Author Archives: Andy Boddington

Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in rural Shropshire and edits Lib Dem Voice on Thursdays

Did Liz Truss jump parties to advance in politics?

Here on LDV, we have been reviewing the past of a politician who might our next prime minister. Once an ardent Lib Dem with a passion for getting rid of the monarchy, she appeared on national TV with Mark Pack and Paddy Ashdown. In today’s Times, we learn more about the young Liz Truss from Neil Fawcett, a Liberal Democrat councillor who is part of Layla Moran’s team in Oxfordshire.

She was bloody difficult to work with… I wasn’t massively surprised when she turned up as a Tory. I would not be surprised if she made a choice that she wanted to get on in politics and jumped horses to do it.

What has surprised me is that she has got to the level she has, because I never felt that she was particularly talented.

 

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Truss and Paddy, and that call for abolition of the monarchy

“This Party will not duck and weave, unlike Labour, from the issues people are interested in.”

That could be Liz Truss today but it dates back to 1994, when Truss was president of Oxford University Lib Dems. She was at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, speaking for a motion on abolishing the monarchy.

“I agree with Paddy Ashdown when he said, ‘everyone should have the chance to be a somebody’… We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all. We believe in fairness and common sense. We believe in referenda on major constitutional issues… We do not believe that people should be born to rule.”

She said that when out with Paddy Ashdown earlier, they had come across a group of people, aged 50 to 60:

Fairly middle class, rather smart. Rather reactionary to be perfectly frank. We asked them their opinion of the monarchy. They said, ‘Abolish them. We’ve had enough’… We couldn’t find a single monarchist outside the Royal Pavilion.”

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Hasta la vista, baby or auf wiedersehen pet?

There are several parallel realities in politics. But Boris Johnson lives in a bubble of his own making. Having taken a few days off for goodbyes, a flight on a Typhoon and a visit to Farnborough Airshow, along with missing things of no consequence to his future like a Cobra meeting on the heatwave, he trounced out of PMQs today in true theatrical style. “Hasta la vista, baby”. Johnson is ever the performance artist. Ever the man who triumphs style over substance. I am sure he wants to be a movie star.

Boris Johnson has done more to develop the role of prime minister as a cult of personality than his predecessors. He has been gloriously Trumpian, a stranger to truth and to the gritty reality that he has been wrong, wrong and wrong again. And seemingly unaware about being on the wrong side of the law.

As ebullient as he now is irrelevant, Boris Johnson will certainly go down in history. He has become so toxic to the Tories and the country he is unlikely to come back to front line politics. But far from “hasta la vista, baby”, surely this is a case of “auf wiedersehen pet”. Perhaps I say that hopefully. Goodbye pet. Good riddance pet. We can only hope so.

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If the Tories hate each other so much, how can they be good for our country?

Anyone listening to the criticism of the outgoing administration during the weekend’s leadership debates might get the impression that the Conservatives have been in opposition for the last decade. In some ways they have. In opposition to themselves. The show of unity as ministers flanked the prime minister during PMQs has proved to be nothing other than a flimsy façade.

Of course, it was always thus. Unity is not a feature of modern day Conservative politics, or Labour politics for that matter. But can an administration govern effectively when it is not only so bitterly divided but makes a public show of disunity?

These past few days have been a bit like watching Titus Andronicus, blood and gore galore while onlookers struggle with the plot.

This would be a black comedy and no more than entertainment if it were not an election for the highest office in the land. I fear that the undignified spectacle of so-called leading politicians tearing themselves apart

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Farron: Ministers must now wake up and smell the sewage

While all eyes were on the leadership election last Thursday, the Environment Agency published its annual report on the environmental performance of water and sewerage companies. The agency has suffered from severe cuts to staff and that has limited its operational effectiveness. But it has too often pulled its punches, preferring diplomatic niceties to forceful language.

No longer. Outgoing chair Emma Howard Boyd didn’t mince her words in her last report on water and sewage. She called for prison sentences for the chief executives and board members of the companies responsible for the most serious pollution incidents. Company directors should be struck off. “Water companies exist to serve the public. Their environmental performance is a breach of trust. The polluter must pay.”

Reacting to the report Tim Farron said:

For months we have been calling for these water companies to pay for dirtying our precious rivers and beaches.  Time and time again, Ministers defended them whilst otters were poisoned and we swam in sewage infested waters.

