Tag Archives: Jo Swinson

Après Nick: which Lib Dem MPs are best-placed to become the next Lib Dem leader?

Today’s Independent has an interesting story speculating on the Lib Dem leadership contest to come if the 2015 election result triggers Nick Clegg’s resignation. It’s one of the features of this parliament – perhaps linked to it being a fixed-term in which we know the dates are all known – that there hasn’t been nearly as much gossip about future leadership bids in any of the three main parties.

Anyway, the Indy story seeks to make up a little for that absence: Nick Clegg’s rivals for the Lib Dems leadership told to rev up. The premise of the article …

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Should MPs be allowed to take their babies into the voting lobby?

There’s been a bit of controversy over the issue of breastfeeding in the House of Commons and taking babies into the voting lobby sparked by comments by Jo Swinson, who gave birth to her son Andrew on 22 December. The argument goes that you can take a sword into the Commons voting lobby, but not a baby. On face value, it sounds like yet another way in which Westminster needs to be dragged into the 21st century.

Jo said to the Guardian:

“I think it’s been lovely the way people have been really supportive in parliament of my pregnancy,” she said. ” I think some of the structures of the institutions of the House of Commons probably don’t make it as easy as it could be, in particular that you don’t get maternity cover. As a minister, I get cover for my work … but nobody else will be being the MP for East Dunbartonshire.”

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Andrew Lennox Marshall Hames: The first picture

Well, not the first actual picture, of course, but the first that the likes of you and I are allowed to see.

And, the undeniable fact is that the firstborn son of Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames is incredibly, snuggliciously cute.

Andrew Hames


In addition to the gorgeousness of the baby, I love the obvious besottedness of his parents, And the Lib Dem yellow pram.

Congratulations to Jo and Duncan.

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Duncan Hames steps down as PPS to Nick Clegg and Simon Wright takes over

Following this afternoon’s wonderful news about the safe arrival of Andrew Lennox Marshall Hames,  the Belfast Telegraph reports that his dad, Duncan Hames, has decided to step down from his position as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Clegg so that he has “more time to spend with our new baby”:

Mr Hames said: “When I told Nick that I would be wanting more time to spend with our new baby, I knew he would understand.

“Now that our son, Andrew, is with us, I am stepping down as the Deputy Prime Minister’s PPS.

“I truly appreciated the opportunity to see the coalition

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++Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames welcome son Andrew

When Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames got engaged, they announced it by a co-ordinated tweets.

They carried on that tradition to announce the birth of their son Andrew. He was born on Sunday, but they’ve just announced his arrival in the last few minutes.

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Jo Swinson on lives blighted by poor body confidence

jo swinson Alex Folkes/Fishnik PhotographyI wish Jo Swinson had been around when I was a teenager. My self-loathing teenage self could have done with a friendly looking government minister, a shining example of healthy living, telling me that the images society measured me against were unattainable and I should just concentrate on enjoying life and living healthily, taking loads of exercise and not being obsessed with weight and crash dieting.

Last week, someone posted a photo on a Facebook group about Inverness which had a 12 year old me in it. It took me quite aback to realise that, actually, I didn’t really look that bad. At that age, I thought I was hideous. Too fat, too hairy, too spotty. No way would I ever be able to be as pretty and, by extension, likeable as the girls in Blue Jeans and Jackie’s photo stories. My teenage story was one of intense anxiety, depression  which has undoubtedly cast a long shadow on my life. There were times when I didn’t believe I had the right to leave the house, let alone participate in anything at school. It wasn’t all to do with body image, but it seemed that everything I saw and everybody I came across in my life reinforced that image. There was no respite and no escape.

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++ Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes replaces Lord McNally as Justice Minister

Simon HughesNews just in:

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has replaced Lord (Tom) McNally as the Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Justice.

