Tag Archives: nick clegg

Strong language from Nick Clegg on more powers for Scotland: This opportunity cannot be hijacked

I had a sneak preview of an article Nick Clegg wrote for today’s Sunday Post. I was a bit disappointed in its blandness. We needed more robust language, I felt. Why? Well, when Cameron had just had almost half of Scots who voted tell him they wanted out of the Union, his main message in response was to pick a fight with Labour on the so-called “West Lothian Question.” Really, Dave, is that what you take from all of this? By making more powers for Scotland seem contingent on resolving the English votes for English laws issues, he exacerbated tensions up here.

Yes supporters were already, entirely understandably, devastated. I only need to think of the anxiety I’ve felt over the last couple of weeks to understand entirely how it feels for them. The last thing these people needed to do was to find themselves in the middle of a scrap between the Tories and Labour over something that was irrelevant to them. There needed to be a very clear message that the powers would be delivered on time. If they aren’t, then, frankly, the three pro-UK parties are completely stuffed. As Ming Campbell memorably put it on the BBC News Channel on Friday night, you might as well hand out free membership of the SNP.

Rather than use his resignation statement to bring people together and soothe people’s emotions, Alex Salmond sought to raise tensions by suggesting that David Cameron had reneged on a commitment to have the Second Reading of the new Scotland Bill by 27th March. That was never part of the deal. As an MP of 20 years’ standing, Salmond should know that even if it had had its second reading by then, it would have fallen as Parliament is due to be dissolved days later. The commitment was to have a Bill ready to be debated by the next Parliament immediately after the election. That’s what the Better Together election poster explicitly said:

Better Together election poster

 

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Senior Liberal Democrats react as Scots vote to stay in UK

The sovereign will of the Scottish people, by a margin of, give or take a bit, 55%-45 %, is to stay in the UK. In voting No, they put their trust in David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Here’s how senior Liberal Democrats reacted. First,  Nick Clegg:

I’m absolutely delighted the Scottish people have taken this momentous decision to safeguard our family of nations for future generations.

In a dangerous and uncertain world I have no doubt we are stronger, safer, and more prosperous together than we ever could be apart.

But a vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland.

At the same time, this referendum north of the border has led to a demand for constitutional reform across the United Kingdom as people south of the border also want more control and freedom in their own hands rather than power being hoarded in Westminster.

So this referendum marks not only a new chapter for Scotland within the UK but also a new chapter of constitutional renewal across the UK.

Willie Rennie:

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Decentralisation decade – Nick Clegg responds

Last Friday Nick Clegg was speaking about devolution at an event organisation by the Institute for Public Policy Research. It marked the launch of their publication entitled ‘Decentralisation decade: A plan for economic prosperity, public service transformation and democratic renewal in England‘.

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Nick Clegg’s statement on David Haines’ murder: Islamic State an affront to every peace loving Muslim in the world

Nick Clegg has made the following statement about David Haines’ murder:

The barbaric murder of David Haines is a crime of the most horrendous kind.

My thoughts at this time are with the family of David Haines who have experienced something no family should ever have to go through.

This murderous organisation calls itself Islamic State.

But it is not a state, it is a brutal terrorist outfit whose actions are an affront to every peace loving Muslim around the world.

No religion could possibly justify such grotesque acts.

The British Government will not rest until these killers face justice.

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Catch-up LDVideo: Nick Clegg hails “a manifesto for the next generation”

It ended up being buried by this week’s news from Scotland and the Royal Baby – but the Lib Dem pre-manifesto was launched this week. You can read Stephen Tall’s initial take on it here and watch Nick Clegg hail it as “a manifesto for the next generation” in this video:

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David Laws on Lib Dem plans for the General Election

Yesterday Nick Clegg officially launched our pre-Manifesto, which will be debated at Federal Conference next month. David Laws was asked by the BBC about the costings, and he said:

We will publish the figures before the next election, but what Nick Clegg did say today is that the proposals that are in our pre-manifesto that we published today are considerably less expensive than the manifesto that we stood on in 2010. I personally am confident that if we were a Liberal Democrat government by ourselves, and we didn’t have to negotiate with other parties, then all that we’ve put in our pre-manifesto is actually deliverable.

