Tag Archives: julian huppert

Opinion: Lib Dems only party to vote against khat drug ban

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for Cambridge“To ban, or not to ban, khat is the question”, tweeted Julian Huppert on Monday morning. Unfortunately, Labour MPs later in the day joined their Tory (and DUP) counterparts in a statutory instrument committee to vote in favour of a ban. The two Lib Dem MPs, Huppert and Greg Mulholland, were defeated 16-2 and the khat trade now looks set to be criminalised.

On The Guardian website, Julian writes:

a mild stimulant – roughly on a par with a strong cup of coffee. It is not considered particularly addictive, and there’s no clear evidence that it causes either physical or social harms. It is imported perfectly legally, and taxes are paid on it, to the tune of £12.8m each year.

When the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the government’s expert advisors, were asked to consider khat, they said that it would be “inappropriate and disproportionate” to ban it. The cross-party home affairs select committee, on which I serve, produced a unanimous report opposing a ban. And yet the home secretary plans to do it anyway.

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Tim Farron and Julian Huppert write: Why we need a Digital Bill of Rights

farron huppertLib Dem MPs Tim Farron and Julian Huppert explain why Britain needs a Digital Bill of Rights…

Momentum is a big force in politics; sometimes an unstoppable force. And this week we’ve seen momentum gathering pace for a change to our surveillance state.

On Tuesday, Nick Clegg set out his plans for change, backed up by a full Obama-style review of our outdated and woefully inadequate surveillance legislation and oversight bodies.

On Wednesday we hosted a lively surveillance discussion in Westminster with Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-chief of the Guardian, MPs, peers, civil …

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#NickvNigel – We have a date

nick clegg v nigel farageIt’s just been announced – the date we’ve been waiting for, when Nick Clegg will face Nigel Farage to debate whether Britain should be in or out of the EU.

Nick challenged Nigel two weeks ago on his Call Clegg radio show on LBC.

The debate will actually be televised, on BBC2 and will take place on Wednesday 2 April at 7pm.

Julian Huppert has just been on the BBC News Channel saying that he thinks that Nick will do really well, making the positive case for the European Union. On the two largest parties in British politics, he said:

I’m not surprised the other two parties have refused to take part. David Cameron’s party is completely split and Labour don’t quite know where they are on this. We are the only party who wants to be IN Europe, IN work.

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Julian Huppert on making sure the end of child detention is underpinned in law

Julian Huppert MP has written over at the Party’s shiny new website about moves he has made to ensure that child detention has gone for good. One of the very first things the Coalition did, at the instigation of the Liberal Democrats, was to change policy so that children were not detained in horrible places like Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel for immigration purposes. That has now been put on a statutory footing, again thanks to the Liberal Democrats:

Working closely with Norman Baker in the Home Office I was able to secure a commitment from the Home Secretary that the

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Julian Huppert welcomes advertising ban rethink

The Advertising Standards Authority is a funny old body sometimes. There are occasions when it overlooks quite outrageous flouting of infant feeding regulations in formula advertisements (although one such ad was banned this week for making misleading claims). Then last week it tried to ban a Cycling Scotland advert on public safety grounds because it showed a cyclist not wearing a helmet and cycling too far into the road. The positioning was later proven to be entirely consistent with the Highway Code and it is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet.

There is, in fact, some controversy in the …

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The Independent View: Non-gender-specific passports – why the EDM matters

This week has seen the submission, by Julian Huppert, of EDM 907, LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A PARTICULAR GENDER. If it sounds familiar, that’s because a similar EDM was introduced by Simon Hughes last month but had to be withdrawn when he became a minister. The subject, of course, will be unfamiliar to most of those who come across it, and that’s why it’s so important to explain how deeply it impacts those affected.

I work for a charity called Trans Media Watch which aims to improve media understanding, and thereby social understanding, or transgender and intersex people. As it happens, I’m currently processing results from a survey about people who don’t identify as male or female (generally described as non-binary people, though personal definitions vary). The survey relates to perceptions of the media, but two things come through clearly in it that seem relevant to this situation too. The first is that this is a group of people who feel very poorly understood. The second is that they experience a great deal of distress because of that lack of understanding.

