Tag Archives: nick harvey

Lib Dems hit back against free school lunch attacks. Clegg on Mail: “utterly wrong”. Laws on Cummings: “utter balls”

daily mail free school lunchesToday’s Daily Mail front page was dominated by an attack on the Lib Dem plans to bring in free school lunches for all infants: “Free school meals fiasco,” it screamed.

Nick Clegg quickly refuted the Mail’s attack in a lengthy post on the party’s website – here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats are never going to be loved in the pages of the Daily Mail: our open, liberal and progressive brand of politics tends to be at odds with their editorial worldview (to put it mildly). However,

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A longer read for the weekend: Nick Harvey on how “the whole model of local Government funding is now fundamentally broken”

There was a mini-Lib Dem rebellion this week, when five MPs – Tim Farron, Nick Harvey, Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert and Adrian Sanders – all voted against this year’s funding settlement between the Treasury and local government.

As the New Statesman’s George Eaton points out here, “By the end of 2015-16, the budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government will have been reduced by a remarkable 60.6 per cent, with several years of austerity still ahead.” But Whitehall will have been emboldened by this recent ICM poll highlighted by the BBC showing 60% of the public …

Posted in Local government and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Free school lunches for infants: 60% of Lib Dems back Nick Clegg’s policy

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’ve been publishing the full results.

(There were a couple of results I ran out of time to publish during the Christmas holiday period – I’m publishing them this week.)

On Saturday, I reported the results of what party members think about school structures. Yesterday, we looked at whether you thought teachers should have formal professional qualifications and if the National …

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Three scenarios for the 2015 election based on current polling: which do you think looks most plausible?

In 18 months we’ll know the result of the 2015 general election.

Forecasting is a mug’s game – especially because there are an even greater number of variables this time than usual: a governing coalition of two parties with one established centre-left opposition, Labour, and an insurgent right-wing party, Ukip.

But plenty are having a go at it anyway. Lib Dem MP Sir Nick Harvey reckons Labour has the next election in the bag. Psephologist Lewis Baston thinks we’re headed for a second hung parliament. And pollster Sir Bob Worcester believes the Lib Dems are destined for meltdown.

Here’s my quick ‘n’ dirty analysis based on the polling trends. What I’ve looked at is Labour’s lead over the Conservatives according to the monthly average of opinion polls under three different scenarios.

(Huge caveat straight off: the extent of the polling science on display here is me playing around on an Excel spreadsheet.)

Scenario 1

The Conservatives hit rock bottom in May 2012. The omnishambles budget and its desperate U-turns were followed by a poor set of local election results. There have been dips since then, notably when it looked like the economy might plunge into what was being billed as a triple-dip recession at the start of 2013, but never quite matching that period.

Taking May 2012 as the peak of Labour’s lead, what would happen if the linear trend since then were to continue through to May 2015? This is what:

polling trends 2015 - ST 2

Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , and | 51 Comments

Free school meals for infants – the controversy over Nick Clegg’s pledge rumbles on

Clegg WatfordI wrote yesterday about Sir Nick Harvey’s forecast that the next election is Labour’s to lose. But there was another issue he focused on in his Huffngton Post interview – Nick Clegg’s conference pledge that all 5-7 year-olds should have free school meals, regardless of their family’s income status.

“It was absolutely astonishing. It came from nowhere,” he exclaims. “It seemed to be part of some coalition deal where it was meant to make the Lib Dems feel better about allowing the Tories to progress their wretched married

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Is Nick Harvey right that “Labour is on course to win the next election”?

Nick Harvey MPSir Nick Harvey, Lib Dem MP for North Devon (and former defence minister), has little doubt who’s going to win the next election, as he tells the Huffington Post:

… Harvey has a “clear sense” of what he thinks is going to happen. And even more than that, he is “astonished” that few others within the Westminster Village share his view.

