Tag Archives: Ming Campbell

LibLink: Ming Campbell: I will vote no to independence because I love Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWillie Rennie’s “sunshine strategy”, talking up the positive side of Scotland staying in the UK even got a mention on the Andrew Marr Show during our Scottish Conference. The independence referendum is sorely needing a lift, and on the rare occasion it gets it, it is usually down to a Liberal Democrat, it has to be said. Charles Kennedy, Mike Moore, Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael have all added some much-needed appreciation of the UK and thoughtful consideration of the arguments. …

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Charles Kennedy: Pro UK campaign needs to be more positive

Charles KennedyCharles Kennedy has made a welcome intervention in the debate on Scottish independence. As far as the Better Together campaign is concerned, he’s quite off message. I suspect Liberal Democrats will feel that his comments needed saying and deliver a much-needed kick up the backside to the pro-UK organisation.

I very rarely share Better Together social media stuff because it’s only rarely that I see something that my friends will actually appreciate. The campaign generally gives off an air of dourness that doesn’t even connect with its own activists. They might well have bought into the idea that negative campaigning is effective, and while the polls are still in their favour, they will see no reason to change.

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Sir Ming Campbell MP writes…Britain has the power to shape the EU

A report on the successes and failures in Britain’s Europe policy, published today by British Influence shows that we have the power to shape the EU, if we wield it correctly. The report, by a cross-party panel of EU experts on which I served, shows that Britain has either achieved its objectives or is on track to achieve them in nine out of ten of the policy areas, but it makes clear that we will only be able to achieve more if we lead in a cooperative manner.

There are parts of the EU which need to be reformed. There …

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Ming Campbell says Coalition should be broken up “without recrimination” ahead of the 2015 election

mingSir Menzies Campbell MP has given a wide-ranging interview to Total Politics magazine in which he says some pretty controversial stuff.

A civilised dissolution

The first is that he wants to see the Coalition break up in a civilised manner ahead of the 2015 election to avoid acrimony and recrimination:

The ministers will have to keep going to the very end. Why? Because the country has to be governed. But I think we should accept that the point’s going to come at which politically we may be together governmentally, but politically we’re going to start – well it’s started with differentiation – moving away from each other. And we should do that without recrimination or acrimony or intimidation or anything of that kind. Why? Because it is very damaging for both parties if it breaks up in a row, or a series of rows.

But more to the point, it would have a considerable impact on the creditability of coalition. If people enter into it and then by the end of it get at each other’s throats, that would be the worst possible outcome, in my view. So I adhere to my view, six wise men and women, in a closed room, with instructions not to come out until they have a solution.

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Ming Campbell announces he’s to retire as MP in 2015

Ming Campbell, Lib Dem MP for North East Fife since 1987, has today announced his decision to retire from the House of Commons at the next election.

It’s been an enormous privilege to have been an MP for 26 years and to represent such a wonderful constituency as North East Fife. My wife and I have made many friends and have been supported by constituents of all political persuasions and none.

It is always a regret to begin the process of retiring from the House of Commons but I believe now is the time to start. I have written to

Posted in News | 20 Comments

Lib Dems reject 50p top-rate of tax by just 4 votes, 224 to 220

How many times have Lib Dems knocked on doors at 9.55pm to get out the last remaining identified voters because “your vote really could make a difference” in this election?

Today’s vote on whether to keep the top-rate of tax levied on those earning £150k or more at 45p, or to pledge to raise it to 50p was much, much, much closer: conference narrowly voted for the leadership’s preferred policy – 45p – by a wafer thin majority of just 4 votes, 224 to 220.

The closest previous conference vote I can recall was in spring 2007 when representatives voted …

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What has my marriage got to do with the Liberal Democrats?

More than you would think, I guess. My long-suffering husband at least went into our union with his eyes open. If there wasn’t actually a large bird of liberty in the room at the registry office, he knew that the party would play a large part in our lives together. And even then, I think it’s played an even bigger part than he anticipated and he’s dealt with it with patience, fortitude and humour. Most of the time, anyway.

Why is this even relevant? Well, it’s a Summer of 25th anniversaries. Next month, we will have been married for 25 years. Yesterday, it was 25 years since Paddy Ashdown was elected as leader and this video was released by the Party to celebrate.

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The flagrant consistency of the Lib Dems’ position on an in/out EU referendum

EU flag - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentAs a follow-up to my post The surprising truth about that Lib Dem in/out EU referendum leaflet — and as a handy guide for journalists in the future — I thought I’d piece together the timeline of the recent history of the Lib Dems’ position on holding a referendum to give the British people a say on our future relationship with the European Union.

