Tag Archives: sarah teather

Ashcroft battlegrounds poll: Lib Dems set to lose four marginal seats to Labour

lib lab Labour Liberal Democrat logoThe second of Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft’s polls of Lib Dem marginal seats was published this week, focusing on four of our battlegrounds with Labour: Norwich South (held by Simon Wright), Bradford East (David Ward), Brent Central (Sarah Teather standing down, Ibrahim Taguri selected), and Manchester Withington (John Leech). Also included was Brighton Pavilion, which Caroline Lucas won for the Greens from Labour in 2010.

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It’s been a while since Liberal Democrats got 25% in a ballot…

JUMP 4 JOYThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Actually, it wasn’t so much a ballot but a great big raffle. This morning the annual draw took place to select twenty MPs to select Private Members’ Bills. Five Liberal Democrats were allotted slots, with the top two places going to Andrew George and Michael Moore. John Hemming, Sarah Teather and Martin Horwood complete our quintet.

photo by: Renee Silverman
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Liberal Democrats criticise Home Office over deportation flight report which said people were treated like commodities.

UK Border Agency enforcement teamA report in Sunday’s Observer highlighted concerns raised by the Inspector of Prisons over the treatment of people on a deportation flight to Afghanistan.

The Inspector’s full report can be read here and it makes sobering reading for anyone who cares about treating vulnerable people with respect:

Despite impressive care and concern shown by individual escort staff, detainees were not treated with enough decency in the removal process. Generally efficient procedures did not amount to respect for detainees who, it seemed to us, were seen as commodities

photo by: ukhomeoffice
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LibLink: Sarah Teather – Why I’m Going Hungry on Saturday

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central

Lib Dem MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather will be part of a hunger-fast relay today in protest at what she describes as the coalition government’s “wilful indifference to the hunger of its citizens”. Here’s an excerpt of what she’s written for the Huffington Post:

I shall be fasting as part of the End Hunger Fast Relay. I pick up the baton from the Bishop of Salisbury tonight and pass it on to a Quaker leader on Sunday as we take part in an act of community solidarity with the thousands of British people who go hungry each day because they cannot afford to buy food.

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How can we do politics better?

There’s been a spate of articles and comments by Liberal Democrat politicians which, at a guess, isn’t co-ordinated, but they all address the same themes – the problems with the way that we do politics and lack of trust in politicians and institutions.

Paddy Ashdown told the Times (£), reported also for free in the Guardian that public faith in British institutions was “crumbling into dust” with some very harsh words for the BBC and NHS:

The BBC is revealed as an organisation which can’t manage its own affairs, misspends public money and seems to have been complicit in aggrandising

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Lord Roberts writes: It is time to open our doors to some of the most vulnerable people in the world

ld4sos-bannerAs 2013 drew to a close, politicians from across the political spectrum came to the same conclusion: that the UK should offer shelter to (at least) a small number of the two million refugees who have fled the war in Syria. Even scaremongerer-in-chief, Nigel Farage MEP, called upon the UK to honour its obligations under international law. Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP, told BBC Radio 4’s The World this Weekend that ‘clearly we can’t take all the refugees, but we should play our part as an open-hearted, compassionate country’. The Labour Party …

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Ibrahim Taguri selected for Brent Central PPC

Ibrahim Taguri selected for Brent CentralBrent Central Liberal Democrats have selected Ibrahim Taguri as their successor to Sarah Teather to stand at thee 2015 General Election.

Ibrahim born in Brent, grew up in Willesden Green and has spent many years working in the charitable sector.

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Botched deportation of dying man highlights need for humanitarian overhaul of asylum system

On Wednesday, Roger Roberts wrote an extremely moving article about the fate of Isa Muaza, a Nigerian asylum seeker who had been on hunger strike for 90 days in protest at the conditions in which he was being kept at an immigration detention centre. His removal from the UK, even in his frail, close to death condition, was planned for Friday morning.

Through Thursday, many of our readers signed the petition asking for Theresa May to reconsider her decision to deport Muaza. Huge effort was put in by Liberal Democrats including Sarah Teather, Julian Huppert and Tim Farron as well …

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Tim Farron writes… A liberal win on ‘Go Home’ vans

go home illegal immigrant posterSince I have been President I have worked hard to try and make sure members views are heard in the heart of government.  Banging on ministerial doors to try and make policy after policy better and more liberal.