Ministers must now wake up and smell the sewage. They can’t ignore the Environment Agency like they ignored the public.

We need a Sewage Tax on water companies making outrageous multi-billion pound profits. Why should they profit off destroying our environment? The whole thing stinks.

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It’s a woke leadership election. That is damaging

It’s one of the most contentious topics of our times but hardly the stuff of debate on the top of the Clapham Omnibus and in the snug of your neighbourhood pub. Many people have never heard of “woke” and a third don’t know what it means.

Yet it features strongly in the Tory leadership campaign, mainly in respect of transgender issues. Why?

The anti-woke momentum in the leadership contest is partly driven by the rise of populism on the Tory right. The right wing media have been gunning against woke, especially transgender issues, for months. Searches for “woke” on Google have accelerated since the leadership contest got underway. Candidates have felt obliged to give a statement of their position on woke. Second runner Penny Mordant had been quite relaxed on transgender but toughened her stance yesterday quoting Margaret Thatcher:

“It was Margaret Thatcher who said that ‘every Prime Minister needs a Willie’. A woman like me doesn’t have one.”

This posturing by the Tory candidates in order to get approval from the right wing press is damaging. Discussions on matters such as colonialism and slavery and the transgender debate need space and time to move towards a consensus. Efforts to achieve a degree of understanding, even if a consensus is impossible, should not be wrecked by the ambitions of wannabe prime ministers.

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And then there were five… Sunak leads but Mordant closes

The results are in and the list of wannabe prime ministers has been whittled down to five MPs:

  • Rishi Sunak: 101 (+13; +14.8%)
  • Penny Mordaunt: 83 (+16; +24%)
  • Liz Truss: 64 (+14; +28%)
  • Kemi Badenoch: 49 (+9; +23%)
  • Tom Tugendhat: 32 (-5;  -14%).

Suella Braverman has been eliminated from the contest with 27 votes (-5; -16%). Earlier she refused to stand aside for Liz Truss or Kemi Badenoch to concentrate support for the right wing of the party.

Penny Mordant has made the biggest gains and looks in reach of matching or overtaking Rishi Sunak. Liz Truss still lags and Tom Tugendhat looks close to elimination in the next round of voting on Monday.

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Javid withdraws as eight get onto ballot paper

Those hoping to become leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister, needed to secure the support of 20 Tory MPs by 6pm this evening in order to make it on the ballot paper. There are eight MPs in the race.

Sajid Javid announced his withdrawal minutes before the result was announced, as did Rehman Chishti. Javid resigned from the government at the same time as Rishi Sunak, triggering a wave of resignations that led to Boris Johnson’s downfall.

Sunak gained the most nominations from Conservative MPs today. He is joined by seven others in the first round of voting. They are:

  • Suella Braverman (Attorney General)
  • Kemi Badenoch (former Minister of State for Local Government and Minister of State for Equalities)
  • Jeremy Hunt (former Health Secretary)
  • Penny Mordaunt (Trade Minister)
  • Liz Truss (Foreign Secretary)
  • Tom Tugendhat (Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair)
  • Nadhim Zahawi (Chancellor).
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The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless: Review

“We gave them hope, but they gave us much more,” Mike Mathews owner of the Prince Rupert Hotel.

This book begins with Mike Mathews, owner of the Prince Rupert Hotel, contemplated lockdown while Boris Johnson continued as nothing was happening in the world. He saw the writing on the wall as the Covid-19 ravaged Italy. Expecting the Shrewsbury events that drew people to his historic hotel would be cancelled, he spent the next day trying to find a use for his hotel. But there were no takers and the future of the hotel looked bleak.

Boris Johnson’s held his first live news conference. His message was avoid social contact and don’t go to pubs and restaurants. The country, and the world, began to shut down. Hotel guests began to cancel bookings everywhere.

As the outlook seemed bleak, Tim Compton, Shropshire Council’s rough sleeper officer rang. The government had ordered that councils must get all rough sleepers by the weekend (Everyone In). Could the council use the Prince Rupert?

The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless is an inspirational book about people facing new challenges in their professional lives. About rough sleepers struggling to accommodate the help they were offered.

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The whole bus cheered but where do we go from here?

