Tag Archives: lynne featherstone

Working together in North London

haringey lib dems

The campaign in Hornsey and Wood Green this year to keep the wonderful Lynne Featherstone as MP was the biggest we in Haringey have ever fought.  One of the really gratifying aspects of the campaign, despite the disappointing results was the way in which other North London parties came to help. Whether it was knocking on doors, writing blue envelopes or running fundraisers for Lynne, the support from our neighbouring parties was fantastic.

After Lynne’s defeat came the depressing task of closing down the constituency office and laying off staff. The local party looked hard at party finances and decided that the only way forward was for us to pool resources with other parties nearby. So we started discussions with Camden and Islington about sharing office space and an organiser. Three months later we have a new office, smaller but better located than our previous office and a new organiser who is shared between the three local parties.

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Praise for Lynne Featherstone from the newly-married Iain Dale

LBC Presenter, publisher and blogger Iain Dale and his husband John Simmons have recently converted their civil partnership to a marriage.

Iain wrote about the day they got married here.

He had some pretty fulsome praise for Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister who made it happen.

Finally, when we were sitting in the register office going through the paperwork I had a moment when I thought of Lynne Featherstone. Lynne was the LibDem Home Office minister who, with the backing of Theresa May and David Cameron brought in the Equal Marriage Act. She lost her seat at the election, but she will always be able to look back and think that this was a real political achievement. Just as Roy Jenkins will be remembered for decriminalising homosexuality, she will forever be associated with equal marriage. I can think of worse political legacies. Most ministers go through their careers achieving very little. She set out to do something and had the political courage and nouse to see it through.

Cheers Lynne.

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Opinion: Animal welfare legislation misses the mark

Leading animal welfare charities dismissed legislation introduced by Lib Dems in coalition as being not fit for purpose.

The new ban, coming into force in October 2015, will prohibit the testing on animals for finished household products in the UK – but not all their ingredients. The ban will only apply to ingredients where more than half of their usage is expected to be within household products. This is seen as a considerable u-turn by then Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, who announced in 2011 that the ban would ‘apply to both finished household products and their ingredients, although in …

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Lynne Featherstone writes…Why I’m backing Norman Lamb for leader

Norman Lamb Lynne FeatherstoneNot for the first time in the history of the party, the Lib Dems are faced with adversity – after the crushing loss of a huge number of our dedicated and hardworking colleagues. But we are a party of survivors – and it has been incredible to see the surge of support for the party in the last two weeks. Over 13,000 people have signed up to the party since the general election. These new members have joined because they see the need for a liberal voice in our country.

I know what it is like to be the only Lib Dem in the Home Office – with Conservatives as your coalition partners and Theresa May as your Secretary of State. And you want to do liberal things – that are not in the coalition agreement!

What I am saying is that doing liberal things in a coalition government with coalition partners who are more often than not diametrically opposed is a huge challenge. Having got our hands on the levers of power – could we use that power liberally?

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Lynne Featherstone on Labour’s “lies and desperate smears”

A couple of weeks ago, we featured the Labour candidate in Leeds North West who had a bit of a problem with the, you know, facts. Greg Mulholland rightly called him out for it.

Now Lynne Featherstone’s Labour opponent has told a pretty outrageous untruth about her. They will now have to print and distribute a retraction.  From Lynne’s blog:

The letter to residents contained the false statement: “Lynne Featherstone…was even a minister in the Home Office when the disgraceful “Go Home” vans were sent out.”

At the time the vans went out (July 2013), Lynne Featherstone was in the Department for International Development, kick-starting the campaign to end FGM and fighting to protect the aid budget. Lynne Featherstone was a minister at DFID from September 2012 – November 2014.

Labour have been advised to immediately cease delivering the letters, and issue a retraction to all residents who’ve received the letter.

Lynne said:

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Stonewall withdraw their inaccurate election graphic – but don’t replace it with one which accurately reflects Lib Dem achievements

Every time you think it’s safe to like Stonewall again, they do something tribally partisan for the Labour Party. As I reported yesterday, they produced a graphic that gave Labour full marks to their questions, but only 2/5 for Liberal Democrats. A cursory glance at the manifesto would have given us full marks, as LGBT + Lib Dems Chair Dave Page and Communities Minister Stephen Williams told Pink News.