Lord McNally has been appointed as the new Chair of the Youth Justice Board, a post which he will take up in mid-March 2014. Simon Hughes will take over as Justice Minister with immediate effect.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Tom McNally has been a fantastic minister who has pushed through a Liberal agenda in the Ministry of Justice. He will now bring the same

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Jo Swinson talks to Cosmopolitan about the gender pay gap and equality in the workplace

We’ve heard a lot from Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson over the past week on one great inequality in the workplace – the rules around leave after a baby is born. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats in government, parents will soon be able to share all but the first two weeks of a year of parental leave. For me, that policy sums up what we are about. It’s liberal, it’s about allowing people to make choices that are right for them and it does sing to both stronger economy and fairer society mantras.

However, that’s not the only issue of equality …

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Jo Swinson takes on Daily Mail’s Liz Jones, who thinks she shouldn’t be “procreating”

In the faux 1950s rose tinted world of the Daily Mail, lives a columnist called Liz Jones. Her job appears to be to offend as many people as possible on a weekly basis. she’s remarkably good at it.

Today, she’s cast her net particularly wide by writing a column about shared parental leave that is guaranteed to offend all women and any man who isn’t a sexist idiot. As a sub-plot, she’s also creating division between those in society who think that tea towels should be ironed (like former Liberal Democrat co-editor and regular contributor Mark Pack who admits to …

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Good news for Mums and Dads

“Liberal Democrats will allow parents to share the allocation of maternity and paternity leave between them in whatever way suits them best.” That’s what the party’s 2010 manifesto said would happen – and this week it actually did happen. Here’s what Nick Clegg had to say about the party’s policy success…

libdem letter from nick clegg

A short one this week: just to say a huge well done to all Liberal Democrats. We’ve finally landed our flagship policy on shared parental leave.

Help us share the news about our shared parental leave!

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Opinion: Jo Swinson’s latest campaign is certainly more than average

I love shopping. I’m not afraid to admit it and frankly if I had to say I were addicted to one thing, it would be buying dresses; daytime dresses, smart dresses, dresses I know I’ll never wear because they’re just plain weird but I justified them as ‘individual’ at the time. I reckon there are many women in Britain who could admit to the same sort of love for clothes shopping. What draws me in though isn’t the colour or the number of sequins (well sometimes it’s because of the sequins), but the whole shopping experience in general. A good …

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Swinson argues against unpaid internships, Leech advertises for unpaid interns. Who’s right?

On the face of it, Liberal Democrats are sending out mixed messages on internships at the moment.

Jo Swinson, as employment minister, has been promoting the Government’s Pay and Rights helpline (0800 917 2368) and talking about it being appropriate to pay interns while John Leech’s office in Manchester is offering an unpaid internship proramme. This is in contrast to the party’s internship programme which is offering the National Minimum Wage.

Jo on Good Morning Scotland (from around 1:52 in) that she wanted to ensure that employers were not unwittingly or unintentionally doing the wrong thing and making sure that people …

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How Liberal Democrats around the country are marking Remembrance Sunday

Here’s a flavour of how  Liberal Democrats are marking Remembrance Sunday, some in an official capacity, others on their blogs. I suggest you put on Elgar’s Cello concerto as recommended by Armour Plated Liberalism and have a look at the following:

Tim Farron spent yesterday selling poppies in bad weather:

Jo Swinson tweeted from a service in Bearsden

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Jo Swinson launches size 16 mannequins

Jo Swinson today went along to Debenhams to welcome their size 16 mannequins which have been brought in to reflect the average women. It has been intensely annoying to hear these discussed across various media, including the BBC and the Independent, as “plus size” mannequins. If your view of what a woman should look like comes from airbrushed magazines and porn rather than opening your eyes and looking at the real women around you, then, yes, you might think that size 16 was plus, but you would be wrong.

Women come in all shapes and sizes and girls should be …

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Caron Lindsay defends Jo Swinson’s right to stand

Jo Swinson GlasgowThe government has been introducing a lots of “rights to” of late. Communities have rights to bid and to build. Individual have rights to buy and to personal budgets. After the last 48 hours of media coverage, it may be that we need to bring in a “right to stand.”