It’s a long and winding bus journey from Ludlow to Shrewsbury and like many of the passengers this morning I was beginning to doze. Then. “He’s gone!” a man at the front of the bus shouted. Everyone cheered. Brian, the bus driver turned on the radio. People startled into awakedness stared earnestly at their smart phones. The bus briefly buzzed with chatter.

The excitement faded as I caught a second bus to Shirehall with a sobering thought: how do we get out of this mess? I think that was the thought on the mind of the forty odd Conservatives who had assembled in Shirehall who were for the most part unusually subdued, though not of course humbled.

The debate over Boris Johnson’s survival as prime minister has dominated political thinking for many weeks. Sapping political energy that is desperately needed to tackle the cost of living crisis and the creaking NHS.

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One wheel on my wagon and I’m still rolling along…

The government spent Thursday stuck in quicksand. The prime minister was in sand up to his neck. But he still blundered and blustered on regardless through PMQs and a parliamentary committee most people had not heard of. More than forty members of the government have resigned, some from the top table, some the servers who usually bow and scrape. Michael Gove was sacked.

I write this article in the early hours of Thursday before heading off for a lengthy day battling in a Tory dominated council. Will Boris Johnson still be prime minister when I leave the council chamber? Will there be more resignations as dawn breaks?

Boris Johnson has always been in denial of reality. He has always lived in a fantasy world. His world is centred around himself. He is stuck in Slogan Land. Sound Bite Land. Anything but Resigning Land.

When watching Johnson perform at PMQs yesterday, a song from my youth randomly popped into my head. “Three wheels on my wagon, and I’m still rolling along…” The song was nonsense and hasn’t aged well. The same might be said of Johnson. For all the sense he made yesterday, he might have been chanting the New Christy Minstrels’ chorus: “I’m singing a higgity, haggity, hoggety, high. Pioneers, they never say die.”

That’s Johnson. Never say die. Never say resign.

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What Lib Dems are saying about the resignations

What a night. Boris Johnson apologised for appointing Chris Pincher demonstrating not for the first time his distance from the real world most of us live in. But then a man who doesn’t know when a party is a party is unlikely to have a grasp on when a grope is a grope. The resignations of the chancellor and health secretary, followed by a slew of junior resignations would have left most prime ministers considering their position. But it seems that all Johnson cares about is his own survival.

After Health Secretary Sajid Javid and ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak quit within ten minutes of each other, Conservative vice-chair Bim Afolami, trade envoy Andrew Murrison, parliamentary private secretaries Saqib Bhatti, Jonathan Gullis, Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie, and solicitor-general Alex Chalk followed.

Overnight Lib Dems have been reacting to the unfolding events. Here is a selection of comments.

 

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Johnson: Imperious, impervious and delusional

Our prime minister is beleaguered, only he doesn’t know it. He told the press pack in Rwanda that he intended to remain as prime minister until the mid-2030s. With members of his cabinet scheming against him and negative approval ratings in opinion polls, that looks unlikely.

Both Johnson and some Conservative MPs are in denial about the message sent by the government by the public in Thursday’s twin by-election defeats. At least two of Tory MPs have blamed the Tiverton and Honiton defeat on the “girls” (MPs to you and me) that shopped Neil Parish for his tractor porn antics in the chamber. Another said they didn’t see the defeat coming because “people were lying on the doorsteps”. How out of touch can the Tories be?

Other MPs recognised that the bond of trust has been broken between the prime minister, the Conservative party and the voters: “People think he’s a liar and a shady bugger.”

As Richard Foord said on Thursday: “It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.” The departure of the “shady bugger” is long overdue.

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Roe vs Wade struck out as illiberal forces gain ground

There was no surprise about yesterday’s decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the historic Roe vs Wade decision. The ruling, which ended half a century of constitutional protection for abortion, had been leaked the beginning of May. The ruling, from which three Democrat judges dissented, is expected to further divide the nation ahead of November’s midterm elections.

The verdict does not make abortion illegal in the USA but it does allow individual states to pass their own laws restricting abortion to the earliest weeks of pregnancy or situations such as rape.

The ruling is likely to stoke further tensions in a country that is increasingly polarised. It could also presage the overturning of other rights such as same sex marriage and access to contraception.

