Tag Archives: stephen gilbert

The Sun calls for a VAT cut on UK holidays

stephen gilbertAfter the energetic debate in these columns over the photo of Nick Clegg holding the free World Cup edition of the Sun, it is, shall we say, interesting to be able to report a Lib Dem MP praising that newspaper for a campaign it is running.

Stephen Gilbert, the MP for St Austell & Newquay, in the holiday county of Cornwall, is quoted as supporting the Sun’s petition to cut VAT on holidays in the UK. He says:

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Fancy paying for Stephen Gilbert MP to be chucked out of an aeroplane?

steve gilbertOur MPs get up to all sorts of exploits to raise money for charities in their constituencies, ranging from the eccentric to the utterly crackers. We’ll leave you to judge for yourself where on that spectrum St Austell’s Stephen Gilbert is on. Jumping out of an aeroplane, voluntarily, is not for the faint-hearted.

Two weeks today, at Perranporth Airport, he’ll make a parachute jump to raise money for the Merlin MS Centre at Hewas Water, having been impressed by the support that they offer to local people on a recent visit. He said:

Following a recent visit to the centre in Hewas Water, I decided to do my bit and somehow agreed to jump out of a plane to raise money.

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Video: Stonewall says thank you on equal marriage

Four weeks on Saturday, the first same sex marriages will take place in England. Scotland will have to wait a bit longer, till the Autumn.

You’ll remember the emotions of the parliamentary debates on this. In order to say thank you to all the parliamentarians who contributed, as well as to all the people who campaigned for equal marriage, Stonewall have released this video which shows highlights of some of the best parliamentary speeches made by lesbian, gay and bisexual parliamentarians. Our own  Liz Barker, Stephen Gilbert and Stephen Williams are featured. It made us smile and is just the thing to brighten up a February Monday. Enjoy.

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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 …

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Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert diagnosed with Bell’s palsy

steve gilbertOur sympathies and best wishes to Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay, who put out the following statement on his website this week:

Stephen Gilbert, the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for St Austell & Newquay has been diagnosed with “Bell’s Palsy”; a viral infection of the facial nerve that has led to temporary paralysis of the muscles in the right-hand side of his face.

Stephen was diagnosed on Wednesday 5th February 2014 at the Accident & Emergency department of St Thomas’ Hospital in London, following the

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Stephen Gilbert’s quick thinking helps rescue woman from Thames

Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay Stephen Gilbert has been involved in the rescue of a woman from the Thames while he was attending an event on the House of Commons terrace last night.

Last night he tweeted:

steve gilbertThe BBC takes up the story:

The Liberal Democrat said: “What looked like a body

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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:

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Rather better day at Black Rock… and Vale of White Horse, Brentwood, Sutton…

We keep being told that, where we work, we can win. And it’s still true, no matter how gloomy the opinion polls are, as this week’s by-election results demonstrate.

The Liberal Democrats have gained two seats from the Conservatives in a stunning by-election win in Oxford West & Abingdon constituency. Elizabeth Miles and Val Shaw won on a 17% swing from the Tories in Sunningwell & Wootton ward, and their double victory reduced the Conservative majority on the Vale of White Horse District Council to just three.

Speaking after …

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Lynne Featherstone MP wins Attitude magazine’s Politician of the Year Award

At the inaugural Attitude Awards, former Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister and current Minister for International Development, Lynne Featherstone received the Politician of the Year Award for her work to secure equal marriage for same-sex couples.

From the Attitude website:

As much of the debate over the issue has descended into hysterical farce, we salute Lynne Featherstone for her clear and concise defence of the reforms. The minister has refused to be sidetracked, stating in March: ‘The

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Opinion: Why Grant Shapps must be evicted as Housing Minister

Ask teachers what they think of Michael Gove and I suspect that most will reply with derision. Ask doctors and nurses what they think of Andrew Lansley and I would imagine that, similarly, most will spit with rage. Ask housing professionals what they think of Grant Shapps and you certainly get an equally dismissive response from the vast majority.

Does the lack of professional support for the Tory policies being pursued by Tory Ministers in these crucial public services mean that these sectors are hopelessly leftist, resistant to change, and are just keen to protect their status, or is the Government’s unpopularity with them proof that the Tories still are the ‘nasty’ party and are as contemptuous of public services as ever? Or is this tension simply what always exists between public sector industries and the politicians that seek to govern/meddle with them, be they Labour or Conservative (or Liberal Democrat)?

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In other news… Mensch sticks up for Clegg, Rennie takes on Salmond, Bristol mayoral election latest & other stories

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

On day UKUncut protestors targeted Clegg family home, Tory MP Louise Mensch urges people to donate £5 to Lib Dem funds (ConHome)

Louise Mensch, the Tory MP for Corby is recommending that her followers donate £5 to the Liberal Democrats for today only. She thinks it will show solidarity with the Cleggs who have been targeted by UNuncut protestors today. Hundreds gathered outside the Putney home of the Lib Dem leader, some chained themselves to railings and they held a noisy but apparently

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How much chocolate can you put on a gingerbread man before he becomes standard-rated for VAT?