The story runs like this. Jo Swinson arrives for Prime Ministers Questions at a point when the house is already crammed out. She stands for a while and she’s happy with that. The political editor of the Spectator, James Forsyth however was horrified and tweeted.

Quite remarkable that no MP has offered Jo Swinson, who is seven months pregnant, a seat. Really shocking lack of manners and decency

The Daily Mail then took up the case. Caron Lindsay took that newspaper to task last night, concluding:

I find the Mail’s attitude to women much more offensive and harmful to society than anything that happened in the House of Commons yesterday.

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Jo Swinson: “About to get on tube. Seat offers welcome….but I was happier standing yesterday”

The febrile world of Twitter has been a little obsessed with the fact that Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson, who is 7 months’ pregnant, was standing throughout Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, with concerned political correspondents expressing outrage that nobody had offered her a seat.

Then the Daily Mail got in on the act.  Their attitude to women generally can be summed up as patriarchal nonsense. That’s not the word, I confess, I used earlier in a private LDV team discussion, but this is a family site.  I’ve written before about that awful phrase they tend to use about any pregnant …

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Lib Dem equalities minister Jo Swinson backs Elle magazine’s ‘Make Them Pay’ campaign

jo swinson by paul walterJo Swinson is not only the government minister responsible for employment relations, consumer and postal affairs – she’s also the Lib Dems’ equalities minister. And she appears in November’s issue of Elle magazine backing its ‘Make Them Pay‘ campaign:

Today, we are proud to announce, the government has gotten behind us too. Women and Equalities minister Jo Swinson is urging all women to follow the advice in The Feminist Times and Mother campaign: ‘If he does the same job as you, ask him his salary.’

Praising our initiative,

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Jo Swinson answers your questions, 2-3pm today

Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire and a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is taking part in a live Q&A this afternoon from 2-3pm over at the Guardian.

Here’s how the site introduces Jo:

When she took her seat in parliament in 2005, Jo Swinson was the first MP to have been born in the 1980s. In 2012 she became a government minister after the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the Conservative party.

As minister for women and equalities, Swinson has made it her mission to bring about a change in culture around women in the workplace.

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Liberal Democrat double as Swinson and Ece win Women in Public Life Awards

Meral H EceWhile we were all getting ready for Conference, it emerged that Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson and Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece had won Women in Public Life Awards for MP and Peer of the Year.

Meral was delighted to have won and said:

I am honoured and delighted to have been voted Peer of the Year (House of Lords) in the Women in Public Life Leadership Awards for this year. This is a prestigious award, and its a privilege to be in the company of other women who have achieved so much.

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How should the Liberal Democrats deal with everyday sexism?

Today’s Daily Mail has an article making various allegations of sexist attitudes towards women within the Liberal Democrats. They’ve been running similar stories all week following the Rock the Boat fringe meeting earlier. One particular woman candidate says that she was told by someone in her local party not to get pregnant because “we don’t want a baby hanging of your t**s.”

The Daily Mail is an unlikely feminist champion, but that shouldn’t detract from the need to tackle such behaviour, which includes inappropriate questions to female candidates during the selection process about their relationships or their plans to have …

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Liberal Democrat Voice Awards: The Shortlists (1): The Tim Garden Award

The Liberal Democrat Voice Awards are only a week away. At 10 pm on Saturday 14 September, in Castle 2 of the Crowne Plaza, with cash bar on hand, and an imaginative dress code, the best in blogging, campaigning, social media and politics in general will be feted in a ceremony filled with razzmatazz, glitz and glamour.

In years past, all the shortlists have been released at once. That’s because the Divine Ms Duffett is kind to you. I on the other hand, am happy to mess with your heads a bit more. So, in the style of the announcement of …

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Jo Swinson to name and shame rogue employers who fail to pay minimum wage

Jo Swinson was featured widely in the media yesterday talking about her plan to tackle employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage.

The BIS website outlines the plan:

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal. If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action.

