Tag Archives: stephen williams

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:

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

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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Stephen Williams doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything tonight at 6:30 pm

Stephen Williams MPEarlier this year, we featured Communities Minister and MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams’ Reddit questionnaire where he invited constituents to “Ask me anything.” And they did, too. 

Here’s a wee snippet:

First of all, I tweeted you support on the day of the Marriage Act vote and you replied. Thank you for that, you made my day on both counts.

Now for a question: I initially supported a boycott of Starbucks and Amazon for non-payment of UK tax. After a year, however, I feel that the blame

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Stephen Williams calls for zero tolerance of homophobia on football terraces

Stephen Williams MPLiberal Democrat Communities Minister has called for the FA, football clubs and the Police to work together to combat homophobia on football terraces.

From Pink News:

He said: “We need to stamp out homophobia on the terraces with the same vigour that we banished racism. It isn’t acceptable that footballers still feel the need to hide their sexuality out of fear of abuse.

“I want homophobia to be treated with zero tolerance just the same as racism and I want clubs, stewards, the police and FA to work even harder to

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David Ward apologises for his tweet and calls for more action by world community to end humanitarian crisis in Gaza

David WardDavid Ward has apologised for last night’s tweet,  saying that he does not condone firing rockets into Israel. Here’s his statement in full:

I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza.

I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.

However, while I defend the right of Israel to exist and defend itself, I will continue to speak out for the rights of the Palestinian people who are facing untold suffering. More must be done by the world community to end this humanitarian crisis and protect the families living in Gaza. I can understand their plight and desperation.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 39 Comments

Stephen Williams on Quentin Letts: “I’m gay, Welsh, bald, slightly disabled – he’s been a s**t, a b*****d”

Stephen Williams MPIt’s safe to say Quentin Letts is not on Bristol West MP Stephen Williams’ Christmas card list. Speaking to Total Politics, he talks candidly about his experiences on the campaign trail and the hurt of being ridiculed by the Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts about the effects of his neurological disability.

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Liblink: Stephen Williams on zero carbon homes by 2016

Stephen Williams MPThe Queen’s speech tomorrow will include a Lib Dem commitment to make every new home built in England from 2016 zero carbon. As Stephen Williams says:

This was one of Nick’s earliest environmental priorities and it has taken the combined guile and will power of Sir Andrew Stunell, Don Foster and myself as well as Nick’s dogged determination to make it a reality.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – In 2010, we promised to deliver the Pupil Premium. In 2015, I want us to promise to deliver the Student Premium

Tim Farron speaking - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsLib Dem party president Tim Farron has given his personal backing to the Lib Dems promising a Student Premium – modelled on the well-received Pupil Premium – at the next election. First proposed by his colleague Stephen Williams, Tim writes the Student Premium “could potentially change the game in terms of student uptake, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds”. Here’s an excerpt of his article for the April issue of the magazine, Politics First:

The Pupil Premium is being delivered only because the Liberal

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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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Stephen Williams says ‘Ask Me Anything’

Stephen Williams MPStephen Williams used reddit yesterday to answer questions put by his constituents in Bristol West.  He answered questions about web filters, homelessness, foreign policy, CCTV, voting reform, fracking, Bristol’s Mayor, HS2 and academies.

And this:

What is your favourite type of cheese?

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Lib Dem members back plain cigarette packaging, but more evenly divided on minimum alcohol pricing

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. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Two-thirds of Lib Dem members back plain cigarette packaging

Do you support or oppose banning brightly coloured branding and packaging for cigarettes and introducing plain packs?

    40% – Strongly support
     
    26% – Tend to support

    Total support = 66%
     
    17% – Tend to oppose
     
    11% – Strongly oppose

    Total oppose = 28%
     
    5% – Don’t know

Two-thirds of Lib …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

Stephen Williams gets award from World Health Organisation for anti smoking work

Stephen and Anna Soubry - WHO AwardEvery year on World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organisation gives out medals to people who have made outstanding contributions to tobacco control.

There were just six awards given out in Europe, and one of them was to Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, who was nominated by two organisations, Action on Smoking and Health and Smokefree South West.

