Tag Archives: simon hughes

What is going on with the Liberal Democrat media strategy?

This morning we have George Osborne all over the media talking about how wonderful it is that he’s able to give £2 billion to the NHS. Let’s bear in mind that Norman Lamb has been pushing for a cash injection for some time. All he gets is billing on the Liberal Democrat website for the months of tenacious evidence building and making the case for further investment.

I was quite pained to see Simon Hughes put out round the news channels on Wednesday to promote the Counter Terrorism Bill. While he was in the BBC News Channel studio, David Anderson was criticising the very plans that Hughes was defending. It seemed like a bit of a stitch-up. Nick Clegg has always set great store by David Anderson’s judgement. Anderson’s opinion of the Government’s plans to exclude people they think have been fighting in Syria for up to two years was pretty scathing.

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Simon Hughes writes… Counter-terrorism bill – the Liberal Democrats are on the right track

The rise of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is one of the most serious and dangerous issues we have had to face since we came into Government. Whatever we call this organisation – IS, ISIL or Da’ish – we can’t ignore their brutal activity. The graphic and disturbing images of violence coming from Syria and Iraq show the barbaric way this extremist group has perverted the Muslim faith.

We also need to face up to the reality that this group has publicly announced its desire to bring its murderous ideology to the streets of Britain. The murder of Drummer Lee Rigby is a stark example of the potential threat from extremist ideologues. It is estimated that around 500 British citizens have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIL and other military groups. Around half have returned and others will continue to do so. This presents a new and unique challenge to the UK security services and police, and earlier this year the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, run by MI5, raised the threat level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. This means that an attack in the UK by violent extremists is highly likely.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Lib Dem Peers try to make revenge porn a criminal offence

Next Wednesday, 22nd October, the House of Lords will debate the following amendment  to the Criminal Justice Bill which, if passed, would make revenge porn a criminal offence. It follows :

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Ashcroft’s poll of Lib Dem battleground seats: incumbency is alive and well but 2015 will be a survival election for the party

Tory peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has published his latest set of constituency findings. He polled some of the key Lib Dem / Tory and Lib Dem / Labour battlegrounds in the summer – he’s now followed that up by looking at a further 22 seats. Of these, 2 are Lib Dem targets, 15 the party is defending against the Tories, and 5 against Labour. You can see the full results here .

Here are the headline findings:

  • Of the 20 Lib Dem-held seats polled, the Lib Dems would retain just 6.
  • The Tories would gain 7 and Labour would gain 4. The other 2 would be a tie (though actually a further 5 are statistical ties within the margin of error).
  • The Lib Dems would win neither of their two targets.
  • Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 37 Comments

    Hughes: Lib Dems will extend Freedom of Information to open up public services run by private companies

    simon hughesIt’s been a week of Lib Dem policy announcements, foreshadowing the party’s pre-manifesto to be voted on by members at this October’s conference in Glasgow:

    Monday: Norman Baker: “The Lib Dems want to restore the public’s trust in the police”
    Tuesday: Fairer funding for Wales: “Lib Dems will actually do something about it,” vows Kirsty Williams
    Wednesday: Steve Webb: Lib Dems will introduce “fair warning” for job-seekers who break benefit rules before sanctions imposed
    Thursday: Lib Dems pledge more tax cuts: after personal allowance raised to £12.5k will also increase National Insurance threshold

    And on Friday, ready for the weekend papers, Simon Hughes – the Lib Dem justice minister – highlighted plans to bring housing associations, water companies and the Big Six energy companies within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, opening them up for public accountability.

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

    LibLink: Alex Proud – “If you believe politicians are useless, you’ll end up with useless politicians”

    In the Telegraph today, Alex Proud — who self-describes as “A lapsed Liberal and a rugged, Gladstonian Liberal who likes free markets and the odd gunboat, but a Liberal nonetheless” — reflects on his recent meeting with Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes:

    … sitting between Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg I was reminded for the first time in ages just how inspiring good politicians can be. They force us to think outside the box of our own petty concerns and project ourselves onto a national and even global stage. They remind us that we can change the world for the better. They actually made me feel like a teenager again – raging against Thatcher while still admiring her steeliness and her ability to bend the country to her will. Dare I say it, they even ignited a spark of nostalgia for a time before my birth, when we felt we could stand up to dictators, end war and make the next generation fairer and healthier.

