Tag Archives: mike crockart

It’s the knitwear election in Edinburgh West

People say that the election in Scotland is pretty hostile. They are right a lot of the time, but in Edinburgh West, where Mike Crockart’s campaign HQ is next door to the SNP base, things are much more civilised, as this Twitter exchange between Mike’s campaign manager and the SNP candidate Michelle Thompson shows:

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Mike Crockart retiring? Errr, no…

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Crockart, elected as MP in 2010, has been quick to emphasise that he is standing again for Parliament after a letter sent round by his SNP opponent Michelle Thompson, who was once his boss at finance firm Standard Life, referred to him as the “retiring MP.” She says she didn’t mean to imply that he wasn’t standing. The Evening News has the story:

But Mr Crockart – who worked under Ms Thomson at Standard Life around 15 years ago – said he would fight for re-election on May 7 and blasted the document as “misleading”.

It is the latest spat in a fight that has seen the contenders open campaign offices right next to each other – with Mr Crockart putting up a window display taunting his opponent.
He has also demanded Ms Thomson “correct the mistake” in her letter and ensure nothing else is published with similarly “inaccurate” information.

Mr Crockart was elected as constituency MP five years ago with a majority of 3803 over Labour. He said: “It has been brought to my attention that the SNP candidate for Edinburgh West recently sent a letter to voters across Edinburgh which twice referred to me as ‘the retiring MP’.

“I want to categorically state that I am not retiring. I am fighting this election and intend to be returned as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West on May 7.

“Whilst I am sure that this poorly chosen phrase has ­simply been misused, I am concerned that the many voters who received this letter could be misled into believing that I am retiring and standing down at this election.”

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Unmasked: The “tall young man” in the Liberal Democrat office

The Guardian has a report today on Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to the SNP office in Edinburgh West – which just happens to be right next door to the Liberal Democrat campaign office on one of the busiest roads in Edinburgh.

SNP supporters from the city and beyond had come to greet Nicola after her excellent performance in the leaders’ debate on Thursday. Severin Carrell, the journalist who wrote the article, alluded to the contrast with the quietness of Mike Crockart’s campaign office where only four people were to be found and made a number of very flawed conclusions about the party’s prospects in Edinburgh West:

But now, to add to the Lib Dems’ discomfort, the SNP’s campaign headquarters is in the old Yes Scotland shop immediately next door to Crockart’s high street office.

And protected behind a privacy screen, four Lib Dem workers stoically continued working away on their campaign, as scores of raucous SNP supporters, their saltires, SNP placards and balloons above their heads, greeted Sturgeon’s arrival.

Crockart was away at a meeting. A tall young man in his subdued office seemed to shrug off the contrast. Were they flustered by the huge crowds outside? “Not really. We had it during the referendum. It’s fine. It’s democracy,” he said.

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John Bercow should look to Australia for ideas on how to deal with unruly MPs

John Bercow did try to get an Australian installed as the new Clerk of the Commons in what seemed to me to be quite a sensible move to split the roles of Chief Executive and Procedural expert. He might want to take a leaf out of the book of the Australian Speaker who has developed a habit of ejecting unruly MPs. At one PMQs session at the end of last year, she ejected 18 of them in 73 minutes.

You can watch the video and ensuing drama unfold below.

The reason I say this today is because of the disgraceful tidal wave of heckling which greeted Mike Crockart when he got up at Prime Minister’s Questions. It was so childish and there was simply no reason for it.You can see it from 10 minutes in. It wasn’t particularly unusual behaviour, but it’s high time Bercow moved beyond his sarcastic comments and started chucking people out. It’s the only way they’ll learn. He might want to make sure he throws people out from both sides, because there are plenty who deserve it.

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Crockart: Liberal Democrats have recalibrated the tax system in favour of low and middle income earners

Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart has been poring through tax data and has concluded that Liberal Democrats have successfully recalibrated the tax system so that low and middle earners are paying less tax and big companies are paying more tax. He cites figures which show that tax collected from low and middle income earners has fallen from £3170 million to £2720 million over the last 4 years at the same time as £16 billion more was collected over the last two years from larger companies as a result of HM Revenue and Customs’ enforcement activity.

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Is Mike Crockart voting Yes to Independence?

You might think so from these photos of his office in the heart of Edinburgh West

Crockart yes 1

Crockart Yes 2

Not for the first time, his staff have had to take down Yes posters which had been glued on to the office windows.

Yesterday a cavalcade of Yes cars parked outside the office and played loud music next to Mike’s No Thanks street stall. Why do they bother with nonsense like that.

This, sadly, is one of the milder incidents of intimidatory behaviour which are becoming commonplace across Scotland.  I have lost count of the number of committed and passionate No voters who have very politely declined to take a poster because they are worried that their windows would be knocked in if they display it. It shouldn’t be like this. 

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Carmichael and Crockart rock at the Ice Bucket Challenge

Two very different but very funny takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon from the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West.

