Tag Archives: tim farron

RIP Cllr Jo Stephenson, Lib Dem leader in Cumbria

jo stephensonJo Stephenson, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council and Lib Dem group leader, has died. The Westmoreland Gazette reports:

A LEADING Lake District politician who fell 30ft out of a window three weeks ago died in hospital last night, Cumbria County Council said today.

Liberal Democrat Coun Jo Stephenson suffered serious injuries including a broken pelvis, punctured lung and chest injuries following the incident in Windermere on July 4.

A statement released by Cumbria County Council this morning confirmed Coun Stephenson, who was the deputy leader of the authority, died in Royal Preston Hospital last night.

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Social Liberal Forum Conference – a belated report of an enriching day

Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 closing panel Photo by Paul WalterThis time last week, I had just arrived at a very crowded Euston Station in London for the Social Liberal Forum’s Annual Conference. It was more than worth the 800 mile round trip, even if  I’ve been ill ever since.

Our own Mary Reid had a major hand in the organisation of the event, which was attended by over 200 people. She did a fantastic job. Everything ran smoothly and the food and drink on offer all day was …

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LibLink: Tim Farron – Where have all the political giants gone?

CO 1069-1-3. Harold Macmillan. Photo by National ArchIves UKOver on politics.co.uk, party president Tim Farron has been expanding on some of the themes of his weekend lecture. He begins with some interesting history:

When you ask me who my political heroes are, I will reel off a list of people like Beveridge, Penhaligon, Harry Willcock (the man who brought down the ID cards scheme in the 1950s) and Paddy Ashdown.  But in the last 12 months I have become attached to Harold MacMillan, when he was housing minister between 1951-1954. This admission usually raises an eyebrow or two.

Now, MacMillan is a much maligned political figure, I think that has much more to do with his association with David Cameron than to do with him. But as housing minister he was someone who, working under the post-war consensus, delivered one the best social policy achievements of the 20th century – he delivered 300,000 homes a year.

In 1951, he was appointed by Churchill to be housing minister – his task, to build 300,000 per year. It was a bold policy in the Conservative party manifesto and one many considered totally undeliverable. Famously, when tasked by Churchill, he was told: “It is a gamble. It will make or mar your political career. But every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.”

photo by:
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Full steam ahead on infrastructure

Tim Farron Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterOne thing that struck me about Tim Farron’s Beveridge lecture last Saturday was the scale of his ambition for investment in infrastructure.

Conservatives have often talked about their admiration of Victorian values – if only they really did admire those values, because Victorian values included ambition to build an infrastructure, to create a transport, communications and logistics backbone to our economy, to make a difference, to see a problem and not worry about whether fixing it would fit with your ideology, but to just get on and fix it.

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Tim Farron’s Beveridge Lecture in full: “Let’s say a huge yes to active, ambitious, liberal government and build a new consensus”

Tim Farron MP speaks at the rallyLib Dem party president Tim Farron delivered the Beveridge Lecture at this weekend’s Social Liberal Forum conference. Here’s what he said…

William Beveridge never led our country or our party. But he changed both in a spectacular way.

He was a humble man, a good man and so I am going to make an assumption that he’d want to know what social Liberals plan to do next, rather than hear us eulogise about him.

It’s a massive honour to be asked to give this …

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SLF Conference 2014 – Governing as Liberal Democrats

Social Liberal ForumThe Social Liberal Forum have organised their next conference to take place in London on this Saturday  19th July. You can register via the website. We have an excellent line up of speakers and all Liberal Democrats of various shades of opinion are very welcome to attend, and for that matter anyone outside the party who is interested in the Liberal Democrats.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Why politicians need to get tech savvy – or get left behind

web snoopers charterWe know that Tim Farron is an early adopter of new technologies. Just look at him on Twitter.  He’s written for the Huffington Post about how important it is that policy makers keep up with technological changes. He also outed himself as doing something we’d not really expect of him:

So while catching up with the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, my ears pricked up during a talk by Joanna Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister. We live in a world where a three year old can be more

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5 things Nick Clegg could do next

Nick Clegg Q&A 8My last piece of advice to Nick Clegg was to stand down as Lib Dem leader. He didn’t, and it’s pretty clear now that Nick will lead us into the next general election.