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Clegg’s pitch to Scotland to say No to independence: “Change is on its way.”

nick clegg euThe weekend news of the first poll pointing to a possible Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum has dominated the headlines – and it may prompt those parties campaigning for Scotland to remain within the UK to commit irrevocably to further devolved powers to the Scottish Assembly. That was the strong message today from Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, speaking at a press conference this morning:

For the first time in my political lifetime, there is clear, unwavering unity on this question. Finally, everyone who believes in the United Kingdom believes in more power – more control for Scotland, in Scotland.

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Call Clegg: A well-informed 9 year old, empathy with the Kings and the moral dilemmas of dealing with terrorists

Nick stopped off at LBC on his way to the NATO summit in Newport. As an aside, my heart has been warmed by the lush and beautiful Welsh countryside, but who have planning permission for that building in the middle of it? Could they not have built something with more of a soul?

The star of the show was 9 year old Rowan who was incredibly well-iinformed about the school meals policy, telling Nick that his school meals weren’t that healthy and that the evidence of their efficacy in improving learning was a) marginal and b) more relevant at Key Stage 2 than 1. It is worth listening to the whole exchange. Nick said that it’s difficult to target by areas because 4 out of 10 children in poverty don’t qualify for free school meals. He said that the evidence is that if you want all children to do well, having them share a healthy meal together at lunchtime it has a dramatic effect. Sadly, though, it means that Rowan’s sister at his old school is missing out on her gym class because the gym is being used for dinners. It was absolutely brilliant to see a 9 year old completely confidently arguing with the Deputy Prime Minister. We need more of them. Nick referred Rowan to read Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent’s School Food Plan. I have the feeling we haven’t heard the last of that young man.

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Nicola Sturgeon challenges Nick Clegg to do the Ice Bucket Challenge

ice bucket challenge photo by University of Central ArkansasWe can’t look at our social media at the moment without coming across an avalanche of videos of our own friends or celebrities doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and raise money for its charities across the world.

I have to say that I have actually refused to do the challenge. I am too much of a free spirit, I suppose. I don’t think I have the right to tell someone which charity to donate to or publicise, nor do I like being so told myself. This doesn’t make me a wimp (although I do not deny that I am about most things), or lacking in a sense of humour or heartless. I just don’t like the peer pressure element of it and I think it’s ok to say that you’re not going to conform. I felt particularly strongly about this after seeing one person say in their video that if those nominated didn’t do it, they didn’t care  and were basically evil.

I also have a bit of a worry about so much water being wasted. In so much of the world it’s such a precious commodity. I wonder what people in parts of the world where it is so scarce think of the waste.

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Vince to quit? The party’s “senior sources” have been out and about stirring again…

It’s not even six months since my co-editor Caron Lindsay urged fellow Lib Dems to make nice and drop the internal briefing against colleagues. This followed a spate of whisperings against Vince Cable and Tim Farron among others. The voices off against Vince even prompted Nick to start an internal inquiry, though, as Jonathan Calder observed here, nothing more was heard of it.

Today, though, the Mail on Sunday reports:

Allies of Vince Cable reacted furiously last night over a Liberal Democrat ‘whispering campaign’ suggesting that he is on the brink of walking out of the Coalition. The Mail on Sunday has been told by two well-placed sources within the party that the 71-year-old Business Secretary is considering leaving the Cabinet immediately after the party’s autumn conference.

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Clegg: “I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough in mental health research”

lib dem mental illness posterThe Lib Dems have unveiled plans to increase funding spent on mental health research by £50m, by 2020, as the party seeks to ensure it’s are treated as seriously as physical illnesses are. Here’s Nick Clegg:

“Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues. I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes. That is why I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough

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The Sun: “Nick Clegg makes a powerful case for reform of our drugs laws”

The Lib Dem website says this: “Nick Clegg has announced that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to end imprisonment for possessing drugs for personal use, so that no one is sent to prison, where their only offence is one of possession. Under the proposals, users would instead receive non-custodial sentences and appropriate medical treatment.”