This is why I’m making changes so it is easier to name and shame employers who break the law. This gives a clear warning to rogue employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences as well as a fine if they

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LibLink: Jo Swinson on payday loans and meeting the Archbishop today

jo swinson by paul walterYesterday Jo Swinson spoke about payday loans on camera to The International Business Times. We cannot embed the video on Lib Dem Voice, but you can watch it here.

She said that she and Vince Cable would be meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev Justin Welby, today to discuss  new  guidelines for credit unions. She stated:

My colleague and I, business secretary Vince Cable, are meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury on this issue. We are very keen that credit unions are expanded as they are important way of lending to a community that benefits local people.

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LibLink… Jo Swinson: Our children shouldn’t grow up thinking looks are the most important thing in life

I remember the genuine distress suffered by a teenage friend of ours. Her hair straighteners had broken and we don’t possess such implements. She was actually frightened and anxious at the thought of leaving the house and being seen by her peers with unstraightened, but perfectly tidy, hair. I had to source another set of straighteners before I could get her to school.

That, sadly, is the tip of the iceberg. The pressure on particularly girls to conform to a very narrow standard of beauty, dictated by the likes of Heat magazine and the pornography industry, is excruciating and can lead …

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Liberal Democrat Job Watch – 24 July 2013

Fancy working for the Liberal Democrats? There are a fair few jobs to choose from over on Work for an MP website which includes both party jobs and jobs with parliamentarians.  There are opportunities in the north, south and east of mainland UK.


There are two jobs in Scotland. Jo Swinson is looking for a caseworker in her East Dunbartonshire office:

An empathetic, organised, highly efficient individual is sought for the role of Caseworker to Jo Swinson MP. The role is permanent, based on a working week of 37.5 hours. The position is based within a lively and dynamic team in

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LibLink…Jo Swinson: Only women can help us now

Jo Swinson has been writing for Management Today about the importance of ensuring that businesses ensure that women have equal opportunity to reach senior and board levels of companies.

Women are vital to Britain’s economic recovery and we need to ensure we are making full use of their talents. That’s why the government is focused on removing the barriers that prevent women from getting ahead and achieving their full potential. We simply can’t afford to lose out on the talents and skills of over half the population.

She acknowledged progress on this but said that there was more to be done, outlining …

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Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames expecting Christmas baby

swinson and hamesLovely news, via the Kirkintilloch Herald that Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames are expecting their first baby and he or she is due to put in an appearance on Christmas Day.

The Lib Dem MP made the announcement exclusively to the Herald, two years after marrying fellow MP Duncan Hames.

Jo (33) became the youngest MP in the House of Commons when she won the East Dunbartonshire seat in 2005 at the age of just 25 – continuing to be the so-called ‘Baby of the House’ until July 2009.

Now the MP,

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Jo Swinson announces consultation on streamlining businesses’ appeal process

From The Guardian:

The ability of big business to deploy armies of lawyers to prevent regulators from introducing consumer-friendly measures will be curbed under proposals published by the government on Wednesday.

The Business minister, Jo Swinson, is proposing a streamlined appeals system for challenging decisions by the UK’s economic regulators, which include Ofcom, the Competition Commission, Ofwat and the Office of the Rail Regulator.

Over the last five years there have been more than 50 appeals of regulatory and competition decisions.Legal challenges have caused delays to the

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The Swinson Twinterview: pubs, post offices, payday lenders, and the brilliance of Christine Jardine.

Following on from the stunning success of the Carmichael Twinterview , I recently caught up with Jo Swinson for a bit of 140 character Q and A. Here is our chat, pretty much in full.

CL: First up: Have you recovered from your anaphylaxis incident? What should people know about how to help if someone has an attack?

JS: Yes thanks, all better! Talk to family/friends with allergies so you know their triggers to avoid, and if you have an EpiPen, carry it!

CL: Good. How are you enjoying being a minister?

JS: Loving it! To be able to deliver Lib Dem priorities like shared parental leave & extending flexible working is both exciting & rewarding

CL: What are you proudest of in your first 8 months?