Over the summer the ‘Go Home’ vans came onto our streets.  At the time I joined Sarah Teather and, oddly, Nigel Farage to oppose them. (Who says politics doesn’t give you strange bedfellows!)

My view was clear both then and now: The vans represented the worst kind of divisive politics and …

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As Channel 4 News goes on titillating ‘fishing trip’, Sarah Teather calls them out

I wasn’t too impressed by the timing of Sarah Teather’s announcement — on the eve of the party’s conference — that she wouldn’t be standing as a Lib Dem at the next election. But I was impressed by her performance on Channel 4 News last night.

Invited on to talk about immigration in her first television interview since that news broke, Matt Frei decided instead to search for cheap and easy headlines — does she think Nick Clegg’s a sell-out, is she in touch with Lord Rennard? etc — to her evident frustration.

She deals with it well, though as she’s commented today: “I agreed to do Channel 4 last night hoping for a thoughtful space to articulate some of my views on immigration and public discourse. Sadly Channel 4 were doing the Westminster thing and trying to make everything personal and titillating. But that is Westminster I guess. One of the challenges of trying to make arguments from inside the party political space! But I got to make some points anyway.”

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+++Sarah Teather won’t fight 2015 election

Tomorrow’s Observer carries an interview with Sarah Teather in which she says that she will not defend her Brent Central seat in 2015, citing concerns about immigration policy.

It says:

In a blow to Clegg a week before his party gathers for its annual conference in Glasgow, Teather said his tougher approach to immigration – including a plan for some immigrants to pay a £1,000 deposit when applying for visas – left her feeling so “desolate” and “catastrophically depressed” that she was unable even to confront him over the issue. “It was

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Opinion: Where does Lib Dem immigration policy go from here?

The recent furore over the home office ‘go-home’ billboards has put immigration back in the headlines and highlighted the divide within the coalition over immigration.

It was Sarah Teather who first voiced objections to the billboards, with a number of Lib Dems including Nick Clegg condemning them since. There has been little or no such criticism from Conservatives, who approved the billboards without consulting any Lib Dems.

This is not too surprising given Conservative immigration policy over the past three years. The Conservatives have been promoting anti-immigration policies and rhetoric since the start of the Coalition, including …

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Parking and poster vans provoke Coalition differences

There are some open differences of opinion going on in the Coalition Government at the moment. Eric Pickles was taken to task by our Norman Baker over his idea to allow people to park on double yellow lines.

The Guardian says:

Asked about the plan, Baker said on Monday that “both sides of the coalition” wanted high streets to prosper and that he agreed that over-zealous action by traffic wardens could be a problem.

But he also expressed reservations about Pickles’s idea. “The idea of actually having cars parked for a very long period of time on a double yellow line

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“Go home” billboards – an open letter and blog round-up

Since my post on Monday about the Home Office’s plan to send mobile billboards proclaiming that people who are in this country illegally should go home or face arrest, a number of bloggers and party members across various internet fora have expressed emotions ranging from horror to anger at the plan.

Sarah Teather is, as far as I can tell, the only Liberal Democrat MP to have passed any comment at all, and just to remind you, she wasn’t chuffed:

Vulnerable individuals who are fleeing persecution and violence are treated with disbelief and a complete lack of compassion in a rigid

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Teather slams Home Office “Go Home” billboards as “straightforward intimidation”

The Evening Standard reports that the Home Office is planning on sending large billboards with “Go home or face arrest” on them around six London boroughs:

The billboards will also display the number of illegal migrants arrested recently in the relevant part of the capital.

Ministers say that the hardline message is intended to encourage visa overstayers or others here unlawfully to return voluntarily.