Mindful of some concerns of wasting water, Alistair Carmichael did his with iced sea water from the beautiful Tingwall Pier near his Orkney home. He started with a  thinly veiled threat of terrible revenge on those who nominated him and then:

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LibLink: Mike Crockart – Police don’t need arms for show of force

Police helmetOver at the Edinburgh Evening News, Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West and former police officer himself, Mike Crockart, has a piece on an issue on which Liberal Democrats in Scotland have been leading the debate in recent weeks.

Here’s an excerpt:

Look up Edinburgh Division on the Police Scotland website and it proudly boasts that the city was ranked recently by YouGov as “one of the top five safest cities in the UK”. In 2013-14, officers in Edinburgh only had cause to present or discharge weapons, including Tasers and baton rounds, 13 times. There are nine such incidents for this year – roughly one per month.

Undoubtedly our police officers face very real dangers, but serious incidents make up a minority of police call outs. Are we really prepared to arm our officers routinely to deal with a tiny proportion of cases? As an officer I didn’t believe that we should and as a MP I certainly don’t.

The far-stronger case is to issue non-lethal options like CS or pepper spray to frontline officers. By doing that we answer the threat they face on our behalf without destroying Peel’s fundamental principle.

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Crockart’s Nuisance Calls Bill to be debated tomorrow as All Party Group recommends action

Nuisance calls banner

Mike Crockart’s Private Member’s Bill (or the Communications (Unsolicited telephone calls and texts Bill to give it its proper name) is up for its second reading tomorrow. It’s the only Liberal Democrat measure being discussed. The Bill aims to ensure that people are not bothered by unwanted calls if they don’t want to be. The explanatory notes to the Bill are here.

By amazing coincidence, the  All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuisance Calls, of which Mike is co-chair,  published its report on the unsolicited marketing industry this morning. It …

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Crockart and McInnes criticise Scottish Police station closure plan

policeIn 2011, the SNP decided to merge Scotland’s 8 police forces into a single organisation. Truth be told, that’s not quite what they’d put in their manifesto, but with an overall majority they were in a position to do what they wanted.

Liberal Democrats were vociferous in warning about the dangers of how the merger would affect rural policing. We were told we were scare-mongering and it would all be fine.

Barely six months on from the merger, it’s been announced that 65 rural police stations might close or have their opening …

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Nick Clegg on the Royal birth: “Good news to make the whole country smile”

Here’s how Lib Dem MPs responded to the news of the new addition to the Royal Family…

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Protecting children, nuisance calls, delivery charges and supporting deaf people – the Liberal Democrat private members bills

Stephen Tall told us all about the private members’ bills brought in by Tory MPs in their “alternative Queen’s Speech” – everything from burka banning to reintroducing the death penalty to naming the August Bank Holiday after Margaret Thatcher.

I thought I’d look into the measures the Liberal Democrats who were successful in the Great Parliamentary Raffle are hoping to bring into law. As you might expect, they’re a bit more practical and relevant.

Sir Malcolm Bruce’s Bill is all about improving communications support for deaf people. Signature has more details:

Sir Malcolm is a tireless advocate for the deaf community

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Smith, Crockart, Bruce and Williams win in Great Parliamentary Raffle

Well, I learned something I didn’t know about parliamentary procedure yesterday. I had always assumed that the Private Members’ Bill Ballot was an actual ballot, where MPs voted for themselves or their colleagues. How naive was I? The secret is now out, and available on You Tube. It’s actually a big raffle as you can see here:

440 MPs’ names went into the box and just 20 were drawn out. Among them were 4 Liberal Democrats. We had Sir Robert Smith in 9th place, Mike Crockart in 11th, Mark Williams in 13th and Sir Malcolm Bruce in 14th.  I …

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Julian Huppert MP writes: Quick update on secret courts

Mike Crockart and I just called a vote to remove secret courts from the Justice and Security Bill, in line with Conference’s motion.

Despite highlighting in the debate that they supported closed proceedings in principle, Labour saw an opportunity to make mischief and eventually backed us. But due to DUP support for the Tories, we lost 10-9.

I’ll give a fuller update to everyone concerned soon. Suffice to say there will be more crucial votes to come on the Committee, and the Government has to move or the Bill will not pass as is.

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Featherstone and Crockart slam Page 3

A petition calling on the editor of the Sun to withdraw the Page 3 feature has gained more than 13,000 signatures in the last 2 days. I’m supporting this campaign because I strongly believe that a national newspaper showing half clothed women is a significant background note in the cultural melody which stops women from being treated as equal citizens.  How am I supposed to convince my daughter that she’s an equal member of society when she sees women portrayed as little more than window dressing for the express entertainment of men?

Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West Mike Crockart …

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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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PMQs: Opposition leader asks: “Can I agree with the Prime Minister”?

2012’s first Prime Minister’s Questions started with a bit of a score draw about rail fares. It got rather heated as Ed Miliband said the government had allowed fares to go up by 11%. He said:

The last Labour government saw that the train companies were taking advantage of consumers…we took away that power from them

David Cameron retorted that:

The power (to increase fares well above inflation) was given to them to do that by the last Labour government.

