Tag Archives: nick clegg

What Lib Dem Voice members think about Nick Clegg stepping down as leader

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of the General Election results. Some 1065 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Was Nick Clegg right in standing down on Friday?

Posted in LDV Members poll | 76 Comments

Opinion: What does Nick do next?

Given our new position in parliament with eight MPs, we’ll be handing out multiple portfolios to whoever can possibly take them – and I suspect, Lords, AMs and MSPs as well, where necessary. This is by no means a bad thing. We have fantastic members in all parliamentary institutions, and the devolved ones in particular could do with being taken more seriously. The only issue being they cannot then hold their respective ministers to account. The main question that strikes me now though is with a more or less inevitable EU referendum and being the most unapologetically pro-EU party – who takes the EU portfolio?

It has been suggested that Nick could lead the ‘In’ campaign in such a referendum, I assume doing a similar job as Alistair Darling did for Better Together. On paper, I can’t imagine anyone more qualified despite the fact I don’t think any such unified campaign being a good idea. For the purposes of this article however, I’ll work with the idea. For the merits that are pointed out in the above article;

Throughout his time in government he was an enormous asset to Cameron in international diplomacy, especially – but not exclusively – with Europe. Foreign policy was never Cameron’s forte, either as leader of the Opposition or during his first term as PM. “Abroad” was where Cameron made most of his misjudgements – all by himself.

There are few people better qualified on foreign policy and in particular Europe than Clegg. I’m hesitant to mention Tony Blair, setting aside one major caveat, perhaps a close rivalry. For obvious reasons, Blair doesn’t even make the short list for such a hypothetical position.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Video: Young activists say thanks to Nick Clegg

The production values aren’t maybe the slickest, but that doesn’t matter.  This heartfelt video made by young activists shows what Nick’s leadership has meant to them. Some people have agreed with Nick more than others over the years, but there is no doubt that there is much to thank him for.

Enjoy.

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LibLink: David Steel – Six ways Nick Clegg steered the Liberal Democrats to disaster

On the Guardian Comment is Free, David Steel has a must-read article with remarkably perspicacious observations:

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Opinion: Dear Nick…

Dear Nick

Can I start by saying that possibly unlike the rest of the party right now, I actually feel a surge of optimism.

I have been a LibDem voter since the last election and an active supporter for all of 18 months.

I started off sceptically. My husband had found a party that mirrored his values and so had divorced Labour and set his sights on the LibDems.

I was a little overwhelmed.  I hadn’t been indoctrinated at my mother’s knee so felt something of an outsider who didn’t know the history, in jokes, culture, or people.

However when I attended conference and actually experienced policy making first hand things started to change.  Here was genuine debate, all angles considered and joy of joys voted on by party members!  I had a voice!

So I supported my husband when he took the decision to stand against George Osborne, despite him already having a demanding full time job, 3 hour commute and not a hope in hell of winning!    

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Opinion: The next 5 years will bring a much greater appreciation of what we did in coalition

For the last seven years, I have had the privilege of working for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.

So I’m sure you can understand that the last 48 hours have been pretty tough. Whatever you think of the party, our politics or the decisions we took, there are currently thousands of individuals who have given blood, sweat and tears in the name of our cause who have been bluntly and brutally rejected at the ballot box.

It is a tragedy for the party and for the political cause we believe in: the belief that Britain is at its best when it is open-minded, open-hearted, tolerant and generous.

My job until Friday morning was to be Nick’s speechwriter. It’s the best job I have ever had and will probably ever have. I cannot begin to express my admiration for a man who did the right thing, took a vicious public lashing for it every day and took it all with good grace, good humour and the conviction to keep going because we had a vital job to do.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Nick Clegg resigns as leader

Nick Clegg has said that he needs to take responsibility for the “crushing” election result for the Liberal Democrats and he resigned with great dignity.

He said that the election had been crushing, much more so than he expected and he had to take responsibility for that. He then went on to quote Edinburgh Western candidate Alex Cole Hamilton’s tweet after the 2011 Scottish election. Alex said that if the price of his defeat was that no child would spend a night in an immigration detention centre again, then he accepted it with all his heart. Nick gave a passionate defence of the good things we’d done in government and said that he thought history would judge us more kindly than last night.