I’m astounded by this grossly misleading graphic, suggesting the Liberal Democrats have little to say about LGB&T rights in our manifesto. The opposite is true.

We have seven specific policies including making anti gay chanting an offence, promoting international recognition of same sex marriages and more action on homophobic bullying. As a Stonewall member I am deeply disappointed that they have chosen to spell out Labour Party policies and ignore Lib Dem proposals, which build on our long standing commitment to gay rights.

Liz Barker’s tweets in response were also very informative.

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LBC Women’s Debate: Lynne Featherstone gets Harriet Harman to admit she’s “happy” with Rachel Reeves’ plans to be tougher than Tories on benefits claimants

Last night’s 90 minute LBC women’s debate was, on the whole, well-mannered, informative and a billion times better than anything Michael Fallon had had to say.

Lynne Featherstone was our representative,  Nicky Morgan represented the Tories, Diane James UKIP and Harriet Harman was there for Labour.

I liked the 5 minute “Ask me Anything” segments where each candidate had to ask questions of the others. If I’m going to criticise, some of the questions were too long. If you are going to ask an awkward question, make it brief and make your opponent squirm for longer. Harriet Harman did keep her question brief, though – she asked Lynne which thing that Labour did in government did she like most and which thing she’d voted for in the Coalition had made her feel most uncomfortable. Lynne praised Labour’s Equality Act and said the Bedroom Tax was the most difficult thing. She did remind Harriet that it was Labour who had introduced the principle into the benefit system. She added that Liberal Democrats had had to hold their nose and vote for things that they didn’t like, but we’d always made them better than they would have been.

When the tables were reversed, Lynne asked Harriet whether she agreed with Rachel Reeves’ comments  that Labour would be tougher than the Tories on benefits claimants. Iain Dale emphasised Lynne’s point by saying to Harman that she must have winced at that. But when reminded of Reeves’ comments, she said

If that’s what she said, I’m happy to go along with that. She’s absolutely excellent and she sees things as I do.

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Two unmissable events tonight

Lynne FeatherstoneMost Liberal Democrats will be out campaigning in the early evening, but be aware that there are two very interesting things happening on radio and televisions. Typically they are both happening at roughly the same time, but that’s not so much of a problem in these days of modern technology.

First of all, on LBC, there’s a Women Leaders’ Debate. Our representative is Lynne Featherstone and she’s up against Conservative Nicky Morgan, UKIP’s Diane James and Harriet Harman for Labour.  It all kicks off at 7pm and you can watch here then or later.

Then at 7:30 pm on ITV (8pm on STV), there’s an in-depth profile of Nick Clegg where he and Miriam talk to Tom Bradby about the last five years.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez supports Lynne Featherstone’s campaign

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez went to Hornsey and Wood Green yesterday to campaign with Lynne Featherstone. Here they are putting up the 500th stake board.

It’s great to see two women who have done so much to help women and girls in this country and across the world together.

If you have been impressed with her work over the past five years, you might want to donate to Lynne’s campaign.

Miriam said of Lynne:

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Home Office mistreatment of LGBT people must be stopped

One of the low points of this week for me was reading about Aderonke Apata.  She came to the UK after her girlfriend was murdered in Nigeria but this week a Home Office barrister actually stood up in court in public and argued Aderonke couldn’t possibly be a lesbian because she had children and because she wasn’t “part of the social group known as lesbians.” Do people not think about how ridiculous these things sound before they say them out loud? The Independent reports:

But the Home Office argues that Ms Apata could not be considered a lesbian because she has children and has previously been in heterosexual relationships. Ms Apata’s barrister, Abid Mahmood, said these were “highly offensive… stereotypical views of the past”.

He told the hearing: “Some members of the public may have those views but it doesn’t mean a government department should be putting these views forward in evidence.”

The Home Secretary’s barrister, Andrew Bird, argued that Ms Apata was “not part of the social group known as lesbians” but had “indulged in same-sex activity”. He continued: “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”

Holding hands with her wife-to-be Happiness Agboro in court yesterday, Ms Apata, 47, was surrounded by dozens of gay-rights activists.

Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Nigeria under laws passed in January 2014 and there has been a spike in violence against gay people.

