Arise, Sir Simon!

Simon Hughes is one of a thousand people recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list today, receiving a knighthood. Many congratulations to Simon on an award which is very well deserved after a lifetime of skilful and devoted public service.

Simon first joined the Liberal Party in 1972, when he signed up to Cambridge University Liberal Club as a student. He was MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (and its predecessors) from 1983, when he won it in a by-election, until 2015. He has been party President and was deputy leader from 2010 to 2014. He is a Christian and has been a candidate for the leadership of the party. Between 2013 and 2015 he was Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice. A human rights lawyer by profession, Simon is a Privy Counsellor.

It would need a book to properly do justice to Simon but let’s just say that it would not be an exaggeration to say that Simon is held in great affection within the party.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • R Uduwerage-Perera 13th Jun '15 - 7:00am

    I am sure that I am speaking on behalf of EMLD when I pass on a ‘Huge’ congratulations to Simon for he is a stalwart for equality matters and to Issan Ghazni and Duwayne Brooks who have been awarded with baubles as well for their contributions to the public and politics.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
    Chair – Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '15 - 8:44am

    Ruwan, if you read the next post, you will see that Paul has done some sterling work in writing about their honours.

  • Duncan Brack 13th Jun '15 - 9:49am

    Very many congratulations to Simon – very richly deserved. Just to set the record straight, though, he was a minister at the Ministry of Justice, not Defence.

  • When Clement Freud lost his seat and was subsequently knighted he responded by saying —
    “If this is supposed to make me feel better about losing my seat — it does not!”. 🙂

    I am guessing Simon might feel the same, but unlike Clement he would be far too polite to say so.

    Speaking for myself I would sooner see the letters MP after Simon Hughes’ name rather than the letters SIR before.

  • Congratulations Simon.
    I awarded myself the CDM to celebrate.

  • Paulus Robert Dyer 13th Jun '15 - 4:52pm

    well deserved. Great Liberal. from Liberal democrat member.

  • Duncan Brack 13th Jun '15 - 11:29pm

    It said defence originally, when I read it this morning, then it was corrected!

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '15 - 7:16am

    Two letters after his name rather than three letters before his name? I remember Bob MacClennan MP, third leader of the SDP, saying to me that Simon had six political assisitants while he had only one. Although famous for allegedly rehousing his entire constituency, Simon was also feared by civil servants because of the thoroughness of his casework.

  • Graham Lippiatt 14th Jun '15 - 12:41pm

    I can certainly confirm Richard’s point about Simon’s casework. In the late 80s I worked at a unit drafting replies for Home Office ministers to MPs representations in immigration cases. Most letters from MPs were perfunctory. They knew that just writing in would stop removals until the case was reviewed. By contrast Simon’s letters always set out facts and objections in full detail. It was clear he and his constituency staff were working at a different level.

  • Sadie Smith 14th Jun '15 - 2:53pm

    Of course I would prefer him still in the Commons.
    I kept on bookmark Simon’s report on access to education. Lots of good bits there. Tory Plans will probably unscramble.

  • He would have been more useful as a peer in the House of Lords. Perhaps that comes later? I am surprised Simon accepted the honour.

  • I worked as Simon’s Constituency Office Manager/Senior Caseworker from 2012 to 2014 and his legendary care for his constituents was certainly not exaggerated. Constituency surgeries would often last for up to 4 -5 hours and I remember, on the evening of our Christmas dinner 2013, Simon was still giving constituents his full attention hours after the supposed end of the surgery. I think we got to the dinner almost two hours late, but constituents’ needs were always his priority.

    The casework team worked very very hard, but there was also a lot of goodwill in the office and I know everyone in the team from that time – including the many, great casework volunteers who came to help – would want to congratulate Simon on this honour.

  • richard boyd OBE DL 14th Jun '15 - 4:45pm

    I cannot think of a more worthy award for this remarkable man,

    We formed “The Rayleigh Liberal Association” in Essex, in 1974. There were 7 of us. There were no Liberal Councillors for our town, and never had been. We held our first AGM in Rayleigh and invited a “real Councillor” from neighbouring Rochford to chair it, and invited Simon ( as a cheeky off-chance) to be our guest of honour. He attended, spoke, and left , leavlying us breathtaken with his vision of what could happen. By 1989, we had grown to 26 councillors on a Council if 40. (previously solid one-party Tory) and had a County Councillor.

    He started us off.

    What a man!

    Richard Boyd

  • Huge congratulations to Simon! Very rightly earned.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 5:20pm

    At conference in Glasgow Justice Minister Simon Hughes said that part of his responsibility was checking whether offences existed, because ministers like to invent new offences and rush out the announcements. He did not name his coalition partner, but we were in no doubt that she was home secretary.

    Recently there has been an announcement about legislation on modern slavery, on which action is much needed. This creates another lifer offence, although kidnapping is already a lifer offence.

    The others are murder (mandatory) attempted murder, violent assault, rape, homosexual rape, and causing explosions (at the discretion of the sentencing judge).

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 5:25pm

    Simon Hughes also referred to a legistative procedure he was unhappy about.
    Please correct me if i have misunderstood, but i think he said that a bill which had received a vote in the Commons at First Reading and been subject to a timetable motion might not be debated in the Commons after consideration in the Lords.

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