Tag Archives: nick clegg

Video: Nick Clegg’s interview on LBC

Nick Clegg was interviewed on LBC this morning. Some highlights:

  • He had no idea what was coming. He thought that 20 seats would have been a bad result:
  • He was blindsided by the exit poll and first thing he did was have a cigarette
  • He doesn’t regret for one millisecond going into government
  • Labour in Sheffield laughed and cheered when Vince Cable lost his seat
  • He’s immensely proud at stats showing narrowing of attainment gap because of pupil premium
  • He put defeat solely down to Tory scaremongering about SNP and SNP surge in Scotland
  • Public have been “really generous” to him since election result
  • Predictably, he didn’t back anyone for leader, saying we have two brilliant candidates
  • He wants to serve his constituents and support the new leader
  • There was a horrible phone call from someone asking about his personal security and insinuating he didn’t look after Charles Kennedy enough. Nick gave him really short shrift, quite deservedly.
  • A call from a new member, who had actually voted Tory as a tactical vote and was horrified at the result so joined Lib Dems 2 days later
  • He said make-up of Parliament was “dotty” but Labour and Tories would block any attempt to reform it unless they were forced into it
  • He wants to speak out on civil liberties (and will be opposing Snoopers’ Charter in Commons today), EU and mental health

Here’s the video. Enjoy.

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Nick Clegg back on LBC at 9am today

For over two years, Nick Clegg owned that Thursday morning 9 am slot on LBC as he spent half an hour taking calls from the public, It was a brave thing to do and he did it really well.

This morning, he’s back there in what’s billed as his first major interview since the election.

You can watch it here and we’ll certainly be discussing it later.

What are his plans? Will he get involved in the EU referendum campaign? And he ‘s bound to be asked, as the ballot papers hit members’ doorsteps, what he thinks of the leadership contest. Don’t expect him to endorse anyone, though.

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Guardian revelations about Clegg, Cable and the Lib Dem election catastrophe

Well, as the ballot papers get sent out in the leadership election, the Guardian publishes a series of revelations tonight about the last year of the coalition and the aftermath of the European elections.

Apparently Nick Clegg was ready to resign in the wake of the European elections and was talked out of it by, among others, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron. Certainly at the time, the feedback that Federal Executive members gave at our post Euro disaster meeting was that there was no appetite in the wider party for a leadership election, but they did want things to change.

Vince Cable, it transpires, did know about the Oakeshott polls.

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In full: Lib Dem MPs’ Commons tributes to Kennedy

We’ve already posted the video of the tributes to Charles Kennedy from the Commons on Wednesday and we’ve also posted Nick’s in full. We thought it might be useful to put the text of all five of the Lib Dem tributes, including Nick’s, in one post for ease of reference and posterity. They all did Charles proud. Greg and Mark talked about the way he really connected with ordinary people and about his concern for others. Norman spoke about his unfailing courtesy in his dealings with people, highlighting the need to tackle the stigma around mental ill health and emphasising Charles’ passions for internationalism and social justice. Tim’s emotional tribute spoke about Charles the persuader, how he could change minds and really tug on the heartstrings. Nick’s was just beautiful, and I particularly liked the memory he shared about their fly smoke outside the National Liberal Club where they discussed the Coalition. In years to come, I hope that Charles’ son and those who were close to him find great comfort and pride. To be universally admired in our tribal politics takes some doing.

I guess I should advise that if you are going to read all five of them in one sitting, you will need a cup of tea and a box of tissues.

So, here they all are, starting with:

Greg Mulholland

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In full: Nick Clegg’s Commons tribute to Charles Kennedy

Nick Clegg gave this tribute to Charles Kennedy in the Commons today:

A few days ago I got in touch with Charles because I was looking for a telephone number of someone we both knew.

His friends will not be surprised to learn that we were texting each other. He was notoriously bad at answering his phone but famously fluent by SMS.

He said he didn’t have the number on him – but he would get back to me this week – because he was spending time with his beloved son, Donald, during his half term break.

While we all remember Charles as a formidable parliamentarian and a much-loved politician, it is worth remembering that he retained his greatest pride and devotion for his family. He lived next door to his parents and latterly his brother in his grandfather’s croft house near Fort William and cared for them through sickness and old age.

Much though he was wedded to politics all his life, I think Charles would have wanted to be remembered as a kind and loving father, brother and son first; and an accomplished politician second.

And my thoughts and condolences are with all his family and friends today.

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The Liberals Putin can’t bear to have in Russia

I was very amused by this tweet from former Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber Edward McMillan-Scott.

If you look at the list, you’ll see that Edward, who was a powerful voice for human rights in the European Parliament, is viewed as more dangerous than Sir Malcolm Rifkind who was chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Edward is at 45 and Rifkind is 16 places further down at 61. It shows off your values when you are more horrified by people who want your citizens to have rights than someone who’s scrutinising the people who might be spying on you.

Edward is not the only dangerous liberal on that list, though:

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In full: Nick Clegg responds to the Queen’s Speech

The Liberal Democrats worked hard to ensure that the coalition government’s agenda had a clear thread of liberalism running through it – from the priority we gave to mental health and the green agenda, to creating the pupil premium and protecting our civil liberties.

So it is dispiriting – if pretty unsurprising – to see how quickly, instead of building on those achievements, the new Conservative Government is turning its back on that liberal stance.

The human rights we hold dear, our right to privacy in an online age, our future as an open-minded, outward-looking country, are all hanging in the balance again because of the measures announced today.

It is clear, too, that the previous Government’s commitment to fairness is also weakened.

There was little in today’s speech to help the poorest and the most vulnerable; not enough to improve social care; and no plan to build the Garden cities and 300,000 new homes a year our young people need for the future.

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Nick Clegg to respond to Queen’s Speech on behalf of the Liberal Democrats

Outgoing leader Nick Clegg will lead for the party in responding to the Queen’s Speech. This must feel quite strange for him. It’s the first Queen’s Speech in 5 years that he hasn’t had a hand in shaping. All the Tory policies he kicked into touch will be in there bringing every decent liberal out in hives.

Even if they do end up delaying the repeal of the Human Rights Act, there are bound to be all manner of civil liberties infringements, future welfare reform and ineffective housing plans to deal with.

Nick says:

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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 | 78 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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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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