There have long been concerns about the frankly cruel, inhumane and brutal way the Home Office treats LGBT people that pre-dates this government. While Labour were in office, they used to tell people that they’d be fine in their home countries if they were discreet. It is a matter of massive regret to me that the Liberal Democrats in government have not been able to stop the sort of nonsense that took place in that central London courtroom this week or that routinely takes place when LGBT asylum seekers are interviewed. The Home Office playbook reads like a bad 1970s sitcom, but its effects are far from funny.

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Martin Horwood writes … Much more than a number

School visit re FGM

Baroness Lindsay Northover, Baroness Jenny Randerson and Lynne Featherstone MP at a school visit to talk about FGM

As the only UK party with internationalism at our heart, Lib Dems should be very proud of being part of the first government to spend 0.7% of national income on helping the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, a target set by the international community forty years ago and one that many politicians over the years have disregarded as unobtainable.

Irate Tory rightwingers often criticise it as a number plucked out of the air.  It’s not true.  0.72% was proposed to the UN in 1968 by the Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen, who shortly afterwards won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his pioneering work in macroeconomic modelling. It was later refined to 0.70%.

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Lynne Featherstone: Good riddance to Page 3

There’s some interesting discussion on my social media timeline about  the Sun’s decision to stop printing clothes of topless women on Page 3. On one hand you have the male dominated group of people who think this is a dreadful infringement of liberty enacted by sinister feminists with An Agenda. Just you wait, they’ll be after your porn yet, they warn. They don’t like the fact that the No More Page 3 campaign started by Lucy-Anne Holmes and backed by more than 200,000 people has got what it wanted. It’s illiberal, they scream, for one group of people to interfere with the freedoms of others. That’s interesting. Presumably they would also be in favour of continuing to use the deeply racist language that was deemed acceptable when I was a child. Perhaps they’d oppose interfering in employers’ rights to send children up chimneys.

I just wonder how some of the men complaining about this decision if, every single day, there were pictures of naked men in a newspaper in a society where most of the positions of power were occupied by women who were never depicted in such a way. I don’t think they’d like it very much.

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WATCH: How Lynne Featherstone secured an extra £23.5 million in NHS funding for local health services

This video shows how Lynne Featherstone went about remedying an inequality in NHS funding which meant that health services in Haringey received less in terms of funding than other areas of London. We love the bit where Lynne says:

If I see something that’s unfair, I want it made fair.

That’s very her.

She’s continuing her campaign because although the funding boost has enabled better facilities and staffing, it’s still not on an equal footing with other boroughs. Enjoy.

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Featherstone and Hughes defend Coalition record on civil liberties in letter to Independent on Sunday

The coalition’s record on civil liberties took a bit of  a pasting in last week’s Independent on Sunday. Today, Justice Minister Simon Hughes and Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone defended the Liberal Democrat record in a letter to the paper. Their missive rather felt the sharp edge of the editor’s pen, but the full version (via the party website) is below. They have a good go at both the Tories and Labour.

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Liam McArthur highlights Swinson’s and Featherstone’s work and supports ambition action on violence against women

Last week the Scottish Parliament debated violence against women during the 16 days of action between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and International Human Rights day. Liam McArthur led for the Liberal Democrats. He noted that in the ninety minutes of the debate, 9 women would face violence at the hands of their partners.

It was a sensible, consensual debate which you can read here.  Liam’s speech in full is published below:

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: Remembering the journey to equal marriage

Lynne Featherstone has been writing for Left Foot Forward about her part in the equal marriage legislation. And she had a tantalising hint that there was more of the story to tell.

One day, when I am no longer a minister, I will be able to tell the whole story of how the law came to be. But for now I can publically thank the activists, the LGBT+ community, the cross-party group of MPs, the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and others for the support they gave.

What has equal marriage meant for LGBT people?

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Lynne Featherstone urges May to deny Julien Blanc, abuser of women, entry to the UK

I’d never heard of Julien Blanc till a few days ago. I see him referred to in the press as a “pick up artist.” In itself the term is sexist and pretty disgraceful, but it fails to articulate the horrid reality of what this man does. Jenn Li wrote about his so-called act in the Independent recently:

In Blanc’s videos his treatment of women is – to put it lightly – horrifying. There are videos of him going up to women, clasping their throats, while putting his finger on his lips, saying “shhh”.He has decided to document this abuse by labelling the videos of him doing this with his own hashtag: #ChokingGirlsAroundtheWorld.