Channel 4 News FactCheck, as usual,has an excellent analysis of this spat, concluding that they couldn’t give either men a “Fact” or “Fiction” …

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PMQs: Tim Farron asks “Question of the week” – Ed Balls signals four runs

In my ever-earnest toil to prepare this review, this week I have been reviewing web sites which explain cricket umpire signals. I also checked the umpire signals for netball, American football and baseball.

There is no doubt about it. Ed Balls was signalling a four at Prime Ministers’ Questions. His hand was a bit lower than normal, but it would pass to signal a boundary at Morley Cricket Club.

For a change, I’m going to stand this review on its head this week and concentrate on questions from backbenchers, starting with Liberal Democrats.

Question of the week came from Tim Farron:

The world population

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Opinion: Criminalising squatting

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offender Bill has returned to the House of Commons this week. The problems with the Government’s proposed Legal Aid reforms have been apparent for a while. Some people will see their access to justice seriously curtailed, while the courts are likely to silt up with inexpert litigants-in-person. The chances of any money being saved – when considered in the round – are limited. In this context it is good to see reports that Liberal Democrat MPs Tom Brake and Mike Crockart are tabling amendments to seek to address some of the most …

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Tuition fees: which way will MPs vote on Thursday?

Today saw a weird piece of media face with an impostor conning several news outlets into reporting that Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart was going to resign as a PPS and vote against the tuition fees increase. The impostor even got as far as being interviewed by the BBC on the World at One before the hoax was rumbled. His office said that, “Mike is still waiting to see what the final offer will be before he votes and that has always been our line”.

(Ironically just before this took place, I was in Millbank to appear on the BBC’s

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PMQs: Moustaches, strawberries and anoraks

There were signs this week that Prime Minister’s Questions was getting serious and considered at long last.

Ed Miliband asked a very anorakky question about the government taking away “all the funding from the highly successful school sport partnerships”

There followed an almost scholarly exchange of statistics which left me none the wiser. Miliband’s stats said Labour improved school sports. Cameron’s said they ruined it. Was Miliband right? Was Cameron right? It was beyond me. Except I did notice that Cameron seemed to be almost exclusively quoting figures on “competitive sports”. Ah. The old Tory Daily Mail rant. “Schools don’t do races …

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The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Private Secretaries

The appointments of various LibDem MPs to be PPS to ministers have been rather low-profile, so in case you have missed any here is the complete list:

Gordon Birtwistle – PPS to Danny Alexander
Mike Crockart – PPS to Michael Moore
Duncan Hames – PPS to Sarah Teather
Jo Swinson – PPS to Vince Cable
Jenny Willott – PPS to Chris Huhne

and in addition Norman Lamb as Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser to Nick Clegg is also his PPS.

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The 7 retiring Lib Dem MPs (and the 7 candidates hoping to replace them)

Seven Lib Dem MPs have announced they’re retiring at this year’s general election. All seven are men: of their replacements, four are women. Here’s the list in full:

John Barrett (LD) – Edinburgh West

Majority: 13,600 (30%) – second safest Lib Dem seat in the UK.
Reason for leaving: to spend more time with his grand-daughters.
Hoping to succeed him: Mike Crockart.

Colin Breed (LD) – South East Cornwall

Majority: 6,507 (13%).
Reason for leaving: not stated.
Hoping to succeed him: Karen Gillard.

David Howarth (LD) – Cambridge

Majority: 5,058 (11%).
Reason for leaving: “to concentrate on my other life, as an academic.”
Hoping to succeed him: Julian Huppert.

Paul

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Edinburgh, brace yourself: the first Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference

Just under three weeks to go now – but there’s still time to register for the feast of blogging talent and advice that is the Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference.

I’m pleased to announce that Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has agreed to give a Bloggers’ Interview around lunchtime.

Also joining us: Jo Swinson MP, John Barrett MP, Mike Crockart (newly-selected PPC for Edinburgh West), leading Scottish bloggers, Andrew Reeves (prolific blogger and Deputy Director of Campaigns for Scotland) as well as Lib Dem Blogfather Jonathan Calder and members of the Lib Dem Voice team.

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Mike Crockart selected for Edinburgh West

Ex-policeman Mike Crockart has been selected for Edinburgh West, the constituency currently held by Lib Dem John Barrett who is retiring at the next general election. The Press Association reports Mike Crockart as saying, “I’m over the moon to be elected, but I’m taking nothing for granted.”

Best of luck with the campaign Mike.

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    watching Andrew Neil ALWAYS depresses me, with his stupid attempts at humour and getting his team members to perform for the cameras, so embarrassing.. but...
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    Hi Peter - great piece. I agree with every point, especially on the continued public presence of both candidates. I'd caveat only that there are...
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    Simon - thanks for the kind words! And agreed about building coalitions on the centre-left. Who do you have in mind?
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    Neal - thanks for commenting. I think we're not a million miles away from each other. You're saying move on entirely and straight away; I'm...
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    @Andrew. So parliament would look pretty much exactly as it does under FPTP as under AV then? Did report say how the Tories and labour...
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    The thing about STV is that voting is relatively simple - you can even treat your voting paper as FPTP if you like; it's the...
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