Tag Archives: Ming Campbell

Wow – a Liberal Democrat on Question Time tonight

Good news. We have a Lib Dem on Question Time tonight.

It may actually be worth watching.

Although there is a downside.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Ming Campbell: The public deserves the chance to change its mind

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future. 

Ming Campbell was the first Lib Dem peer to bring up the status of EU nationals. It was, he said, extraordinary that the Government has not assured them of their right to stay given that they are so beneficial to our economy, academia and family life. He went on to talk about the right of the public to change its mind as the consequences of Brexit become clear.

My Lords, I am the 16th speaker in this debate, and I am already reminded of the explanation why the conventions of the Republican and Democrat parties in the United States last for four days, when two would be sufficient. The answer is that because usually, after two days, everything has been said but not everyone has said it. By the time we come to close of play tomorrow evening, that may be even more obvious.

In a moment or two, I shall talk about the role of your Lordships in this most serious matter, but before I do that, I support the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Patel, about the position of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom. It is extraordinary that the Government have not yet made any concession in respect of their future. It is extraordinary that they have not recognised that those citizens are an essential part of our economy and, indeed, of our academic life. It is extraordinary that they have not accepted that they are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers of United Kingdom citizens. Are we really and truly contemplating even the remote possibility that we will be prepared to start knocking on their doors, whether at midnight or midday, expelling them from the United Kingdom? The fact is—in a debate in which we have referred to public opinion—all tests of public opinion say that these individuals are entitled to the protection that so many of your Lordships argued for in this House.

The central question for me and for others is: what is our role in this most difficult and complicated issue? Is it to accept without demur the Bill before us, and indeed to put aside the very idea of amendment? Some have exhorted and encouraged us, and even attempted to bully us into doing so. But I rather thought, when I had the privilege of being introduced to your Lordships’ House, that I was expected to use my judgment and experience and to exercise responsibility. In the circumstances in which we meet today, are not these qualities as important now as they have ever been?

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Alex Cole-Hamilton and Ming Campbell honoured at Scottish Politician of the Year Awards

New Lib Dem Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton won the “One to watch” award at the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards, presented at a glittering awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

He was also praised by his predecessor, Margaret Smith:

From The Herald:

With one third of MSPs new to Holyrood this year, the largest field was in the One to Watch category, sponsored by ScottishPower Renewables, with the judges impressed by the breadth and depth of talent being attracted to the Parliament as its powers increase.

The winner was the LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton, who gained the Edinburgh Western seat from the SNP and is already tipped as his party’s next leader.

It’s not difficult to see why he won when you see the quality of his debut speech on the European Union

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Ming Campbell on Chilcot: “My ally right or wrong is not sustainable”

The House of Lords has been debating Chilcot this week.

Ming Campbell, our foreign affairs spokesperson at the time, spoke in the debate. Here’s his speech:

Contrary to popular belief, I have never believed that what we were presented with was a false premise—implying that there was some effort at deception—but I have always believed that it was flawed, and the distinction is important. But it is clear that throughout these events Mr Blair thought that it was the right thing to do—and he still does. That was inevitably a moral judgment, but the strength of it gave rise to the error of making the evidence fit the judgment rather than the judgment fit the evidence.

The belief that the United Kingdom should be with the United States “whatever” was a flawed belief. Indeed, some would say that that single word reveals all that lay at the heart of the disastrous decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein. On reflection, there seems to have been a complete misunderstanding of the position of the United States. George W Bush always wanted regime change—it was no secret—but why was that? It was because around him was a cluster of influential neocons who thought that his father had made a fatal error in not instructing American forces to go to Baghdad at the end of the first Gulf War. If anyone doubts the good reasons for that decision, I suggest they read the memoirs of Sir John Major, who sets out with great clarity his support for that decision.

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Ming Campbell talks EU democracy, security, sovereignty in BBC Big Debate

Yesterday, I went to Glasgow to take part in Radio Scotland’s Big Debate as part of the Remain contingent. As they did during the election, the BBC invited a delicately balanced audience.

I almost combusted on the spot when I saw that there was to be an all-male panel. Then I looked at the Leave contingent, all but one of whom were men and only men spoke. The Remain contingent, however, were almost perfectly balanced and it was the women who actually spoke the most during the hour.

It still feels strange to hear Ming Campbell introduced as Lord Campbell of Pittenweem. His partner on the remain side was the very able SNP MEP Alyn Smith. Both of them were very good at making the positive case for the EU and busting a lot of Leave myths. The Leave panellists were Tory Brian Monteith, who lives in France and is a former Conservative MEP. George Laird is from Labour Leave.

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Lords’ Maiden Speeches: Ming Campbell on the Scotland Bill and the F word

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem (a very pretty fishing village in North East Fife) made his maiden speech unexpectedly early. I had been taking to him a few weeks ago and he had said it probably wouldn’t be till January. He couldn’t resist the temptation to come in on the Scotland Bill, especially as he’d chaired two commissions on how more power could be devolved to and beyond the Scottish Parliament.

Here is his speech in full:

My Lords, I am not entirely clear how to respond to that but I think that the good people of Pittenweem will make their own judgment.

I hope that it will not be thought presumptuous of me to suggest that we should be loath to draw any parallels between the Schleswig-Holstein question and any of the contents of the Bill. It will be remembered that one of those who claimed to understand the question went mad, and it may be thought an unfortunate omen.

Contrary to expectation, this is not the first time that I have spoken in your Lordships’ House. The last occasion was more than 30 years ago but I have good cause to remember it well. Outside, there was a most Indian of Indian summers; inside, being after 1 October, the central heating was going full bore, and I was dressed in full court dress and wearing the necessary full-bottomed wig when appearing before the judicial committee in the Chamber. Notwithstanding that ordeal, worse was to be suffered. I spent a whole day being eviscerated by Lord Bridge of Harwich, whom some of your Lordships will remember for his robust interventions on the judicial committee. It is only very recently, and reluctantly, that I have come to the view that perhaps he did not care for my argument.

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Two Lib Dems standing down: Ming on competitiveness, Iraq and backing Clegg, Teather on “political self harm”

The Observer is interviewing some MPs who have stood down from Parliament. Ming Campbell and Sarah Teather are featured today.

Ming says his proudest moment in his 28 years in Parliament was deciding not to support the war in Iraq:

The second Gulf war, that’s the most significant political thing I’ve been engaged with. We took the decision – not an easy decision – that we were going to thoroughly oppose it, and there were some sleepless nights for me and for Charles . All it needed was a company of American marines to discover two tanks of anthrax – our position would have been wholly undermined. So it was a big risk, but we thought it was right and we thought wasn’t legal.

Ming comes from a different place politically than Nick Clegg, and he hasn’t had a government job. What does he make of our leader?

I’m a great admirer of Clegg, he was my pick and he’s astonishingly resilient when you consider some of the stuff that’s written about him. Forming the coalition was a very brave thing to do – it’s no secret I had some reservations – but if you’re in the ex-leaders club your duty is to follow your leader. If you’ve been through the fire and brimstone yourself, then you really have a duty to ensure that your successor is not subject to that.

Sarah had some pretty astute observations about modern politics which should make us all think about why it’s so deeply unsatisfying. She had been asked if we should worry about the number of women standing down:

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