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

    Opinion: Liberal Democrats’ principled decision gives civil servants continued workplace protection they need

    PCS picketOne of the announcements at Nick Clegg’s press conference on Monday was his categorical rejection of Tory ministers’ attempts to abolish check-off across government.

    What’s check-off? This isn’t a Michael Gove attempt to ban a celebrated Russian playwright, it’s a mundane administrative convenience which allows members of trade unions to pay their union subscription by getting their employer to deduct it from their wage packet and send it on for them.

    Union members like check-off because it’s the easiest way to keep their subs up to date. Trade unions like it because …

    photo by: secretlondon123
    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

    Liberal Democrat Muslim Network launched in Birmingham

    Launch of Lib Dem Muslim NetworkMuslim Liberal Democrat members and activists from across all parts of the country came together on Saturday 3 May in Birmingham to promote a strong Muslim network within the Party in support of greater inclusion, dialogue and campaigning.

    The key aims of the Network are:

    1. Promote the party amongst Muslim communities across the UK

    2. Provide a support mechanism for Muslim members within the Party

    3. Promote dialogue and greater understanding of Muslim communities in the UK

    4.

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 30 Comments

    Opinion: Justice for Simon Hughes

    As someone who has never exactly been a supporter, there have been very few bright spots in the otherwise suffocatingly dark firmament which is the Coalition Government.  One was and is the appointment of Norman Lamb as Care Minister who has been doing a remarkable job, also the undoubted achievements of Lynne Featherstone.  So the news yesterday that Simon Hughes has been appointed a justice minister was one of those rare occasions when some of my perennial despair was tinged with just a little hope.

    I have a lot of time for Tom McNally and I think he …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

    ++ Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes replaces Lord McNally as Justice Minister

    Simon HughesNews just in:

    Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has replaced Lord (Tom) McNally as the Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Justice.

    Lord McNally has been appointed as the new Chair of the Youth Justice Board, a post which he will take up in mid-March 2014. Simon Hughes will take over as Justice Minister with immediate effect.

    Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

    “Tom McNally has been a fantastic minister who has pushed through a Liberal agenda in the Ministry of Justice. He will now bring the same

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 20 Comments

    Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats: a year of achievement

    cropped EMLD logoI was delighted to be re-elected Chair of Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) at the AGM last Saturday, 25th November.

    2013 has been a year of considerable achievement, not least a very well-attended race equality conference in partnership with the Social Liberal Forum  which was launched by the business secretary Vince Cable.

    EMLD were also successful in changing party policy on education and employment when our motion endorsing the Race Equality Taskforce report was unanimously approved at federal conference in Glasgow.

    We were instrumental in preserving the “general duty” part of the …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

    Opinion: Thanks to Simon Hughes and Liberal Democrat Voice for helping get Florence Nightingale back in history lessons

    The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has announced that Florence Nightingale will remain in the National Curriculum after all, reversing a decision earlier this year to boot her out.

    I want to offer my hanks to Liberal Democrat Voice for letting me state my reasons why Nightingale should stay in earlier this year. Thanks also to Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, for his efforts in getting the decision re-examined. Liberal Democrats can take a particular pleasure in seeing a fellow Liberal re-instated. Florence Nightingale was a lifelong Liberal supporter, at a time when political allegiances were …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

    Simon Hughes re-selected for Bermondsey and Old Southwark

    In news which will surprise nobody, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has been re-selected by his local party in Bermondsey and Old Southwark to fight the 2015 General Election as reported by the London SE1 community website.

    Simon said:

    Since I was first elected, we’ve been through a lot. Fighting to have tube stations in Bermondsey and Southwark, unemployment dropping from nearly 20 per cent to 7 per cent, regeneration of our high streets, and many things that matter to local people like better housing and schools, and more training and jobs.

    But little compares to the work I have been

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

    Clegg, Ashdown, Williams & Hughes set out case for action in Syria

    Writing in tonight’s London Evening Standard, Nick Clegg, Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown and Shirley Williams set out the case for international action in Syria.

