Tag Archives: julian huppert

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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116 Liberal Democrats write to the Daily Mail opposing secret courts

Today’s Daily Mail contains a letter from 116 Liberal Democrats asking MPs to vote down Part 2 of the Justice and Security Bill. The signatories include a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, an MEP, 5 members of the Federal Executive, 2 members of the Federal Policy Committee, 6 past and present members of the Liberal Democrat Voice editorial team and a number of parliamentary candidates. The letter says:

We are writing to urge all MPs to do the right thing by voting against Part II of the Justice and Security Bill when it has its Report stage in

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A response to Julian Huppert’s analysis on the Justice and Security Bill

A response to Julian Huppert’s analysis of the Justice and Security Bill

We learned on Wednesday this week that the Justice and Security Bill is being rushed into Report Stage in the Commons. The government has now published its latest proposed amendments to the Justice and Security Bill. Astonishingly I have been told that Conservatives are saying the Bill has been moved forward to conclude in the Commons on 7th March to avoid a further motion at our Spring Conference.

Julian Huppert and Mike Crockart worked very hard during the Committee stage of the debate, and voted (supported by Labour) to defeat secret …

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Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the week’s campaign news

Mike_ThorntonIt’s only just over a week since the Eastleigh by-election was called. But this first Lib Dem / Tory by-election battle of the parliament has attracted a lot of interest. One aspect that hasn’t been noted much in the media is the level of enthusiasm within the Lib Dems to fight this by-election, and fight it to win.

As the party’s weekly briefing itself noted, Mike Thornton’s campaign has broken the party’s by-election records, with “more volunteers, more money raised and more campaign literature delivered in the opening days of the Eastleigh by-election campaign than any other”.

Here a few of the stats:

  • Well over 1,000 Lib Dem volunteers have visited the by-election HQ since it was officially opened on Saturday morning.
  • On Thursday alone, 2,200 phone calls were made to prospective voters and activists knocked on 1,700 doors.
  • More than 650 individual donations have been received through the party’s website and through email appeals in the last six days.
  • 21 of the party’s 57 MPs have already visited: Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander, Ed Davey, Vince Cable, Sir Malcolm Bruce, Sir Nick Harvey, Tim Farron, Jo Swinson, David Laws, Duncan Hames, Andrew Stunell, Simon Wright, Sir Robert Smith, Stephen Gilbert, Tom Brake, Roger Williams, Don Foster, John Leech, Tessa Munt, Mark Williams, John Pugh and Adrian Sanders.

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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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Tim Farron tops our poll as Lib Dem politician who enjoyed the best 2012

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Farron, Huppert and Oakeshott had best 2012 say Lib Dem members

LDV asked: In your opinion, which Lib Dem MP or peer overall has had the best year?Tim Farron speaking - Some rights reserved by Liberal Democrats
This question allowed an unprompted, free-text response, which over 400 party members filled in. And …

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Conference calls for our parliamentarians to reject Secret Courts

At most conferences there is at least one debate which proves how different we are from the other main parties. Different because we entrust Conference to decide party policy, in open debate, even where that may be at odds with the views of our parliamentarians.

Today’s debate on the ‘Secret Courts’ motion was a good example. The full title was F41: No Government Above the Law – The Justice and Security Bill.

This motion, submitted by two local parties, called on the Coalition to withdraw Part II of the Justice and Security Bill, which would empower Ministers to allow civil hearings …

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Conference preview: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

This year, the Liberal Democrat autumn conference has one day per theme, covering jobs, education, environment and tax.

Monday is jobs, with policy motions on creating jobs and policy papers on both sustainable prosperity and also on mutuals, employee ownership and workplace democracy. The first of these (F23) may generate some lively debate around an amendment that would delete the reference to keeping to the government’s “fiscal mandate”.

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Nick Clegg in Cambridge: Liberal Democrats have a good story to tell

Nick Clegg went to Cambridge today. He met Liberal Democrat members  ahead of a packed public Question and Answer session where

Credit: Helen Duffett

he was quizzed on a huge range of subjects. Local MP Julian Huppert, LDV’s own Helen Duffett and Liberal Youth’s Harry Matthews were among those present and tweeting.Nick talked about the distinctiveness of the three traditions, Conservative, Labour and Liberal in British politics and how they couldn’t be folded into each other. He explained how the liberal tradition valued the sanctity of the individual.