“Stand fast a game changing event, which is always possible in the febrile political era in which we live, Labour is on course to win the next election,” he

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Did Nick Harvey turn down the job of Lib Dem chief whip?

nick harvey weaponSir Nick Harvey, summarily sacked as defence minister by Nick Clegg a year ago, was offered a job in government at last week’s reshuffle — at least according to James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday:

The Lib Dem leader had hoped Nick Harvey would be his Chief Whip. But, to Clegg’s surprise, Harvey turned down the job. ‘Clegg was gobsmacked,’ one Lib Dem tells me. The Deputy Prime Minister didn’t expect him to reject an invitation to join his inner circle. Harvey had been sounded out about taking

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Opinion: Looking forward to a post-Trident future

Amid general agreement on the thrust of Julie Smith’s Committee’s excellent paper, and gratitude that Nick Harvey and Danny Alexander have delivered unprecedented transparency on the UK’s nuclear options, next Tuesday’s debate on defence offers two sharply differing views of the future of Britain’s nuclear future.

On the one hand, there is Nick Harvey’s proposal to retain the Trident missiles, their warheads and associated infrastructure, but reducing our purchase of new Trident submarines from four to two. This means that from the early 2030s, the UK will no longer be able to mount the standing patrols of Continuous At-Sea Deterrence (CASD) …

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No, Nicola, a vote against independence is not a vote for Trident

Writing blog posts based on the tail end of a radio interview you have caught  is fraught with danger. However, I want to take issue with something Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

She had been asked about today’s Guardian story which suggests that the Trident base at Faslane could be designated UK territory in a way similar to the sovereign military bases in Cyprus for a temporary period post independence.

She said that if the UK Government wanted to keep weapons of mass destruction, it could do so, but Scotland would just have voted against Trident, for independence.

On the ballot …

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Philip Hammond on Coalition with the Lib Dems: horses for courses?

philip hammond house magazineThere’s an interesting interview with Tory defence secretary Philip Hammond in this week’s House magazine. Two snippets in particular will be of interest to Lib Dem readers.

Let’s start with the defence department and horses. In the lead-up to the spending review when tensions were spilling over between the treasury and the spending departments, Danny Alexander remarked in an interview: “Of course, in a department that has more horses than it has tanks, there are room for efficiency savings without affecting our overall military output.”

Danny’s jibe stung …

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Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the latest campaign news (12 Feb)

Here’s a round-up of news from the past 24 hours in the Eastleigh by-election…

mike thornton eastleigh jon aylwinNick Clegg offered Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton his full backing on a visit to Eastleigh on Monday. Here‘s the Guardian report:

“I am confident we will keep hold of this seat but not because I say so but because the people of Eastleigh are telling us that,” said Clegg. Focusing on the party’s local dominance – it is the only place in the country where every councillor at district and county level is a Liberal Democrat – he said voters would focus on its “record of action” and said the party had “to be quite clear where our differences lie”. … Speaking after meeting students at the local college, Clegg said: “Cutting council tax, promoting more apprenticeships, creating jobs, protecting green spaces – those are things that Liberal Democrats haven’t just talked about, they are things they have actually done and it’s a record of which we are tremendously proud.”

It’s not just Nick Clegg who’s been doing his Eastleigh stint, though. Pictured above (with thanks to Jon Aylwin) is North Devon MP Nick Harvey out canvassing with Mike and some of his supporters.

Want to join the hundreds of Lib Dems who are doing their bit to help get Mike elected as the next Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh on 28th February? Here’s a reminder of how YOU can make a difference:

  • Volunteer to help in Eastleigh itself
  • Make phone calls for the party if you can’t get there in person
  • Give a donation to help fund the campaign.
  • Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

    Trident: it’s déjà vu all over again

    The latest flurry of excitement about the Trident nuclear deterrent — as the Daily Mail puts it with typical tabloid restraint: Tories and LibDems at war over contract to build Trident sub: £350m deal is jumping the gun, warns Clegg — is one of those stories which pops up twice a year. The last time was six months ago, in May, when the Ministry of Defence announced £350m-worth of design contracts for the Trident successor submarines had been signed. As then Lib Dem defence minister Nick Harvey pointed out on LDV at the time:

    is being portrayed as the Coalition Government moving a step closer to a

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

    What on earth is the Mail up to?