He then talked passionately about the need for British liberalism. He acknowledged it wasn’t faring well against identity politics and the politics of fear but it was really needed.

Fear and grievance have won. Liberalism has lost. But it is more precious than ever and we must keep fighting for it.

It is easy to imagine there is no road back. There is.

This is a very dark hour for our party but we cannot and will not allow decent liberal values to be extinguished overnight.

We’ll update this post with reaction to Nick’s resignation. I’ll write at greater length about his leadership when I’ve had some sleep, but I have huge admiration for the man. He has borne the difficulties of the last five years with dignity, good grace, humour and resilience. He has been ridiculed by vested interests from left and right. You could argue that any Liberal Democrat leader in such a position would have faced exactly the same. He’s made mistakes, from the Rose Garden to secret courts to the bedroom tax to the one that everyone associates with him. Here’s his statement in full.

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Nick Clegg wants to turn Britain into a cycling nation – and earns praise from Chris Boardman

I found out about this not because it came in in a Google alert but because a family member, who has nothing to do with politics, shared it on Facebook. That family member lives in a  key Liberal Democrat seat so I hope he’s going to do the right thing and vote for Danny on Thursday. It’s the only thing to do in Inverness if you really don’t want an SNP MP as I know he doesn’t.

This family member is a really hardcore cyclist. Ten days ago he took part in the Mallorca 312. That’s where people cycle all the way round the island of Mallorca. The first thing they encounter is a flipping great mountain range that goes down almost the entire west coast. He did the whole thing in under 14 hors, too, which was incredible, especially when you think he’s even more middle aged (by 2 months and 13 days) than I am.

Anyway, suffice to say he was impressed with Nick’s plans as revealed in Cycling Weekly and praised by none other than Chris Boardman:

The network asked parties to allocate five per cent of Britain’s transport budget to cycling and set a target for cycling to account for 10 per cent of all trips.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to nail their colours to the mast and pledge to implement everything the network is asking for,” said Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor after Clegg confirmed he is ‘very keen’ to implement the recommendations.

It’s encouraging to hear that Nick Clegg is passionate about Britain becoming a cycling nation to rival our European neighbours.

The difference is that he is actually bold enough to put some numbers and targets against this aim with measures that could have a colossal impact on how people get around.

If the Liberal Democrats form part of a new coalition we will certainly be pressing them to ensure that these ambitions form a central part of the government’s transport strategy.”

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Independent leader article argues for another Lib-Con coalition

Today’s leader article in the Independent praises Nick Clegg:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 15 Comments

ICM poll says Nick Clegg is safe in Sheffield Hallam

The Guardian reports:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 57 Comments

There is no need for Clegg to make an EU Referendum a red line. This does not signify agreement to it

I have seen some consternation amongst Lib Dems today, both in real life and online, about Nick Clegg’s remarks about an EU referendum not being  a red line for us. Many party members feel very strongly that we should not agree to something which could be very unsettling and destabilising. Having come through three years of the Scottish referendum, I am more in that camp than in the other group of activists who think we should agree to it or we’ll be seen as anti-democratic.

Before we rush to judgment, let’s have a look at what Nick actually said. From the Guardian:

I am happy to insist on my red lines – they are the ones the Liberal Democratshave put on the front page of our manifesto which are much more important than some of the other red lines other parties have chosen.”

He said he disagreed with the Tory position on the EU and said he was still committed to the act of parliament passed by the coalition which would trigger a referendum if further UK sovereignty was ceded to Brussels. But he declined to rule out rejecting Cameron’s demand for a referendum.

“It’s not my responsibility to try and stare into a crystal ball. The way this works is I set out my priorities, David Cameron sets out his, Ed Miliband sets out his. People then choose. How those red lines are or are not compatible with each other is in part dependent on the mandate that the British people give each of those parties.”

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The news story of the day

Prince William and Nick Clegg have chosen very similar attire today. Quite uncanny.

