Tag Archives: sarah olney

Lib Dems to deliver £7 billion schools funding boost

Tim Farron and Sarah Olney have announced that the Liberal Democrats will invest nearly £7bn more in schools and colleges over the next parliament.

The funding would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from the National Funding Formula.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Olney said:

Children are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers – but Theresa May doesn’t care.

While funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.

This extra £7 billion of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.

We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Tim Farron added

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Battle Bus debuts in Surbiton

Around 300 people braved the drizzle this morning in Surbiton, west London, to welcome the Liberal Democrat battle bus as it embarks on a tour of the country ahead of next month’s election.

Party leader Tim Farron was joined by Sarah Olney, MP for nearby Richmond Park & North Kingston, along with former cabinet ministers and parliamentary candidates Vince Cable and Ed Davey. The pair are standing in Twickenham and Kingston & Surbiton constituencies, respectively.

Addressing the crowd, Tim Farron acknowledged the “Lake District-style weather”, before attacking both the Conservatives and Labour.

The worst governments are the ones with the weakest oppositions. There is a vacancy for an opposition in this country, and the Liberal Democrats are here to fill it.

This will not be a coronation. This will be a contest.

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#LibDemFightback campaigners busy on the streets this weekend

There are some fantastic, smiling action photos coming out from Lib Dem campaigners this weekend!

Victor Chamberlain has been out twice, campaigning for Simon Hughes with colleagues at the Elephant and Castle:


…and at Borough and Bankside:

Tim Farron visited Leeds – and Leeds Young Liberals captured their excitement at the leader’s arrival:

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Tim Farron campaigns in Richmond Park

The first big photo-op of the election campaign saw Tim Farron return to the scene of our most audacious recent triumph – Richmond Park, where Sarah Olney beat Zac Goldsmith.

Here’s a reminder of her stunning victory speech just 4.5 months ago.

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Damning PIP report shows culture of fear and mistrust – Olney

The virtual ink was barely dry on Geoff Crocker’s harrowing piece about his son’s PIP interview when a comment from Sarah Olney on the damning report by the Independent Reviewer of the PIP implementation, Paul Gary, popped into my inbox.

The report is highly critical and outlines that the fundamentals are just not working.

A key conclusion of the Review is that public trust in the fairness and consistency of PIP decisions is not currently being achieved, with high levels of disputed award decisions, many of them overturned at appeal

My findings point to the need to build very considerably on current action to improve the way PIP is administered, continuing the direction of travel proposed in the first Review. They include recommendations to improve the way the right type of evidence is obtained, used and tested in assessments; to strengthen transparency; and to broaden audit and quality assurance in assessment and decision-making.

In other words, there’s not a lot that’s going right.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve gone through the stress that Geoff describes just going for the interview. Then you find that you have been denied PIP. Then you have to endure the further stress of an appeal just to get the help that you desperately need to get on with your life, to work. PIP is not a luxury. It’s there to help people with long term conditions with the extra costs that these pile on.

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Sarah Olney interview part 3: Politics

You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

It’s not even been two years since you joined the party, and you are now sitting in the famous House of Commons. Has it sunk in yet?

Not really. One of the things I think is quite strange is how familiar it is when you enter because you see the House of Commons on tele so much. It doesn’t actually feel that strange in there. The weirdest thing I’ve experienced while there was when waiting for one of the votes, the Article 50 one I think, I was chatting with Caroline Lucas, and I got a text from my husband saying ‘You look really grumpy!’ It was just the weirdest thing. I was just sitting there having a chat, and my husband is watching me on the tele at home. When someone does something like that, it’s really weird.

In your short time as an MP, what are your likes and dislikes of the role so far?

The best bit is getting out and meeting people. I see people doing all sorts of different things. As an accountant, I was chained to my desk for eight hours a day while seeing the same old faces. Now I get to go into schools, workplaces and hospitals. I’m meeting different types of people, including staff, customers and patients. You get such a better idea of how the world works and how different people relate to each other. That is fabulous and a real privilege. It’s only MPs who get the opportunity to do that.

I like having the opportunity to contribute to the debates I feel passionate about. There was a schools funding one recently. It was brilliant to be able to stand up and talk about something I care about. I have kids at school, and my dad’s a teacher. To speak about that and, hopefully, to have some impact is great.

I dislike the way some people feel that they are entitled to have a go at you just because you are an MP. You might not have done anything in particular, but you are there to be shouted at.

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Sarah Olney interview part 2: The Richmond Park campaign

You can read part 1 here.

You were up against a well-supported, well-known and well-funded opponent in Zac Goldsmith, how did you win?

I was very lucky. I won’t deny it. I had the full Lib Dem by-election machine behind me. Because we thought we could win, they decided to really go for it. I had a group of people who knew what they were doing. They built a fabulous team and mobilised all those volunteers. I was very fortunate to have that support.

We were also able to fundraise. This was important, as we managed to neutralise Zac Goldsmith’s advantage over us. You would think finances would be his huge advantage, but there is only a certain amount you are allowed to spend, and, through fundraising, we were able to spend as much as he was.

It was so important to have all those thousands of volunteers descend to Richmond Park. They pounded the pavements. They delivered leaflets and canvassed. There is no substitute for doing all the door-to-door work over many weeks. I was so so lucky that so many people came and helped.

I think Zac helped too by running his own not so good campaign. And having run that mayoral campaign, it did put a lot of people off.

Are you not missing something?

Am I? What?

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid-1 23rd May - 5:03am
    @Peter: It is no longer possible for the UK to remain in the EU. An Article 50 notification was submitted and the clock is ticking....
  • User AvatarGlenn 22nd May - 11:42pm
    Voted leave, Never paid any attention to the battle bus. The whole thing is blown out of proportion by people who wanted a different result...
  • User Avatarfrankie 22nd May - 11:25pm
    We are I'm afraid living in the world of demagogues Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy:...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 22nd May - 11:19pm
    @Phil Beesley: Apart from the Oxford Dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/delegitimize
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 22nd May - 10:54pm
    The most recent poll by ICM (which shows Lib Dems on 9%) (https://www.icmunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017_guardian_poll_campaign7_may17.pdf), with all of the usual caveats about digging too deeply into a...
  • User AvatarNom de Plume 22nd May - 10:37pm
    "If they reject it, the default position is that the UK remains in the EU." I hadn't read that. It is not for the UK...