The vexed question …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

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Jo Swinson, Julian Huppert & David Laws top Lib Dem members’ reshuffle promotion wish-list

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

LDV asked: Which backbench Lib Dem MPs who are not current ministers would you like to see promoted? (Please write-in.) (NB: I’ve set the cut-off for inclusion in this list at 5 individual mentions.)

    Jo Swinson 77
    Julian Huppert 73
    David Laws 66
    Tim Farron 25
    Duncan Hames 21
    Simon Hughes 19
    Andrew George 16
    Tessa Munt 16
Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

What Lib Dem members think about internet surveillance and free speech

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 560 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results. (Apologies for the delay in reporting this one, by the way: slipped through the net.)

68% Lib Dem members oppose Draft

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LDVideo: Julian ‘most intelligent MP’ Huppert explains the Higgs boson to Andrew Neil

Two seismic events occurred yesterday. First, the Higgs boson ‘God particle’ has probably been discovered by scientists at CERN. Then, even more extraordinarily, Andrew Neil had a good word to say for a Lib Dem MP, as Julian Huppert offered a succinct summary of why it matters…

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The tale of Julian Huppert and the BBC doughnuts

Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert was tempted by a team from the Daily Politics proffering doughnuts the other day.

You can see what happened by watching here at around 1 hour 25 minutes in.

I just wonder what would have happened if he had been offered some chips or some pizza as he confessed to being more partial to savoury items.

The only member to take a doughnut was the SNP’s Angus MacNeill. Maybe it was the sugar rush that caused him to tweet today during Prime Minister’s Questions:

Continue reading »

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Julian Huppert in five minutes

How can you possibly compress Cambridge MP Julian Huppert into a mere five minutes? Well, one of the LSE’s blogs has attempted that and here is a sample of the outcome:

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeYou have mentioned that you would like to see more scientists entering Parliament. What advice would you give to those who might be tempted to consider a career jump into politics, and why do you think it would be important for more academics to move into politics?

We need more people with a scientific background in

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Opinion: 1984 and all that

If you wanted to pick an issue guaranteed to unite the whole party – protecting our civil liberties has to be it. So the last 48 hours have been a frenzy of claim, counterclaim, the candyflossesque spin of internal briefings and Lib Dems across the blogo/twitto/facebooko/forumosphere reaching dangerously apoplectic levels of disquiet.

Mark Pack, in his inimitable unflappable style offered an informative briefing via LDV – taking the optimistic view, reassuring us that “what the Home Office proposes is not the same as what Parliament will legislate. No matter how flawed the initial proposal put to Parliament by Theresa May are, they put the RIPA rules on the table – giving the opportunity to get them changed to meet what a liberal approach should be – as little intrusion as possible, only for the most serious of offences and with rigorous, independently verified safeguards”.

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Labour sticks to its support for the Digital Economy Act

Cory Doctorow writes,

Harriet Harman, deputy leader the UK Labour Party, has explained her party’s programme for the British Internet: “implement the Digital Economy Act under a clear timetable including getting on with the notification letters.” “Notification letters?” Why yes, those would be the letters notifying you that you have been accused, without proof, of downloading copyrighted material without permission, and that everyone in your household is now at risk of being disconnected from the Internet, without a trial. If that costs you your job, if that costs your children their education, if that makes it harder to engage with politics, civics,

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PMQs: Tragedy, comedy and the Continuing Saga of the Family Bone

I’m not used to learning anything from the weekly pantomime that is Prime Minister’s Questions. Sadly, though yesterday’s session brought  me the news of the death of Marie Colvin, the veteran Sunday Times reporter whose often heartbreaking reports from war zones I’ve been reading most of my adult life. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband paid tribute to her work, the latter calling her brave, tireless and an inspiration to women in her profession. More tragedy followed as Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove, asked the PM to join in with sympathy for those killed and injured in the bus crash …

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