Nick Clegg Sheffield

 

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Apparently, our future depends on Nick Clegg’s eyebrows…

 

An article on the Huffngton Post looks at Nick Clegg’s communications skills. It’s all about the eyebrows, apparently:

Nick Clegg faces a virtual mission impossible in this general election campaign – but if anything can save him and his party from electoral oblivion, it’s his eyebrows.

That’s right. His eyebrows. They’re the key to understanding why, despite being a figure of derision, the deputy prime minister’s communication skills remain some of the most polished out there.

Clegg uses his eyebrows better than any of the other party leaders when he wants to use emphasis to make a point. Raising the eyebrows is a very primitive gesture indicating interest in a particular fact or statement. And Clegg always has a slightly raised eyebrow look which opens his face up.

Compare him to David Cameron, whose face is so tense he can barely muster a convincing smile. The prime minister always seems quite severe, whereas Clegg is more open facially and appears more likable as a result.

They look at other aspects of his communication skills:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Clegg wins the battle of the switchers in last night’s Question Time

An interesting snippet from the Guardian’s snap ICM poll  (22:15) after the Question Time for Leaders last night. They didn’t find ever so many people who’s minds had been changed about how they were going to vote by the event, but of those who were, most were leaning towards Nick Clegg:

Relatively few votes are likely to have been changed by the evening: only 6% of the sample indicated that their mind had been changed by what they saw, as against 87% who said it would make no difference to how they voted. Among this small sub-sample, of 79 respondents, Clegg did the best – with 32% of switchers indicating that they might now lean Lib Dem, as against 25% who said Conservative, and just 20% who said Labour.

The Independent found someone who had been impressed:

I had a message from one of Nick Clegg’s sternest critics within the party just after the debate. I have rarely heard this person say a good word about our leader. Their words to me: “Nick Clegg smashed it tonight.” If he can win this person over, the rest of the country should be a doddle.

Cameron is being tipped the winner of the event, but how can he be when he just stonewalled on the issue of welfare cuts. You wouldn’t buy a new house without knowing whether it had central heating or electricity so why  would you trust a man who has promised tax cuts for the richest but can’t tell you which of the poorest he’s going to make pay for it. Or won’t.

Posted in News | 24 Comments

We have another red line – raising the personal tax allowance to £12,500

In a move which will surprise nobody, another of those items from the front page of the manifesto has been announced as a red line in coalition negotiations with strings attached.

  • Significant progress must be made to getting to £12,500 in the first year of the next parliament, by increasing the allowance to £11,000 by April 2016.
  • This increase must be paid for fairly and cannot be funded through cuts to public services.
  • This has to be the number one tax priority of the new government. Any other tax priorities must be secondary to delivering the increase in the Personal Allowance.

So the Tories can forget any notion of cutting taxes for the rich until this has been fulfilled. What does this mean for Labour’s Mansion Tax, though? Surely you would want to bring that in at the same time? Actually, Danny Alexander clarified that. There’s not much love for Labour’s 10p tax band. You do wonder why they even thought about revisiting that one. Danny said:

Just two days ago the IFS described Labour’s proposed 10p tax rate as having a ‘miniscule effect’. Compare that to the millions of workers who will be getting their pay cheques today and will be £70 better off a month, thanks to the Liberal Democrats in government.

Nick Clegg said:

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Ashcroft poll in Hallam: Clegg within a whisker of Labour with a lot of Tory vote to squeeze

Lord Ashcroft has released a last minute poll on Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam. It’s the third he has conducted in the last 5 months. It comes with all the usual caveats on Ashcroft polls – he doesn’t mention the candidates’ names, and he has some weird methodology that he doesn’t explain to us about how he gets his final figures.

The results last month showed Labour two points ahead on 36% with Nick on 34%. The new poll shows Labour just one point ahead on 37% and Nick on 36%. The Tories are on 15%, UKIP on 7% …

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Nick Clegg replies to Coalition for Marriage with pithy tweet

 

And here’s a reminder of two very happy young men who were definitely not forced to get married…

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Clegg does human again

agenda
Nick Clegg appeared on Tom Bradby’s The Agenda on ITV last night. He was on a panel made up of satirist Rory Bremner, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and Times journalist Rachel Sylvester from the Times.

