Author Archives: Mark Valladares

20 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

There were two press releases today, one of which has already been covered on these pages. Here’s the other one…

Cable: Arms sales to Saudi Arabia “embarrassingly compromising”

Responding to Saudi Arabia’s claim that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in its consulate in Istanbul, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

This situation gets murkier and murkier – Saudi Arabia seems to have forgotten about a death in its own consulate.

The UK’s heavy reliance on Saudi Arabia for arms sales is embarrassingly compromising in these circumstances.

The government should have already suspended arms export licences to Saudi Arabia

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19 October 2018 – today’s press release…

Only one today, with Parliament not in session, and all eyes turning to tomorrow’s march…

Cable at People’s Vote march: Brexit is dividing generations

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable will be speaking at the People’s Vote march in London tomorrow afternoon.

Vince is expected to say:

Tragically, Brexit divides one generation from another.

A substantial majority of my generation voted to leave.

A substantial majority of the young voted to remain.

Your generation is being betrayed by mine. By those who look to the past, who see Britain as a museum.

As a bonus today, here’s a link to something which has …

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18 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Extending transition period another embarrassing climbdown

Responding to the news that Theresa May is open to extending the transition period, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Theresa May once argued that we didn’t need a transition period at all. Admitting that an extension is on the table, and the billions it would cost, is yet another in a long list of embarrassing climbdowns for this Tory Government.

The blame for this mess falls squarely at the Prime Minister’s feet. Over the last two years, her Government has failed to find solutions to

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17 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Moran to move amendment to deliver votes at 16

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran will today move an amendment to the Overseas Electors Bill to lower the voting age to 16 for UK citizens living abroad.

The Overseas Electors Bill, which proposes extending the right of UK citizens living abroad to vote in UK elections, will be debated at the Public Bill Committee today .

Ms Moran is moving her amendment in the wake of the Welsh Assembly supporting plans last week to introduce votes at 16.

Ms Moran said:

If we are

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16 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

Welcome to the second day of our week of publishing the Party’s press releases as we receive them. Do let us know in the comments if you find this valuable…

Government must improve care for those with eating disorders

Today Wera Hobhouse will lead a Westminster Hall debate on the role stigma plays in preventing people with eating disorders from accessing early treatment.

Eating disorders affect 1.25 million people in the UK and despite evidence showing early intervention is critical to a recovery, people wait three-and-a-half years, on average, between the onset of symptoms and starting treatment.

Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Wera …

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15 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

It’s been suggested quite often in these pages that the media coverage we get as a Party isn’t that great. And, often, it is suggested that we need to crank up our media operation. So, for one week, I’ll be publishing all of the press releases that Liberal Democrat Voice receives from HQ, honouring the embargos as they are advised.

Today’s press releases are;

Welsh Lib Dems Urge Health Boards to Monitor Loneliness

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged health boards across Wales to monitor the scale of loneliness in their areas and treat loneliness and isolation as a health issue following an …

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What do Liberal Democrat members think? Don’t miss your chance to make your views heard!

We used to poll our readers quite a lot, and very interesting the results were too. Not always entirely reflective of the wider Party membership, but often the only meaningful attempt to assess the direction of travel on a range of subjects.

Well, we’re keen to resume our polling, but before we do, we’d like to invite those of you who are members to register for the forum linked to the site (assuming that you haven’t already done so) so that we can send you an e-mail inviting you to take part when the time comes.

And whilst we’re talking about polling, …

Posted in Site news | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill reaches the Lords…

Parliament returned to Westminster on Tuesday after the conference recess, and the Lords was immediately presented with one of those challenges it so often rises to, another anti-terrorism Bill, the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which received its Second Reading.

From the Liberal Democrat benches, Jonathan Marks outlined the four key tests against which the proposals would be judged;

First, what is the purpose of the measure and what is the mischief it seeks to address? Secondly, is the measure necessary to achieve that purpose? Thirdly, is the measure a proportionate response to the mischief, having regard to the restrictions on liberty

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From our Lords Correspondent: 9-11 October – as the summer draws to a close, a young Peer’s thoughts turn to Brexit…

Yes, it’s back, as the end of the Peer show returns to a Parliamentary chamber near you. And this time, I’m going to try to produce a column every week…

The ninety-eight strong Liberal Democrat group returned to battle this week, having shrunk by one more just before the Summer Recess. Ronnie Fearn, after two terms as the MP for Southport, and seventeen years in the Lords, retired under the terms of the 2014 House of Lords Reform Act on 11 July at the age of eighty-seven. No doubt the wear and tear …

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Welcome to my day: 15 October 2018 – returning to, or from, the country…

I’ve spent a rather relaxing weekend in Hampshire and Dorset, but it’s time to return to reality, or at least mid-Suffolk and a new week.

Will the week ahead see a rash of Cabinet resignations, as Brexiteers realise that the next set of Government compromises in search of a deal will take them ever further from whatever Brexit they individually want or understand? Is Theresa May really a sleeper agent for an Exit from Brexit, or just being tossed from crisis to crisis?