A phone number offering help – including potential free flights and other travel assistance – will also be shown on the adverts along with the promise that those who come forward voluntarily will not be detained while they

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Sarah Teather: Liberal Democrats must tell positive story on immigration because nobody else will

Ex-minister Sarah Teather made an impassioned plea to Liberal Democrats yesterday not to give in to fear of the Daily Mail on immigration but instead to “stand for something” on the issue.
Delivering the Gladstone Lecture in Westminster the MP for the heavily-diverse seat of Brent Central repeated her call in a recent Guardian article to bravely challenge popular language that “dehumanises and degrades” immigrations who make a positive contribution to British life and culture.
She accused the coalition government of splitting up thousands of families just so that David Cameron can boast about reducing numbers of immigrants at the next

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Teather’s alternative voice on immigration: “it bothers me that there is a consensus among the three party leaders”

teather_cleggGood on Sarah Teather. This weekend’s Guardian carries an excellent in-depth interview with the Lib Dem former children’s minister by Decca Aitkenhead in which she makes clear her deep unease not only with the Coalition’s immigration policy, but also the political consensus of the three party leaders that public concern about immigration means they must be seen to crack down on it, regardless of whether it’s the actual cause of the problems the public is concerned with.

Sarah begins by talking about the Tories’ perverse decision to heap more and more …

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Sarah Teather on landlord immigration checks: “I just foresee an enormous amount of misery”

Sarah TeatherSarah Teather was interviewed on The World at One about the Government’s plans to make landlords check an individual’s immigration status when they came to rent a property. She said that unless there were drastic changes to the plans, she couldn’t see herself voting for it and she said that Liberal Democrat MPs weren’t happy about it either.

She said she was worried that landlords would simply not bother to let their properties to people whose immigration status may be in doubt. She added that if the Government modelled this new …

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Teather, Swales and Mulholland urge Government to rethink Legal Aid proposals

Listening to the Commons debate, secured by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, I felt relieved that I live in Scotland where the measures don’t apply. The big issue that’s hit the headlines is the withdrawal of choice of solicitor, but there are many more problems with it including the one year residence test. As Sarah Teather pointed out, how would representation be secured for a baby who is the subject of care proceedings.

Sarah talked about the effect of the measures on refugees:

Were it not for the intervention of lawyers, many refugees would be homeless at the very time when the

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Teather, Rogerson, Beith and Huppert speak against new family migration rules

Last week I wrote about a new report, contributed to by Liberal Democrats Sarah Teather and Sally Hamwee, which outlined the heartbreak and suffering the new family migration rules are causing. The income threshold of £18,600 with extra for each child, and the narrow methods by which this is calculated is stopping many people from being able to live with their spouses in this country.

Earlier this week, four Liberal Democrat MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate to try to persuade Home Office minister Mark Hunter of the inequity of these plans. Here are some extracts from their …

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Sarah Teather slams “cowardly, politically motivated” freezing of asylum support

Regular readers will be well aware of Sarah Teather’s long record of campaigning for fairer, better treatment of asylum seekers. Earlier this year, she talked about a “deeply upsetting” report which told how pregnant asylum seekers did not receive the support that they need. In fact, one particularly distressing account told of a mother having to walk home in the snow carrying her newborn because she could not afford transport or a pram.

Yesterday, she described the  Home Office’s announcement that asylum support rates will be frozen for the upcoming year as cowardly and politically motivated. The freeze comes despite …

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11 Liberal Democrat MPs vote for registrars to be exempt from marrying same sex couples

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has made fairly easy progress through the Commons tonight. After a Government/Labour compromise on a review for extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, and the heavy defeat or withdrawal of amendments, including “son of Section 28″, it looks as though many of the barriers to this Bill’s passage have been removed.

There is still a further day of debate tomorrow, though, and further amendments to be debated.

One of the amendments discussed today, defeated by 340 votes to 150 in favour, was to allow registrars to exempt themselves from marrying same sex couples. Eleven Liberal …

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Jon Cruddas: in favour of a 45 top-rate of tax before he was against it

Sarah Teather isn’t the only MP attacking George Osborne today. Ed Miliband’s policy chief Jon Cruddas has strong words for the Chancellor in the Sunday People, accusing him of “cruelty” and of “giving a tax cut to millionaires” by dropping the top-rate of tax from 50% to 45% for those earning more than £150,000.