That’s not so surprising. The Lib Dems have long argued for a more rational approach to our drugs laws, with Nick making the point before that “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform.”

More surprising is that The Sun newspaper says this:

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Opinion: Pressing Clegg on an arms embargo to Israel

In the wake of Baroness Warsi’s resignation Nick Clegg has reportedly said that he will be pushing for an embargo on arms sales to Israel. I hope this actually happens rather than what I suspect will more likely be a more diluted ‘review’. Without a robust response, and without outside pressure being put on it, it’s likely that Israel will continue to act disproportionately in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. If the government goes for a review, then it will have no more effect than a modest ticking off.

Doubtless there will be Liberal Democrats who will apportion blame jointly to both sides. They will criticise an embargo and claim that Israel has the right to defend itself from the missiles being fired from the territory. They will no doubt claim that civilian deaths is an unfortunate side effect associated with that action.

On the Palestinian side they will condemn Hamas for using civilians as human shields, by firing missiles next to schools, hospitals and residences. They will demand that Hamas stop the rocket fire and, along with the rest of the Palestinian population, adopt a policy of non-violence instead. The assumption is that being ‘reasonable’ will encourage Israel to act similarly.

Let’s put this into context then.

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Opinion: On immigration, let’s keep out of this race to the bottom

If there’s one area of political debate where perception triumphs over reality, it’s immigration. While the public rate it as the number one issue facing Britain, it tumbles to 12th place when they’re asked what concerns them most at a personal level, behind the more pressing issues of pensions, health and household finances.

This is the ‘disconnect’ between what people hear about in our debate on immigration – fanned by political opportunists and their media allies – and the reality they experience in their daily lives. It’s the doorstep charge of “well there are just too many of them,

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Nick Clegg’s speech on immigration: baby steps in a liberal direction

Nick Clegg Q&A 12When I read Nick Clegg’s immigration speech yesterday I breathed a sigh of relief. It’s sensible and mostly liberal.

Which means it’s a stark contrast to his March 2013 attempt: that was probably the most dire speech I’ve ever heard from a Lib Dem leader. Back then, Nick took credit for net migration having fallen by a third, even though net migration is, as Vince Cable has repeatedly pointed out, an absurd measure of success. He also came up with the unworkable proposal for security bonds (ie, upfront cash payments) for immigrants from ‘high-risk’ countries entering the UK.

Fast forward 18 months and both have been ditched.

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Gaza: Clegg demands UK suspends arms export licences to Israel, Ashdown writes to Warsi to discuss next steps

With the truce in Gaza in its second day, and indirect talks between Israeli and Palestinian representatives taking place today, Nick Clegg has stepped up the pressure for the UK government to work more actively to secure peace in the area. The BBC reports:

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the suspension of arms export licences to Israel, adding to the pressure David Cameron is facing over Gaza. … Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Israeli military operation in Gaza had “overstepped the mark” and called for the suspension of arms export licences to Israel. He said he

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

The Independent View: “I’m a believer in the benefits of well-managed immigration” says Clegg

Nick CleggOn Tuesday, in a speech in Manor House in north London, Nick Clegg gave a major speech on immigration. Like the immigration speech he gave last year, hosted by CentreForum, his recent speech will be hotly debated and greatly misrepresented.

The speech was clearly an attempt to provide reassurance to the British public that the Lib Dems wanted a fair immigration system that enabled “the brightest and the best” to come to work and study in the UK but was robust in stamping out cheating and abuse. Nick believes this is important because:

… being a nation at ease with diversity and difference does not happen by accident. Successful immigration systems have to be managed. People need to see that they are good for society as a whole. Otherwise all you do is create fear and resentment – you give populists an open goal.

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“Homeowners could get payout if house values fall” – Nick Clegg on garden cities

In an unexpected intervention – an interview on BBC’s “Countryfile”, Nick Clegg has suggested that existing homeowners in areas where new garden cities are to be built could be compensated for any fall in value that might be caused by the building work;

We could maybe give deductions on council tax over a period of time during which the garden city is being built, we could possibly also say to those homeowners where they think the price of their homes will be effected, we will guarantee the price of their home, by buying it, if you like, up front.”

