Tag Archives: john leech

Opinion: Merry Christmas, Mr Turing

Merry Christmas. What’s on your tree this year? Baubles? Tinsel? Some of that fake snow that looks a bit like candy floss and gets everywhere by New Year? Almost certainly some fairy lights.

However you decorate your Christmas tree, you would probably think it looked a bit bare if it only had the star on the top. You’d be right. Which is why, however big an achievement it is for those who have campaigned for it, I can only raise one-and-a-half cheers today at the news Alan Turing has at long last received a posthumous pardon for the conviction he received …

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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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Alan Turing: is a pardon the best way to excuse our crime against him?

Alan_Turing_photoThe campaign to pardon Alan Turing, the father of computer science who was convicted for acts of homosexuality in 1952, troubles me.

I take as a given the good intentions of those Lib Dems such as Lord (John) Sharkey and Manchester MP John Leech who have led the calls in parliament. But I am struck by Matthew Parris’s words in today’s Times:

Why only Turing? Many, many tens of thousands of gay men have been convicted for behaviour that was once against the law. Tens of thousands of careers, reputations

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John Leech writes to a constituent

john leechAny of us who have been elected to public office will have received letters, emails or even phone calls that shock us into realising that not all our compatriots are liberal and fair-minded.  Rascist, homophobic or simply personally offensive rants, expressed in highly charged language, remind us that we still have much work to do.

When it has happened to me I have initially been quite upset, then dealt with it by distancing myself from the contents and refusing to respond. But maybe there is another way to handle such communications.

John …

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Liberal Democrat John Leech wins Patchwork Foundation’s Lib Dem MP of the Year award

john leechGood news for Manchester Withington MP John Leech from the Manchester Gazette:

At a packed awards ceremony at the House of Commons tonight, south Manchester MP John Leech was presented with the first ever “Lib Dem MP of the Year” award for his work with deprived and minority groups.

He received the award from House of Commons Speaker John Bercow at an event organised by the Patchwork Foundation.

The Patchwork Foundation is the first BME charity to ever give awards out, following nominations from members of the public, and applications considered by

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EDMwatch #1: animals, VAT on tabloids, Diabetes and Sir Alex Ferguson

I thought it might be a good idea to introduce a new feature for the start of the shiny new parliamentary session – a regular look at the Early Day Motions tabled by MPs. These are basically House of Commons petition and are used to raise awareness of an issue. One of the biggest elements of an MP’s postbag or inbox is a pile of requests from supporters of a particular organisation or charity to sign a particular EDM. As a rule, ministers don’t sign EDMs.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that MPs could just sign them with a click of …

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Opinion: One last chance to achieve far-reaching libel reform

The Defamation Bill is nearly law. Several key reforms needed to protect free debate are already included in the Bill, thanks to the tireless work of the Libel Reform Campaign (declaration: I have acted as an adviser to the campaign), the heroic defence of free speech by individuals in the face of financial ruin, and Parliamentarians from both Houses, with Lib Dems leading the charge.

At the very last, however, a Tory attempt to scupper one of the most important provisions that was included in the bill needs to be defeated if the ensuing Act is to achieve …

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John Leech tables parliamentary motion about homophobic chants at football matches

Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, has tabled an Early Day Motion (number 1265) which calls for action to be taken against homophobic chanting at football matches, pointing out that if the chants were about someone’s race or skin colour, then they would be tackled.

His EDM says:

That this House welcomes the report from the Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters’ Club (BHASC), along with the Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN), that details evidence and a log of the level of homophobic chanting at both home and away matches; recognises the extent of the problem when Brighton fans have been

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LibLink: John Leech – Smoking ban working

No smokingOn his blog, John Leech MP, reminds us that there has been a 12% decrease in childhood asthma since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007 (with Scotland leading the way a year earlier).

Smoking is an issue I feel passionate about; I have long supported campaigns to ban smoking in public spaces. However, I believe we need to go further and that research finding such as these studies should give us that impetus. In February of last year I signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 2724) that noted “the

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++ Government wins vote on Benefits Uprating Bill; 6 Lib Dem MPs rebel

There were no serious doubts the Coalition Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill — pegging increases in welfare payments at a below-inflation 1%, the same as public sector wage rises, for the next three years — would be approved. The only question was the size of majority and how many Lib Dems would rebel (I’ve been keeping a running tally here this afternoon).

