Tag Archives: john pugh

Guardian revelations about Clegg, Cable and the Lib Dem election catastrophe

Well, as the ballot papers get sent out in the leadership election, the Guardian publishes a series of revelations tonight about the last year of the coalition and the aftermath of the European elections.

Apparently Nick Clegg was ready to resign in the wake of the European elections and was talked out of it by, among others, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron. Certainly at the time, the feedback that Federal Executive members gave at our post Euro disaster meeting was that there was no appetite in the wider party for a leadership election, but they did want things to change.

Vince Cable, it transpires, did know about the Oakeshott polls.

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Nick Clegg’s leadership: A summary of the coverage

Nick Clegg visits Manchester VelodromeWell, there was a certain inevitability that poor election results would lead to calls for Nick Clegg to resign. Today, the papers are full of comments from activists and MPs critical of the Deputy Prime Minister.

John Hemming, John Pugh and Adrian Sanders have all gone public with their criticism of Clegg. It should be noted that none of them are particularly noted for being his biggest fans. There is a certain irony that where there were elections on their patches, they did reasonably well. In Pugh’s Southport …

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Lib Dems: “Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and we have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined”

cyril smith bookWe reported here yesterday the latest revelations of extensive alleged paedophile abuse by former Liberal MP, Cyril Smith, in a new book co-authored by his Rochdale successor, Simon Danczuk. Today’s Observer highlights the party’s response, and the responses of two current Lib Dem MPs, John Pugh and John Hemming:

In a statement the party said: “Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and we have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined. His actions were not known to, or condoned by the Liberal Party or the

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John Pugh MP writes… Grim up north

You may have read the Observer article entitled “Northern Lib Dem MPs rebel over cuts.”

It’s a source of wry amusement to behold how the national media treat our internal democratic procedures. Not since primary school have I been referred to as “ringleader”, let alone of a bunch of “rebels” – Northern council leaders, peers and MPs who endorse the pre-budget submission “Grim up North?”.

The title is meant to be a little ironic because there are many promising signs up North and a lot of support for the Coalition’s objectives of re-balancing the economy.

However, your typical Northerner is classically known …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 32 Comments

5 reasons not to assume the FDP wipeout in the German elections will happen here in the UK

fdp germany logoAn amazing result for Angela Merkel, increasing her vote and almost winning an absolute majority for the conservative CDU in her third election. A dire one for the liberal FDP, eliminated from the German Bundestag after failing to cross the 5% popular vote threshold – from 93 seats to 0 in one go. Ouch.

Part of the fun of elections in foreign countries is cherry-picking the bits of confirmation bias that suit our own weltenschaung. “Liberal party wiped out after coalition with centre-right party, eh – you just wait til …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , and | 58 Comments

11 Liberal Democrat MPs vote for registrars to be exempt from marrying same sex couples

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has made fairly easy progress through the Commons tonight. After a Government/Labour compromise on a review for extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, and the heavy defeat or withdrawal of amendments, including “son of Section 28”, it looks as though many of the barriers to this Bill’s passage have been removed.

There is still a further day of debate tomorrow, though, and further amendments to be debated.

One of the amendments discussed today, defeated by 340 votes to 150 in favour, was to allow registrars to exempt themselves from marrying same sex couples. Eleven Liberal …

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Equal marriage: 2 Lib Dem MPs against and a further 9 (or 10) Missing In Action

Lynne Featherstone with Same Sex marriage bill - Some rights reserved by Mark PackTomorrow the House of Commons will vote on the Bill to allow equal marriage for same-sex couples which Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone did so much to push forward as Equalities Minister.

Two Lib Dem MPs have so far publicly declared their opposition:

  • John Pugh MP (Southport)
  • “I will vote against the Bill – against Gay Marriage but not necessarily for all the reasons the churches give but because I think there is a good liberal

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 167 Comments

    LibLink: John Pugh MP – With hindsight, Cable’s deficit reduction plan looks better than Osborne’s

    Lib Dem MP John Pugh has written a thoughtful, balanced piece on economic policy for the New Statesman website. He freely admits he has voted for every part of George Osborne’s economic strategy brought before the Commons (“I did not know if it would achieve all its major objectives but I certainly did not know it would not”) but says the facts are plain: it’s not working. Here’s an excerpt:

    Yes, jobs are being created in the private sector, unemployment is not moving upwards, the deficit is down, our export markets are engaging with the emerging economies, inflation is low and

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

    Opinion: No economic case for regional pay

    The clamour against regional pay received renewed vigour yesterday as 25 Liberal Democrat backbenchers endorsed a paper calling for the government to scrap any plans to link public sector pay to private sector earnings across the UK. The paper prepared in the office of John Pugh MP, analyses the evidence submitted to the Treasury and Office of Manpower Economics and concludes that there is no economic case for introducing regional pay.

