Tag Archives: stephen williams

Stephen Williams says IPSA allegations of debt are wrong

Former Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams found himself on a list released by IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, of 26 MPs and former MPs who had had debts to them written off. He was the only Liberal Democrat to appear on the list. The BBC report said that he owed £209.18.

Stephen took to Twitter to tell a journalist from Sky News that there had been an error and that he did not owe any money.

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Stonewall withdraw their inaccurate election graphic – but don’t replace it with one which accurately reflects Lib Dem achievements

Every time you think it’s safe to like Stonewall again, they do something tribally partisan for the Labour Party. As I reported yesterday, they produced a graphic that gave Labour full marks to their questions, but only 2/5 for Liberal Democrats. A cursory glance at the manifesto would have given us full marks, as LGBT + Lib Dems Chair Dave Page and Communities Minister Stephen Williams told Pink News.

I’m astounded by this grossly misleading graphic, suggesting the Liberal Democrats have little to say about LGB&T rights in our manifesto. The opposite is true.

We have seven specific policies including making anti gay chanting an offence, promoting international recognition of same sex marriages and more action on homophobic bullying. As a Stonewall member I am deeply disappointed that they have chosen to spell out Labour Party policies and ignore Lib Dem proposals, which build on our long standing commitment to gay rights.

Liz Barker’s tweets in response were also very informative.

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So how worried should we be about the Ashcroft poll on Bristol West?

Lord Ashcroft has released a further six constituency polls today. There is serious Liberal Democrat interest in only one of them – in Stephen Williams’ constituency in Bristol West. The results make depressing reading, showing Stephen in 3rd place behind the Greens. The figures, after they’ve been through Ashcroft’s magic manipulator, his not very transparent methodology.

Ashcroft Bristol West poll bar chart

 

As always he doesn’t use the candidate’s name, which makes no sense during an election. Let’s face it, the voters will be filling in ballot papers with the candidates’ names on them. Not only that, he doesn’t even name the constituency.

Party sources are quite bemused that Ashcroft hasn’t even tailored the poll to suit the seat. For example, with UKIP not a key player, he still asks if people have received literature from them. Yet the Greens are supposedly on 25% and he didn’t bother to ask if people had heard from them.

There’s also a feeling in the party that the truth on the ground isn’t as gloomy as the raw data would suggest for 3 reasons:

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LDV hosts debate on devolution – “Just do it”

Lib Dem Voice and the local government think tank Localis co-hosted a debate yesterday under the title ‘What should the Lib Dems offer on devolution in their manifesto?‘. I started by pointing out that our policies were not a secret and we had been discussing the manifesto for the last year or so, most recently in Liverpool. But the debate still threw up some interesting challenges.

Stephen Williams, the Communities Minister, argued strongly that the next government will have to devolve a range of powers to local government almost immediately after the election; not only do all the main parties advocate it but there is growing pressure to do so around the country, especially post Indyref. The UK devolves fewer powers away from central government than any other country in the EU.

The Lib Dem policy is for more substantial devolution on demand, and throughout the debate the Lib Dems emphasised that, rather than impose a unified system straightaway, it would be better to allow practice to emerge from the grassroots as areas became ready to take on more responsibilities, as has happened recently in Manchester. As a first step, Stephen would prefer to see a flatter structure, replacing two tier counties with unitaries, bringing power closer to the people.

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Stephen Williams takes on 38 Degrees over “highly misleading campaign”

Just hearing the name 38 Degrees will, undoubtedly, make at least the candidates among LDV’s readership shudder. For the luckily unfamiliar, 38 Degrees is a campaigning group which mobilises individuals, primarily in an effort to bombard MPs and candidates with, often, hundreds of identical emails. Those of us involved in politics will have long heard the frustration of those on receiving end, who rightly complain that the campaigns are often only loosely based on facts, and selective ones at that, and often fit with Labour’s similar shaky narratives. The campaign against TTIP is probably the prime example.

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Paddy Ashdown can’t hurt me now

Paddy Ashdown video screenshotLast night in his rally speech, Paddy Ashdown jokingly suggested that he might deliver a cruel and unusual punishment to anyone who didn’t do the 10 calls from the Team 2015 phone bank that was requested of every member over the Conference weekend.

In no way am I scared of Paddy and his humorous threats were not the main reason I headed down there this afternoon. Honest.

It  was all very painless and great fun. You are greeted by cheery volunteers who sign you in and give you a mobile phone, a script and a list of calls to make. The biggest problem I had, typically for me, was that it took me ages to work out how to end the calls on the, shall we say, old fashioned models we were using. I was sitting next to Julian Huppert. He was calling voters in his Cambridge constituency. I was calling people for Stephen Williams in Bristol West. And here is the proof:

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Invitation to a debate on devolution to local government with Stephen Williams

Stephen WilliamsWill you be in London on Tuesday 24th March? Here at Lib Dem Voice we have been planning a joint session with Localis, the local government think-tank, under the title “The local offer: what should the Lib Dems offer on devolution in their manifesto?”

We are delighted that Stephen Williams, who is the Minister for Communities, has agreed to speak. Alongside him will be John Shipley, (advisor to the Government on cities from the House of Lords), Caroline Pidgeon (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly) and Tony Greenham (New Economics Foundation). I will be chairing the session on behalf of Lib Dem Voice.

You are invited to join us at 6.45pm on 24th March at The Ideas Space, Clutha House, 10 Storey’s Gate, Westminster, SW1P 3AY, which is just round the corner from HQ.

The event is free, but please book your place in advance on the Localis website.

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