As you can see, it’s a picture of quite shocking, erm, consistency…

2007:

Lib Dems (under Ming Campbell) …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , and | 19 Comments

LibLink: Ming Campbell – Europe offers the best deal for Britain

Menzies CampbellFormer Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell has called on David Cameron to put the national interest ahead of his party’s interest as he prepares for his major speech on Europe:

Those who argue for disengagement in whole or even part have a duty to tell us what the consequences would be. So far they have failed to do so. We need to be rational, not emotional. The issue must be about the essential nature of the relationship, not about squashing the ambitions of Ukip. The EU offers the best deal for Britain.The

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A snapshot of Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrats met for a busy annual Autumn conference in Dunfermline last Saturday. The day started with the most delicious sliced sausage ever. Subjects debated by members (all of whom have a vote), include reverse vending machines, honest lets, cuts to student funding, affordable childcare and the Home Rule Commission chaired by Sir Menzies Campbell.  Charles Kennedy also took part in that debate.

There were keynote speeches from Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore, new Business and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson and leader Willie Rennie. Danny Alexander did a question and answer session on the Mid Term Review and …

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Opinion: Four point plan for a liberal, democratic Europe

Europe is rising up the political agenda. It’s an issue that could bring down David Cameron or break-up the coalition. Yet the Liberal Democrats are strangely silent. The EU didn’t appear on the Brighton conference agenda and we no longer have a Minister in the Foreign Office. We need to develop a vision for a liberal, democratic EU and get smart about fighting for it.

Here’s my four point plan:

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 47 Comments

LibLink: Ming Campbell – Afghanistan: We have to see it through till 2014

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Ming Campbell has taken to the pages of the Independent to set out his views on British troop involvement in Afghanistan, and the need to be realistic about the speed at which British troops can be withdrawn from Helmand. Here’s an excerpt:

It is naive to suggest that, even if we began today, we could be out by Christmas. Withdrawal of nearly 10,000 troops and their equipment is not achieved by waving a wand. During any withdrawal, forces are at their most vulnerable. What additional protection measures would be required? What equipment would we be able

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Menzies Campbell in celebration of Olympians in Parliament

BBC Parliament has shown a documentary, “First past the post”, which celebrates parliamentarians who are Olympians. Needless to say, our own Sir Menzies Campbell, once one of the fastest men on the planet, is featured liberally in the programme.

Menzies reveals the exotic mixture which his mother used to feed him on race days, and shows viewers his old team blazer. He tells us he can still get into it, but the buttons don’t do up.

Until the end of …

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Lib Dems push Coalition to abandon ‘Moscow criterion’ in latest anti-Trident move

Writing in the Financial Times, former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell has urged Britain to drop the so-called ‘Moscow criterion’ — which commits us to maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent capable of obliterating the Russian capital — in order to open up the possibilities of a more targeted, and cheaper, nuclear alternative to the renewal of Trident:

Nuclear weapons have no intrinsic merit. Their significance is in deterrence. If you ever have to use them it can only be because they have failed in their primary purpose. But nuclear policy ought always to be assessed in its political context. It is

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Lib Dems fight to halt extradition of Richard O’Dwyer

The Guardian reports:

The government is coming under cross-party pressure from within the coalition to stay the extradition of a Sheffield student who founded a website sharing links to TV shows, and to review the US extradition treaty in the wake of the case.

The home secretary Theresa May signed an extradition order last month for Richard O’Dwyer, 23, to be sent to the US, where he faces 10 years in high-security prison.

O’Dwyer founded a website, tvshack.net, in 2007, which acted as a search engine for people to find out where they could watch and in some cases download popular TV shows, typically programmes

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Labour’s not-so-very-local election broadcast shows how unimportant local decision-making is to Ed Miliband’s party

Tonight’s Labour local election broadcast, starring telly’s very own Lord (Robert) Winston, climaxes with the rallying cry:

On Thursday May 3rd, vote NHS, vote Labour

Exactly how voting Labour then will help the NHS isn’t explored — not surprisingly, because it won’t. There’s a reason these elections are called local elections, after all.

Before highlighting Labour’s misleading tactics I thought I should first check out the Lib Dem record on fighting local elections. I have to say I was expecting to find comparable examples, times when the party leadership had called …

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Nick Clegg and Ming Campbell add their tributes to David Walter

From Nick Clegg:

 This is such sad news. I knew David for years and he was widely loved and admired in the party. He was a gentle and patient man with great integrity and an impressive career in journalism. 

I will always remember him for his great sense of humour at the most difficult or challenging times. He will be hugely missed by all of us in the party and our thoughts are with his family.

From Ming Campbell:

David Walter was a professional to his fingertips. He was universally respected and admired by his fellow journalists and held in great affection by the Liberal

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LDVideo: Ming Campbell – House of Lords reform part of Lib Dem DNA

Here’s a clip of former Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Menzies Campbell declaring reform of the unelected upper house — that century-old piece of ‘unfinished business’ — is an innate part of what defines Liberal Democrats:

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Opinion: What price democracy in the Lib Dems?

Over the past 21 months I have had many moments when I have felt close to despair about the behaviour of our parliamentarians. Sometimes, like voting in favour of tuition fees, they can rightly point to the Coalition Agreement – endorsed overwhelmingly – as Nick Clegg observed at the time – by a North Korean like Special Conference. Other times, like voting against party policy on Legal Aid and Welfare Reform – there is no such defence. Last night calls into question the fundamental values and principles of our party, not just in terms of flying in the face of …

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Sir Menzies Campbell asks for Scottish members’ views on Home Rule

Late last year, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie appointed North East Fife MP and former leader Sir Menzies Campbell to chair a Commission on Home and Community Rule to set out exactly how a liberal Scotland would divide up government power. Uniquely, our party looks at ways of devolving power from as well as to Holyrood.