There were two votes tonight. First, a Labour amendment to the Bill, defeated by 321 votes to 262, a government majority of 59. Then a vote on the unamended second reading, which the government won by 324 votes to …

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++ SHOCK! HORROR! LIB DEM MP CAUGHT UP IN NEW EXPENSES ROW!

I’m deeply grateful to the Manchester Evening News and its reporter Deborah Linton for exposing Manchester MP John Leech’s shameless attempts to exploit the taxpayer by…

(brace yourselves for the shock)…

… offering coffee to staff working at his constituency office and members of the public visiting him.

With unbelievable extravagance, Mr Leech has splashed out on two £34.99 coffee makers from Aldi for his Didsbury office. As if that weren’t shameless enough, he also bought coffee beans to actually put into the actual coffee makers!

Then to …

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In other news… Nick talks Dutch, Farron’s footie boycott, Hemming’s whistleblower charter & more

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Nick Clegg insists on speaking Dutch at Cabinet Office meeting (Telegraph)

Nick Clegg, who speaks five languages fluently, chose to conduct a recent meeting at the Cabinet Office with Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, entirely in Dutch. Did the Deputy Prime Minister, whose mother is from the Netherlands, do so to outfox a Downing Street official whom David Cameron had allegedly sent to spy on their conversation? “Nick enjoys being able to talk Dutch,” the Liberal Democrat leader’s spokesman tells Mandrake.

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In other news… London PPBs, Clegg paint attack, Turing pardon latest, Darlington Lib Dem leader barred

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

  • Lib Dems fight reduction of their party political broadcasts in London (Guardian)
  • Provisional plans being drawn up by the BBC suggest giving the Lib Dems two party political broadcasts for the elections – the same as the Green party – rather than the three the Lib Dems enjoyed alongside Labour and the Conservatives in 2008. … A party source said the Lib Dems were confident the decision would be overturned, given that they have seven MPs in the capital, 246 councillors, and

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    Lib Dem MPs set to rebel over ‘back-door’ nuclear power subsidy

    ‘Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new National Planning Statement), and also provided that they receive no public subsidy.’

    So declares the Coalition Agreement. However, as the Guardian reports, the finance bill due to be debated this coming week introduces a form of subsidy, and it’s attracted opposition among the party:

    A large group of Lib Dems are concerned about clause 78 of the bill, which MPs will consider

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 26 Comments

    Tim Farron writes… Join the Lib Dems YES! to Fairer Votes campaign

    Tim Farron launches the Lib Dem YES! campaign

    This morning I launched the Liberal Democrats’ Yes! To Fairer Votes campaign in Manchester.

    Over 100 local members and supporters came along to hear speeches from Simon Hughes, John Leech, Gordon Birtwistle and Floella Benjamin about how monumentally essential it is that we win this Fairer Votes referendum.

    As Nick Clegg has already argued, this is “a battle between reformers and conservatives” and this is our chance, our one opportunity for genuine electoral reform.

    By winning this referendum …

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    John Leech MP: The door is not shut on Labour

    Manchester Withington MP John Leech is due to speak at a Fabian Society fringe event at the Labour Party conference on Monday.

    Titled “Is the Lib/Lab coalition Gone Forever?”, the event will also feature former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone and former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett.

    According to the Press Association, John Leech has said,

    The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.

    Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last 13 years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so

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    The LDV Bank Holiday Monday caption competition – the “Nick Clegg meets Tardis” edition

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


    (Photo: Alex Folkes).

    Here’s Nick Clegg campaigning with the Lib Dems’ Manchester Withington MP John Leech at a primary school – but what do you reckon Nick’s saying, or the kids (or John) are thinking?

    The winner of our most recent caption competition, the “David Cameron sucks bitter lemon” edition – according to The Voice’s judging panel of one – was this one by Jen.

    Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged | 16 Comments

    A straight choice? Does this squeeze message hold water?

    Under our First Past the Post voting system, the squeeze message is a legitimate one, used by all parties when it’s to their benefit.

