Tag Archives: liam fox

Dr Liam Fox’s economic prescription: kill or cure?

Economic jihad. That’s how Vince Cable described Dr Liam Fox’s speech to the IEA this morning. Dr Fox’s speech is worth reading, though, precisely for the parts of it that have not been covered in the wider media. For it sets out a clear – albeit deeply conservative – approach to how to reform our economy for the long-term. But while the proposed destination is well-articulated, the route is far from certain.

Let’s start with the positive. I agree, broadly, with Fox’s analysis of the causes of our current economic state. While I wouldn’t exactly phrase it thus, there is …

Posted in News | 9 Comments

5 initial thoughts on David Cameron’s Europe speech

David Cameron - License Some rights reserved by Statsministerens kontor David Cameron delivered his long, long-awaited speech on Europe this morning (text here). Caron’s rounding up the reactions from Lib Dems here – but here are my five initial thoughts…

This is the speech Cameron didn’t want ever to have to give.

Let’s be clear, David Cameron is making this speech now to try and keep the Conservatives together. The threat from Ukip and the party’s right has proved too powerful to withstand. Offering a referendum was no longer …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 37 Comments

Nick Clegg trashes Liam Fox’s economic policy demands

During yesterday’s Radio 4 interview with Nick Clegg there was a feisty exchange over why so much time in the interview was being taken up with the details of when and to who Jeremy Hunt should next answer questions to about his conduct, rather than issues such as the state of the economy.

Certainly the media loves investigatory process stories. Not only the Clegg interview but the subsequent coverage of it neglected the economy, even though Clegg had some choice words to say about former minister Liam Fox:

Martha Kearney: Liam Fox recently accused the Liberal Democrats of being a brake on

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The Tories’ tax problem

Cut national insurance contributions, says Liam Fox. Cut capital gains tax, says David Davis. Give tax breaks to married couples, say Stewart Jackson and others. Back wealth taxes to cut taxes on “families and employers”, says Tim Montgomerie.

There’s no shortage of Tories suggesting taxes for George Osborne to cut when he delivers his budget. Yet it’s the junior party in the coalition which is leading the debate on tax cuts – a curious situation which no doubt shocks Tories as much as it infuriates them.

The reasons the Lib Dems are leading the way on tax cuts are straightforward. First, the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

The Independent View: MoD suppresses Lib Dem review and spending information on Trident ahead of Parliamentary decision

Liberal Democrats can be rightly proud of their record on challenging like-for-like Trident replacement and keeping Britain’s nuclear weapons near the top of the political agenda – certainly during the last general election campaign. But now it looks as though their coalition partners are moving to stifle the gains they have made. Not only has the Defence Secretary announced the suppression of the Lib Dem-led Trident Alternatives Review. He is also making a mockery of the delayed Trident replacement decision – scheduled for 2016 – by committing to spend £6 billion before that decision date. This is hardly fair play …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Liam Fox set for £17,207 pay off

It’s official. Liam Fox is set to receive a severance payout of £17,207 for quitting his post as Defence Secretary, and that hefty wedge is due to drop into his bank account on 30 November. That’s not idle speculation or even what I picked up after reading some newspaper report or other. It’s what a Ministry of Defence official personally confirmed to me yesterday.

I asked a Freedom of Information Act request about it only last Monday, and the answer appeared in my inbox only six working days after it was asked, which is record quick time in my experience. What …

Posted in News | 8 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. …

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Jasper Gerard writes… The truth about David Cameron’s relations with Liam Fox

Rarely can a ministerial resignation be less mourned than Liam Fox’s. An intriguing aspect of his fall is explained in my book The Clegg Coup. Senior Lib Dems and Tories told me repeatedly how Cameron and Fox loathed each other. Indeed, Cameron would often ring our Nick Harvey rather than his Fox to the extent that Harvey became known as “Cameron’s man at the MoD”.

“Fox sees himself as the prince across the water,” I was told. “He thinks Cameron never faced a proper challenge for the leadership because he was edged out in the first round by David Davis, whom he considers flaky. Liam is not going to blow his shot too early and it’s a good way off, but I do think he wants to challenge Cameron for the leadership.”

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

LDV Caption Competition | Liam Fox “was he pushed?” Edition

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


(Hat-tip to @RichardOsley.)

Here’s former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and colleague, joined stage left by a mystery hand. What do you think they might be saying or thinking?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Julian Huppert “it’s all a bit of a blur” Edition.