He was presented with the medal by Health Minister Anna Soubry today. The Minister backed his campaign for plain packaging of cigarettes.

Since he …

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Total Politics makes Stephen Williams MP of the month for votes at 16 campaign

Stephen Williams MPLiberal Democrat MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams is Total Politics magazine’s MP of the month for April persuading the Commons to pass his motion calling on the Government to make progress towards lowering the voting age to 16. We brought you the story earlier this year.

Total Politics wrote about Stephen’s work:

The MP’s care for young people’s representation is self-evident, as he has also served on the children, schools and families committee and education and skills committee. In 2006, he organised the latter committee’s first inquiry into

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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:

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

LibLink…Stephen Williams MP: The time has come for votes at 16

On Saturday, Hannah Bettsworth and Jenny Marr of Liberal Youth Scotland encouraged us all to lobby our MPs to vote for a motion tabled by Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams calling for the voting age to be reduced at 16.

Stephen himself has now written a post on his own blog outlining why this issue is so important to him.

I have long believed that 16 year olds are mature enough to vote, if they want to. Years of experience of talking and listening to sixth form and college students has convinced me that enough of them have the

Posted in LibLink and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Lobby MPs on votes at 16 ahead of Commons debate this week

Liberal Youth Votes at 16 banner

Stephen Williams MP has recently brought forward a motion about extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds: this means that the House of Commons will debate the issue on 24th January. In 2005 his motion on the topic failed by just 8 votes. As such, it’s exceedingly important that as many MPs who support votes at 16 attend the debate and vote if possible.

Liberal Youth Scotland has been strongly pushing for votes at 16 for all referendums and elections this …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

In other news… Teather on pupil premium, State of play for Welsh Lib Dems & other stories

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

Teather: Pupil premium ‘changing the way schools think’ (BBC)

The Liberal Democrat MP and minister at the Department of Education Sarah Teather, said the policy is about “changing the whole way schools think”. Speaking to The World At One, she said there is a “scandalous gap” between those from poor backgrounds and those from wealthier backgrounds. ” about focusing money on the individual child regardless of where that child is,” she told Martha Kearney. Under the policy, by this September schools in England

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LibLink: Stephen Williams says MPs should move their money from big banks

In an article in The Spectator, Stephen Williams argues:

The Libor scandal has shown the UK’s banking sector in its worst light. The public has lost trust in the big banks and are concerned that their politicians are more interested in political point scoring than the urgent task of fixing our broken banking system.

That is why, last year, I joined the Move Your Money campaign, which urges the public to use their consumer power to change the behaviour of the big banks by moving their money, or at least some of it, to ethical, local or mutual financial institutions.

He has …

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LibLink: Stephen Williams – Where now for Lords reform

Over on his blog, Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West, has penned his thought’s on Tuesday’s Lords reform result. Here’s a sample:

First the positive bit.  A vote of 462 – 124 in favour of a Bill that has a second chamber predominately elected by a proportional voting system is a major step forward.  This confirms the fact that there is a substantial majority of MPs who favour radical House of Lords reform.

But…the Bill may now be tripped up by petty party political games in the Commons.  The Bill will get nowhere without a timetable for consideration of 60

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 29 Comments

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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Two anniversaries: Norman Baker and Stephen Williams

From Stephen Williams’s blog:

Twenty years ago today I was a candidate, nervously awaiting the outcome of my first electoral contest …

My campaign in 1992 would have been recognisable to candidates from previous decades.  Our volunteers delivered two leaflets and knocked on every door in the ward.  The leaflet text was composed on a typewriter and the black and white photographs were turned into dots for printing by a photo bureau.  The canvass cards for door knocking were made by me and my agent (Sean Emmett, cllr for

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Labour put down tax amendment that would have given Tories tax cut they want – which Lib Dems stopped

I realise that Parliamentary shenanigans and point scoring isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s worth pointing out that Labour today squandered a relatively good position going into the first PMQs of the new Parliamentary term. Ed Miliband had an open goal ahead of him given controversy over the pensioners’ tax allowance,  “pasty tax” and charity tax relief yet he and his strategists still managed to misunderstand parliamentary procedure to a ludicrous extent. He’s just lucky that more excitable members of the Tory benches didn’t take their chance to have some fun.

