Author Archives: Hywel Morgan

Opinion: How a stranger carrying a rucksack came within 10 feet of Nick Clegg

It was November 5th 2011, the date for that hotbed of radical fervour that is Yorkshire and Humber regional conference.

Those who know me will not be surprised that I was running late so things were already underway when I arrive. Those people will be further un-surprised that I hadn’t registered in advance either, confident that people would be willing to take my money on the day!

The session was already underway so I quietly slipped in through the door and sat at the back.

That’s right – at an openly advertised meeting, where Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: time to end the special treatment for sitting MPs

Like many other Lib Dem local parties my own is currently working its way through selecting candidates for next May’s local elections.

In at least one ward a sitting councillor will be facing a challenge and a contested (re)selection meeting. I think that few people would argue that that was a bad idea, that the person who had been the representative should have to show that they still have the confidence of their local membership.

On a wider scale we are seeing selections for the list members for the Greater London Authority. Two sitting members are standing down but the one person restanding is having to put herself in front of the membership and seek their continued support.

A similar process applies for the re-selection of MSPs on both the lists and for the constituencies.

At some point in the next 18 months or so our MEPs will, if they want to restand, have to do the same. Just as they did before the 2004 and 2009 elections.

When our elected Mayors come up for re-election they also will have to go before their membership to show they still have their support.

Of course in many of these cases, particularly at a more local level, such re-selections are done unopposed. However the principle, that re-selections are open contests still remains.

However there is one group of Liberal Democrat elected representatives who don’t have to face an open reselection contest: Westminster MPs.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 10 Comments

Opinion: a broken pledge, but we knew how bad it was back in March

Sorry Nick. Sorry Vince, I can’t find the figures that back you up

Both Nick and Vince have claimed that there was no option but to reverse their pledges on tuition fees. The public sector finances were in a far worse state than they expected and they had no option.

That would be a justification that would be just about sellable to people. A promise made in good faith which became unsustainable due to information not known about at the time could be legitimately broken.

The problem is, I can’t really find much that backs that claim up.

My starting point …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , and | 54 Comments

Opinion: How much do MPs actually eat?

Let us contrast two reported sets of figures for food costs claimed by Lib Dem MPs…

Norman Baker

July-Sept 2004: £287
July-Sept 2005: £307
Aug-Sept 2006: £178
Aug-Sept 2007: £157

Ming Campbell
Sept-Oct 2004: £800
Aug-Nov 2005: £1000
July, Aug, Sept 2006: £1000
July-Aug 2007: £650

We-the-taxpayer already pay our MPs a salary of at least £60,000 a year, and provide them with an allowance for a second home to cook and eat in.

I don’t think, therefore, there is any justification for a separate allowance for food costs. But if there is, one can anyone explain why one MP can feed themselves on around £100 per month …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

The curious comparison of the seven North London MPs

In exposing the actions Tony McNulty the Mail on Sunday produced an interesting table of the claims of Additional Cost Allowances made by MPs in outer London and the South East.

It makes interesting comparision when you compare the claims of MPs in neighbouring seats. The following MPs all represent seats that are a broadly comparable distance from Westminster. Yet the amounts they claim are vastly different.

MP Constituency ACA claim in the last 5  years+ Claims London Supplement?
Sarah Teather* (LD) Brent East £0 Yes
Dawn Butler** (LAB) Brent South £37,245
Rudi Vis (LAB) Finchley and Golders Green £32,211

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Tagged , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Dept of Transport admits: Hoon withholding information about Heathrow from MPs

I recently sent Geoff Hoon an email concerning his statement to the House of Commons on the third Heathrow runway. Whilst I was asking him a rather obscure and pedantic point relating to the language he used, the reply I got is rather revealing.

To that end , the Secretary of State reached his decision on the basis of a transparent and objective analysis of the evidence available as a result of the consultation that has taken place. He alone had the necessary knowledge of all the facts and issues that required consideration.

It would not have been

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

BNP illustrate “Battle for Britain” using migrant workers

File under “you couldn’t make it up”. The BNP’s 09 election campaign, which they presumably regard as the first step to the road to their promised land of racial purity, is clearly setting out to target migrant workers.Never ones to worry about a hackneyed image they use that iconic image of a Spitfire to illustrate “the Battle for Britain”.

Just one slight problem. The Spitfire they used is one from 303 squadron. Which was made up of Polish airmen who escaped from Nazi occupied France.

John Hemming MP pointed out the lunacy of the BNPs position:

They have a policy

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments
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