JS: Introducing the legislation on shared parental leave is top of the list. Also extractives transparency so we know about govt payments from oil/gas industry.

CL: And many members will be interested to know about your work on pubs..

JS: We’ve launched a consultation on creating an Adjudicator.

CL: What will the Adjudicator do? How will that benefit landlords and customers?

JS: The idea is to ensure that the Code of Practice is adhered to so there is greater fairness: we’re keen to hear people’s views on this

CL: You’ve been talking to postmasters recently. What did you say to them?

JS: I enjoyed the postmaster conference. It’s tough in retail just now, including POs, but we’re investing & have strong plans for future.

CL: Post offices are safer now than they’ve been for a while, aren’t they?

JS: Yes, no closure programmes under this govt, £1.34billion investment instead! We do need to modernise the network & mutualise it too I hope.

CL: And you are tackling payday lenders, too..

JS: Yes – I recently announced tough action.  OFT clamping down & FCA gets stronger enforcement powers from April.

CL: How do you reckon Willie’s done in his first two years as leader? What should he do next?

JS: Brilliantly - #thankswillie! Continue taking the fight to Salmond & ensuring the Scottish Lib Dems punch well above our weight in Holyrood.

CL:  Are you heading up to Donside to help our candidate Christine Jardine in the by-election?

JS: Yes, I’ve been rejigging my diary so that I can make a couple of visits. Christine is a fantastic candidate!

CL: Tell us something we don’t know about her.

JS: She used to teach journalism at Strathclyde University and one of her students was my good friend & bridesmaid, Hilary.

CL: Small world! Why would she be a good MSP?

JS: She has a wealth of experience: as a broadcaster, writer, activist, and a mum. Just the kind of passionate, determined voice Donside needs.

CL: How’s the Campaign for Body Confidence going?

JS: From strength to strength! I’m continuing Lynne’s great govt work on this – with new workstreams on role of fathers & health visitors.

CL: That sounds really interesting. I  read something about airbrushing practices changing.

JS: Boots said that acceptability of airbrushing in adverts has changed and ASA changed guidance too in 2011.

CL: Any advice for aspiring women candidates who might be inspired to follow in your footsteps?

JS: Stand for election: you can help indviduals & your community, develop new skills & it can be good fun! Lots of help & advice available

CL: What are your hopes for the new Lib Dem Women organisation?

JS: Lib Dem Women will be a formidable force! I wish the new organisation the best of luck – we need a strong voice for women in the party.

CL: And, finally – Mr Carmichael told us his panda obsession helps to relieve stress. How do you relax?

JS: I find running relaxing and I love the way my mind wanders when out for a run. East Dunbartonshire has lots of gorgeous routes.

CL: Alistair also shared his favourite You Tube video. What’s yours?

JS:  I do love Isabel Fay’s take on internet trolls. Warning: contains examples of offensive posts.

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Jo Swinson has good news for consumers

jo swinsonWay back in May, Stephen Tall made Jo Swinson his 36th Liberal Hero of the week for her plans to make consumer rights more wide-ranging and easier to understand. She published her draft bill yesterday. The measures within it include:

  • a service to be re-performed or some money back, eg if 25 out of 100 photos of an event are substandard, you would get 25% of your money back;
  • rights over digital content, eg a streamed movie that keeps freezing;
  • a clear 30 days to return faulty, non perishable

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Recent Comments

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    @Raddiy You might like to look at the list of member countries of NATO. You might even recognize some of them (a majority) as European...
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    > security against military threats Try telling the Ukrainians that. > opportunities for beneficial trade > future expanding markets > consequential employment and economic development...
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    Jeremy, are you saying that I should not use the review copy sent to Liberator to review your book?
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    Why on earth does Clegg not make more frequent reference to the recent (November 2013) CBI Report on "Our Global Future" which, while certainly making...
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    @ Richard Dean Since your first example is completely wrong, it is barely worth giving any credence to the rest of your list. NATO maintains...