Tag Archives: david heath

David Rendel selected as Lib Dem PPC for Somerton and Frome

David Rendel - Some rights reserved by Martin TodCongratulations to former Lib Dem MP for Newbury, David, Rendel, who was last night selected by Lib Dem members in Somerton and Frome as the party’s parliamentary candidate for the May 2015 general election. David will be attempting to retain David Heath’s seat, won in 2010 with a majority of 1,817 over the Tories.

The party has previously selected a PPC for the seat. Sarah Yong was selected in February this year, but stood down five months later. There had even …

Posted in News and Selection news | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

UPDATED: Sarah Yong stands down as Lib Dem candidate for marginal seat of Somerton and Frome

20140201-202125.jpg Sarah YongIt’s six months since Sarah Yong was selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Somerton and Frome, held by David Heath since 1997. Today she’s announced her decision to stand down. Here’s the letter she’s sent to her local paper, announcing the news:

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to let you know that it is with great regret that I’ve decided to stand down from my role as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome. I have made this decision for personal reasons and as a result of changes in

Posted in News and Selection news | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

LibLink: David Heath: Electorate has casting vote on number of female MPs

Just two weeks after the excellent Sarah Yong was selected to fight his Somerton and Frome constituency next year, retiring MP David Heath has been writing in the Frome Standard about the need for more women in Parliament.

He will be slightly red-faced to have under-estimated even our lowly number of women in the MPs, saying we have five, rather than seven, but that doesn’t undermine the premise of his piece.

But I think there is still an issue for all political parties in ensuring that parliament better reflects the make-up of the country at large. Instead, there is a huge

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Sarah Yong selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for Somerton and Frome

Sarah Yong has received a very special 30th birthday present – selection as Liberal Democrat candidate for Somerton and
Frome. She hopes to replace David Heath MP who is standing down.

So, who is Sarah? Well, her Leadership Programme profile tells us:

Sarah was born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and a Chinese Malaysian father, and her family moved to Somerset when she was three years old. Sarah attended local state schools before graduating with a BA in Politics and History.

Upon leaving university, Sarah embarked on a military career and attended The Royal Military Leadership Academy for Officer training in 2007.

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LDVideo: BBC’s report on the Liberal Democrats’ secret weapon, featuring Stephen Tall

The BBC has been looking ahead to the Liberal Democrats’ prospects in next year’s General Election. Contributing to the report are retiring MP David Heath and our own Stephen Tall.

I should point out that our secret weapon is not Stephen’s famous pledge to run naked down Whitehall if the party is reduced to 24 seats next May.

You can watch the whole thing here.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Government reshuffle: party members’ views on Moore, Heath and Browne

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

News of this week’s mini-reshuffle – Simon Hughes’s elevation to government in place of Lord (Tom) McNally – came too late to be included in our latest survey. But we did ask about the previous reshuffle in October, when Nick Clegg made a number of changes to the Lib Dem ministerial ranks, including his first sacking …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

As David Heath stands down, local councillor Sam Phripp pays a personal tribute

On Friday night at a constituency meeting, David Heath, my MP, my boss and my friend told Liberal Democrats that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2015. I couldn’t honestly write down all the things that I was feeling then – sometimes we’re feeling too many things at the same time.

I wanted to write now and talk about the man that I know, and how him standing down will be a great personal loss so many people in Somerton and Frome.

To me, David Heath isn’t a politician, he’s the chap who knew instinctively to ask about my A-Level results …

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Reshuffle redux: how Lib Dem members rated the ministerial performances of the sacked and the promoted

I posted earlier the most recent ratings by Lib Dem members of the party’s government ministers. Here’s how those affected by the reshuffle have done over the three-plus years we’ve been running our members’ surveys

Sacked

Michael Moore (Secretary of State for Scotland, May 2010 to Oct 2013)

michael moore performance

Jeremy Browne (Minister – Foreign Office, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister – Home Office, Sept 2012 to Oct 2013)

jeremy browne performance

David Heath (Deputy Leader – Commons, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

++ David Heath announces he will stand down as an MP in 2015

Lib Dem MP for Somerton and Frome David Heath, who earlier this week lost his rural affairs ministerial job, will stand down at the next election:

 

Elected in 1997 by just 130 votes, David has been re-elected a further three times with increasing majorities – by 2010 it had grown to 1,817. However, there’s no doubt that his decision to retire will make the scrap to hold this seat against the Conservatives even tighter in 2015.