The Roe vs Wade decision dates to 1973, six years after Liberal MP David Steel introduced the Abortion Act as a private members bill in the House of Commons. Lord Steel has since argued for further liberation of the law. But abortion remains controversial in the UK with regular protests outside abortion clinics.

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Tiverton and Honiton: “It’s time for Boris Johnson to go” – Foord speech in full

In a calm, reasoned and powerful acceptance speech, newly elected Lib Dem MP for Tiverton and Honiton has a message for Boris Johnson:

Tonight, the people of Tiverton & Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.

Ours is a great country and there’s no greater part of it than Devon. But every day Boris Johnson clings to office, he brings further shame, chaos and neglect…

I also have a simple message for those Conservative MPs propping up this failing Prime Minister: The Liberal Democrats are coming.

Foord said the cost of living crisis is hitting hard, including in Devon.

He also paid tribute to Ed Davey for his leadership: “You believed from the start that this result was possible. You rallied our troops and led from the front.” The contrast with Boris Johnson who shied away from meeting voters in Tiverton and Honiton was left unstated.

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Tiverton and Honiton & Wakefield aftershocks: Dowden goes (updated)

There will be news breaking throughout the day as the political establishment cogitates on the results of by-elections and fallout begins.

The first Conservative to fall on his sword is Oliver Dowden, until this morning chairman of the Conservative Party. He told Boris Johnson earlier this morning:

“Yesterday’s parliament by-elections are the latest in a run of very poor results for our party. Our voters are distressed and disappointed by recent events and I share their feelings. 

“We cannot continue with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that in these circumstances it would not be right for me to stay in office.”

Is Dowden a sacrifice to distract attention from the failures of Boris Johnson or are Conservatives finally saying enough is enough and walking away from the chaos at the head of the party and government?

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Tiverton and Honiton: “The Major from Uffculme” wins for the Lib Dems

Congratulations to Richard Foord and the Lib Dem team on a convincing win in mid-Devon. Richard took the Lib Dems from third place to a majority of 6,144 votes. It is a stonking win and with Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire completes a hattrick of by-election victories. Foord comfortably overturned the 24,239 majority won at the December 2019 general election by former Tory MP Neil Parish – who was forced to resign after he was seen viewing pornography in the House of Commons.

One resident is quoted by the Express as calling Richard Foord “the Major from Uffculme, a good local bloke.” That moniker might stick.

Tonight also saw local council gains in Highley, Kingston and Waverley.

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Tiverton and Honiton: Lib Dems call victory

3.00am. The count is still underway. The result not declared. But the Lib Dems are claiming victory in Tiverton and Honiton. Helen Hurford is reported to have locked herself in a room to avoid the media.

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Lib Dems take Highley in Shropshire

Some good news to begin the night while we wait for the Tiverton and Honiton result.

Congratulations to Mark Williams who takes Lib Dem number of the unitary Shropshire Council to 14, the second largest party. This was a hard fought campaign for a seat the Conservatives wanted to win, after they lost 12% of their seats in the 2021 all up council elections including the then council leader who was ousted by a Lib Dem. Late last year, the Conservatives lost the North Shropshire constituency to Helen Morgan.

Helen was among the large team of campaigners from across Shropshire and beyond that leafleted and canvassed in the constituency from the day the by-election was called after the resignation of an independent councillor.

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Food banks and posh nosh

On Monday, the Conservatives held their summer party fundraiser. The top lot was dinner with Boris Johnson and his rivals Theresa May and David Cameron. The Dinner of the Century – so-called to avoid inviting Johnson critic John Major – went for £120,000.

This was of course a fundraiser and at such events silly things go for silly prices. But the symbolism cannot be missed. Three prime ministers tucking into posh nosh with someone who has £120,000 in spare change while people are struggling to feed themselves and queuing for the food bank.

News of the Dinner of the Century broke on Wednesday, the day before 36 Shropshire organisations, including councils, food banks and support groups, published an open letter on the cost of living crisis. They are pleading for more help for rural communities, for longer term help and for those in relative comfort to think of ways they can help others.

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The polls open in Tiverton and Honiton, Wakefield and local by-elections

It is 7.00am and the polls have opened in the two headline by-elections of today. The Lib Dems have been prioritising their efforts in Tiverton and Honiton in mid-Devon, with hundreds of activists and most of the party’s MPs turning out to deliver leaflets and knock on doors. Labour’s interest of course has been in Wakefield where it hopes to begin taking back the Red Wall seats it lost in 2019.