So what, you might ask, was Jon Cruddas arguing for when Labour was in power? A top-rate tax level of 45% levied on those earning more than £175,000, as it happens:

cruddas 45p tax

He’s welcome …

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LibLink: Sarah Teather – Grubby Osborne’s crude opportunism is capitalising on fear

teather_cleggFormer Lib Dem children’s minister Sarah Teather unleashes something of a broadside not just against the Coalition, but against all three political parties for their policies on the poorest in society, both benefit claimants and also immigrants and asylum-seekers:

There is nothing like insecurity to bring out the temptation to scapegoat. Instead of offering a bit of statesmanlike leadership, Conservative ministers have engaged repeatedly in crude opportunism, capitalising on fear. And so the battle is drawn: good against evil. Those without benefits against those who claim. Strivers against shirkers. The deserving against

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Danny Alexander rejects George Osborne’s comments on the Philpott case

Danny AlexanderI told you the other night that Sarah Teather had condemned George Osborne’s comments connecting the Philpott case to the welfare system. Some people made comments along the lines that it was only a backbencher, and no Liberal Democrat minister had said such a thing. Well, yesterday, Danny Alexander did. The BBC has the story. Danny said:

George Osborne is clearly right that there needs to be a full debate about the future of our welfare system but the Philpott case is an individual tragedy. Children have died in

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Sarah Teather blasts George Osborne’s “irresponsible” comments on Philpott case

George Osborne has said some crass things in his time, but his comments today, as reported by the BBC, that there should be a debate on whether “the state should subsidise lifestyles like that” were awful, giving a whiff of credibility to the demonising headlines in the Daily Mail that my co-editor Stephen Tall wrote about earlier. Does this make Osborne a “trollemicist?”

Stephen sensibly said:

The welfare state was no more to blame for their deaths than capitalism would be to blame if they’d done it to claim on insurance. The motive was greed; the result a tragedy.

I think, though, …

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Sarah Teather on “deeply upsetting” report on pregnant women in asylum system

Sarah Teather has been speaking in Parliament today about a new report by Maternity Action and the Refugee Council which highlights the treatment of pregnant women and their new babies in the asylum system. You can read her whole speech here, and I warn you it will make you upset and angry in equal and consuming measure. The description of a woman who had just given birth being made to carry her newborn baby home by foot in the snow was harrowing. There are many such similar stories in the report.

These vulnerable women suffer both poor physical and …

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++ Government wins vote on Benefits Uprating Bill; 6 Lib Dem MPs rebel

There were no serious doubts the Coalition Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill — pegging increases in welfare payments at a below-inflation 1%, the same as public sector wage rises, for the next three years — would be approved. The only question was the size of majority and how many Lib Dems would rebel (I’ve been keeping a running tally here this afternoon).

There were two votes tonight. First, a Labour amendment to the Bill, defeated by 321 votes to 262, a government majority of 59. Then a vote on the unamended second reading, which the government won by 324 votes to …

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That ‘shirkers/scroungers versus strivers’ rhetoric

Nick Clegg coffee - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThere can’t be a Lib Dem who doesn’t wince when the phrase ‘shirkers versus strivers’ is used. I don’t want to perpetuate this poisonous comparison, but hopefully my headline will draw in some of those taken in by the phrase and expose them to a different analysis.

While none of us would want to withhold support for ‘strivers’, aka ‘hard-working families’, we cannot allow the terms ‘shirkers’ or ‘scroungers’ to become the standard descriptions used for people who are unemployed (especially in a period of high unemployment brought about by dire economic circumstances), for people who are full-time carers, for people with mental health problems, or indeed people with other long-term health or disability conditions.

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In other news… Teather’s non-defection, Mulholland on beer price-fixing & MEPs on Irish abortion law

Sarah Teather Would Rather ‘Poke Her Eyes Out’ Than Join Labour (Huffington Post)

Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather would rather “poke her eyes out” than defect to the Labour Party despite being sacked from the government, according to the party’s chief enforcer. After the New Statesman noticed Teather had voted against the coalition plans to cap benefits, a policy she decried as “immoral and divisive”, rumours swirled that this meant she was about to defect to Labour. However the speculation was shut down by Lib Dem whip Alastair Carmichael, who tweeted: “I just asked her, says she would rather poke

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