Update: Saturday AM

The Frome Standard reports David telling a constituency meeting last night:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

The surprising truth about that Lib Dem in/out EU referendum leaflet*

Clegg-referendum-leaflet-lisbon-2008On Monday morning, Nick Clegg was given a hard time on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme by interviewer Justin Webb, who accused him of changing his position on an EU referendum on the basis of this pictured leaflet (click to enlarge**).

Nick brushed it to one side, correctly pointing out that the party has stuck to its 2010 manifesto pledge (my emphasis):

The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 33 Comments

Opinion: Badger cull delay is good news for Liberal Democrats

Owen Paterson’s announcement on the delay of the badger cull is good news for badgers and for the Liberal Democrats.

The ill-conceived policy may have had the backing of significant interest groups such as the NFU – Paterson repeatedly acknowledged their efforts in his speech – but it was always going to be difficult to present and ‘sell’ this policy to a nation with a strong affection to its environment and wildlife, especially after the debacle of the proposal to sell off the country’s forests.Combine public opinion with the …

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David Heath: I’m doing all I can on live exports

A couple of weeks ago on these pages I called on the new Lib Dem minister for farming, David Heath, to ban the live exports of farm animals following a terrible event at the last port to allow the practice, Ramsgate.

Since I wrote that post, another port – Ipswich – has begun live exports.

One of the fantastic things about Liberal Democrat conference, particularly now we’re a party of government, is the ability to question our MPs about the issues important to us. And that’s exactly what I did when I spotted David Heath.

He made it clear he is no fan …

Posted in News | 4 Comments

One of David Heath’s first decisions should be to ban live farm animal exports

Tens of thousands of live animals – mainly cows and sheep – are exported, alive, from the UK every year. Sometimes the animals have relatively short journeys – veal calves off to live in intolerable conditions in France or Italy, for example – and sometimes they are exported much further – to Russia, or beyond. Most of the animals are ready for slaughter, and will be killed as soon as they arrive in their destination countries.

This often involves unimaginably long journeys for hundreds of animals at a time, crammed into lorries. Animal welfare campaigners have long condemned the practice as …

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes… My thoughts on the Cabinet reshuffle

The first proper reshuffle for our party since the 1920s was always going to be a weird situation. I am extremely sad to see Sarah Teather, Nick Harvey, Paul Burstow and Andrew Stunell leave the government. Sarah’s work on the Pupil Premium will leave an outstanding legacy for the next generation, Andrew’s work on releasing empty homes to meet the needs of those in desperate circumstances will make the difference to thousands of people and Nick Harvey’s tenacity in ensuring that a like for like replacement for Trident is kicked off into the long grass has been a quite immense …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 30 Comments

Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Labour MP attacks rural broadband as “faster internet shopping for millionaires”

Labour MP Graham Jones has kicked up a fuss over his attack on the government’s plans to extend high speed broadband in rural areas, saying it will just mean “faster internet shopping for millionaires”. The MP for Hyndburn went on to say that the rural broadband investment “is just about faster internet shopping for wealthy people”.

Liberal Democrat MP David Heath begged to differ, telling the House of Commons that: “The honourable gentleman is deeply mistaken on this subject … If we do not invest properly to allow every member of every community in the country to have access to …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Which of the five Lib Dem reshuffle options will Nick Clegg pick?

Five scenarios for your delectation:

The Lib Dem night of the long beards

The drastic, dramatic and painful option. Clegg says the Liberal Democrats need David Laws’s expertise and media savvy at the heart of economic decision making, restoring him to Chief Secretary to the Treasury and expressing tearful regret that Danny Alexander is off out of the Cabinet, with a resting place as a new Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Cabinet Office where he will not have to handle quite so many tricky TV interviews.