You may not have considered this question before, so I’ll give you a little time to ponder it.

So, got your answer?

Here’s the official one from HMRC: standard-rate VAT applies to “Gingerbread men decorated with chocolate unless this amounts to no more than a couple of dots for eyes”.

But, but, but… what if the eyes are not chocolate and instead the gingerbread man has a couple of chocolate buttons instead? And what if, hurtling dangerously out of the 19th century, the gingerbread man is actually a gingerbread …

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LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – This half-baked pasty tax is offensive

You really must follow the link to the Guardian to see what  Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell & Newquay, is eating.

The pasty industry is rising up and marching, it seems.

He writes:

It’s just over a month since George Osborne presented his budget to the House of Commons but the uproar over the proposed “pasty tax” hasn’t subsided. The VAT extension on hot food, which would include the Cornish pasty, is not only politically unpopular, it’s also unworkable, unfair and based on a flawed logic.

Today, I’m joining hundreds of people from the pasty industry to demonstrate

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PMQs: It’s déjà vu all over again

Andrew Selous MP (Conservative) got up at Prime Minister’s Questions this week and said this:

What does he think about Ken Livingstone, who said that: “I get loads of money, all from different sources, and I give it to an accountant and they manage it”? Is that modern socialism for you?

A superb question. But one could be forgiven for being reminded of Yogi Berra’s remark:

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The Local Government Slot: Fighting for a Better Deal for Park Home Owners

We have recently seen a lot of activity in Parliament on the issue of park homes and the problems park home owners are facing across the country.

To some extent 2011 saw familiar frustrations and delays that have, unfortunately, often characterised attempts to solve park homes problems in the past.

However 2011 also saw headway being made. The tireless efforts of campaigners and activists have built real momentum and an appetite for change amongst my colleagues in Parliament. I firmly believe this is filtering through and that the Government will be drawn to action soon.

Events such as the Park Homes Justice Campaign’s demonstration in October have been hugely successful in raising awareness. As part of this campaign Downing Street was presented with new evidence showing that as many as 23,473 homes from across the UK could be living under the regime of an unscrupulous park owner. The fantastic work of this campaign, and of its organiser Sonia McColl, has had a real impact over these last months. Also of real importance has been the large number of letters written to MPs. I can only encourage this – the more letters that are written, the more MPs will push for change and the more chance we have of succeeding.

Posted in Local government | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Should councils be able to cap the number of second and holiday homes in their area?

Earlier this week, the Lib Dems’ Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell wrote here on LibDemVoice about the Coalition’s measures to increase councils’ powers to cut tax relief to those with second homes:

… our plans to allow local authorities to charge an Empty Homes Premium – up to an extra 50% of council tax – on any property that has been vacant for two years or more. Crucially, we are retaining the exemptions for properties empty as a result of the death of an owner, or if the owner has moved into hospital or to give or

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Housing: six things that could be done

As Tim Leunig pointed out last week, housing plays an important role in most people’s concept of social mobility, a point highlighted in Stephen Gilbert’s piece over the summer recounting his own personal circumstances:

Last year I was probably the only MP to be elected while still living with my parents. Of course, I’d moved out of home and, like many others, had to move back again. It’s a symptom of the fact that housing policy in the UK is in crisis. We have millions of people languishing on social housing waiting lists, first-time-buyers priced out of the market

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Andrew Stunell MP writes: Lib Dems should welcome localist reforms of Council Tax

Liberal Democrats have long called for reform to local government finance. No matter what alternative systems we’ve proposed, the key element has always been that the revenue was raised locally, and decisions about how to spend that money were taken locally. As you would expect of a Government with a Liberal Democrat influence, the Coalition is adopting that same approach. The consultation on the relocalisation of Business Rates has just ended, and today’s announcement by DCLG of the Technical Consultation on Council Tax contains a number of positive news stories for Liberal Democrats.

Take second homes for instance. You …

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End of term report for Lib Dem MPs’ Class of 2010

As the House of Commons rises this Tuesday, the BBC’s Gavin Stamp gives new MPs of all parties his end-of-term report.

Here’s what he has to say about the new Lib Dem intake:

New entrants were small in number but still accounted for almost one in six of the Parliamentary party.

No new MPs made it into the ranks of ministers or were asked to head up a series of backbench committees designed to help the party retain an independent voice on issues outside the coalition.

However, Gordon Birtwhistle and Duncan Hames became parliamentary private secretaries, the latter also finding time to

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Opinion: Private sector tenants are disenfranchised

There has been a lively debate on Lib Dem Voice this week on housing policy. Well-argued articles from Alex Marsh, Mike Tuffrey and Stephen Gilbert have ignited equally interesting debates in the comments. All sorts of intriguing policy ideas have been proposed to address the growing crisis in housing supply.