Both by-elections were triggered by MPs resigned in disgrace.

Keir Starmer has said a victory in Wakefield “could be the birthplace of the next Labour government”. If Labour win, Starmer can face down his critics in the constituency and in the shadow cabinet who describe him as “boring”.

Ed Davey is under no such pressure – the Lib Dems having secured two impressive by-election victories in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire within just over a year. He has been very active in all the campaigns, including in Tiverton and Honiton. He is also more social and comfortable with voters than Starmer appears to be.

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Tiverton & Honiton: Observer and Davey call for tactical voting

The Observer leader column today calls for voters in Tiverton and Honiton to vote tactically for the Lib Dems and voters to tactically vote for Labour in Wakefield.

In an editorial that does not pull its punches, the Observer describes Conservative MPs who voted to keep Boris Johnson in office as “morally myopic and politically foolish”.

“A double whammy of byelection defeats will frighten Conservative MPs in red wall seats and those traditionally true blue. A scare, the bigger the better, is exactly what the Tories need before this government slithers into even worse degeneracy.”

The newspaper says there is no shame in tactical voting. While “political outcomes are distorted by an antique and unfair first-past-the-post electoral system”, voting tactically is the only way to mobilise “the anti-Tory majority”.

The Tories are running scared and Johnson is running so scared he flew to Ukraine rather than face his own Red Wall MPs on Friday. But nothing is certain until the votes have been counted. It is time for that final push.

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Matthew Parris opines on how Lib Dems can win by wooing Tories

Columnist Matthew Parris has been wandering a bit in recent years, step by step getting further away from the Conservative Party which he once represented as an MP. He was MP for West Derbyshire from 1979 to 1986, leaving politics to pursue a career in journalism. Since then, criticism of the Tories and their pursuit of Brexit have two of the major themes of his columns. Parris left the Tories in 2019, saying he was going to vote Lib Dem.

The week before the North Shropshire by-election, he wrote:

“We’ve got a wrong ’un in Downing Street. Does anyone have the balls to dislodge this impostor, or must cowering Tory outsource their courage to the voters of North Shropshire next week?”

We know what happened in North Shropshire. Today in The Times, Parris turns his attention to the Tiverton and Honiton by-election.

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One week to go in Tiverton and Honiton!!!

I rarely use exclamation marks when writing, but it is getting exciting! Next Thursday voters in Tiverton and Honiton will be heading to the polls. And the polls say we are only a couple of per cent behind the Tories. Although, the bookies have us as favourites, there is no room for complacency. It is time to get to Tiverton and Honiton if you can.

The HQs will be open from 9am until 8pm:

  • Tiverton at 8-9 Mountbatten Road, Tiverton EX16 6SW
  • Honiton at 118 High St, Honiton, EX14 1JP

If you need or can offer a lift for volunteers on polling week, please complete this form.

Campaigning next week won’t be helped by the national rail strike. Although notionally for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, services are expected to be disrupted for the entire week and overcrowded when they operate. Cue traffic jams at the usual bank holiday pinch spots to am from the south west. However, we Lib Dems are not put off by such matters. We are at the point of winning and we must win. We must pull off the hattrick of three by-election wins in a row.

 

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Paddington Bear for ethics adviser after Geidt goes?

Wendy Chamberlain was being ironic last night when she said the only person who would now take on the job of ethic adviser to Boris Johnson’s government would be Paddington.

Last night, Lord Geidt’s resignation was a bit of a mystery. It was known that he was unhappy in his role because of the antics of the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is his boss. Geidt had an uncomfortable session on Tuesday when he told the public administration and constitutional affairs committee it was reasonable to suggest the prime minister may have breached the ministerial code when he was fined during the Partygate scandal.

Today, we have the full correspondence between Lord Geidt and Boris Johnson. In his resignation letter, Geidt said he was being asked to judge on Johnson’s intention to risk a “purposeful and deliberate breach of the ministerial code” and he was not prepared to do that.