Miliband looked not to Labour big hitters of the …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

The 50p tax rate is not for dropping – the leadership’s line

Given some of the recent speculation over the 50p tax rate, the speech from Stephen Williams (Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Party Committee on the Treasury) opening the debate on tax policy was significant:

Now is not the right time to drop the 50p tax rate.

The full context left open if there might ever be a right time, but unlike speculation in The Times a few days back, there was no offer of trading off the 50p rate against the introduction of a mansion tax.

His comments also reflected the text of the motion passed, which included:

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Blog of the Year Awards 2011: The Winners #LDBOTY

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2011 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Birmingham’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

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Stephen Williams: Labour spent £38m taxpayer cash on News International advertising

From a party news release:

The Government spent nearly £38m on advertising in News International titles between 2005 and 2010, a Parliamentary answer to Co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Treasury Committee, Stephen Williams, has revealed.

The figures show:

  • More than £17m was spent advertising in The Sun, including £4.5m between April 2009 and March 2010.
  • More than £7m was spent advertising in the News of the World, including £1.8m between April 2009 and March 2010.
  • £877,153 was spent advertising in all News International titles between April 2010 and March 2011.

Commenting, Stephen Williams said:

Despite the dire state of public finances, the Labour Government continued

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Opinion: Stephen Williams is right to support the criminalisation of squatting

It’s always a pleasure to see a Liberal Democrat MP standing up for our core liberal values. And among the core principles of liberalism, private ownership of property is of huge importance.

So it’s truly gratifying to see that Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, is taking a stand to protect owners of property from being dispossessed. Stephen has given his support to legislation, to be brought before parliament by the government, to criminalise squatting.

This is highly welcome and long overdue. Squatting has for too long been portrayed as a victimless crime, a Robin Hood grab …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

Clegg’s bailed-out banks’ shares give-away proposal triggers national debate

Nick Clegg’s very public call for the British public to be given shares in the bailed-out banks — creating 46 million shareholders and allowing collective ownership of banks — has garnered acres of coverage the past couple of days.

It’s three months since Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams first proposed the privatisation of its 83% stake in RBS and 41% in Lloyds by distributing shares to the public. Here’s what my co-editor Mark Pack said about the idea at the time:

Giving everyone shares in the banks: Stephen Williams’s proposals examined (7th March, 2011)
Stephen Williams’s plan is to give shares

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Opinion: Liberal Youth promote intergenerational fairness for Bank Shares

Nick Clegg’s innovative proposal to give the public shares in Lloyds and RBS is enthusiastically welcomed by Liberal Youth: but we believe that these reforms can go even further. Young people are bearing the brunt of the recession caused by the banks both in a lack of jobs and lost funding for education, and because it is the next generation that will be paying off the government’s debt for years to come. It is only right the government should give something back to them.

While Nick’s proposal represents exactly the kind of fairness that Liberal Democrats seek to bring to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments
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  • User AvatarPBBrown 29th Mar - 2:37pm
    Lighten up, Simon Shaw. It's one of their pledges. It's a mug, one of five and one of a number of things they are selling...
  • User Avatarmalc 29th Mar - 2:37pm
    If I'm not mistaken Labour have produced mugs with slogans for their 5 main policies. In doing that it would have looked silly and over...
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    @PBBrown Perhaps you would care to explain how a party (such as Labour) which supports remaining in the EU can be anything other than "strikingly...
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    @Stuart Well I did answer your question, actually. Are you saying you defend Labour's actions in doing this? Or is anything Labour do fine by...
  • User AvatarPBBrown 29th Mar - 2:31pm
    Simon Shaw@ 'Strikingly dishonest' ? Have Labour put one of those infamous Lib Dem bar charts on the mug :)
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    Maybe some here would be agreeing with it if Labour had added 'from new EU states' to 'Control Immigration ? Clegg's speech on immigration in...
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