The suggestion that talks between Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier broke down without agreement last night do not augur …

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Welcome to my day: 1 October 2018 – a bit like being at the scene of a car crash that hasn’t happened yet…

Good morning, and welcome to another week here at Liberal Democrat Voice.

Something is happening out there, with Liberal Democrat polling numbers consistently edging up into double figures. Is it the start of the long march to credibility, or is it a reflection that, compared to Labour and the Conservatives, our stance on Brexit is beginning to cut through?

Last week, Labour decided that, rather than take a view on Brexit, or on a People’s Vote, they would offer several. Unfortunately, whilst Sir Kier Starmer was enthusiastically received for suggested that a new referendum would include the option of remaining inside the …

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Welcome to my day: 24 September 2018 – Unicorns R’Us

Look, Theresa, I really don’t understand this. The European Union have told you that you can’t have this. You keep telling them that it’s what you want. When are you going to understand that, when you choose to leave, you get what they want you to have, especially when you have no status quo to revert to?

One assumes that someone has tried to explain this to our Prime Minister, but given that she has rather painted herself into a corner, it probably wouldn’t make any difference. In fairness though, even without her ludicrously self-harming red lines, her platform is being demolished by the ERG on one side, and the Democratic Unionists on the other.

And yes, there are signs that more thoughtful senior colleagues are looking for a way out, but between a Canada+++ option, which doesn’t solve the Irish border issue, and a Norway (—?) option, which doesn’t really exist, it does appear that we’re heading for either a snap election or no deal. And whilst Liberal Democrats might benefit from the former, is it likely to resolve anything, or would another even more painfully hung Parliament be the outcome? I was, at least, impressed by Jeremy Hunt’s spoken Japanese…

So, where are we now? Labour are meeting in Liverpool, with creative ambiguity the order of the day over Brexit.

The Party’s membership, having been described as a middle-class elite by Iain Dale (who should really know better), appears to be overwhelmingly in favour of a “people’s vote” – it’s called internal Party democracy, Iain – with a leader who, frankly, isn’t. Can. or will, Jeremy and his mate Len deny their supporters the vote that they seem to want? And if they do, what do those who joined Labour to fight Brexit do?

Elsewhere, the Prime Ministers of Malta and the Czech Republic have suggested that a referendum wouldn’t be unwelcome. In other words, if a referendum took place, European leaders would be minded to give us an extension to the deadline in order to complete it. Unsurprisingly, this was seen by the Brexiteers as being an unwarranted interference. It’s called “giving you more options”, but these are Conservatives against choice, it seems. As is always the case, Conservatives only believe in freedom and choice when the freedoms and choices on offer are ones they approve of.

But I sound angry this morning, and it’s too nice a day for that. We’ve got a full slate of articles on Brexit, on party reform, on electoral reform and campaigning, so there’s plenty for you to get your teeth into.

And, if you need a laugh, here’s a video of men in penguin suits attempting to fill buckets of water on a revolving turntable (TW: Stuart Hall is doing the commentary)…

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Enjoying Conference? Fancy another one… in Madrid?

The Federal International Relations Committee is recruiting Congress delegates for the upcoming Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe (ALDE) Party Congress later this year. For more information on this process, please contact us!

What? ​Delegation voting-member at the ALDE Party Congress 2018

When? ​8-10 November 2018

Where? ​Madrid, Spain

Who? Staff, parliamentarians, party members, activists, volunteers can apply

About the Congress

The 39th ALDE Party Congress, will take place from 8 to …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Welcome to my day: 10 September 2018 – in the absence of a plan…

Time to start another week, as the Party’s Autumn Conference beckons. Of course, much of the talk will be about the proposed “Momentum for Moderates”. In truth, the Party needs to build a broader coalition of support in order to gain power, and I can’t say that I’m terribly fussed about the terminology, as long as we remain a liberal force in British politics. And no, that doesn’t mean centrist, unless you can anchor centrism somewhere on the political spectrum. But I don’t doubt that there will be numerous contributions over the coming days.

The knives are out for Boris Johnson, …

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Welcome to my day: 3 September 2018 – dancing for loose change?

I’m not one to criticise Theresa May’s dancing. You don’t want to see me on a dance floor, if truth be told. And, regardless of her prospects in “Strictly Come Dancing”, she was trying.

And on that thought, welcome to another week, with the schools going back and, indeed, Parliament. The behaviour is likely to be rather more dignified in schools though, with the weekend papers featuring supposed coup preparations against both Corbyn and May. We Liberal Democrats have Vince’s speech to look forward to at the end of the week, when he may, or may not, be talking about his …

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Upset in East Herts, solid hold in Cornwall…

Another Thursday, another unlikely result…

Yes, that’s a 51.7% swing, for the aficionados out there.

For the Conservatives, who had previously held all fifty seats on the council, they’ll just have to get used to having an opposition in the Council chamber. Well done to Sophie Cook, one of our younger members, and her team in a part of the county where success has been traditionally hard won.