Blanc also brags about his effectiveness in subduing women and controlling them to satisfy male sexual desire. The troubling language he uses is typical of many Pickup Artists (PUAs), but what makes Blanc’s behaviour even more disturbing is just how much his misogyny is motivated by his complete bigotry.

When talking about how to “seduce” a Japanese woman, he is quoted as saying: “Just grab her… To take the pressure off, yell Pikachu or Pokemon or Tamagotchi or something”. He is obsessed with degrading Japanese women, and abusing his white male privilege.

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Iain Dale to host political fundraiser for Lynne Featherstone

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsIain Dale, former Conservative candidate and blogger turned LBC Radio broadcaster, made the shock revelation this morning on his ConservativeHome diary:

Next week, shock horror, I’m doing another political fundraiser. Brace yourselves. It’s for Lynne Featherstone – yes, the Liberal Democrat MP. She’s a mate and did sterling work on equal marriage, so I’ve decided to do it – and hang the consequences. All I need now is to do one for a Labour and UKIP MP or candidate, and I will truly

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Lynne Featherstone wins Stonewall Politician of the Year

Lynne Featherstone MP was named Stonewall’s ‘Politician of the Year’ at their annual awards ceremony yesterday. It was awarded jointly to Lynne and to this guy off Eastenders.

Lynne has been tireless in promoting LGBT+ rights over the last four and a half years and was the architect of the bill legalising same sex marriage.

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++BREAKING: Lynne Featherstone to replace Norman Baker at Home Office, Lindsay Northover to go to DFID

I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with Nick Clegg’s announcement that Lynne Featherstone is going back to the Home Office for the final 6 months of this Government. She spent the first two years there and in that time did all the set-up work for the Same Sex Marriage Bill. Since she’s been at DFID, she’s maintained a good working relationship with the Home Office because she’s been implementing a cross-Government plan to tackle FGM that involves them. I hope that she might also be able to dig her Transgender Action Plan out of the long grass where it’s …

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How – or will – Nick Clegg replace Norman Baker in the home office?

jenny willottNorman Baker’s decision to quit as Lib Dem home office minister — citing significant differences with his boss at the department, the Tories’ Theresa May — means a vacancy has opened up. How will Nick Clegg fill it? We’re unlikely to have long to wait, but here are what I see as his options…

Nick could simply promote a current MP. If he does so, then the obvious choice would be Jenny Willott. She covered Jo Swinson’s maternity leave at the business department, earning good reviews along the way. A promotion …

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A trio of awards ceremonies for Lynne Featherstone

It’s a busy week for Lynne Featherstone. Last Tuesday, she won Pink News’s Ally of the Year award as the Minister responsible for setting the same sex marriage process in motion. She’s responsible for a great deal of happiness. She said of her win:

I’d like to thank Pink News for giving me this award, and everyone who was at the event for the reception they gave me – it’s so heart-warming.

Bringing about this positive social change is one of the greatest achievements of our generation, and I’m so thankful to all the organisations, politicians, civil servants and people who supported the successful campaign for Equal Marriage law from start to finish.

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Conference Speeches: Lynne Featherstone: I have been able to do über-Liberal things in Government

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsConference may have been a week or so ago but we still have some keynote speeches to post. Lynne Featherstone spoke about the work she had done to help the most vulnerable people across the world with great humility. She said she had been able to introduce über-liberal policies but was also keen to pay  tribute to Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg for getting the economy on track.

She spoke powerfully about what she’s dong to protect women and girls around the globe and talked with great humility, saying that whenever she meets people in desperate circumstances she’s very aware that that could have been her. “I didn’t choose where I was born” she said. Here is the video and the text is below:

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Lynne Featherstone on shortlist for Stonewall Politician of the Year

Lynne Featherstone at PrideOn 6th November, Stonewall’s annual awards ceremony takes place in London. Many Liberal Democrats have had their issues with Stonewall in the past, but I’d say that they are definitely improving. For example, it’s good to see Stonewall Scotland’s “Some people are Trans, get over it” t-shirts. They may have come late to the equal marriage party, but they got there eventually.  On top of that,  their resources for schools are excellent.  Stonewall Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt, who is doing some great work in making the organisation more inclusive, spoke at our Conference in Glasgow.