    Defence Minister: Clegg axed me because I won’t support attack on Iran – was the headline of a Mail story yesterday, which began:

    A Liberal Democrat Defence Minister has claimed he was sacked to avoid a damaging Coalition split over a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

    Former Armed Forces Minister Sir Nick Harvey told friends that he was fired in the reshuffle to allow Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to sign Britain up to

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

    Tim Farron MP writes… My thoughts on the Cabinet reshuffle

    The first proper reshuffle for our party since the 1920s was always going to be a weird situation. I am extremely sad to see Sarah Teather, Nick Harvey, Paul Burstow and Andrew Stunell leave the government. Sarah’s work on the Pupil Premium will leave an outstanding legacy for the next generation, Andrew’s work on releasing empty homes to meet the needs of those in desperate circumstances will make the difference to thousands of people and Nick Harvey’s tenacity in ensuring that a like for like replacement for Trident is kicked off into the long grass has been a quite immense …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 30 Comments

    Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours

    Nick Harvey’s had a tough week. On Tuesday his ministerial career was brought to an abrupt and surprising halt when Nick Clegg told him he was ‘trading’ his post of armed forces minister for a Lib Dem foothold in another department.

    The North Devon MP has been a victim of his own success. So shrewdly has he overseen the Trident nuclear weapons review — the crunch defence decision which divides Lib Dems and Tories — that it is highly likely to produce more effective, better value deterrent options, with a final decision not needed until 2016, after the next …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

    Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

    I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

    So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

    Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

    Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

    Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

     

    Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

    What the three departing Lib Dem ministers have said as they leave government

    You can catch up on the rolling LibDemVoice live-blog of today’s reshuffle here and the current list of official Lib Dem appointments here.

    Three Lib Dem ministers are at the time of writing departing the Coalition Government for the backbenches. Each of them has issued statements as follows:

    Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central:

    It has been a huge privilege to serve as an education minister in the coalition government over the last two and a half years. I’m hugely proud of the part I have been able to play in ending child detention, and rolling out the

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

    What do we Lib Dems want from a reshuffle?

    While the massed ranks of the mostly right-wing political commentariat obsess about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle, Lib Dem interest has been relatively muted.

    In one sense this isn’t surprising.

    As it stands, 18 of the party’s 57 MPs are on the government payroll, so Nick Clegg has little room for manouevre even among the middle ranks of government. And with only five cabinet positions (four if you exclude Nick himself as Deputy Prime Minister) there’s even less wiggle-room at the top table. Nonetheless, this reshuffle will most likely be …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 39 Comments

    In other news… Trident, MI6, DECC, defections & other stories

    Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

    Coalition set for new split on cut-price Trident plan (Scotsman)

    COALITION splits over Britain’s nuclear deterrent are set to be reopened after an internal Ministry of Defence review suggested a slimmed-down version of the £25 billion Trident replacement could be an option. … The report, led by Lib Dem armed forces minister Nick Harvey, looks set to reopen coalition divisions with many Tory back-benchers concerned that Britain’s replacement for Trident could end up being sacrificed for political reasons. However, with final decisions not

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    Nick Harvey writes on yesterday’s Army re-structuring announcement

    With Britain’s combat role in Afghanistan coming to an end, so ends the predictability of our Army’s main effort. Looking beyond 2014, we need to restructure our armed forces to face an increasingly uncertain world: ready to intervene to protect our national interest, with the agile and adaptable ability to project force and prevent conflict, as set out in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

    So yesterday’s Army 2020 announcement was about restructuring the British Army for the future. Contrary to many claims, it is not about personnel cuts.

    Of course, we cannot avoid the fact that the economic situation …

    Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

    The Independent View: The Trident review risks being a damp squib

    This week the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced a £1.1 billion contract with Rolls Royce for building nuclear submarine reactors. This has caused quite some controversy and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was immediately called to answer an Urgent Question in the Commons on the implications of this spending and whether it preempts a future decision on whether or not to replaceBritain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

    The contract itself will see £500m spent on the refurbishment of Rolls Royce’s Raynesway plant in Derby, while £600m will go on building new nuclear reactor cores to powerBritain’s submarines. Most of these will be …

    Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 4 Comments

    LDV Caption Competition: Nick Harvey “Pleased to see me?” Edition

    There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

    Here’s Lib Dem defence minister Nick Harvey ensuring British troops are tooled-up. What do you think might be being said or thought by or about him?

    And the winner of our last caption comp is…

    Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Clegg at Leveson “Through the glasses darkly” Edition.

