Tag Archives: chris huhne

The two Orange Bookers who’ve won over the Lib Dem membership

Orange_BookIt’s 10 years since The Orange Book was published. Edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall it was widely regarded as an attempt by economic liberals within the Lib Dems to wrest back control of the party from social liberals.

Both Laws and Marshall would argue their attempt at ‘reclaiming liberalism’ (the book’s sub-title) was more about re-balancing liberalism as practised by the Lib Dems — that the party had grown intellectually lazy, happiest with simply saying ‘tax more, spend more’ as the answer to every public policy problem without thinking …

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Chris Huhne is a glass half-full kinda guy

chris_huhneChris Huhne’s weekly column for The Guardian is a must-read for me. Mainly because his writing is just as you’d expect: not afraid to put some stick about (yeah, yeah: he takes no prisoners) but there’s plenty of sharp intelligence too.

And there’s a pretty hefty dollop of optimism this week, too, as he looks at the polls for evidence of a Lib Dem revival:

There was also a straw in the wind pointing to happier times: YouGov just found more people saying they would vote Lib Dem in the

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A look ahead to Scottish Conference

AECC Aberdeen Some rights served by Graham ScottThis time next week, I’ll be on a train on my way to Aberdeen along with lots of other Scottish Liberal Democrats for our Spring Conference. This is the party’s main Conference, held over 3 days. Here’s my pick of the agenda.

The debates

Part of the reason I’m getting up at such an ungodly hour on Friday is to get up there for the first two debates. Alison McInnes, our justice spokesperson, has done much to highlight the many iniquities of our Justice system under the illiberal regime of Kenny MacAskill.

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Alistair Carmichael on Chris Huhne: he put the ‘T’ in Cancun

Cancun, Mexico. Some rights reserved by Nicolas KarimHow, you might ask, did we fail to cover this story this week? In a speech to lobby journalists, Lib Dem chief whip turned Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael regaled them with this story of the inner workings of the whips office, as the tuition fees vote neared:

‘One thing which I was thinking about recently was that Chris Huhne, in the interests of tackling climate change, had managed to be at some big summit in Cancun, so was not available to take part in the division on the day

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Opinion: Chris Huhne on Fracking

chris_huhneChris Huhne, former Energy and Climate Change Secretary and member of ALDES, has written this critique of Fracking in the Guardian.

Personally, I don’t like the abrasive and sarcastic tone of it but he makes some very valid points nonetheless. In particular he points out that the USA is disconnected from the world’s gas market allowing a local surplus to cause gas prices (and coal prices) to drop in the USA. The UK, in contrast, is very connected indeed and even if we did produce masses of Shale Gas at reasonable …

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Liblink: Chris Huhne on being despised

Chris Huhne is in apologetic-but-fighting form in the Guardian, taking on wider reasons than himself for the negative public perception of politicians.

Chris is careful to apologise for and explain without excusing his conduct, but goes on to argue -

Maybe it was coincidence, but that summer I was the only frontbencher who, with Nick Clegg’s brave backing, called for the Metropolitan police to reopen the voicemail hacking inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Given that I was falling in love with someone who was not my wife, you might think that it was an act of folly to court Murdoch’s hostility,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Chris Huhne lands £100k a year job at US energy firm. And why not?

huhne_harris_floodsThe Independent reports the story of Chris Huhne’s new role:

Disgraced former MP Chris Huhne has been hired as the manager of an energy firm just months after being released from prison. The Government’s ex-energy and climate change cabinet secretary has been working as the European manager of Zilkha Biomass Energy since July, according to the company’s website.

He was jailed in March for eight months along with his ex-wife Vicki Pryce for swapping speeding penalty points so he could avoid a driving ban, but the pair were released in May.

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Vicky Pryce stripped of her honour – but who are the Honours Forfeiture Committee to decide?

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce-1756679Vicky Pryce — the former wife of Chris Huhne, who was imprisoned earlier this year for perverting the course of justice after admitting taking speeding points on his behalf — was today stripped of the honour she was awarded by the Queen in 2009. As the BBC reports:

The economist, who was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2009, was found by a committee to have brought the honour into disrepute.