Two problems remain, though, and we need to find ways of addressing them. First, morale in the party has dipped since the May elections. Secondly, support for the party has also dipped in the polls. Yes, Lib Dem MPs benefit from the incumbency effect but that only stretches so far – we also need to start winning the air war, or at the very least avoid being ignored. As it stands, what Nick says just isn’t getting a listening. However unfair, it’s a reality we need to deal with.

Here are five suggestions from me for ways in which Nick Clegg could help restore party morale and maybe get himself a hearing from the media and public…

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Does George Osborne really want to derail the future of our planet?

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionTim Farron was on punchy form when taking on George Osborne’s lack of ambition on climate change in an article in the Independent this week. He did not mince his words:

Osborne’s destructive rationale for overspending on our planned carbon budget is this: without a new strategy agreed, the UK would be ahead of its planned share of emissions cuts within the EU. It can therefore weaken its ambitions and still meet the old targets – there is nothing holding us to the necessary action to tackle

photo by: FlyingSinger
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Tim Farron disagrees with Nick on minority Government

Tim Farron MP speaks at the rallyNick Clegg has been saying a lot recently that it’s coalition or nothing – the Liberal Democrats aren’t interested in propping up a minority Government because we’d get all the blame and none of the chance to do any actual good.

I can see the logic to that point of view, certainly. However, Tim Farron, in an interview with the New Statesman has directly contradicted Nick, saying that we shouldn’t rule anything out:

When you go into negotiations with another party you have to believe,

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Clegg picks Farron and Farron picks Clegg

We hear there’s some football tournament going on at the moment.

Yesterday’s Sunday Politics had a fairly puerile political sticker item yesterday. I really think there are better uses of Adam Fleming’s talents. Anyway, it was quite amusing to see how Nick Clegg and Tim Farron reacted to the stunt.

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Tim Farron says thanks to Liberal Democrat candidates: “Everything you do can and will make a massive difference to the outcome on Thursday”

The Party President sends his thanks to the 2,730 Liberal Democrats standing in the local elections.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Let’s extend the pupil premium to young carers

imageOn his recent column on the ALDC Members’ website, Tim Farron has made the case for the Pupil Premium to be extended to young carers:

One of the biggest Lib Dem wins of this Coalition Government has been the Pupil Premium. The Pupil Premium was designed as extra support for kids in our schools who need a little extra help to get the best start in life.

I don’t need to tell you about it; you’ve supported it from an idea in our manifesto to its implementation. I’m preaching

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Farron on Murnaghan on Lib Dems standing up for Britain’s interests, the price of government and whether the UK is a Christian country

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.32.57Tim Farron has just been on Sky’s Murnaghan show, talking about a variety of issues from the European elections – what can the Lib Dems do to stop annihilation was the introduction. Here are the highlights:

The first question was whether we are paying price for going into government

If you stand for election there’s an occupational hazard you might get elected and that is what you should want if you believe passionately that Britain and the world should operate in a different way.

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Farron on Cyril Smith allegations: there is a “need to answer serious questions as to who knew what and when”

Tim FarronLib Dem party president Tim Farron has said a police inquiry is the best way to deal with allegations – previously covered here and here by LDV – that former MP Cyril Smith committed a series of sexual assaults and that this was covered up by the authorities. Here’s how the BBC reports his comments:

Police are investigating allegations that the former MP for Rochdale, who died in 2010 aged 82, sexually abused boys at homes and hostels in the town. Mr Farron said the police inquiry was

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LibLink: Tim Farron: European Parliament makes it easier for you to know what’s in the medicines you are taking

European Parliament chamber, StrasbourgRoughly a third of people take part in the European elections. That turnout reflects that people don’t necessarily feel engaged with the European Parliament. Yet this body, whether it be on e-cigarettes, abolishing (with Liberal Democrat support) mobile phone roaming charges or even the medicines your doctor prescribes, makes laws that affect our daily lives. Tim Farron has been highlighting its important work in this medical field in an article over at the Huffington Post.