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Farron and Huppert submit Lib Dem Conference motion to curb surveillance

Today’s Guardian reports that Tim Farron and Julian Huppert are behind a move to get Liberal Democrat conference to adopt policy which would stop intrusive mass surveillance of personal data.

Judicial oversight of state surveillance and a regular release of the number of data requests made by the security services should be among the issues examined by a government “commission of experts” into all the recent allegations raised by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, theLiberal Democrats are to propose.

They will also call

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The ten most active MPs on Twitter are…

Courtesy of John Rentoul, news reaches us of a list of the ten most active MPs on Twitter in 2013.

top tweeters

Yes, it’s our Tim and our Julian at the top of the list, with an honourable mention for Greg Mulholland.

Tim has managed an incredible fifty tweets a day this year, and probably should avoid piers for a while. And for anyone out there who wonders, it is him, and not a staffer, as those of us who have discovered that, by mentioning Tim in a tweet, you …

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Hirsute “Hipster” Huppert, the Hashtag King, wins Parliamentary Beard of the Year with John Thurso in third place

huppert_caption compA couple of weeks ago, we brought you the news that Cambridge MP Julian Huppert had made the shortlist for Parliamentary Beard of the Year, a competition organised by The Beard Liberation Front. That’s an organisation that has always struck me as weird. If you liberate a beard, aren’t you left with a clean shaven face? Oh well, never mind.

Today it was announced that our Julian has won with 46% of the vote with Jeremy Corbyn coming in second place and another Liberal Democrat MP, John Thurso, coming third.

And he celebrated in style, inventing the hashtag of the year in the process.

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Botched deportation of dying man highlights need for humanitarian overhaul of asylum system

On Wednesday, Roger Roberts wrote an extremely moving article about the fate of Isa Muaza, a Nigerian asylum seeker who had been on hunger strike for 90 days in protest at the conditions in which he was being kept at an immigration detention centre. His removal from the UK, even in his frail, close to death condition, was planned for Friday morning.

Through Thursday, many of our readers signed the petition asking for Theresa May to reconsider her decision to deport Muaza. Huge effort was put in by Liberal Democrats including Sarah Teather, Julian Huppert and Tim Farron as well …

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“Hipster” Huppert and Thurso make Parliamentary Beard of the Year shortlist

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeJohn ThursoThe Liberal Democrats have 2 entrants in this year’s Parliamentary Beard of the Year shortlist.

Julian Huppert is described as the “rising star of hirsuteness”:

University lecturer. One of the few people in the Commons who has a clue about science. Supporter of real ale pubs. We’d be dissapointed if the MP for Cambridge didn’t have facial hair.

Flett tells us: “The Lib Dems have got the rising star of hirsuteness in Julian Huppert – it’s a

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Has Stonewall snubbed the Liberal Democrats in their awards?

Every time I think kindly about Stonewall, they do something to annoy me. Way back in 2010, their opposition to equal marriage reached the fringes of our Liverpool Conference. That came just a few months after Ed Fordham wrote on here that he was no longer able to support Stonewall over its treatment of David Laws.

Happily, Stonewall did eventually come around to supporting equal marriage and attended the vigils outside Parliament which Ed organised when the Bill was being debated. They are also just about to start a brilliant campaign on homophobic bullying to run in anti-bullying …

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Headline of the week: “Elton move over for Huppert the Rocket Man”

Now what could this, from Business Weekly, possibly be about?

Huppert the rocket man

And he actually had to do some work:

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Huppert warns against “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”

huppert_caption compIt’s become a truth universally acknowledged in the Liberal Democrats that wherever there is a threat to our freedoms, Julian Huppert will be there trying to thwart it, whether that’s convenient for the party leadership or not.  Most of the time, it has to be said, it is convenient for the leadership, but it’s worth remembering that if it hadn’t been for the combination of him and some angry bloggers, we might be in a world where the Communications Data Act of 2012 had been passed.