Sir Menzies today e-mailed Scottish members to let them know he wants their views and outlining plans for a consultative session  at the Party’s Inverness conference in March. (Should you wish to attend, please note that the deadline to register at the cheaper …

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And the most-mentioned Lib Dems of 2011 were…

Two Lib Dem ministers made it into the top 10 of most-mentioned politicians in the national print media in 2011. Not surprisingly, one was Nick Clegg, the Deputy PM; the other was Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary.

Here’s the graphic which shows them placed 4th and 10th respectively:

Two Lib Dems also made it into the list of top 10 backbenchers who appeared in the national print media in 2011. Ming Campbell and David Laws popped up at 9th and 10th respectively (42nd and …

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Michael Moore MP writes: I am not your average unionist

In politics, as in other walks of life, labels matter. By accident or design, for good or for ill, they shape our identity — sometimes in our own eyes, but just as importantly in the eyes of others.

For all of us, our identity starts with where we belong. For my part I am a Borderer; a Scot; and British. Perhaps less fashionably but a long-held principle, I am comfortable that I am a European, too.

Beyond that, I am unashamedly a democrat, a liberal and an internationalist. But last week there was a stir in some parts of the media when …

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Was there a Clegg coup? Review of The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard

Many book titles reveal little about what their book contains, either providing but a banal name for its contents or a clever, clever name which obscures rather than reveals. However, The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard has a title which is revealing in two aspects. First, the way general accuracy in the book is marred by detailed slips – for whilst the general point of the title is true, with the May 2010 coalition being the UK’s first peacetime coalition in Westminster since before 1939, the title does not use the …

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Clegg orders fresh review of extradition laws headed by Ming

It’s two-and-a-half years since Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader publicly stood up on behalf of Gary McKinnon, a computer hacker wanted to by the US authorities under controversial extradition laws:

The Americans are hell-bent on extradition and making an example of him. He was told if he sat back, pleaded guilty and said nothing about his extradition, he could end up doing a shorter sentence in a British prison. But because he exercised his basic right to challenge his extradition, he’s now classed as a terrorist. … No fewer than three Labour home secretaries have played their part in

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Willie Rennie apologises for ‘unintentional offence’ of Lib Dems’ Alex Salmond cartoon

Some embarrassment for Willie Rennie, MSP and leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, this week following the publication by party staff of a cartoon satirising First Minister Alex Salmond’s hailing of the similarities between Scotland and Qatar:

The Stv website takes up the story:

Posted in Scotland | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Ming to head up Scottish Lib Dems’ Home Rule Commission

As the Scottish Lib Dems’ website announces:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has announced that former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP will chair the Home Rule Commission, set up to develop a blueprint for Home Rule in Scotland. The party’s Scottish conference in Dunfermline last month voted to establish a Commission to look at a settled distribution of powers between London, Edinburgh and local councils. Sir Menzies will join other Liberal Democrats to set out a long-term vision for a strong Scotland within the UK and powerful local communities in every part of Scotland.

Here’s what …

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

House of Lords reform: the next steps

As I mentioned when blogging Ming Campbell’s speech from Liberal Democrat conference, the motion in favour of Lords reform was passed overwhelmingly.

That in itself was not a surprise, but that does not mean actually securing Lords reform will be easy. Two immediate ways you can support the campaign for House of Lords reform are:

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Ming Campbell urges Lib Dem peers to back Lords reforms

One of the speakers in the Lords reform debate at Liberal Democrat conference was former party leader Ming Campbell, who not only backed the plans for elections to a reformed upper house but also directly addressed the Lib Dem peers who have been talking of opposing the introduction of elections:

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LDVideo at Conference | Farron on ‘Tory bashing’, Lamb on NHS reforms, and Ming on the Euro

At Birmingham and so missing out on how the Lib Dem conference is being reported? Not at Birmingham and so missing out on seeing Lib Dem MPs and government ministers up close and personal? We hope these videos will help re-connect you…

Tim Farron’s Tory-bashing


(Available on the BBC website here.)

Norman Lamb on NHS changes

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News in Brief: Ming savages Danny, ‘Parenting Matters’, and Don Foster on “rodents with wings”

Former party leader Ming Campbell is apparently furious with fellow Scottish Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, according to the Telegraph.

The two MPs are, it appears, at each others’ metaphorical throats over the handing over to the British army of RAF Leuchars in Fife (Ming’s patch), while RAF Lossiemouth in Moray (Danny’s neighbouring patch) — though it should be noted that RAF Kinloss, also close to Danny’s own consituency, will suffer the same fate as Leuchars.

The Telegraph quotes Ming implying with scarcely veiled fury that Danny’s intervention in the defence …

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