Tag Archives: featured

Tom Brake MP writes…It’s time to reform renting

Recently at my surgery I met a distressed young woman who came to see me with her mother. Repairs are outstanding on their rented property. The landlord is refusing to sort them out while at the same time putting pressure on them to leave their flat. She didn’t know where to go or what to do.

This is a familiar story and it is no exaggeration to say that we have a national emergency in housing. There are vast numbers of people living in fear and uncertainty and in 2016 that is simply unacceptable.

We clearly have a rental sector which is broken. Many people are spending over half their disposable income on rent and yet a third of homes fail to meet the Government’s decent homes standard, with over 60% of renters having experienced either damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestation or gas leaks, according to a recent survey commissioned by Shelter.

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Tim Pickstone writes…Help make the difference next Thursday

Farron  in EdinburghAll Liberal Democrats will remember what it felt like on Friday 8th May last year, the morning after the terrible 2015 General Election results .

This Thursday is our first big chance to build a more positive story about the progress we’ve made since, with voters going to the polls in one or more elections right across the UK.

A lot has been said about the Lib Dem ‘fightback’, but in politics it is elections that matter and our opportunity to ensure the Party makes a massive step forwards from 2015.

How well we perform next week will largely be up to us: Lib Dem members, activists and helpers.  We will make the difference between Lib Dems getting elected, or the opposition winning.

Thousands of people – candidates, activists, helpers, party staff have already been working hard for months.  But to get across the finish line we need everyone to help. 

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Farron makes pitch to centre left voters – support Lib Dems for good local councillors and effective opposition to Tories

Farron in Edinburgh Western 28 April

At about 8:45, Tim Farron made a flying visit to Alex Cole-Hamilton’s campaign HQ in Edinburgh Western. He did notice that the SNP office next door was  already in darkness.

The visit had an additional bonus for us as the campaigns staff from Scottish HQ pitched up yesterday afternoon and pronounced the place not tidy enough to receive the leader and proceeded to tidy it up for us. No doubt we won’t be able to find anything this morning.

Tim was highly impressed with what he’d seen, which is definitely a compliment given the amount of campaigning that goes on on his patch.

He also told us of his visit to Cardiff Central and candidate Eluned Parrott where he visited a refugee centre and played football with some of the refugees.  We know how strongly he feels that we should be doing more to help refugees from conflict and particularly those children already in Europe. He told us how he’d just been speaking to one of the “Windermere Boys”, a group of young men who were welcomed to the Lake District after being rescued from the death camps at the end of World War 2. They had gone on to build successful lives for themselves, serving the community in many ways, too. Helping people in these desperate circumstances is, Tim said, the least we can do.

This morning, he is visiting a nursery in Cowdenbeath with Willie Rennie, with the challenge from us that he has to at least match Willie Rennie being interviewed on a slide at our manifesto launch.

First, though, he was up early to be on both Radio 5 live and the Today programme to talk about the Lib Dem local election campaign. He made a very clear pitch to centre left voters, asking them to lend their vote to the Liberal Democrats. For that, they’ll get a brilliant local councillor to represent them locally and the appalling Tory government would be held to account He emphasised how the Liberal Democrats had shown more gains in votes and seats in local council by-elections since last May than anyone else. 

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Congratulations to Suzanne Fletcher for winning ALDE’s Lifetime Achievement Award!

Suzanne Fletcher

In a ceremony earlier today Suzanne Fletcher was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Suzanne is known nationally amongst Liberal Democrats for her tireless campaigns in support of refugees and asylum seekers, and in particular for setting up Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (LD4SOS).

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Review: Coalition, by David Laws

Coalition: The Inside Story of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government (Biteback; £25)

David Laws CoalitionIf journalistic reportage is the first rough draft of history, then the politicians’ memoir has a good claim to be the second — at least as far as contemporary political history is concerned.

Few are better placed to give the inside account of the UK’s first national coalition in living memory than David Laws. Laws was at the heart of the coalition before it had even been conceived, as part of a small Lib Dem team preparing for a hung parliament, and was then one of four Liberal Democrats to make up the party’s negotiating team when possibility became a reality in May 2010. From thereon in he bore witness to every significant decision made over the next five years, even though two of those years were ostensibly spent on the backbenches.

Laws has two other advantages, too. The first is the intelligence and insight that has earned him respect across the Lib Dem party — even from those with whom he often disagrees — and beyond. The second is his proximity to Nick Clegg, who allowed Laws access to his papers from his time as deputy prime minister in the preparation of this book.

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In conversation with David Laws

The former Liberal Democrat MP and government minister discusses his new book about the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, says what he would do differently in hindsight, and looks into his crystal ball to see what the future holds for the party…

Your new book about the Coalition has certainly made a few waves following its Sunday newspaper serialisation – the right kind of waves?

I think inevitably there is a temptation in the press to shed light on things which are currently topical, such as Tory divisions on the referendum. But the primary reason I wrote the book was to give an accurate, historic account of the Coalition and a proper explanation of our part in it – and if the serialisation results in more people reading the book, so much the better.

It sounds like you’re, by and large, proud of what the Lib Dems achieved in government?

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The “trailblazing, hell-raising rule breaking Rennie”

Another Friday, another day Willie Rennie wins the internet.

I don’t think there has ever been such fun at a manifesto launch ever.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ manifesto is centred around opportunity in so many ways. Children are at the very heart of it, so it seemed appropriate that the event took place in a soft play event in Edinburgh. And if you are going to go there, you need to get into the spirit of the place. You can’t afford to look too stiff and sober. And Willie didn’t.

The team got three specific things right. First a bit of humour, reminding everyone how you won the internet last week too.

And, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a treat to imagine hard-nosed political hacks being asked to wait in a room like this:

Finally, if you have a leader who can do a 3 second pitch while going down a slide, then that’s a talent you have to exploit.

Jamie Ross from Buzzfeed absolutely loved it:

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarnigel hunter 3rd May - 12:27am
    Goldsmith might be a nice person as an individual but as a Tory Party member he is only interested in power for himself and his...
  • User Avatarmalc 2nd May - 11:38pm
    Stuart I couldn't agree with you more. I've voted Labour or Lib Dem all my life, but these days both seem obsessed with minority causes,...
  • User AvatarRobert Wootton 2nd May - 11:13pm
    A change in the law is necessary to end this housing scandal. Make it illegal for landlords to charge rent for sub standard housing and...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 2nd May - 10:18pm
    @ Stevan Rose "Aggression is a fact of life and if you are not prepared to defend yourself you will be eliminated." Sorry, that is...
  • User AvatarJonathan Ferguson 2nd May - 9:18pm
    Thanks again for the comments everyone, and I hope I have not omitted referring to too many important points that came up. I also hope...
  • User AvatarJonathan Ferguson 2nd May - 9:15pm
    To Lorenzo: Thank you for raising the point about the character of the Liberal Democrats. There is some truth in what you are saying in...