And so it was on …

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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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An engagement is announced…..

From today’s Times (£):

Ed and Russell Times cropped

Mr E T Fordham, of course, is  better known to us all as Ed, vice-chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats who, along with many others from that organisation, took pride of place in our Equal Marriage Roll of Honour.

We knew of his and Russell’s happy news already, of course, because Julian Huppert had told the world about it during the Commons’ final passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill and been told off by the Speaker. The exchange is recorded forever

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Julian Huppert highlights “absolutely hideous” Commons bullying

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeYou would think, wouldn’t you, that when an MP presents a bill on such a serious subject as protecting people from sexual assault, the House of Commons would act in a grown up fashion? After all, the shouting and jeering is all for the pantomime of PMQs, and the rest of the time people behave like cuddly teddy bears, don’t they?

Let me take you back to 21st October 2008, when Willie Rennie introduced his Bill (which eventually became law) enabling driving instructors to be suspended …

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Teather, Rogerson, Beith and Huppert speak against new family migration rules

Last week I wrote about a new report, contributed to by Liberal Democrats Sarah Teather and Sally Hamwee, which outlined the heartbreak and suffering the new family migration rules are causing. The income threshold of £18,600 with extra for each child, and the narrow methods by which this is calculated is stopping many people from being able to live with their spouses in this country.

Earlier this week, four Liberal Democrat MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate to try to persuade Home Office minister Mark Hunter of the inequity of these plans. Here are some extracts from their …

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Are we seriously going to lock up the Naked Rambler for the rest of his life?

I read with despair the BBC’s report about Stephen Gough,  known as the Naked Rambler, embarking on yet another prison sentence.  He was sentenced to 11 months in Hampshire yesterday, having spent six years in prison in Scotland as well. His crime? Refusing to wear clothes in public. He’s not harming anyone. He’s just walking.

I also thought that people were remanded in custody before trial only for the most serious offences, if they were likely to jump bail or be a danger to the public.

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Nick Clegg and Julian Huppert are Internet heroes

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has shortlisted both Nick Clegg and Julian Huppert  for it’s Internet Hero award for 2013.

And why? – for the role they both played in preventing the communications data bill from reaching the statute books.

The other two nominees are Edward Snowdon, who was the whistleblower on the PRISM project, and Spamhaus, an IT security organisation who fought off  a major denial of service attack earlier this year.

ISPA Secretary-General Nicholas Lansman noted that the Internet Hero award is “one of the most anticipated categories” at the ISPAs.

Given what has happened in the last year, it is no surprise

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“Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) rose. Hon. Members: Oh, no.” Yes, folks: this is our Parliament.

There are few more popular Lib Dem MPs — among the ranks of party members — than Cambridge MP Julian Huppert.

It’s not hard to see why. He stands up for civil liberties, and as a scientist (indeed, the only MP with a science PhD in the House of Commons) he is keen on evidence and a rational approach to policy-making. On both grounds, he is unpopular with those Labour and Tory MPs who regard such behaviour as a tiresome intrusion on their evidence-free, and often authoritarian, prejudices.

How do we know he’s unpopular? Because some of their number have taken …

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Simon Hughes and Alex Carlile debate Snoopers’ Charter on Murnaghan

It’s been like Snoopers’ Charter Central this morning.

It didn’t take very long after the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich for politicians of a more authoritarian outlook to be falling over themselves to condemn Nick Clegg for vetoing sweeping measures on Communications data and call for their immediate introduction. LDV’s Stephen Tall dealt with two of them, John Reid and Alex Carlile, by making them his Liberal Villains of the Week, saying:

And then comes the next inevitability: politicians striking a pose as authoritarian strongmen by cravenly giving the jihadists the glory they seek. Two of the usual

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Opinion: Building a stronger economy by supporting Research and Development

As slogans go, ‘Stronger economy. Fairer society’, is a pretty good one. But I can’t help thinking that we have a bit of an imbalance in favour of the latter. Pupil premium, raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, pension triple lock – great policies for a fairer society. What are the equivalent policies for a stronger economy? You might be able to think of a few, but they’re certainly not as prominent, and some positions, reducing the deficit for example, are not exactly unique to the Liberal Democrats.