    The government has considered the introduction of regional pay in light of concerns that public sector pay premiums across the UK are ‘crowding-out’ the private sector. However statistics show that the private sector is not struggling to recruit staff, as vacancies in the public sector go unfilled for longer and a survey of business leaders shows that the majority have not struggled to compete with public sector wages.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

    What Lib Dem members think about the NHS Bill: 57% opposed, but majority might back it if significantly amended

    We’ve been surveying the views of current Lib Dem members this week on your views on the NHS Bill. Over 500 responded, and here’s what you told us…

  • A majority of Lib Dem members – and a majority of Lib Dem members who will be voting delegates at the party’s spring conference at NewcastleGateshead this weekend – oppose the Coalition Government’s NHS reforms as they currently stand. By 57% to 32%, Lib Dem members reject the Health & Social Care Bill.
  • However, that does not automatically mean the Lib Dem conference will vote to ‘Kill the Bill’ if
  • Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

    LDVideo: Harris & Pugh on Murdoch’s new Sun on Sunday paper

    The News of the World is dead, long live the Sun on Sunday… starting from this Sunday. Here’s how two Lib Dems have responded to the announcement by News International…

    Evan Harris: I’ll buy SoS ‘to see what it’s like’

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    The Beveridge Group announces its relaunch

    The Liberal Democrat Voice team have received a press release from John Pugh MP, which may be of interest to those in the Party keen to engage in debate on policy and philosophy.

    With an eye to the new parliamentary year and forthcoming legislation, the Beveridge Group has reformed and a new updated website is already up and running. The initiative follows widespread concern inside and outside parliament as to where Coalition policy on public services may be going.

    We want to prompt a proper debate as to where the …

    Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

    DPMQs: LibDem MPs enjoy an untroubled post-questions lunch

    Time was when Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions was the closest you got to bloodsports in the House of Commons. The DPM would be tethered, red-faced and growling, to the dispatch box, as Labour MPs taunted him and propelled all sorts of bile at him, augmented by the odd tactical nuclear missile rear-launched by the Tory swivel-eyes.

    We’ve come a long way in a few months. Now, DPMQs are relatively sedate affairs. The DPM is well in control and there is little mischief from the Labour benches. Well, none that would spoil LibDem MPs’ lunches.

    Indeed, at least four MPs found it difficult …

    Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

    Pugh: we must we must be able to guarantee safety before we start fracking

    The Press Association reports:

    If Britain is to benefit from a controversial drilling technique to extract gas from the ground “we must be able to guarantee safety at every stage”, a Liberal Democrat MP has said. Dr John Pugh (Southport) said without appropriate and effective monitoring of the process, public support would not be achieved.

    Fracking, which involves hydraulic fracturing of shale rock using high pressure liquid, led to the tremors which hit Lancashire earlier this year. Environmental campaigners and local residents have called for an immediate halt to the exploration work, which could lead to vast untapped gas reserves. Energy firm

    Posted in Parliament | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

    PMQs: You can’t gesticulate your way out of a Balls-up

    He still looks like a clever sixth former to me, but it is fair to say that Ed Miliband has cracked Prime Minister’s Questions. His performance this week was excellent.

    “Just a bit late” was David Cameron’s description of Miliband’s raising of the Fox affair. It is easy to understand why Miliband did not raise the subject last week. Labour played a canny game with Dr Fox. They did not call for his resignation and at the last PMQs, Miliband did not ask directly about the issue. This allowed Dr Fox to swing in the media wind, without obvious Labour encouragement. …

    Posted in News, Parliament and PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

    Baroness Liz Barker writes… The Health and Social Care Bill in the Lords

    I have spent my entire working life in the field of health and social care. For many years I worked for Age Concern and for all my time in the Lords I have been a member of the Health and Social Care team. I am, and always will be, a passionate supporter of an NHS which is free at the point of need and open to all regardless of their ability to pay.