First of all, he outlines the problem:

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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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Tim Farron reveals all about the day he impersonated Nigel Farage

NickTimHere’s how Lib Dem party president Tim Farron recounted to his local paper, The Westmoreland Gazette, his assistance to Nick Clegg for the second Nick v Nigel debate:

In an empty central London theatre, the Lakes MP donned the trademark purple tie of the Euro sceptic for a practice debate with the Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister ahead of the real thing.

Aides revealed that to prepare for the role as the UKIP leader, Mr Farron watched recordings of his public speaking with Farage winning plaudits for his man-of-the-world directness.

Mr Farron’s aides

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Tim Farron “will withdraw party’s support for Bedroom Tax”

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5Ok, so we’ll overlook the Guardian’s inaccurate headline. Have they learned nothing from years of watching our policy making process? Tim Farron doesn’t have the power to do what the Guardian says he’s done:

The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, will withdraw his party’s support for the bedroom tax on Wednesday, saying it has caused “huge social problems.”

I think he’s right, of course. It might just about be ok if there were suitable smaller properties for people to move into, or if …

photo by: paul bevan
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It’s #NickvNigel Round 2 and we have bingo and billboards

Nick v Nigel Round 2 poster

Today the second debate on EU membership takes place between our Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The image you see before you will be beaming down on commuters and shoppers in Tottenham Court Road, one of London’s busiest areas from around now. At least I think that’s the case. I’m only from Scotland.

It’s also fair to say that no social media timeline will be safe from the image of Cameron and Miliband missing

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LibLink: Tim Farron – We need to capitalise on our scientific excellence

University of the West of England, laboratory, science. Some rights reserved by JiscTim Farron has been writing for the Adam Smith Institute – there’s a sentence we didn’t expect ever to write – about turning the UK’s universities into entrepreneurial hubs. The Lib Dem party president is familiar with the sector, having worked in higher education at Lancaster University before entering Parliament. Here’s an excerpt:

Britain has a historically poor record of turning our scientists into entrepreneurs. Too often we have favoured the image of the mad professor or boffin, absent-mindedly beavering away in their lab, oblivious to the wider world around them. We must root out this gross caricature and start talking about the scientists of the future, like Dr Judith Spitz, who as well as not being male and grey haired, jumped at the opportunity to take her skills in speech and language therapy into the corporate world to become Chief Information Officer of Verizon.

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Tim Farron and Julian Huppert write: Why we need a Digital Bill of Rights

farron huppertLib Dem MPs Tim Farron and Julian Huppert explain why Britain needs a Digital Bill of Rights…

Momentum is a big force in politics; sometimes an unstoppable force. And this week we’ve seen momentum gathering pace for a change to our surveillance state.

On Tuesday, Nick Clegg set out his plans for change, backed up by a full Obama-style review of our outdated and woefully inadequate surveillance legislation and oversight bodies.

On Wednesday we hosted a lively surveillance discussion in Westminster with Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-chief of the Guardian, MPs, peers, civil …

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Farron: It’s Lib Dems v UKIP in European elections

Last year on the eve of Spring Conference, we reported Tim Farron’s controversial interview in House magazine in which he described activists as cockroaches and said the party was in a critical state. He certainly got into a bit of trouble from Them Indoors, but, as Stephen Tall pointed out:

The language is colourful: that’s Tim for you. He could give dull, measured interviews that are risk-free. But it’s not his way. And I don’t think many activists would want him to be anything other than himself. It is precisely because Tim is un-spun, a straight-talker who takes his role

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Can everyone please just play nice? Briefing against other Liberal Democrats and insulting party activists is never going to help.

carmichael and teddy bearWe’ve had some pretty strange and random articles appearing all over the place about who might replace Nick Clegg. The least strange and random was of course this by my co-editor Stephen Tall.