Education, education, education

Too problematic to bring back Laws in a tax and cut role? Bring him …

Posted in Humour and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 45 Comments

Adrian Sanders is still right

With the reduction in number of MPs back in the news, so too is the question of how many ministers there are. As I wrote in October last year:

I agree with Adrian Sanders and 22 Conservative MPs
Yesterday in Parliament Adrian Sanders and 22 Conservative MPs voted to reduce the maximum number of ministers allowed in the Commons in line with the forthcoming reduction in the number of MPs

Without a cut in the number of MPs on the government payrolls, reducing the number of MPs will increase the government’s power over Parliament when the whole thrust of other reforms is, rightly, that …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

I agree with Adrian Sanders and 22 Conservative MPs

Yesterday in Parliament Adrian Sanders and 22 Conservative MPs voted to reduce the maximum number of ministers allowed in the Commons in line with the forthcoming reduction in the number of MPs:

If the number of constituencies in the United Kingdom decreases below 650, the limit on the number of holders of Ministerial offices entitled to sit and vote in the House of Commons referred to in section 2(1) must be decreased by at least a proportionate amount.

ParliamentReducing the number of ministers is something I’ve supported …

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

Dear Nick Clegg…

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

I read your speech from Thursday to the Committee on Standards in Public Life with interest. It is good to see the progress being made in many areas of political reform, including the commitment made in the speech that, “in the New Year we will produce draft legislation to complete the modernization of the House of Lords”.

Much else too in the speech was good to read, but I think you are missing an important issue about how the changes to election expense rules introduced for the 2010 general election are driving political parties in the wrong direction.

To …

Posted in Election law and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Has something gone wrong with political reporting in the UK?

That’s the question asked today by Lib Dem blogger Andy Hinton in an article titled, If you want to keep something secret…

Andy highlights the mangled reporting of the BBC in claiming that Nick Clegg is back-tracking on the coalition government’s commitment to fixed-term parliaments by fleshing out further details on the proposed 55% dissolution rule – as he points out, Nick was simply repeating what the Lib Dems’ deputy leader of the house David Heath had said a fortnight ago in the House of Commons. This chimes with the general media reporting standard that unless something is said …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 28 Comments

How to get your hands on your David Heath action figure

Here at the Voice we get sent many promotional emails from companies looking for some free publicity. Generally we ignore them. But, just occasionally, they’re too creative, inventive and fun to ignore.

Congratulations then to designers and developers Fancy for coming up with the David Heath action figure, inspired by their local MP for Somerton and Frome. As they explain:

Nailing our colours to the mast, we thought we’d produce a line of action figures extolling his many virtues and capturing the essence of our hard-working local MP

Posted in General Election | 4 Comments

New MPs’ expenses rules published – the end of second homes and first class travel

New rules published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority mean that MPs will no longer be able to profit from taxpayer-funded second homes, nor claim for gardening, cleaning or first-class travel.*

However, the scheme has stopped short of a ban on MPs employing family members. Instead, no more than one “connected party” (i.e. close family member, spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner) may work for each MP, within approved salary and job description guidelines.

Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, Chair of the IPSA said,

No longer will MPs benefit from a slack allowances system. This system brings MPs’ expenses into line with those in most other areas of life. Expenses will be reimbursed only for legitimate costs, backed up by receipts.

There will be complete transparency, so that members of the public will see, in detail, expenses claimed by MPs. The rules will be backed up with tough new measures and abuse of the system will not be tolerated.

The new system is fair, workable and transparent. It will enable MPs to carry out the job we ask them to do and will provide reassurance and value for money to the tax-paying public.

Key components include:

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

The LDV Saturday caption competition – the “Why David Heath’s not bitter” edition

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

Here’s Lib Dem MP for Somerton and Frome David Heath promoting the Lib Dems’ campaign to axe the beer tax. What do you think David, or his companion, might be saying to each other, or thinking about each other?

The winner of our most recent caption competition, the “Lembit pops his cork edition” edition last month – according to The Voice’s judging panel of one – was this one

Posted in Caption Comp | 23 Comments

Like a yeti in a barber shop?

With that unconventional question, Liberal Democrat MP David Heath has joined the ranks of blogging MPs (having previously tried out  a few posts that were simply his newspaper column reproduced):

I’m not sure the resemblance is that obvious, but that’s what Ann Treneman called me in the Times this morning. I guess it’s better than “like a Tajik with toothache”, which is what her predecessor Matthew Parris once came up with.