However, a great idea is just the starting point on the long journey to create a successful policy. For a mainstream party with ambitions to form the next government, it is crucial that ideas enjoy popular support with voters. Housing development invokes strong feelings amongst the electorate, both …

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Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert sticks up for first-time buyers

Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for Newquay and St Austell, has spoken about his difficulties in getting a foot on the housing ladder in his own constituency. Despite earning over £65k, Stephen is renting a flat until he can build up the higher deposit now needed — usually £25k or more — to secure a first home.

The Cornish Guardian reports:

“This is the double whammy first-time buyers have been affected by,” said the 35-year-old Liberal Democrat. “If I can’t afford a deposit on £65,738, what about the thousands on lower incomes?”

Mr Gilbert said: “I think the Government needs to

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WTF? Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert stands up for use of youth argot

You will all be thinking about leaving school in a few weeks and must be thinking ‘WTF’ about going to university.

So said Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay, when addressing an assembly of 200 Year 11 students at a local community college, prompting a local Tory councillor to complain to the school, accusing Mr Gilbert of being “out of touch”.

Headteacher David Parker is more forgiving: “I was there at the time and I know people have picked up on something that was said during the talk. Perhaps if he had thought about it before he said …

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Stephen Gilbert MP writes: True LGBT equality finally on the horizon

Today’s announcement, that religious settings are able to hold civil partnerships, is a huge step toward achieving the Liberal Democrat policy of full equal civil marriage and partnerships for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK.

I’ve always believed that equality is a black and white issue. You’re either equal or you are not, there’s no grey area and no room for ambiguity. And, despite the real achievements over the last decade, the LGBT community is still not fully equal in the eyes of the law.

This wouldn’t be considered acceptable if we were talking about ethnic …

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LDV survey: The new Lib Dem MPs who’ve impressed party members the most

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. Over 660 party members have responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

LDV asked: Which of the newly elected Lib Dem MPs has genuinely impressed you to date?

Our sample of party members could tick as many (or few) of the 10 ‘newbie’ MPs as they liked. Here are the top five:

  • 45% – Julian Huppert, Cambridge
  • 17% – Tessa Munt, Wells
  • 17% – Duncan Hames, Chippenham

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PMQS: Cameron promised faster wheels amidst squeaky bums

What a relief! For a change, Prime Minister’s Questions gave more cause for Tories to be uneasy than it did for LibDems. Don’t get me wrong, LibDems care passionately about frontline policing. Of course they do. But the Tories tend to see it as more of a cojones (or should I invent the adjective “cojonal” here?) measurement issue – it’s closer to the nerve with them. So I think there must have been a lot of uncomfortable shifting around on the benches behind David Cameron today. “Squeaky bum time”, as Sir Alex might put it.

For once there was a good …

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LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – It’s time for an equal, gender-neutral, marriage law

Over at The Independent, Lib Dem MP for Newquay & St Austell Stephen Gilbert explains his support for equal LGBT rights, which took another step forward today with the Lib Dem conference support for equal marriage. Here’s an excerpt:

… despite the repeal of Section 28, the equalisation of the age of consent, same-sex adoption and civil partnerships; homophobia still rears its ugly head in playgrounds, workplaces and even in the home. It’s unacceptable. It’s an individual’s right to live their lives as they see fit, without discrimination, with personal privacy, with equal rights in front of the law. That’s

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LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – Why we must be fighting for full same sex marriage equality now

Over at Pink News, Lib Dem MP for St Austell & Newquay Stephen Gilbert writes in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) marriage equality and explains why LGBT rights organisations should be fighting for marriage equality now. Here’s an excerpt:

As a society we have set a standard for people who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show that they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part. We call it marriage. Why should we deny that institution to people who wish to show that commitment

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By-election results 3 June 2010: four cheers for the Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats are celebrating four by-election wins this week (two gains, two holds) in Newquay, South Oxfordshire and St Albans.

Cllr Dave Sleeman wins in Gannel ward, Newquay TC

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Deputy Leadership contest latest: Huhne backs Farron

A news release from the Tim Farron campaign says:

Tim Farron today announced that Secretary of State for DECC, Chris Huhne, will be supporting Tim’s candidacy for Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Huhne’s support comes on the same day as candidates for Deputy Leader put forward their nominating signatures to the Parliamentary Party. Other MPs who have now confirmed their support for Mr Farron include MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood and newly elected MP St Austell and Newquay, Stephen Gilbert.

Commenting Mr Huhne said:

“Tim Farron has the passion, experience and energy to be highly effective as deputy leader. Working alongside Nick …

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Conservative candidate Caroline Righton ‘goes to ground’

Caroline Righton, the Conservative candidate in St Austell & Newquay who was previously implicated in the faking of a message that smeared her Liberal Democrat opponent, Stephen Gilbert, has now turned all elusive again:

Caroline Righton, is one of only 7 candidates across the whole south west not to respond to a BBC request to give her view on the issue of fox hunting and has pulled out of the first local radio debate of the campaign.

The BBC’s Politics Show asked the 110 candidates in the south west what they would do if given a free vote on

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