Up for Politician of the Year is our own Lynne Featherstone, the woman who set the country firmly on the road to same sex marriage. Alex Neil, the Minister who was responsible for the Scottish bill, is also nominated. As an aside, it was announced yesterday that the first Scottish same sex marriages will take place on Hogmanay. That’s not a huge amount of time to organise a party, but I’m sure some will manage it.

The shortlist in full is:

Lord Cashman
Lynne Featherstone MP
Lord Fowler
Kerry McCarthy MP
Alex Neil MSP

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Senior Liberal Democrats sign letter praising former FA inclusion adviser Edward Lord after his abrupt sacking

Earlier this month, Edward Lord, who until last Thursday sat on the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, criticised the FA for not taking inclusion and diversity seriously enough. In an interview with the Telegraph on 3rd September, he said:

The public and the rest of the sport industry are getting fed up with football’s inability to tackle discrimination in the game.  Most other governing bodies have really embraced the need for change, to make their sports more inclusive. It always seems as though football is lagging behind. The FA must take action when participants so flagrantly breach their rules against discrimination.

He was referring in part to the fact that the FA took no action against Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore when his highly sexist emails were published.

Last Thursday, the FA sacked him from his role on the Inclusion Advisory Board. You have to wonder what this says about their actual commitment to tackling discrimination. Their statement was uncompromising:

It is not about what Edward has stated publicly, but a matter and question of conduct and respect for colleagues. The group collectively felt that all trust in Edward, due to his repeated failure to work in the spirit of collaboration, had broken down irretrievably.

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“Lynne Featherstone ‘horrified’ over homophobic abuse at Lib Dem councillor”

Lynne featherstone by paul walterMany Lib Dems will have read with sadness of the resignation of Sam Phripp from Somerset County Council owing to “hostility, intimidation and bullying” – including “being referred to as ‘that dirty bloody homosexual'” – from activists from other parties. Here’s what the Lib Dems’ international development minister Lynne Featherstone has had to say about it:

“I was horrified to hear of the treatment of the local Lib Dem Councillor in Somerset,” Ms Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green told PinkNews.co.uk. We’ve come such a long way in this country to achieve equal LGBT rights and I couldn’t be prouder that this government introduced equal marriage.

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The Independent View: Ending female genital mutilation and early marriage will also help tackle HIV

Youth group, SRH, BangladeshThe leadership shown by the UK government – and in particular the Liberal Democrats and Lynne Featherstone MP – on ending female genital cutting or mutilation (FGC/M) in a generation has been ground breaking and inspiring. The upcoming Girl Summit is a timely opportunity, hot on the heels of the recent Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, to promote girls’ and women’s rights to live free from violence and discrimination and achieve their potential.

There’s no doubt that ending child, early and forced marriage and female …

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Lynne Featherstone on giving women “rights, voice, choice and control over their own lives”

Lynne Feahterstone visiting a Haringey primary school. Some rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnefeatherstone/3010645357/It was International Development questions in the Commons yesterday. Lynne Featherstone was questioned about her work to end Female Genital Mutilation in a generation. She said that the subject should be a required subject on the school curriculum in areas of high prevalence. What I thought was most interesting was that in my young day, you didn’t get Tory dames asking questions about gender equality as Dame Angela Watkinson did. I liked Lynne’s choice of language in her answer. The whole …

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Baroness Lindsay Northover writes…Global recognition of need to tackle sexual violence must lead to action

Eliminating violence against women - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentIf you had told me twenty or even ten years ago that there would be Global Summit on combatting sexual violence against women, attended by the majority of the world’s countries, as well numerous individuals and organisations, I would not have believed you.

For ever, it has seemed, sexual violence against (mainly) women and girls has been seen as simply inevitable.  Especially in time of war.  “War, rape and pillage” just went together.

But just as in the 20th century, when genocide gave …

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LibLink: Lynne Feathestone: We must stop violence before it starts

Ellison Sau, Project Manager for the Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW) program at Live and Learn, holding a ‘Stop! Violence against women!’ signIn a blog post on the Department for International Development website, as the London summit on ending sexual violence takes place, Lynne Featherstone has been writing about what the UK Government is doing to end violence against women and girls.

She talks about the scale of the problem and the importance of identifying why it happens:

Globally nearly 1 in 10 women has experienced sexual violence by someone

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