You can enjoy the rest of David’s blog at http://davidwsjheath.wordpress.com/

Posted in Online politics | Leave a comment

Daily View 2×2: 23 March 2010

Diagram of wings of early planeIn history, March 23rd was the day in 1903 the Wright Brothers applied for a patent on one of the earliest aeroplanes – and the day in 1933 Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany.

It’s birthday to Joan Crawford, Wernher von Braun, José Manuel Barroso, Marti Pellow and Russell Howard.

Today in history, two people who underwent pioneering surgical procedures died: Britain’s youngest ever liver transplant patient died, aged three, and in 1982, the recipient of the first ever artificial heart died, aged 61.

2 Big Stories

All yesterday, two huge political stories raged through the online world: the farce of a Tory attempt to use social media, #cashgordon, and foreshadowing of last night’s Dispatches, which showed three Labour former cabinet ministers in a very bad light.

The newspapers catch up with the latter, but don’t seem to be covering the former.

Byers, Hewitt and Hoon suspended over lobbying allegations

The Telegraph reports:

Three former Cabinet ministers, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, have been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations they tried to sway policy decisions by lobbying the Government.

The Lib Dem party line on this horrid mess which embarrasses Parliament?

Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House, David Heath said, “MPs should not be using their positions to further their own interests over those of the people they should be representing. Liberal Democrats brought forward measures to restrict the influence of lobbyists in Parliament. Sadly, Labour voted them down while the Tories failed to show up. Labour and the Tories claim they want to clean up politics but the reality proves different.”

Posted in Conference and Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

MPs vote to reform Parliament – and reject Tory/Labour plan to water down plans

From the BBC:

MPs have backed a series of reforms aimed at beefing up the ability of backbenchers to create new laws and hold the government to account.

Proposals backed include a creating a backbench committee to set a timetable for Commons business.

A bid by the Labour and Tory front benches to restrict the committee to setting a timetable for just 15 days per session was rejected by MPs…

The reforms were drawn up by Labour MP and chairman of the public administration committee Tony Wright in the wake of last year’s expenses scandal…

MPs also agreed to back proposals ensuring the chairman

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Lib Dem MPs split on Euro referendum?

Almost two years ago, in the early weeks of Nick Clegg’s leadership, the Lib Dem parliamentary party managed to tie itself in knots over the question of whether to support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In the end three frontbenchers, David Heath, Tim Farron and Alistair Carmichael, quit after defying the party’s three-line whip to oppose a referendum.

Well, Sky News has the interesting story that the party still hasn’t managed to get its line straight and agreed, re-opening that split:

Now it seems to be deja vu all over again, with a new Lib Dem split in voting

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Jackie Ballard appointed to Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority despite Tory opposition

The House of Commons has confirmed the appointment of Jackie Ballard, Lib Dem MP for Taunton from 1997-2001 – and who stood to be leader in 1999 – to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the new independent body which will now run the MPs’ expenses system. Jackie is currently Chief Executive of the RNID.

Her appointment was not without its controversy, though, as the BBC reports:

… some Tory MPs were unhappy at the choice of Jackie Ballard saying she had not been an MP for long enough. … Sir Nicholas Winterton and Christopher Chope … tried to introduce an

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged and | 1 Comment



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    Paul, I actually admire your perpetual optimism, but Peter Mandelson would be proud of that comment as a piece of spin.
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    GF 25th Oct '14 - 4:53pm GF -- sorry but I am catching up late on something you wrote yesterday afternoon, which I thought was...
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    I have to admit I don't agree with the grounds on which they were protesting. Just seemed like a bunch of vague, unhappy lefties being...
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    Stephen [Tall], Some good points. I'm not entirely convinced by 6. Although I do see it's merits. I'd like to see the devolution of power...
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    Glenn From my time at university and discussion with many charity /ngo workers. An example is golden rice which through genetic modification has much greater...
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    Callum: mind you, that would mean that a) the SNP would have to drop their policy of abstention on English matters and more importantly, b)...