    Although the Health and Social Care Bill only came to the Lords this week I have been working on it for several months along with Liberal Democrat colleagues, including …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 16 Comments

    Rolling news from conference: Saturday morning

    Richard Kemp summates on motion, asking people also to back both amendments; i.e. cooperation rather confrontation to improve bill. Some MPs vote for amendment 1, some abstain. Amendment overwhelmingly carried. As is amendment 2. Lines 6-15 deleted from motion, amended motion carried. All MPs can spot voted for.

    Evan Harris summates on amendment 1. “It is unusual for me to summate on a debate where there have been no speeches against my amendment”. Says government ministers must work hard to change the bill radically. Amendment 1 lays out how it should be improved – and Liberal Democrats in government “should follow …

    Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

    John Pugh MP writes… What I have learned from ‘The Mafia’

    Stephen Tall on this site last week queried why it was that so many Liberal Democrats sounded ‘conservative’ on public sector reform. Supporting local democratic bodies (ie, councils) was likened to Conservative support of business and Labour support of unions— both sectional interests.

    I think this is a flawed analysis. Liberal Democratic attitudes follow not from any sectional interest but a belief in democratic accountability. Opposition to many alleged reforms in public services hinge on a conviction that they are a poor substitute for it.

    To understand what’s going on I have learned from Mafia films you must ‘follow the money.’

    We …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

    Opinion: liberals should cut the deficit and support a strong state

    There is a myth that a desire to balance the books is a virtue only of right-leaning governments.

    There is myth that those who want to shrink the state are more concerned than others about how the state raises money.

    Deficit deniers in one corner – state shrinkers in the other.

    But Liberal Democrats can act to reduce the deficit and be positive about the role of the democratic state.

    What prompts any given government to run a deficit is usually circumstantial, prompted and encouraged by economists reading the runes. Reaganomics was based both on huge deficits and reducing the role of the …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

    Six Lib Dem MPs rebel on Coalition’s Academies Bill

    The BBC reports:

    MPs have approved legislation which paves the way for a radical overhaul of the school system in England. The Academies Bill, allowing schools to opt out of local council control as early as September, is now due to receive Royal Assent on Tuesday.

    However, the Bill sparked a revolt among some Lib Dem MPs, with five defying the whips to back an amendment proposed by Southport MP (and former teacher) John Pugh allowing parents to be balloted if a school governor objected it to becoming an academy.

    The five Lib Dems who supported John’s amendment were Annette Brooke …

    Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

    Pugh sticks up for posties sacked for not wearing cycle helmets

    The Express has the story:

    ROYAL Mail bosses were branded draconian yesterday after sacking three postmen in a week – for not wearing cycle helmets. They were accused of adhering rigidly to ­guidelines to cut staff and slash costs ahead of ­privatisation. Many others also face disciplinary action ­following the clampdown in Southport, Merseyside. Several have launched an appeal to be re-instated. Father-of-two David Smith was dismissed after 17 years.

    Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh believes the posties have been treated unfairly:

    The only one at risk for not wearing a helmet is the postman himself – so why is

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

    Lib Dem MPs divide on embryology bill free vote

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill passed the House of Commons easily this week, 355 to 129. The Bill’s measures include allowing scientists to produce human-animal “hybrid embryos” for stem cells, use of “saviour siblings” to provide bone marrow or umbilical cord tissue for treating genetic conditions, as well as making it easier for lesbians and single women to access NHS fertilisation services and allowing a lesbian or gay couple to be named on the birth certificate as the legal parents of their children.

    The Lib Dems made it a free vote, and 16 MPs voted against the Bill at …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

    Opinion: Essence of Cleggism

    Most good political speeches on policy are made up of mood music, initiatives and core ideas. By far the best section of Nick’s manifesto speech was the serious attempt to refine and define core beliefs on public services.

    I am therefore emboldened to distil out of it the essence of Cleggism with the hope that if I am wrong I will be corrected and so further enlightened.