Some people will have no sympathy for Vicky Pryce and stop there. “She …

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Andrew George MP writes…Liberal Democrats must defend green promise

It’s crunch time for parties across the political spectrum: will parliamentarians do the right thing for our climate and the UK economy or will they let the sceptics drive investors overseas?

The Energy Bill returns to the Commons next week, just as the Conservatives are retreating to their traditional political stomping grounds in the face of competition from the right. Writing in Lib Dem Voice last month, Nick Clegg noted that: “Compassionate conservatism has been sidelined…the blue team used to claim to have gone green, yet have now publicly denounced the importance of environmental protections”. It’s up to the Liberal Democrats to …

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The Sun story about Chris Huhne that was a total invention (and which the other papers happily copied)

Remember that front page Sun story from 13 March? On the off-chance Voice readers missed this exclusive, let’s refersh your memory of the splash:

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne was ridiculed on his first day in Wandsworth jail yesterday — after a warder called him to breakfast by yelling “Order! Order!”

Only one small problem with the story: it was a complete fabrication.

sun huhne lie

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade has the story:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

A brief (recent) history of the Lib Dems’ flagship tax-cut for the low-paid

Tax Threshold infographicGeorge Osborne’s fourth budget saw him finalise the commitment to implement in full the Lib Dems’ number one manifesto commitment: taking out of income tax all those who earn less than £10k a year.

It prompted this post by my Co-Editor Caron Lindsay yesterday – Why it’s worth being a member of the Liberal Democrats – recalling the recent history of this focus on raising the tax-free allowance. Which in turn triggered this comment by Alex Wilcock, recalling the slightly less recent history:

The fact is, raising thresholds was party policy in the 1990s, then put back on the agenda when Chris Huhne made it the central plank of his Leadership campaign in February 2006.

Curious, I thought I’d do a quick fact-check. Here’s what I found:

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After prison

jonathanaitkenA former journalist, who rose through the political ranks to become a cabinet minister, resigns in the midst of a scandal of his own making, strenuously denies the allegations but is convicted of perverting the course of justice and goes to prison, with his political career and reputation destroyed.

That was the tragedy of  Jonathan Aitken, who has been doing the media rounds in the last 24 hours.

I want to tell his story – it happened some years ago so some readers may not remember – because it is a tale of redemption.

The incident that led to his downfall took place in when he was Minister of State for Defence Procurement, but it only came to light in 1995 after he had been promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He accepted hospitality, in the form of nights at the Ritz in Paris, from a Saudi businessman.   The Guardian unearthed the story and Granada investigated it further in World in Action documentary.

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Mike Thornton MP’s maiden speech

The newest Liberal Democrat MP spoke for the first time in Parliament yesterday in a debate on the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill, paying tribute to the work of his predecessors David Chidgey and Chris Huhne. As is traditional, he praised his constituency and described its history as a bustling industrial and railway town.

Mike Thornton began by thanking all those who campaigned with him during last month’s by-election, and the voters of Eastleigh for putting their faith in him.

Mike’s full speech, as recorded in Hansard:

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to make my maiden speech during this important

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Huhne / Pryce: I just don’t see how ‘prison works’ for anyone here

His crime was speeding then lying (and lying some more). Her crime was lying and self-immolating revenge. Last night they spent their first night in prison.

Few people will spare much sympathy for either Chris Huhne or Vicky Pryce. They are, as Mr Justice Sweeney said yesterday when sentencing the pair to eight months each, the architects of their own downfall. Though I also think it would take a particularly stony heart not to look at the ashen-faced photos of them, besieged by a mob-handed press as their humiliation is played out in real-time in the full glare of publicity, and …

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Liberal Democrat Voice team discusses…..the Huhne/Pryce sentencing

It may not surprise you to know that the team at Liberal Democrat Voice quite often talk to each other about how we’re feeling about events in the news. We tend to write our own posts, though. I thought it might be a good idea to occasionally do a single post where several of us contribute our opinions on an issue of the day.

