Tag Archives: sarah olney

Sarah Olney interview part 1: Before becoming an MP

You get bad people in power because good people are doing other things.

Sarah Olney

Imagine, for just a second, less than two years ago you were living in relative obscurity. You were known to only a select few people – friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. You belonged to no political party. Then, in only a few months, you rose from anonymity to the hottest national topic of the day, creating history along the way. The contrast is almost unimaginable. In short, that’s the story of Sarah Olney.

Five months have yet to pass since she overturned a 23,000 majority to pull off an incredible by-election victory, over the well-known Zac Goldsmith, to become MP for Richmond Park. The Lib Dems newest parliamentarian was attending her first party conference as a backbencher (and only her second since joining the party). In between handshakes and selfies, Sarah took half an hour from her busy schedule for an interview with me, over tea and cake, in the Conference’s Parliamentarians Lounge.

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WATCH: The Conference rally with Olney, Clegg, Farron, Malik and Pearcey

We reported on the Conference rally the other night. Now you can watch the whole thing here. See Sarah Olney thank her helpers and talk about why she joined the party and is fighting Brexit. See Nick Clegg take apart the Brexiteers’ case and warn of the populists undermining the checks on their power. See Jackie Pearcey tell us why we should go to Manchester Gorton to help her. See Hina Malik talk about her passion for dives it and how Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg persuaded her to join the party.

Finally, Tim Farron, after the obligatory pops at George Osborne and Dr Paul Nuttall, talk of Liberal Democrat values of internationalism and of giving EU nationals the right to stay and about why the people having the final say on the Brexit deal was so important.

Enjoy!

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Inspiring women: Sarah Olney MP

How brilliant was it at 3 whatever it was in the morning of 1st December when Sarah Olney was declared the MP for Richmond Park? She certainly deserves to be acclaimed as one of this year’s inspiring Lib Dem women. Her speech at the count, full of liberal principle, got many of us in the gut.

Last week, she spoke for the party in the International Women’s Day Debate in the Commons. Here is her speech in full:

May I say how pleased I am to represent the Liberal Democrats in this debate on International Women’s Day, as the 454th female MP? I am proud to say, in contrast to some previous Members’ contributions, that I am not the first, nor even the second, woman to have held my seat. I am, in fact, the third Liberal Democrat woman to represent Richmond Park, and I am extremely proud of that.

One of the advantages of being a London MP is that I get to go home to my family every evening and spend time with them every morning. As the mother of young children, this is a particular blessing to me, but it does mean that I live a life of contrasts. Yesterday, for example, I spent the first part of the morning trying to get my son to clean his teeth and my daughter to brush her hair. I then travelled into Westminster and challenged the Prime Minister in the Chamber about her spending priorities for education. Of the two things, the latter was more remarked upon—it was heard by Members here, recorded in Hansard and shared on Twitter—but getting my son to clean his teeth was the greater achievement in many ways. It took more ingenuity, effort and emotional commitment, but nobody noticed, cared or applauded me for it.

It often sounds ironic or self-deprecating to refer to the tasks of motherhood as being more taxing than tasks carried out in the professional sphere, but in this case, I am not being ironic; it is precisely true. We are so used to underplaying the work we do as mothers and in the home that we do not think anyone will take us seriously if we talk seriously about it. So today, in the spirit of the motion to recognise the achievements of women, I want to celebrate the everyday, unacknowledged, unrewarded and unnoticed achievements of women.

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Sarah Olney holds first Westminster Hall debate on Heathrow expansion

There’s a lot of firsts when you are a new MP. Your first Early Day Motion (like a House of Commons petition), your first speech, your first question, and your first Westminster Hall debate. These debates, held outside the main chamber, concentrate on one subject and allow an MP to raise an issue directly with the Minister.

It will be of no surprise that Sarah’s first Westminster Hall debate was on the subject of Heathrow expansion and the effects in terms of road congestion and pollution of a bigger airport.

You can read the full debate – including the Deputy Speaker’s rebukes to both Sarah and a colleague for breaking the rules and a fairly patronising response from the Minister – here. Below is Sarah’s speech in full.

And she shouldn’t worry about a minor rebuke from the Speaker. Others have done worse and survived. Willie Rennie forgot to turn his phone off before one debate in 2007 and got a right telling off when one of his staff (not me) rang him during a Westminster Hall debate.

This is what Sarah said yesterday:

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Sarah Olney: Richmond Park By-Election was one of the best experiences of my life

Our newest MP has been talking to The House magazine, along with other recent by-election winners, about the Liberal Democrats’ winning campaign in Richmond Park. She described it as one of the best experiences of her life:

Running in a by-election was one of the best experiences of my life. I am very new to politics, I’ve never been involved in a parliamentary campaign of any kind, I’ve never been a candidate in any election before, so I had no idea what to expect. It was quite a high profile campaign, right from the beginning I was right in the

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ICYMI: Sarah Olney’s speech in the Article 50 debate: We can’t build country without fear & poverty by turning our back on our neighbours

When I think of the country that I would like my generation to give to our children, I think of a country that lives without fear, poverty and inequality, but we cannot build that world by turning our back on our neighbours, closing the door to our friends, turning a blind eye to tyranny or walking hand in hand with intolerance.

Sarah Olney has got the hang of making great speeches in the House of Commons pretty quickly. In the Article 50 debate, she spoke from the heart while revealing the obfuscation of the Government as they try to deny people the true information about the consequences of Brexit. Here is her speech in full:

In this country, we have settled, through a process of trial and error, on a system of parliamentary democracy as the most effective form of governance. The importance of Parliament’s role was once again asserted by the Supreme Court last week. The responsibility of parliamentarians is clear: to take decisions in the best interests of the country with particular regard for the needs of their constituents. I believe that leaving the European Union will be hugely damaging for this country; the British people, through the referendum, narrowly expressed a different view. It is now up to Parliament to take account of the result of the referendum and decide what is in the best interests of the country.

There is no evidence, and none has been presented, that the best interests of the country will be served by the immediate triggering of article 50 and the pursuit of the hardest Brexit possible. It seems to me an abdication of responsibility to say that the only factor that can be considered in deciding whether to trigger article 50 is the result of the referendum. “The will of the people” cannot be tied down to one single point and be presumed never to change or waver. It should not be assumed that the decision of a narrow majority of people, willing and entitled to express a view on 23 June, should be the only thing to determine the fate of the whole population for now and many decades into the future. This is not the end of the debate; it is only the beginning.

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Sarah Olney’s message for Chinese New Year

It’s a Sarah Olney kind of day today!

Here is our newest MP’s message for Chinese New Year.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 28th Mar - 4:14am
    Roland, Mainly America and Russia in WW II, which was the war we were talking about.
  • User AvatarManfarang 28th Mar - 4:13am
    Zachary As David Raw points out the imperial mentality is hardly dead, neither is the cold war one judging from what you write about NATO....
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 28th Mar - 3:12am
    Just as remarkable as the editorial was the description of Tim Farron "cementing his growing role as the political leader of the Remain movement" in...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 28th Mar - 12:41am
    Roland, my close family has two EU migrants and zero expats in. The distinction between "their people" and "our people" is largely meaningless.
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 28th Mar - 12:07am
    Lester, Gender-based violence was the theme resolution for the ALN Assembly. There was also a range of training workshops, with particular focus on coalition negotiations...
  • User AvatarRoland 27th Mar - 11:52pm
    The key role of a government is to protect its people. How are non-UK EU nationals people of the UK and thus the responsibility of...