    As I understand Nick’s thinking on the matter of public services, the state remains the funder and regulator of services but not the exclusive provider i.e.  it can give money to individuals to secure …

    Posted in Op-eds | 17 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

    Opinion: Calamity, Conspiracy & Clegg

    I can claim to have encouraged Chris Huhne to stand for the leadership when Charles Kennedy stepped down, while simultaneously believing and saying for some time that Nick Clegg will be/should be the next party leader.

    I can also claim to have opposed both of them over the anodyne and partly mistaken views of the Huhne Commission – remember when PFI was thought to be a good idea?

    In backing Nick I have had my credentials as a definitely left-of-centre Liberal questioned by a few parliamentary and non-parliamentary colleagues – along the lines of, “Dont you realise he is a …

    Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 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

    Opinion: Leave them swingers alone, Dr Pugh

    The Sir Bufton Tuftons of this world hark fondly back to a golden age when you knew what was what with people’s sexuality.

    Sex within a good Christian marriage was acceptable. Any other sort of sexual activity – from masturbation to homosexuality, sex before marriage to flagellation – was an excellent indicator that someone was mad, bad, dangerous to know (or quite possibly all three), and would benefit greatly from a spell in prison or an asylum. Needless to say the rules didn’t apply to the ruling classes, and as long they kept it out of sight, no-one minded too much.

    Today’s Bufton Tuftons see that the world has gone to pot. First, we had the pill and legal abortions tempting innocent young girls into lives of vice and depravity. Then homosexuality became acceptable. More recently – horror of horrors – these homosexuals have been permitted to have sex when other people are present, and they even hold hands and kiss in the streets.

    You won’t be surprised to learn that these aren’t opinions I hold and, thankfully, neither do most Liberal Democrats. A long, hard (and ongoing) battle has been fought to allow the millions of people whose sexuality strays from ‘the norm’ to do what they want as long as it doesn’t harm others.

    Unless, it would appear, you live in Southport and you’re a swinger – at least as far as Southport’s Lib Dem MP, Dr John Pugh, is concerned.

    John Pugh is a fine MP, and someone for whom I have a great deal of respect – he’s no reactionary. Which is why I’m all the more concerned that Dr Pugh is actively campaigning against a swingers’ club in Southport. His petition opposes a Southport swingers’ club on the grounds that it is “wholly inconsistent with the image of Southport as a family and quality leisure resort.”

    Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

    Opinion: THE RESULT, Media 1 (o.g. G. Brown) Democracy 0

    At the Brighton Conference a very well respected former BBC journalist described to me talk of an early election as ‘lazy journalism’. He argued that much of the media was losing interest in government and the effects of policy and preferred to cover events and personalities. They thus wanted an autumn election and will probably punish Brown for not holding one.

    Closeted with the press pack for three weeks over the conference season few politicians dared express anything other than a macho enthusiasm for a fight – often expressed in pathetic schoolboy language – ‘wimp’, ‘bottle’ etc. – nothwithstanding the constitutional …

    Posted in General Election and Op-eds | 8 Comments

    Toast to Lib Dem MPs

    Members of CAMRA will have received their regular members’ newspaper What’s Brewing this morning, complete with a number of stories featuring Lib Dem MPs.

    Posted in News | 3 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:

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | Leave a comment

    Recent Comments

    • User Avatarexpats 30th Nov - 6:07pm
      Jonathan Brown......The link you post comes with the caveat......" Consequently, what follows should be seen as little more than informed speculation based on limited and...
    • User AvatarPeter Hellyer 30th Nov - 6:05pm
      @Jonathan, Yes - if we & allies extend our bombing of ISIS into Syria while Assad and Putin bomb other opposition elements (including other jihadis,...
    • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 30th Nov - 5:57pm
      It's painfully ironic to hear Syrian community reps saying that ISIS should not be attacked because the west turned a blind eye to Assad's butchery...
    • User Avatarindigo 30th Nov - 5:48pm
      ISIS - What is the real threat? The real threat occurred when ISIS spun out of Western control. Let's have a frank conversation here. The...
    • User AvatarJonathan Brown 30th Nov - 5:48pm
      @Peter Hellyer - I see the intention behind point 4 being pretty clear, despite it being drafted. Of course it's impossible to say what the...
    • User AvatarJonathan Brown 30th Nov - 5:38pm
      @Peter - as I hope I made clear, I am torn on this, as I do think ISIS need to be confronted militarily. My opposition...