I think all of us share a sense of sadness at the way the destruction of a family has unfolded in front of us, disappointment that a highly effective minister is now in a prison cell in …

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++ Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce sentenced

The judge has delivered the sentences at the end of the trials at Southwark Crown Court in which Chris Huhne pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, and Vicky Pryce was found guilty of the same offence.

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce have each been sentenced to 8 months in jail.

You can read a full account of what happened today during the hearing on the Guardian blog, thanks to some detailed tweeting from inside the court by Peter Walker, a Guardian journalist.

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It’s not just the Lib Dem leadership trying to ignore the ‘secret courts’ row: the news media is too

I had an odd experience on Friday. I was doing a round of media interviews – 3 for TV, 3 for radio – previewing the Lib Dem conference. I’d been called by researchers in advance to ‘get my take’ on the key issues. Each time, I said there was a big issue on which the party leadership could expect to be defeated and which would see activists from across the broad spectrum of the Lib Dems united: opposition to secret courts. This received an “Uh-hum” response which I took for baffled boredom. And as expected, each interview in turn dwelt …

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Huhne / Pryce: this is a human drama, not a political story

huhne quitsIt was the number of voicemail messages on my mobile (having been holed up in meetings for my non-political day-job) that alerted me a story had broken this afternoon. A clutch of requests from news stations eager to know what the political fall-out for the Lib Dems would be from Vicky Pryce being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

My short answer? I just can’t see it. Vicky Pryce is the ex-wife of an ex-MP. Yes, it’s a compelling human drama, a modern morality tale of how …

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Vicky Pryce found guilty

The BBC reports:

The former wife of ex-cabinet minister Chris Huhne has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice by taking speeding points on his behalf.

Vicky Pryce, 60, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of committing the offence over a speeding incident on the M11 in Essex in 2003.

She had denied the charge, saying Huhne had forced her to take the points.

Pryce has been bailed pending a sentencing hearing.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

++Breaking News: Jury in Vicky Pryce trial discharged after failing to reach a verdict

The BBC reports that the jury in Vicky Pryce’s trial for perverting the course of justice has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict. This comes after almost 4 days of deliberation. This morning they handed the judge a list of ten questions which the BBC have reported here.

A retrial with a new jury will start next Monday.  It’s likely that sentencing of her ex husband, Chris Huhne,  will be delayed until after this new trial.

As this matter remains sub judice,  personal comments about either Vicky or Chris won’t be published at least until the trial has concluded …

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Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the latest campaign news (12 Feb)

Here’s a round-up of news from the past 24 hours in the Eastleigh by-election…

mike thornton eastleigh jon aylwinNick Clegg offered Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton his full backing on a visit to Eastleigh on Monday. Here‘s the Guardian report:

“I am confident we will keep hold of this seat but not because I say so but because the people of Eastleigh are telling us that,” said Clegg. Focusing on the party’s local dominance – it is the only place in the country where every councillor at district and county level is a Liberal Democrat – he said voters would focus on its “record of action” and said the party had “to be quite clear where our differences lie”. … Speaking after meeting students at the local college, Clegg said: “Cutting council tax, promoting more apprenticeships, creating jobs, protecting green spaces – those are things that Liberal Democrats haven’t just talked about, they are things they have actually done and it’s a record of which we are tremendously proud.”

It’s not just Nick Clegg who’s been doing his Eastleigh stint, though. Pictured above (with thanks to Jon Aylwin) is North Devon MP Nick Harvey out canvassing with Mike and some of his supporters.

Want to join the hundreds of Lib Dems who are doing their bit to help get Mike elected as the next Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh on 28th February? Here’s a reminder of how YOU can make a difference:

  • Volunteer to help in Eastleigh itself
  • Make phone calls for the party if you can’t get there in person
  • Give a donation to help fund the campaign.
  • Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

    5 reasons for Lib Dems to campaign in Eastleigh (just in case you needed any more)

    eastleigh campaignMark Pack has posted last night’s poll findings from Eastleigh, showing the Tories narrowly ahead with both Labour and Ukip out of serious contention. In case you needed some reasons to help the Lib Dem campaign in the next three weeks in whatever way you’re able here are 5 from me…

    The Lib Dems can win…

    Lord Ashcroft’s poll is pretty ideal for the party: it piles the pressure on the Tories as early front-runners, while confirming how tight the contest will be. The Lib Dems’ local strength is significant …

    Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

    Tessa Munt and Tim Farron on Chris Huhne’s downfall

    Reaction to Chris Huhne’s shock decision to plead guilty to perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case and to quit as MP for Eastleigh has been rolling throughout the day.

