War by two years, saving countless lives; and calls on

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Tory council leader accuses Lib Dem MP of smear

The BBC has the story:

A Tory peer referred to the police over expenses says it is part of a campaign of “attacks and innuendo” by an MP. Lord Hanningfield claimed the unnamed MP was determined to “blacken my name” over education policy in Essex, where the peer is council leader.

The frontbencher claimed £99,970 over seven years for the cost of staying in London, despite living 40 miles away.

Lib Dem MP Bob Russell said he believed the peer was referring to him but added he was only interested in the facts. … Colchester MP Bob Russell, who raised Lord Hanningfield’s

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What can politicians achieve? A Review of the Foothills

Generally speaking political diaries are not best read cover to cover, and certainly not if they weigh in at 590 pages. They are for dipping into, browsing the index, and allowing your eyes to wonder to names, places and events that leap from the text. But (owing to a very long journey) I did consume Chris Mullin’s A View from the Foothills – touted as Labour’s answer to Alan Clark – in pretty much one sitting.

Like all political diaries, it both benefits and loses from its fixation with the moment; if you’re scribbling as and when you get the opportunity, there is scant opportunity for reflection or analysis. What you get instead is an unvarnished of-the-moment description (if the diarist is candid), and colourful and entertaining episodes (if the diarist is talented).

Thankfully, Chris is both candid and talented, enabling me to set to one side his overwheening self-deprecation and occasionally jarring piety (here’s his account of Christmas 2002, chez Mullin: “I did my best to look cheerful, but I find it a deeply depressing experience watching children who have everything piling up new possessions. Such a relief when it was over.” (page 340)).

There are illuminating insights a-plenty – just a handful which caught my eye were:

- an early assessment of David Cameron: “a young bright libertarian who can be relied upon to follow his own instincts rather than the party line” (p. 240). Back then, of course, Mr Cameron was happy to keep an open mind on the legalisation of drugs; nowadays he’s a captive of his right-wing party’s traditional Conservative knee-jerkism.

- a painful glimpse of Clare Short’s humiliating downfall in March 2003, when she was won over by Tony Blair and voted for the Iraq war: “I came across Clare Short in the Library Corridor, looking miserable and much the worse for wear, propped up by Dennis Turner.” (p. 388) It’s an image which poignantly captures her realisation that she had thrown away a credible, radical reputation built over a lifetime in return for a flimsy, meaningless pledge from the master of telling people what they wanted to hear.

- the exposure of Tony Blair’s utter management incompetence: quoting Ken Purchase, Robin Cook’s former parliamentary private secretary: “‘He’s hopeless. A fucking hopeless manager. He hasn’t a clue about managing people. If he was in the private sector, they wouldn’t spit on him’.” (p. 213)

- Lib Dems are pretty much absent, but Colchester MP Bob Russell will have done little to assuage the public’s fears that their parliamentarians are selfless servants with his request that the Home Affairs Committee go on the razzle: “Bob Russell said we ought to have a bit more fun. How about a foreign trip or two?” (p. 215)

- Though Labour-turned-Lib Dem MP Brian Sedgemore earns my admiration for his frank assessment of the virues of immigration: “‘Unless we are worried about the gene pool, what’s the problem? Most asylum seekers are dynamic, hard-working, educated people of the sort we badly need to refresh our ageing, lethargic population.’” (p. 292)

Yet the overwhelming impression from the book – and perhaps the reason this political memoir seems to have captured the zeitgeist – is the clear sense of futility Chris feels about his involvement in government.

Much of his ministerial life seems to be devoted to touring top-class hotels delivering mind-numbingly dull speeches to bored public sector employees at pointless conferences: “To a posh hotel in Mayfair to address 300 sceptical councillors and officials on the wonders of ‘Best Value’, the latest New Labour local government wheeze. The speech, one of Hilary Armstrong’s hand-me-downs, was abysmal … I was simply expected to stand and chant it like a Maoist slogan” (p. 69)

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Bob’s ‘Campaign to Save the Great British Pub’ backed by 200+ MPs

As The Scotsman reports:

MORE than 200 MPs yesterday called on the UK government to back a five-point plan to save “great British pubs”. In his early day motion, Lib Dem MP Bob Russell said five pubs were closing down in the UK every day, with beer sales in pubs at their lowest for nearly 40 years.

Here’s the text of Bob’s EDM in full:

EDM 10 – CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE GREAT BRITISH PUB
03.12.2008

Russell, Bob

That this House is alarmed that five public houses are closing down every day, with beer sales in pubs at their lowest level for nearly 40 years; is

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

MPs decide (eventually) to allow UK Youth Parliament to meet in Commons

The UK Youth Parliament will be allowed to hold a meeting in the House of Commons following overwhelming approval from MPs – after a two-hour long debate. The BBC reports:

The move, which was resisted by a handful of Conservative MPs, will see the chamber being used by non-elected parliamentarians for the first time. Opponents said the Commons would abandon its traditions by agreeing, and set a precedent for other groups.

The Youth Parliament, whose 500 members are aged between 11 and 18, is expected to convene over the summer recess. This summer’s meeting will be a one-off event after

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My Early Day Motion to save the Great British pub!

At 8.40 pm on 2nd December, I took up my position just outside the Commons Chamber. It has become something of a tradition for me to be first in the queue to table Early Day Motions when the doors open at 10am the following morning.

Having queued for 13 hours during the night, I was delighted to table ten EDMs that morning. Three months on, by far the most popular among fellow MPs has been the one supporting the ‘Axe the Beer Tax – Save the Pub’ campaign. It has tapped into a huge well of concern over the fate …

Posted in News | 10 Comments
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    @Stuart, I get your point of view and broadly agree with your assessment of the news worthiness of a public figure's sexuality. However with respect...
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    On the subject of George Osborne. He's gone up in my estimations. It's not really political, more personal. All politicians are human and if you...
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    Like others, I am very disappointed to hear that Lester has decided to resign. As the nice party of British politics, the Lib Dems are...
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    A truly terrible inhumane decision . The increased numbers are due to the fact, as Sarah Teather rightly says, the Middle East is burning. How...
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