The winner, according to The Voice’s judging panel of one, was this one by Neil McGovern, with …

Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Labour’s problem

There’s been nothing dramatic about this conference season apart from a few gaffes, but under the surface, I think the Labour conference was significant.

While I enjoyed the Lib Dem conference, I don’t think the journalists did. Whenever I passed a well-known TV presenter, they had a face like thunder. They were looking for factionalism and controversy, but all they found was Lib Dems facing up to a difficult situation with determination and loyalty. That makes dull TV, so they must have been tearing their hair out.

The Tory conference was more entertaining.

Theresa May’s remark about cats, and the more recent

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 35 Comments

Liam Fox and Jorge Mendonca, then and now

Liam Fox, February 2007 on the allegations against British solider Jorge Medonca over the death of Baha Mousa:

A whiff of political correctness hangs heavy over the case against Col Mendonca.

Liam Fox, September 2011, on reading the report that condemned British solider Jorge Medonca over the death of Baha Mousa:

As I read the report, my predominant feeling was disgust that individuals could have acted in this brutal way and that their appalling behaviour has tarnished the reputation of the British army.

Liam Fox’s change of stance should be welcomed. He’s had new evidence presented to him, he’s changed his mind and that is how things …

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Nick Harvey MP writes: A hard look at defence spending

Today the Commons defence committee published a report criticising the MOD for decisions taken in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).  The report claims that recent defence budget reductions will leave our Armed Forces unable to execute the operations the Government sets for them post-2015.  
 
I disagree.
 
It is true that the MOD is reducing numbers of service personnel across the Army, Navy and Air Force and indeed the MOD has altered the equipment programme, which led to the deletion of Nimrod and Harrier.  But these tough decisions were necessary in order to address the black hole in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

The Independent View: Alternatives to Trident replacement must include the possibility of no nuclear weapons

Since Liam Fox made his announcement last week that while Trident replacement design is going ahead, the Lib Dems will also be looking at alternatives, there has been a flurry of derision about the latter initiative. Most obviously this comes from Liam Fox and the hard–line pro-nuclear lobby who just want to rubbish it. But criticism of Lib Dem efforts also comes from some anti-nuclear quarters and I am not convinced that this is totally reasonable.

From my point of view, it would be very easy to have a pop at the Lib Dem leadership for not backing CND’s maximum programme …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

The battle over Trident

At the time the coalition government was negotiated, Trident looked to be one of the most contentious policy areas for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to agree on. However, for all the barbed Cameron – Clegg exchanges over Trident during the election, it now looks as if the biggest tensions on the issue are coming from within the Conservative Party.

In my series of posts reviewing the content of the coalition document, I pointed out the compromise it contained on Trident:

It will be replaced unless there is a better value for money alternative. What the wording leaves unclear is the

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Hung Parliament talks: what will be proposed to Monday’s meetings?

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive are scheduled to meet again on Monday. If a firm proposal is coming out from the talks today, expect it to be put to them both tomorrow. The big question is what might be proposed…?

Right across the party, both from senior to grassroots levels and from social through to economic liberals, there is very strong feeling that significant movements on electoral reform are a must for any arrangement. Given the country’s current economic woes, there is widespread agreement that PR isn’t the only issue at stake, but – for example – …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 38 Comments

“When the public booed Liam Fox for raising hung parliament concerns” – FT

In case you missed this week’s Question Time, here’s how the FT reported it:

Last night’s Question Time ended on an extraordinary note. The public are more in favour of a hung parliament than the Tories care to admit. But I never expected an audience to heckle and boo Liam Fox when he warned of an indecisive election result triggering a run on sterling…

This should be a salutary lesson to Cameron’s team. People seem to like the idea of politicians working together. The worm in the election debate shot up when Clegg spoke about a cross-party co-operation to tackle the deficit.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments



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    Andrew, so your answer to economic prosperity is to introduce a farmers tax? The LVT. £120 billion of tax avoidance? Well, this figure isn't true....
  • User AvatarAndrew Colman 25th Oct - 2:00pm
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  • User AvatarAndrew Colman 25th Oct - 1:44pm
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    And the great thing is the EU are allowing the UK the privalage of paying an extra £1.7b towards the goal and increasing our annual...
  • User AvatarMichael Kilpatrick 25th Oct - 1:06pm
    Some stupid questions in this poll, I'm afraid. It's all well and good asking leading questions about devolution which only mention cities, but you force...
  • User Avatarsimon 25th Oct - 12:40pm
    Stefan Agreed it is total incompetence on the part of our metropolitan elite, but then that is sadly par for the course. But if you...