    Here’s two of Chris’s backbench colleagues on today’s events. First, Lib Dem MP for Wells, Tessa Munt, who praised his work as a “fantastic constituency MP”:

    Posted in News and YouTube | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

    The end of Chris Huhne’s career in politics: initial reactions

    huhne quitsChris Huhne’s political career is over. That’s not a sentence I expected to be typing today.

    I had thought Chris would somehow squeak through his court case by the skin of his teeth. Certainly when I spoke to Chris at the last Lib Dem conference he was confident (his default mode, it’s true, but still). But now his career lies in tatters.

    Last year he resigned as a cabinet minister; this year he’ll resign as an MP. And all over a speeding charge – or more to the point his attempt …

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 78 Comments

    ++ Chris Huhne to resign as MP

    From the BBC:

    Former cabinet minister Chris Huhne has said he will resign as an MP, after he pleaded guilty to to perverting the course of justice.

    Huhne admitted charges against him over claims his ex-wife Vicky Pryce took speeding points for him a decade ago.

    Aides to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC he was “shocked and saddened” by the Lib Dem MP’s conduct.

    A by-election is now expected in his seat of Eastleigh in Hampshire, where he has a majority of nearly 4,000.

    The prime minister’s official spokesman declined to comment on the former minister’s resignation, saying only: “It is

    Posted in News | 10 Comments

    ++ Chris Huhne pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice

    chris_huhneDramatic news from the BBC:

    Former cabinet minister Chris Huhne has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife Vicky Pryce took speeding points for him a decade ago.

    The Lib Dem MP, 58, had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge at Southwark Crown Court.

    BBC chief political correspondent Norman Smith said:

    We can safely say that his political career is over.

    As legal proceedings are currently taking place, personal comments about either Vicky or Chris won’t be published at least until the trial has concluded and then only if …

    Posted in News | 17 Comments

    Chris Huhne to stand trial next Monday

    chris_huhneFrom the BBC:

    Former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife are to stand trial next Monday over allegations she took speeding points for him so he could avoid prosecution.

    The Lib Dem MP, 58, pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.

    Posted in News | 9 Comments

    Ed Davey MP writes… The Green Deal goes live

    Today marks a very significant achievement of our party in Government. The Green Deal is being launched.

    After two and half years of toil the pledge in our manifesto to, “offer a home energy improvement package … paid for by the savings from lower energy bills” has become reality.

    Chris Huhne started the ball rolling way back in 2010 and Nick Clegg and I are visiting a college in Sheffield today to mark the opening of a brand new market in home energy efficiency and meet trainees in home insulation.

    Millions of homes do not have full double-glazing. More than half do not …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

    John Leech MP writes… Remembering the reasons for Leveson

    The Manchester Evening News has a regular slot in the paper where they get a number of MPs to write an opinion column on topical issues of their choice. This week just happened to be my turn, so I thought that I would comment on the eagerly awaited Leveson report, due out on Thursday.

    For those of you who don’t know, the MEN is owned by Trinity Mirror, and along with other major newspaper groups, are totally opposed to independent regulation of the press. They claim that regulation will be the end of freedom of expression. How ironic then, that the …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

    ELDR Congress: I’m not about to craic up…

    Welcome to the former lair of the Celtic Tiger, a city of stories, some of them true, and enough cliche to bury an elephant, Dublin, the host city for this year’s ELDR Congress, hosted by Fianna Fail.

    The focus of this year’s event is on energy transition and, given that the EU remains worryingly dependent on imports of oil and gas from some rather unstable corners of the world, it is a subject that might not be obviously sexy, it is one that has a huge impact on European citizens.

    Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments
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