Posted in News | 20 Comments

Nick Clegg announces red line on education

Nick Clegg has announced tonight that protecting the education budget is going to be a deal breaker in any coalition negotiations and that we would not enter any coalition without ensuring that funding would be raised by £6.3 billion over the next Parliament. He told the BBC he would:

not accept under any circumstances the cuts to nurseries, to schools and to colleges that both Conservatives and now Labour have announced”.

And if we don’t get that we wouldn’t enter into a coalition in the first place,” he continued.

We are the only party to protect from cradle to college, from nursery to 19-year-olds.

In pounds and pence – per year – we will be spending £2.5bn more than Labour, £5bn more than the Tories. That is a significant difference.

Party President Sal Brinton emailed party members tonight to elaborate on Nick’s announcement:

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Opinion: Hung parliaments – a suggestion from Denmark    

 

Why is Nick Clegg ruling out options in a hung parliament?

Firstly, he has said that he would refuse to work with Labour in a government that relied on ‘life support’ from the Scottish National Party; this is reported in the Financial Times as a  blow to the chances of a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition.  I know very well that the SNP are our most dangerous opponents in Scotland – as they are also Labour’s – but the fact remains that these three parties’ policies have more in common than any of them do with the Conservatives.

photo by: Francisco Diez
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Nick Clegg’s statement on the SNP doesn’t preclude voting with them

There has been much revolution and intertwinement of under-garments over Nick Clegg’s statement about the SNP yesterday. In its refined form he talked about “not entering into a post-election coalition that relies on life support from the SNP or UKIP”. Earlier he talked about no entering into “arrangements” which involved the SNP.

This is all a bit of a non-event or non-story.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

Nick Clegg, coalitions and the SNP: too much egg in the pudding?

Nick Clegg has been talking about how the Liberal Democrats will not be part of a coalition which has to rely on the support of the SNP or UKIP.

He outlined his position in an email to members this afternoon:

You’ll see in the news today some comments I made about us not entering into a post-election coalition that relies on life support from the SNP or UKIP.

Over the next 12 days the media are going to become more and more obsessed with who is prepared to do a deal with who. This only goes to underline what we all know – nobody is going to win this election – which makes the number of seats we win even more important.

As we have always said, the party with the most votes and the most seats in this election has the first right to seek to form a Government. The British people would rightly question the legitimacy of a coalition that didn’t allow the party with the largest number of seats and votes the opportunity to attempt to form a Government first.

I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats have proved we can form a strong and stable coalition government, able to bring prosperity to Britain.

Just like we would not put UKIP in charge of Europe, we are not going to put the SNP in charge of Britain – a country they want to rip apart.

We’re a democratic party. In the end, the decision to form a coalition rests not with the leader but with the party.

So let’s not get too distracted – I’m going to spend the next 12 days supporting our candidates and making sure we win as many seats as possible. I know you will as well.

If you’re not already helping a target seat, why not sign up to make some phone calls from home this week and help get out our vote? Every call you make will help one of our fantastic candidates.

Thank you for everything you’ve already done, and everything you’re going to do in the next 12 days.

Nick

The fact that he’s done such an email to members shows that he realises that this will be a controversial stance. Aren’t we, after all, the party that believes in coalition and if we’re doing politics differently, should we not reject the binary “one big party/one little party approach. Should we not be championing a more inclusive, pluralist approach, after all?

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Nick Clegg’s message to the National Union of Students Conference

All party leaders (apart from Nigel Farage) were invited to submit a short video to NUS for their recent conference. Given the Greens supposed popularity among students, it was, shall we say, surprising that they didn’t put one in.

Nick Clegg’s did not shy away from the issue of tuition fees, but he did point out how much less people would be paying per month than under the old system, giving them more money at the time when they needed it most, when they were starting out on their working lives. He went on to talk about 3 issues which showed what the Liberal Democrats offered young people – on drugs, mental health and help with housing costs.