The …

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Lib Dem party membership: the occasional ups and mostly downs since 1988

The Lib Dems published the party’s 2013 accounts this week. The report included the latest membership figures, which showed for the first time since 2010 an increase on the previous year’s: up 2% to 43,451. Here are the Lib Dem membership figures since the modern party’s formation as the successor to the Liberal Party and SDP in 1988:

lib dem membership figs since 1988 - as at july 2014

For interest’s sake, here’s the increase/decrease in party membership under each leader:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Israel must open talks with Hamas

Clegg Speech 40Writing for today’s Guardian Nick Clegg has this to say about the ongoing conflict in Gaza:

The daily images of human torment in Gaza have been harrowing and heartbreaking. More than 1,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed. Were it not for international aid rations, half the population would be without food. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are seeking shelter in UN schools – and even these offer little safety.

It is difficult to deny that Israel’s military action appears disproportionate and, combined with the Gaza blockade, is resulting

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Clegg on schools, post-Gove: “We need to reset the relationship”

clegg - tardisNick Clegg has used a major interview in the TES magazine to signal a turning of the page in the Coalition Government’s relationship with teachers following the removal of Michael Gove from the Department for Education.

Clegg on Gove’s departure:

“It’s an open secret that Michael Gove and I did not agree on a number of important substantive issues … It’s an opportunity to turn a page on the somewhat acrimonious relationship that existed between the government – and the Department for Education in particular – and a number of teachers,” he said. “We need to reset the relationship. Not, I should stress, by summarily abandoning all government policy or reforms, but first and foremost by ensuring that, where there is debate and discussion between the teaching profession and government, it is conducted in a spirit and tone of mutual respect. And that we seek out every opportunity to celebrate, and not always seek to denigrate, the fantastic work that teachers do.”

Clegg on the teachers’ strikes:

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LibLink: Alex Proud – “If you believe politicians are useless, you’ll end up with useless politicians”

In the Telegraph today, Alex Proud — who self-describes as “A lapsed Liberal and a rugged, Gladstonian Liberal who likes free markets and the odd gunboat, but a Liberal nonetheless” — reflects on his recent meeting with Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes:

… sitting between Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg I was reminded for the first time in ages just how inspiring good politicians can be. They force us to think outside the box of our own petty concerns and project ourselves onto a national and even global stage. They remind us that we can change the world for the better. They actually made me feel like a teenager again – raging against Thatcher while still admiring her steeliness and her ability to bend the country to her will. Dare I say it, they even ignited a spark of nostalgia for a time before my birth, when we felt we could stand up to dictators, end war and make the next generation fairer and healthier.

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Nick Clegg “surprisingly good at Twitter”

Whether it’s posting a selfie from a football match, posing with a Princess mug, mocking the Daily Mail or looking like the perfect domestic goddess before admitting that it was Miriam who had made the very nice looking pie (for which we still need the recipe), Nick Clegg certainly has a quirky way with Twitter that. Over at the i, they’ve recognised that today by posting these highlights, commenting that:

 He seamlessly blends being part of the liberal establishment and looks genuinely happy to be at a football match.

They added that a scene with children could look very awkward if …

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Nick Clegg’s Message for Eid-al-Fitr

We join Nick Clegg in wishing those of you who are celebrating today a very happy Eid-al-Fitr.

Here is his video message, with transcript underneath:

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Clegg: Commonwealth must live up to its values and oppose LGBT discrimination

Clegg signs in at Pride HouseWe know that Nick Clegg has spoken out against discriminatory LGBT laws across the Commonwealth. He’s done so again in an interview with Gay Times magazine.  He called them after his visit to Pride House i(where the picture was taken) n Glasgow.

Shortly before he took his place in the stalls for the opening ceremony, the Deputy PM gave GT Towers a ring. “This is the Downing Street switchboard. We have the Deputy Prime Minister on the line for you,” came the call. Well, that was

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Nick Clegg: The more men speak out against FGM, the sooner we can stop it

Nick Clegg 3 - Paul WalterCosmopolitan magazine caught up with Nick Clegg at the Girl Summit the other day. They have launched their own campaign to remember the victims of “honour killings”, surely the most inappropriate way to describe cold blooded murder. The images they’ve had designed to illustrate their campaign are extremely hard hitting.