    After describing the horrors of  chemical weapons, they declare:

    We four believe a strong response from the international community is now necessary.

    Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

    Simon Hughes and Alex Carlile debate Snoopers’ Charter on Murnaghan

    It’s been like Snoopers’ Charter Central this morning.

    It didn’t take very long after the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich for politicians of a more authoritarian outlook to be falling over themselves to condemn Nick Clegg for vetoing sweeping measures on Communications data and call for their immediate introduction. LDV’s Stephen Tall dealt with two of them, John Reid and Alex Carlile, by making them his Liberal Villains of the Week, saying:

    And then comes the next inevitability: politicians striking a pose as authoritarian strongmen by cravenly giving the jihadists the glory they seek. Two of the usual

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

    Simon Hughes MP writes…My vote on the Same Sex Marriage Bill

    I want to say a few personal words to my party friends and colleagues, straight and gay, after this week’s debates and votes on the same-sex marriage bill.

    I voted for the second reading of the bill but abstained at third reading. I tried to make clear my reasons in my three speeches on the bill in February and this week. Please read them carefully. Some of you may be pleased or relieved that some Liberal Democrat MPs, including me, voted for amendments and against third reading or abstained on third reading. You may share our beliefs on this issue or …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 111 Comments

    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 …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 70 Comments

    LDVideo: Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes comment on the Lib Dem performance in the local elections

    The Lib Dem leader and deputy leader on the outcomes from Thursday’s elections…

    Nick Clegg on the Lib Dems’ local election performance

    Local elections: Simon Hughes defends Lib Dem result

    Posted in YouTube | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

    Julian Huppert writes…Update on the Defamation Bill

    libel-reform-campaign-logoThe Defamation Bill has had a troubled passage through Parliament. Hijacked by Labour over Leveson, attacked by Tory backbenchers concerned about companies and undermined by vested interests, I was glad to see it finally reach one of its last Parliamentary stages in the Commons today.

    I was on the Joint Committee that considered this bill when it was a draft – those discussions are already beginning to feel like a distant memory! But we will deliver a huge reform of the UK libel laws.

    All the while, Lib Dems have been vociferous in …

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

    Simon Hughes says that Lords reform is still on the Liberal Democrat agenda

    The Financial Times website carries an article suggesting that senior Liberal Democrats are preparing to make the issue of Lords reform a deal breaker in any future coalition negotiations. It quotes Deputy Leader Simon Hughes as saying:

    If the time did come for more coalition negotiations, the experience of coalition the first time will be clearly taken on board when we think through what we would do a second time. The constitutional reform agenda and particularly reform of the Lords would have to be a part of the package.

    The article goes on to say that sources close to Nick Clegg …

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

    Equal marriage: the speeches of Stephen Gilbert, Stephen Williams and Simon Hughes

    Last night saw the House of Commons approve the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Three Lib Dem MPs spoke, and here are their contributions to that historic debate…

    steve gilbertStephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay) (LD):

    It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins), who has articulated what many people of faith across our country have struggled with before coming to the conclusion that love should be for one and all and that marriage should not be an exclusive institution.

    I declare an interest:

    Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

    Opinion: A Comprehensive Middle East Peace Settlement

    Simon Hughes said this year,  “We are near to the end of the opportunity of being able to get a peaceful two-state solution because of the extent of the settlements. The separation of Gaza from the West Bank and the increasing encroachment of the settlements mean that an alternative to the two-state model must be explored. We need to be honest and realistic about having a Plan B and a Plan C as well as a Plan A, as an international community.”

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

    Lord Alderdice writes… Improving the Justice and Security Bill

    Last night the House of Lords debated and voted on the Justice and Security Bill at its Report stage. I know from reading Lib Dem Voice and from listening to the recent debate at Conference what a touchstone issue this Bill is for many members. Which is why I want to explain how the Bill, which we have now passed to the Commons, is a very different beast from that originally under consideration.

    Some of you will have seen that the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) produced a unanimous report last week. We have two eminent Liberal …

    Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

    LibLink: Simon Hughes – This water tax trickery in the corporate sector is unacceptable

    Simon HughesOver in the Observer, Simon Hughes is making his views on tax avoidance perfectly clear.

