Author Archives: Jo Shaw

Jo Shaw is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Holborn and St Pancras.

A response to Julian Huppert’s analysis on the Justice and Security Bill

A response to Julian Huppert’s analysis of the Justice and Security Bill

We learned on Wednesday this week that the Justice and Security Bill is being rushed into Report Stage in the Commons. The government has now published its latest proposed amendments to the Justice and Security Bill. Astonishingly I have been told that Conservatives are saying the Bill has been moved forward to conclude in the Commons on 7th March to avoid a further motion at our Spring Conference.

Julian Huppert and Mike Crockart worked very hard during the Committee stage of the debate, and voted (supported by Labour) to defeat secret …

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Jo Shaw asks… Is there a way out of the Secret Courts mess?

It’s a strange and rare thing for a Liberal Democrat to be pinning her hopes for a civil liberties victory on a combination of government bad faith, Conservatives of principle voting the right way and Labour sticking to their guns. Yet that combination, combined with the votes of Lib Dem MPs, could offer a lifeline for those campaigning to defeat secret courts contained in the Justice and Security Bill.

The Bill is now in Committee in the Commons. At the last possible moment the government published its proposed amendments to the Bill. The government line is that these amendments clarify the …

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Jo Shaw: Secret Courts update – please support our new motion to the Lib Dems’ Spring Conference

Supreme Court - Some rights reserved by cphoffman42The Justice and Security Bill, which introduces secret courts into almost all civil cases, was rushed into its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday this week.

The Minister in charge of secret courts in the Commons, Ken Clarke, made an opening statement in the debate which made it clear that the Coalition Government does not accept the amendments proposed by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, some of which were passed by the Lords. It is still …

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Opinion: Secret Courts – one month on

One month ago today Liberal Democrat members voted overwhelmingly against the government’s plans for secret courts contained in Part II of the Justice and Security Bill. The motion was passed unamended despite the efforts of party leaders who attempted to dilute the motion into an apology for unfair trials.

Reporting of the Bill has continued, none of it reassuring. During the debate I said I could not understand why our government would suggest this illiberal measure, unless it was due to pressure from the US government. Disturbingly it seems I was right as it was what David Anderson QC, the government’s …

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Opinion: Opportunity knocks for Nick Clegg and UN Women

In January of this year, I appointed myself a Godmother. Not of a child (I’m already a godmother to one of them, and she’s fabulous, plus I was asked!), but of an organisation – UN Women. As part of the campaign to assist the launch of UN Women, VSO is campaigning for Godmothers (of both sexes), to ensure that UN Women gets the support, financial and moral, it needs for its vital work.

Women have been at the heart of the world’s events over the past few months. Whether it’s campaigning against the driving ban-or-is-it-a-ban in Saudi Arabia, the …

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Jo Shaw writes: Counter Terrorism and Security Review latest

The long awaited outcome of the review of counter-terrorism and security powers is to be announced this week. Already last week, the expected and widely trailed outcome was confirmed that the length of time for pre-charge detention has been halved from 28 to 14 days – this 28 day power will lapse on Tuesday. It now appears that Theresa May will announce the outcome of the review on Wednesday, after Cabinet presumably discusses the issue on Tuesday.

The most thorny issue for the Liberal Democrats is what will go and what will remain of the highly controversial Control Order regime. David …

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Opinion: Control Orders – 14 words to mull over

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society”. These are the first fourteen words of the Preamble to the Constitution of the Liberal Democrats. It was this statement that finally made me decide to join the Lib Dems nearly ten years ago, and has kept me campaigning, working and fighting for and on behalf of our party ever since.

The control order debate has been raging lately, within the party and in the press. I wanted to explain why I feel so strongly about the issue of control orders and why I set up the …

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Political Dragon’s Den – now with added video

If you want the chance to pitch your idea to our expert panel at our fringe, you have until noon on Sunday 19th September to email your pitch to [email protected].

You need to be able to attend the fringe which is at 1pm on Wednesday 22nd Sept in Liverpool ACC Hall 11C to speak for your idea!

Hope to see you there!

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Political reform: the Dragons Den

Next year there will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rid of the first past the post system and replace it with the Alternative Vote system; The House of Lords is about to be reformed; the number of parliamentary constituencies is about to be reduced.

As Liberal Democrats we have a once in a generation opportunity to shape the discussion about the kind politics which will best serve the British people. Our autumn conference fringe event will explore that – but not in the normal way, with the normal suspects. We want to do this in a “new …

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Opinion: Healthy scepticism alive and well among Liberty’s ranks

At the weekend Liberty held its AGM. Jo Shaw was there…

We are, as our esteemed director, Shami Chakrabarti said on Saturday “a gobby lot”. In that, the Liberty membership share much in common with the membership of the Lib Dems. Both share a tradition of being unwilling to shut up, of asking difficult questions and not necessarily toeing the line which might be expected or helpful for the leadership.

Liberty was formed 76 years ago in response to police brutality against protestors against hunger and unemployment. Police tactics at demonstrations and the politics of dissent are currently high in …

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Camden Labour reels as councillor defects to the Lib Dems‏

Last night Labour’s last councillor in Haverstock ward in Camden resigned his membership of the party and defected to the Liberal Democrats. Councillor Syed Hoque cited the Labour government’s response to the recent fighting in Gaza as central to his decision. He has also described his unhappiness with the Camden Labour group, in particular his belief that those in charge of Camden Labour are rude, arrogant and out of touch with local people.

This takes the number of Camden Liberal Democrat councillors to 24, an all time high. The number of Liberal Democrat councillors in Holborn & St Pancras constituency is now 11, a rise of 1000% from prior to the 2006 borough elections.

Councillor Hoque is by no means the only former Labour supporter in Camden to be feeling let down and disillusioned by a party that seems to have forgotten about ordinary people.

Labour are at rock bottom nationally and losing support every day. In Camden many people feel Labour has taken them for granted for years. Fortunately, all those who believe in ethical foreign policy, defending our civil liberties, and protecting those on the lowest incomes will find a natural home with the Liberal Democrats.

Statement from Councillor Syed Hoque, Haverstock Ward:

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Recent Comments

  • Simon R
    Since I wrote the above comment, the LibDem manifesto for London has been published ( so to be fair I...
  • Phil Wainewright
    Instead of restricting individual freedom, surely we should simply tax at 100% all profits made from nicotine addiction?...
  • James Moore
    @David Raw Temperance was about individuals voluntarily agreeing to give up alcohol, not the central state banning people from drinking it. At the end of ...
  • Peter Davies
    Either that is a completely unreasonable administrative fee with no relation to the cost of finding and emailing the data or the administration of our court sys...
  • Alex A
    Free transcripts of entire trials for all victims for any reason at all is not a reasonable or practical demand. It may sound cold, but the courts exist to admi...