People who know Graeme Littlejohn have generally been laughing their heads off at the notion that he’s been brought in as Danny Alexander’s Head of Office as some Machiavelli who’s going to win him the leadership. That’s been in a couple of papers now and I’m just wondering who on earth is spreading this stuff. Actually, I do have some ideas, but these are better kept to myself for the time being.

Yesterday, it was the turn of Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael to get the Leadership Speculation Treatment, by Thomas Byrne over at the New Statesman.:

Carmichael has managed to avoid falling prey to the left/right divide emerging more clearly in the party as it gets used to power. “He could be a compromise candidate… post-coalition we need someone to hold the party together. Alistair might be the guy,” one Lib Dem told me. As chief whip for the Lib Dems before becoming Scottish Secretary, he will know where the bodies are buried. Not only did this position make building a relationship with all the MPs in the party compulsory, it also meant he commanded their respect. Don’t mess with Carmichael.

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Tim Farron says Liberal Democrats are likely to oppose “Bedroom Tax” in 2015

Tim Farron has said that he expects that Liberal Democrats will oppose the so-called “Bedroom Tax” in 2015. In an interview with Inside Housing, he has said that in its current form it was causing hardship and depriving housing associations of the money to build much needed new homes. While he praised the Liberal Democrats who had secured more money for discretionary housing payments to mitigate its effects, he acknowledged that reforms were needed.

He said:

I would be disappointed if we did support it in its current form.

I do not expect our party to support this policy unreformed, we must

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Eastleigh one year on: the by-election which secured Nick Clegg’s leadership

A year ago today, Mike Thornton was declared the new Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh.

Clegg Thornton Eastleigh

I’ve just been re-reading my first reflections on the result, written minutes after Mike’s narrow victory over Ukip was confirmed. As I pointed out then, despite the horrendous circumstances surrounding the by-election – Chris Huhne’s resignation, the allegations against Chris Rennard – Eastleigh was a good seat for the Lib Dems to contest owing to our long-standing, entrenched local strength there.

The other night’s victors, I noted, were Ukip: “There must also now be …

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Après Nick: which Lib Dem MPs are best-placed to become the next Lib Dem leader?

Today’s Independent has an interesting story speculating on the Lib Dem leadership contest to come if the 2015 election result triggers Nick Clegg’s resignation. It’s one of the features of this parliament – perhaps linked to it being a fixed-term in which we know the dates are all known – that there hasn’t been nearly as much gossip about future leadership bids in any of the three main parties.

Anyway, the Indy story seeks to make up a little for that absence: Nick Clegg’s rivals for the Lib Dems leadership told to rev up. The premise of the article …

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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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Farron: “No excuse for David Cameron to block recall of MPs but he has done”

The Guardian reports that the proposal to recall MPs who have committed serious wrongdoing has been blocked by David Cameron against the wishes of Nick Clegg.

A Lib Dem source said news that the legislation had been dropped was broken to the party’s MPs at a meeting on Tuesday. “Tom Brake, the deputy leader of the house, stood up and told MPs it was off the agenda. It seems that the Tories have argued that there is too much to deal with and something had to give. But it didn’t wash: they are pandering to their backbenchers,” he said.

Under the plans,

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Legal action to be launched by Lord Rennard unless Lib Dems lift membership suspension

The BBC reports:

Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard has written to his party giving it until Thursday to lift his suspension, the BBC understands. If it fails to do so Lord Rennard is threatening to seek costs from those involved in his suspension, including party president Tim Farron.

The former Lib Dem chief executive was suspended after four female activists accused him of sexual harassment. He denied the claims, but was asked to apologise by an internal investigation. The investigation, led by senior barrister Alistair Webster QC, concluded the claims against Lord Rennard were credible but could not be proven beyond

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