    Every pound lost to tax avoidance, tax planning, tax efficiency, or whatever other euphemism is used, by people who simply don’t want to make their contribution is a pound that cannot be spent on vital services. At a time when we are asking individuals and households to make great financial sacrifices, behaviour of this kind from the corporate sector is simply unacceptable.

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

    Nick Clegg does PMQs in style

    Nick Clegg did Prime Minister’s Questions today while David Cameron is schmoozing his way round the Middle East. He was so assured, confident and natural and spoke completely without notes. He even answered the question he was given and not the one he wanted to answer, too. He made David Cameron look like a complete amateur, to be honest, and Gordon Brown, too.

    My Liberal Democrat Voice colleague Nick Thornsby reminded us on Twitter this morning that four years ago, two days after Barack Obama was elected the first time round, Nick, then a humble third party leader, questioned PM Gordon Brown, who put him down quite snidily. And the subject of his questions? Taxing the wealthy and cutting taxes for the poorest. Nothing if not consistent. Have a look here.

     

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

    MP conference fringe league table 2012: Norman Baker is the new Simon Hughes, but he’s no Vince Cable

    Back for its fourth year (see 20092010 and 2011) is my conference fringe meeting league table, showing how many fringes each MP will be speaking at. As ever, this is based on the information from the official fringe listings in the printed conference directory. With the reshuffle, I expect a fair number of fringe organisers are reshuffling their panels too; the table is still however a good indicator of the combination of demand for certain MPs and their enthusiasm for working the fringe.

    Trends to note include that Cable topped the table the first two times, then slipped to third …

    Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

    Autumn 2012 Conference agenda: online now

    Simon Hughes MP emails party members:

    We’re now just a few weeks away from our main annual conference.

    If you’re already heading to Brighton this year, that’s great. I look forward to seeing you there.

    The agenda is now online.

    As well as the opportunity to debate with, quiz and meet the Deputy Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Parties, we have a packed programme including speeches from Sarah Teather, Tim Farron and Vince Cable, and policy debates on growth, housing and green jobs.

    If you’ve not yet signed up to come to conference, please do so here.

    It is a

    Posted in Conference | 3 Comments

    Simon Hughes: Keeping the green agenda on track

    An email from Simon Hughes to party members and supporters yesterday read…

    As the Guardian reports today, the Liberal Democrats have stopped George Osborne giving in to his backbenchers and kept the Coalition’s green agenda on track.

    Liberal Democrats are determined to make the Coalition Government the greenest ever and prove that going green can be good for business and jobs.

    Today’s announcement of subsidy levels for renewable energies gives investors the long term stability they need and should see £20-25bn invested by 2017.

    It will help create new green jobs and keep us on track to meet our ambitious climate change targets.

    Liberal Democrats …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

    LibLink: Simon Hughes – Polly’s advice to the Lib Dems is double-edged

    Simon Hughes has a letter in the Guardian today responding to Polly Toynbee’s article “Now is the perfect time for Liberal Democrats to wield the knife“.

    Simon writes:

    Polly Toynbee’s argument, like some arguments she has made before, is based on a false and misleading premise – that this government is embarking on some ideological dismantling of the state. This does everyone a disservice.

    Here are three reasons why: first, by the end of this parliament the government will be spending about £730bn a year, a full 42% of GDP and roughly the same as we did in 2008. Hardly back to

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 52 Comments

    Simon Hughes challenges Harriet Harman over Labour’s record in Sheffield

    From a party news release:

    Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes, joined Liberal Democrat councillors in Sheffield to highlight more than £4m of wasteful spending by Labour locally.

    The figures were revealed while Labour Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, visited the city, attempting to defend Labour’s waste on Sheffield City Council.

    Local Liberal Democrat councillors are campaigning to save Sheffield’s weekly bin collections, vital recycling services and local dementia homes, placed under threat of closure by Labour councillors.

    Senior Sheffield Labour councillors have argued that no money is available, but there has been a staggering £4.2m of wasteful spending.

    In the last 12 months Labour councillors have:

    • Approved

    Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments
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