You can watch all the videos submitted here. Nick is on first. It was a pretty reasonable effort in the face of NUS’s unpleasant £40,000 Liar, Liar advertising campaign. It’s worth pointing out that however badly we handled the tuition fees issue, what we did when confronted with a situation when there was no money left, we spent it on breaking down barriers for disadvantaged people. A generation of kids from poorer backgrounds are already benefitting from the extra a money Nick Clegg sent their way to help them in school and from the extra year in nursery.

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Get set for #cleggleg 2 at 10pm tonight

Nick Clegg on the Last Leg 8After the triumph of his first appearance on The Last Leg in January, Nick Clegg returns to the sofa tonight. It’s a risk, for sure. Can he repeat the success of the last time when Twitter was full of praise for his sense of fun and natural manner? Remember when he persuaded Alex Brooker to vote by comparing it to a visit to Nando’s?

As I wrote at the time:

Well, people liked him because he was natural and funny and entirely himself. No other political leader in Britain could have come out of that unscathed. If you meet him in person, you have to be trying really hard to dislike him. It’s a pity we can’t get him onto 40 million doorsteps.

We are all invited to send him our questions via Twitter?

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Nick Clegg outlines pay rises for public sector workers

Public sector workers would be guaranteed pay rises of at least the rate of inflation if the Liberal Democrat had their way. Nick Clegg is to give the details of the plan today. This would mean a minimum pay rise of £350 for a nurse on £25,000, £420 for a police officer on £30,000 and nearly £500 for a teacher on £35,000 over the next two years. After that, the government would recommend to pay review bodies that they give above inflation increases so that wages can rise in real terms.

Outlining the plan, Nick Clegg said:

Workers across the public sector have made enough sacrifices. You have done your bit to help get the country back on track.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats believe it is time to end the era of pay restraint.

Under our plans, we will give all public sector workers – from teachers and nurses to social workers and police officers – pay rises that at least keep pace with the cost of living every year.

No more pay freezes or below inflation pay rises. We can do this because with the Liberal Democrats, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For two years pay in the public sector will, at the very least, keep pace with prices. After that, we will make sure it rises above inflation – giving millions of workers a real terms pay rise for the first time in years.

If you are a public sector worker worried Tory cuts threaten your job, or Labour’s refusal to deal with the deficit means another year of pay cuts, then only a vote for the Lib Dems will guarantee you a fair pay deal.

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The glamour of life on the campaign trail

From the Sunday Times Shippers Forecast (£)

The Forecast’s favourite ginger spin doctor, James McGrory of the Lib Dems, looked even more dishevelled than usual after a night bunked up at Nick Clegg’s constituency home. “I was stuck in a tiny child’s bed and Nick was ages in the shower,” he explained.

Clegg, who has quit smoking, has an incentive for McGrory — who still puffs away like a chimney — not to wash. “I just have to sit next to him,” Clegg told me. “It’s nicotine consumption by osmosis.

In a separate interview in the same paper, Nick talks about the impact on his children of his career:

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Beware of Blukip

blukip

 

Nick Clegg has today been warning voters to Beware Blukip.

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Manifesto: A clever shifting of the coalition question

Nick Clegg 2015 manifesto photo by Liberal DemocratsWhen I first realised that the manifesto launch was going to take place in a nightclub, I was slightly concerned, given last year’s lacklustre launch in the Ministry of Sound. Lessons have very clearly been learned from that launch. The backdrop was brightly coloured, the place was full of people. Even watching on the television, the atmosphere was clearly buzzing. One reporter even referred to it as “the love lounge.”

Until the technology failed him and cut the event short, Nick Clegg was on top form. If this party ever needed a leader at the top of his game, it’s now and he delivered. He set out in convincing form why he and not Nigel Farage or the SNP needs to be in the next government. His was a message of optimism underpinned with responsibility. For me, the “enabling everyone to get on in life”, which later morphed into Opportunity for Everyone, is the most important part of our message, and it was elevated to centre stage today:

At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life. We want to tear down the barriers that stop you from reaching your potential. We want to smash the glass ceilings that keep you from achieving what you want to achieve. Your talent and your hard work, not the circumstances of your birth, should decide what you can be.