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Food strategy for England is a recipe to make you sick

Reading the government’s much vaunted food strategy released on Monday, I was remined of the school dinners of my youth. Bland. At times lumpy. And flavourless and unsatisfying. The only way you could eat the main course was with an unhealthy dose of salt, though the deserts were usually sprinkled with sugar. There are no restrictions on salt or sugar then (late fifties and early sixties) and there are to be none now.

Boris Johnson’s true instincts were made clear 16 years ago when, as shadow education spokesman, he praised parents who defied healthy eating moves: “If I were in charge, I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and tell people to eat what they liked.” He is now in charge and he has all but dismissed another chef, Henry Dimbleby, whose government commissioned report on a National Food Strategy recommended expanding provision of free school meals, a 30 per cent reduction in the amount of meat we eat and taxes on sugar and salt. But although Johnson seemed to be more interested in obesity after he caught Covid-19, the food strategy published on Monday shows he doesn’t have the stomach for dealing with it.

Faced with criticism at the weekend after the report was leaked last Friday, Boris Johnson said the solution to was not to “start whacking new taxes” but “to eat less”. The era of nudge policies seems long gone.

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Tiverton and Honiton: Hurford comes out of the cold

The battle is hotting up in Devon. The Conservative candidate Helen Hurford has this week come out from hiding and has been allowed to speak to the national media. The i has the story.

I couldn’t help raising a smile when Hurford started talking about herself in the third person: “Helen Hurford has a six-point plan to deliver… and she will fight with all the gusto and passion that she has.” That sounds like she was reading from one of her own leaflets or a script from CCHQ, only she had forgotten that it was about her.

In contrast to Hurford’s somewhat stilted comments, Richard Foord comes across as quietly confident. Maybe I am biased, but as this juncture in a by-election we can win, I think we are entitled to be a bit biased.

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Benefits to Bricks and Boris Bluster

This government is stuck on the letter “B”. Build Back Better. Bus Back Better. And now Benefits to Bricks. And, of course, there is the perennial Boris Bluster. The speech Boris Johnson gave in Blackpool on Thursday seemed to be more about keeping Johnson in his home at No 10 than getting others into homes. Although billed as a “housing speech” it was more a rambling justification for Johnson’s position. Although the main topic was meant to be housing, we heard of olive oil and bananas, Suez and Ukraine, inflation, policing, health, cost of living, riots and much more on the way to mortgages and a right to buy for social housing tenants.

We were told we are living in good times: “People don’t face the misery of the 1980s or 1990s”. Johnson failed to mention that all but three years of those decades were under Conservative governments. And that there wasn’t then a food bank in every community. And when he said, “Everyone can see and feel the impact on household budgets”, I briefly fantasised that he too was flat broke and was facing the cruel choice between fuel, heating and food.

This government is out of touch with how hard times are for many people. And that shows in its current announcements, including Benefits to Bricks.

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Two weeks to go in Tiverton and Honiton – we can get there, if you get there (or on the phone)

Local people are crying out for help but Boris Johnson simply isn’t listening. He’s more focused on trying to cling to power that helping struggling families.

That’s the message from Richard Foord, our Lib Dem candidate for Tiverton and Honiton. He said the Conservatives had taken the area for granted for decades and the party’s current infighting would mean further neglect.

The Telegraph today says: “This month’s vote takes place amid fears Sir Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats are parking their tanks on the lawn of Boris Johnson’s party as they seek a third by-election scalp in the space of a year.” We should take that scalp (to use the Telegraph’s primitive language) and we can do so with a push over the final two weeks of our campaign. There are volunteer activities in the constituency and regular Maraphone sessions for those that can’t get there.

Please note that significant rail disruption is expected from 21 June until after the by-election.

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A great jubilee but what is the future of the monarchy?

As people return to work after a long bank holiday weekend and business in the Commons and Lords resumes, the difficult question must be asked, what is the future of the monarchy? Although the Queen’s popularity remains strong, the same cannot be said of her successor Prince Charles, especially amongst young people.

Compared to his mother and his son, Charles these days seems dated. It is hard to imagine him doing a sketch with Daniel Craig or Paddington Bear. Despite this, half of people expect him to a good job as monarch, though 75% think Prince William will do a good job.

There is no national mood to abolish the monarchy. But whether the monarch should remain the head of state is a more open question. Especially as Prince Charles has a track record of lobby ministers for his people obsessions. Should we move to a presidential system?

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