Perhaps that’s alright though, there are probably many in the party more …

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A victory for equality: 3 pieces of news about the same sex marriage bill

I thought it might be useful to do a quick catch-up on various aspects of the parliamentary debate on same sex marriage which took place on Monday and Tuesday.

How did Liberal Democrat MPs vote on the Third Reading?

There were no huge surprises – and given that 11 had voted on an amendment, which was defeated, to give registrars an opt out from marrying same sex couples on religious grounds, the fact that only 4 actually voted against the Third Reading was better than some had expected. Simon Hughes and Tim Farron were two high profile abstainers. They clearly struggled with …

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Official: the snoopers’ charter is dead in this parliament

One element missing from the Queen’s Speech was the Communications Data Bill, aka the ‘snoopers’ charter’. No surprise to Lib Dems: Nick Clegg torpedoed it last month.

So I had a momentary spasm of concern to see on ConservativeHome this story from Mark Wallace: The Snoopers’ Charter comes sneaking back. Again.

I asked Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert (who’s played a crucial role in safeguarding civil liberties this parliament, including on this Bill) if there were any truth in it, and got an immediate reply…

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Julian Huppert says, “Get Britain Cycling”!

On Wednesday, after a four month inquiry, the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group – of which I’m co-chair – published our plan to “Get Britain Cycling”.

Cycling is fast, safe, healthy, cheap, environmentally sound, and fun. Yet in 2011 less than 2% of journeys made in the UK were by bike.

For a nation in which 30% of our children are overweight or obese, and our roads are increasingly congested, this is a serious problem.

Our report sets out how, with strong leadership from the top, we can increase the proportion of journeys made by bike to 10% by 2025, and …

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Times: ‘Cameron is told to drop snooping on web users’

Today’s Times front page is dominated by the news that nine cyber-security experts and academics have issued a stark warning to David Cameron to halt ‘sweeping plans to hand the security services the power to snoop on emails, website visits and social media sites’: “they remain as naive and technically dangerous as when they were floated by the last government,” they warn.

times web snooping

The paper notes the opposition both of Nick Clegg — who highlighted his disagreement with the draft Bill last December — and of Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, who points out: “Where we lead, other countries would follow, snooping on their citizens’ legal activities. … The case for these proposals is massively out-weighed by the cost and the harm to privacy, here and overseas.”

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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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Next week in the Lords… 22-25 April (and there shall be ping pong enough for all)

House of Lords chamberYes, I know, I’ve been rubbish at keeping up with this in recent weeks, but it’s a busy week ahead in the Lords, as they return from their early Spring recess for a hectic week of tying up loose ends before the end of the Parliamentary session when they… go off for the recess before the Queen’s Speech…

So, without further ado…

Monday sees the introduction of the Bishop of Truro, just in time for consideration of Commons amendments on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and

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Secret Courts..what does the party do now?

Its’s not been the easiest 24 hours to be a Liberal Democrat. It was very hard to watch the majority of our MPs vote to remove the right to a fair trial in civil cases where national security is deemed to be a factor.  Just seven MPs voted in favour of amendments advised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. The fact that the JCHR had a different view from the Government should surely have raised a huge red flag. An even bigger signal that our MPs were on the wrong course was the fact that Labour were voting in …

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  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 25th Apr - 2:41am
    Matthew, I think we need to remember that in Gladstone's day the British East-India company was the largest global corporation in history, accounting for half...
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    @jedibeeftrix. Have you really descended to this? Your comments always used to be interesting and challenging!
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    There'll always be crises. It's a fact of life. Politics is the art of managing them and learning from them, and learning is what is...
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    Matthew Huntbach, If you read very carefully, you will find that Alex Marsh did not write a "flood of propaganda which insists that the pre-merger...
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    the article, and the degree of division in the comments makes me lol. but at least the division represents a degree of sanity returning to...
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    There should be no bullying down to the "normal and harmless" homosexuality.
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