    Voting for the third (or lower) placed party in the seat is, they all argue, a wasted vote. Those lower placed parties will say otherwise, but it’s a fair tactic. Lib Dems would say that under a better voting system, tactical voting wouldn’t be needed.

    But in this election we’re seeing a new twist on the theme from the Labservatives, and it’s a bit of a stretch to see how it could be honest or …

    Posted in General Election | Also tagged , , , and | 12 Comments

    LabourList says accurately quoting TheyWorkForYou = “blatant lies”

    TheyWorkForYou says of John Leech, Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington, “Voted strongly for laws to stop climate change” (source).

    John Leech put out a leaflet saying he voted for climate change laws. Fair enough you might think. After all, that claim is backed up by a widely-respected independent website which bases its descriptions of MPs’ voting records directly on the official Hansard voting records.

    But LabourList’s response?

    To pick up on the leaflet:

    In it he claims to have voted for “Climate Change Laws”

    And to say of this claim (and one other in the leaflet) that this is a case of:

    blatant

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 16 Comments

    Leadership Platform 7: Join Matthew Taylor and John Leech on Chris Huhne’s campaign team

    There are just days to go, but there’s time for members to get ballot papers back with a first-class stamp on it! We need the help of Chris’s supporters to call members and get crucial votes returned for him by Saturday.

    I’m delighted that two more MPs have chosen to declare their support for Chris Huhne as Liberal Democrat leader today. Matthew Taylor, former Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Chairman, and Campaign Chairman for Charles Kennedy’s Leadership campaign in 1999, has announced his backing. So too has Manchester Withington MP John Leech, our Shadow Transport minister.

    Chris was part of Matthew Taylor’s economy …

    Posted in Leadership Election | Also tagged | 2 Comments

    How the MPs are lining up (UPDATED)

    By popular request, here’s the current list of which Lib Dem MPs have declared for which leadership candidate so far. (Originally compiled with the help of Jonathan Isaby of The Daily Telegraph.)

    The list shows that Nick has attracted two MPs who supported Chris as leader in 2006: Greg Mulholland and Stephen Williams; and eight who supported Simon Hughes (all listed below). Chris has attracted one former Ming Campbell backer – Tom Brake – and three MPs who supported Simon Hughes last time.

    Eight MPs have stated they will not declare for any candidate; four have yet – so far as I’m aware – to state their intentions.

    As we continue to note, the number of MPs who declare for any one candidate is, in one sense, irrelevant: we are a one-member-one-vote party. Clearly, however, MPs’ endorsements will carry some influence with party members, especially among non-activists.

    The full list appears below:

    Posted in Leadership Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

    How the MPs are lining up (UPDATED)

    I’m grateful to Jonathan Isaby of The Daily Telegraph, who has compiled (and allowed me to reproduce here) his up-to-date list of which Lib Dem MPs have declared for which leadership candidate so far.

    Jonathan comments: “Below are my most up-to-date lists, which suggest that Huhne now cannot possibly overtake Clegg in terms of MPs declaring. Brackets state where they went in the 2006 election.”

    The list shows that Nick has attracted two MPs who supported Chris as leader in 2006: Greg Mulholland and Stephen Williams; and seven who supported Simon Hughes (all listed below). Chris has attracted one former Ming Campbell backer – Tom Brake – and two MPs who supported Simon Hughes last time.

    Nine MPs have stated they will not declare for any candidate; 14 have yet to state their intentions.

    As was pointed out in the comments on yesterday’s thread, the number of MPs who declare for any one candidate is, in one sense, irrelevant: we are a one-member-one-vote party. Clearly, however, MPs’ endorsements will carry some influence with party members, especially among non-activists.

    It will also influence how the media perceives, and then reports, the strengths of the respective leadership campaigns. Though, of course, being seen as the favourite is not always the most comfortable of positions, as Ming Campbell discovered last time. Lib Dems do love an underdog.

    Posted in Leadership Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 26 Comments

    What Lib Dem MPs will be reading this summer

    We’re into July, yet summer seems to have decided to give the UK a miss this year (so far). No matter.

    Packing books for the beach (or wherever) is as much a summer ritual as the Brits crashing out of Wimbledon, and helping out in the latest Parliamentary by-elections. So Lib Dem Voice asked a few of the party’s MPs which books they’d be taking with them on holiday this year. Here’s what they told us:

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