He was asked what he thought Cosmo’s young women readers could do to help end FGM and forced marriage:

…the most powerful change of all is girls and women speaking up. Not allowing this to lurk in

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Nick Clegg: I want to hardwire LGBT rights into our entire human rights agenda

Rennie and the Queen's Baton
The Commonwealth Games opens in Glasgow in a couple of hours and we’re promised quite a spectacle. All of Scotland is ready. Except perhaps Edinburgh, where the powers that be have decided, in their wisdom,  to dig up the road outside Waverley Station, causing total chaos.

Politicians have been all over the place in Scotland today, ahead of attending the Opening Ceremony.

Willie Rennie managed to get his hands on the Queen’s Baton (see the photo on the right).

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David Ward apologises for his tweet and calls for more action by world community to end humanitarian crisis in Gaza

David WardDavid Ward has apologised for last night’s tweet,  saying that he does not condone firing rockets into Israel. Here’s his statement in full:

I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza.

I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.

However, while I defend the right of Israel to exist and defend itself, I will continue to speak out for the rights of the Palestinian people who are facing untold suffering. More must be done by the world community to end this humanitarian crisis and protect the families living in Gaza. I can understand their plight and desperation.

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In Full: Nick Clegg’s speech to the Girl Summit

girlsummitlogoIt’s hard to imagine the event that took place in London today happening 20 years ago. Yes, of course, we knew about Female Genital Mutilation and Child and Enforced Marriage, but it wasn’t a mainstream political issue. Now, we’re seeing concerted global action, and the UK Government is involved up to its eyeballs, as Julian Huppert told us earlier. I couldn’t have imagined Mrs Thatcher or Sir Geoffrey Howe talking openly about the need to tackle these issues. But today, David Cameron, Philip Hammond, Theresa May, Justine Greening and Nick Clegg were all present at the Girl Summit. Here is Nick Clegg’s speech which closed the proceedings.

Take some time tonight not just to read this, though. Have a look through the Girl Summit Twitter feed and look at some of the stories and experiences that were shared, of girls as young as 12 pulled out of school and forced to marry. Read about how this problem is particularly bad at the moment in the Syrian refugee camps. It’s harrowing, but you also get a glimpse of all the work being done globally to bring these practices to an end. Today’s summit must only be a staging post in a much longer journey and now that the issue has hit the political mainstream, it must not be allowed to fade until it’s sorted.

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The Lib Dems’ ‘bedroom tax’ U-turn: new poll on what the voters think about it

Spare Bedroom Photo by Flack JackThe Lib Dems announced a few days ago the party’s 2015 manifesto would propose reform of the ‘bedroom tax’ / ‘spare room subsidy’, which would means no tenant would have any of their housing benefit withdrawn unless they had turned down an offer of a smaller property.

It was a long overdue climbdown – as I wrote in April 2013: “The principle of the ‘bedroom tax’, then — to try and maximise the availability of social housing and reduce the chronic waiting lists — is

photo by:
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  • User Avataralec dauncey 21st Sep - 11:57pm
    Federalism demands either an English Parliament or Regional English federal entities. There really does not seem to be a demand for actual 'state' level entities...
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    @simon Hunt I absolutely agree but this issue transcends everything. Cameron' s duplicity over our pledge to the Scottish People has made me ashamed to...
  • User AvatarSimon Hunt 21st Sep - 10:25pm
    Seems a bit rich for a senior Lib Dem to be blaming the 'old parties' for broken promises and a disconnect from Westminster. Paddy may...
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    "(1) The three party leaders neglected to get the permission of their parties to do what they did." [Sesenco 21st Sep '14 - 7:18pm] They...
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    David Allen. I've heard variation on the Tories will barnstorm into power if we do this or don't that for years. The fact is they...
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    PR? Ah this is so unEnglish!