    Posted in Caption Comp | 22 Comments

    Opinion: A response to the Minister on Joint Strike Fighters

    We can all welcome Nick Harvey’s work with Phillip Hammond in producing what appears to be the first balanced MoD budget since at least the 1997 Defence Review: time will tell if their projections hold water. However, Mr. Harvey’s article is redolent of MoD Press Office spin, and has several important elements that need debating. Moving back to the vertical take off and landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – known as the F-35B – is hardly the panacea the Minister pretends: there were several reasons that the military warmly welcomed the switch to a conventional cats ‘n’ traps …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

    Nick Harvey MP writes on Carrier strike capability

    Earlier this month the Defence Secretary announced that the MoD’s budget was in balance, for the first time in a generation. A number of tough but necessary decisions meant that the £38bn black hole inherited from the last Labour government had finally been eliminated – a major part of which was the decision to deliver Carrier Strike capability using a different type of Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jet because of unacceptable cost growth and project delays. In particular, the Government has decided to change the type of jet which will fly off the Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – from …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

    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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    Which of the five Lib Dem reshuffle options will Nick Clegg pick?

    Five scenarios for your delectation:

    The Lib Dem night of the long beards

    The drastic, dramatic and painful option. Clegg says the Liberal Democrats need David Laws’s expertise and media savvy at the heart of economic decision making, restoring him to Chief Secretary to the Treasury and expressing tearful regret that Danny Alexander is off out of the Cabinet, with a resting place as a new Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Cabinet Office where he will not have to handle quite so many tricky TV interviews.

    Education, education, education

    Too problematic to bring back Laws in a tax and cut role? Bring him …

    Posted in Humour and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 45 Comments

    Jasper Gerard writes… The Clegg Coup – and the serialisation horror

    To those who fear the future marching over the horizon, this must feel suspiciously like enemy occupation. Liberal Democrats, with their new and sinister continental ways, have seized power. If conservative opinion believed it had the measure of Labour, it can’t quite get to grips with Britain’s newest rulers. For not only are Liberal Democrats in office for the first time, they have given us an apparently foreign form of government, a coalition.

    Traditionalists have to trawl back more than a century for the homely comfort of precise precedent. Such has been the opposition to peacetime partnership, where two united parties …

    Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 37 Comments

    How coalition government means better government

    Last night I headed over to Enfield to hear Nick Harvey talked to a packed restaurant of Liberal Democrats about his experiences of a minister. It was an impressive turnout from one of our smaller local parties in London and an impressive speech from Nick, who cut his political teeth in the borough.

    One part was about how coalition government made for better government. Nick Harvey gave the example of how troops were deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

    As a defence minister learning about one of the most important issues facing him and colleagues, he had wanted to get his head …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

    LibLink | Nick Harvey: Forget a cyber Maginot line

    Nick Harvey, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, writes over at Comment is Free about potential threats to digital networks, and calls for a global consensus on cyberspace security:

    Threats do not just come from malicious viruses or organised criminals stealing people’s identity or money. Digital networks are now at the heart of our transport, power and communications systems, and our economy as a whole. This reliance brings the capacity for warfare to cyberspace. The consequences of a well-planned, well-executed attack against our digital infrastructure could be catastrophic. In this way, a single networked laptop might be as effective

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    Recent Comments

    • User AvatarPaul In Wokingham 26th Oct - 9:14am
      @Paul Barker - Overwhelming evidence requires us to reverse the order of your statements. It is much more logical to say that the "Anti-Clegg/We are...
    • User AvatarJohnTilley 26th Oct - 8:51am
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/04/young-politicised-jobless-jarrow-march Not all protesters are media luvvies.
    • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 26th Oct - 8:38am
      the tory press is already conducting its sacking of left-leaning collective-action bastions in advance of the GE next year: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11187602/The-wealth-tax-a-tax-on-the-rich-that-cripples-the-poor.html
    • User AvatarJohnTilley 26th Oct - 8:37am
      Matthew Huntbach 25th Oct '14 - 5:25pm Helen and others – could you try reading what Giles Fraser is saying in today’s Guardian Matthew, I...
    • User AvatarPeter Watson 26th Oct - 8:33am
      @paul barker "One obvious possible reason is that the Anti-Clegg/We are all doomed campaign has been so succsessfull that no-one believes we can win anything...
    • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 26th Oct - 8:11am
      fully behind charlie on this one.