When we formed the Coalition in 2010, three quarters of our manifesto became part of the Government’s agenda. The priorities on its front page: fairer taxes; investment in the poorest children in schools; fixing the economy; and political reform, became central to what the Coalition Government did.

That’s why this manifesto matters. It is a programme for a liberal Government with decency, tolerance and generosity at its heart.

That for me is the best bit of his speech. The heart and brain stuff is what everyone is talking about, with as many Wizard of Oz comparisons as you like, but remember that that leaves us as the little lion who finds out that it actually does have loads of courage.

While Cameron has been telling Middle England that the only way to protect themselves from the nasty SNP doing ever-more ridiculously implausible deals with Labour is to vote for his party, Clegg has come back today and told those same voters: It’s ok, I’m here, I’ve done it before, you know I’m sensible. He’s presented his record, showing how he kept his word and delivered his priorities from last time and outlining how he intends to build on that over the next five years. Values, consistency and clarity may yet prove compelling for the electorate. 

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Video: Nick Clegg on the Manifesto. It’s all about opportunity

 Here’s Nick Clegg talking from the back of the Big Yellow Bus about the main theme of our manifesto:

Opportunity for ALL. That's what our manifesto is about. That's what the Liberal Democrats are about

Posted by Nick Clegg on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Nick Clegg’s foreword to the Liberal Democrat manifesto

You can read the whole manifesto here but here is Nick Clegg’s foreword setting out its themes and how it builds on what the Liberal Democats have already delivered in government.

Dear friend,

When Liberal Democrats launched our 2010 General Election

manifesto, few people expected that many of the policies it contained would be implemented by the next Government. But that’s what happened: three quarters of those policies formed the backbone of the Coalition’s programme.

Front-page commitments like raising the Income Tax threshold and investing in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium became flagship Coalition policies.

With Liberal Democrats in Government to deliver them, those policies have started the work of building a stronger economy and
a fairer society, with opportunity spread across the whole United Kingdom.
Despite tough economic circumstances, those policies are making a difference to people’s lives and helping make Britain a freer, greener, more liberal country.

But our mission has only just begun. You can’t build a stronger economy and a fairer society, and spread opportunity to every citizen, in five years.

For the first time, this is a Liberal Democrat manifesto that builds on a record of policies delivered in national government.

We can say we will finish the job of balancing the books, but do so fairly, because we have started that job in this Parliament.
We can say we will cut taxes for working people by raising the tax-free allowance to £12,500 because we have raised the tax-free allowance every year since 2010.

We can say we will protect funding for education from nursery to 19 because we have protected schools funding and invested in early years education in Government.

We can say we will increase health funding and invest in mental

health because we have protected the NHS budget in Government and introduced the first ever waiting-time standards for mental health.

And we can say we will protect our environment because we have almost trebled the amount of electricity from renewable energy in this Parliament.

In our fast-changing world, the fundamental question political parties face is: do we want to continue to be an open society, confident and optimistic about our place in the world, or do we want to become a closed one, increasingly insular and backward-looking? For Liberal Democrats there is only ever one answer: we want an optimistic, open-hearted and outward-looking United Kingdom.

In Government for the next five years, Liberal Democrats will continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. This manifesto sets out how.

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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 24th May - 3:42pm
    We know what we stand for, it is in the preamble to the constitution. Every word was debated in detail at the time. It has...
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    David-1 24th May '15 - 11:49am "The Party should be listening to those who were consistently right during the last five years and not to...
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    Paul Barker: The real problem is our policy to hold a referendum in the event of treaty change that transfers powers to Brussels. Do we...
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    We have a U-turn from the Tories already, the new Business Secretary will not be trying to sack people for no reason at all. We...
  • User Avatarwayne simmons 24th May - 3:16pm
    Glad someone else agrees that the whole Dr Who thing is a bit overrated :)
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 24th May - 3:15pm
    Except, Dave, that part of our core values is a commitment to rehabilitation.
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