Elsewhere, a solid defence in Bude, on Cornwall Council…

See, not all gammon is bad… Again, congratulations to David Parsons and the North Cornwall crew – a lovely bunch from my memory as Presidential consort.

Posted in Local government and News | Tagged and | 26 Comments

Welcome to my day: 24 August 2018 – “he was high on intellectualism, I’ve never been there but the brochure looked nice…”

It’s Monday once again, and time to introduce another day of general stuff!

* checks diary *

Oh, it’s Friday.

* looks around *

Yes, it’s summer, and whilst Caron is off having a thoroughly deserved holiday, the rest of us are minding the shop. That means that normal service… isn’t. So, bear with me as I step in for the day.

Yesterday saw the release of the first set of Brexit technical notices, advising of various impacts in the event of no deal. And, in terms of reassurance, they didn’t offer as much as Dominic Raab …

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Welcome to my day: 20 August 2018 – a change of house style…

Time for the start of a new week, for those of us with weekday, nine to five jobs. Of course, with the rise of the gig economy, zero hour contracts, flexible working hours and self-employment, that represents fewer of us, and why is Monday seen as the start of a new week anyway?

Since I returned to the frontline of Liberal Democrat Voice, I’ve started most days with an opening piece, putting the day into context, but increasingly sense that it isn’t really working. So, I’m going to try something more… editorial, I guess. See what you think.

It’s been an interesting …

Posted in News | 8 Comments

An American solution to the second home problem?

Last month, campaigners near where I live won a by-election where the key issue was that of second home owners and their impact on local communities and services.

This weekend, I’m spending a few days in Rhode Island, home of the chicken, and enjoying the tranquility of the shoreline near the Massachusetts border. Whilst doing so, I’ve been discussing some of the issues surrounding how you maintain healthy rural communities, especially in places popular as holiday destinations. As you do, right?

One of the challenges is how you ensure that local workers, whose salaries are often far lower than those seeking to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

Welcome to my day: 13 August 2018 – switching to a walrus-inspired diet

Welcome to Rhode Island, the Ocean State and the smallest in the Union. First to declare independence, and last of the original thirteen States to join the United States, it’s probably the least remarked upon part of New England. It is, having spent the weekend in a quiet corner near the Massachusetts border, rather pretty and, if you’re in the area, worth a peek.

So, why the steamed clams? They’re something of a delicacy in these parts, and thrive in the absence of walruses, whose diets consists largely of clams. And, despite my …

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From our Lords Correspondent: another step towards the restoration of the Palace of Westminster

Six months ago, in my increasingly erratic reporting of events in the House of Lords, I touched upon the debate on the restoration and refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster.

So, what happened next?

There was agreement that, as bits of the building were either falling on people or were in danger of burning down or filling with sewage (or both at the same time), that it was really high time that Parliament vacated the building so that it could be modernised for the new age, with technology built in and new services …

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Immigration and Asylum: some thoughts from the house bureaucrat…

I note that the latest proposals for debate at Autumn Conference on migration policy have come in for some stick from my editorial colleague. And with good cause, for apologising for what is necessary and appropriate is never a good way to convince people that what you need is, indeed, necessary and appropriate.

But I come bearing something rather more practical, in that I want to talk about what underpins any immigration and asylum policy, regardless of how liberal it is, or otherwise.

For, no matter what your starting point is, you have to administer it properly. So, without actually outlining …

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Welcome to my day: 6 August 2018 – the land of the free, the home of the brave?

Today, Liberal Democrat Voice is brought to you from Boston, Massachusetts, home of the mighty(ish) Red Sox, and the heartland of the American forces in the 1776 Rebellion against all that was good and decent. Or, in other words, where plucky freedom fighters liberated their nation from the colonial oppressors. You pays your money, you takes your choice…

The United States is an odd place. For all the talk of freedom, you often need to present proof of age to buy beer at a ballpark or in a supermarket, albeit that this depends …

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Welcome to my day: 30 July 2018 – stockpiling words for a future shortage?

It’s been a very pleasant weekend in mid-Suffolk, with a Branch garden party to attend in Needham Market, a fascinating lunch with a new friend talking about Brexit and wider geopolitics and an intriguing dinner party, but it’s now time to return to work, as the week begins anew. And what have we for you today, I hear you ask?

It hardly seems like two years since the last London Assembly elections, but it really is, and as a sign of how seriously the Regional Party are taking 2020, we today can announce the schedule for the selection of the Party’s …

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Welcome to my day: 23 July 2018 – the heat is, apparently, on…

The grass in my garden is looking a bit distressed, and the oasis of a new centrist party is looking like a bit of a mirage. But life goes on, and so does Liberal Democrat Voice. So, what have we got for you today?

Ben Andrew kicks us off with some suggestions that would help the young amongst us. And yes, he does touch upon student finance, but his focus is on earlier years too.

We have news on proposals for Horizon Europe. “What’s that?”, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a major funding programme, supporting collaborative research and development across the …

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Welcome to my day: 16 July 2018 – are the tectonic plates of British politics shifting?

An opinion poll this weekend showed a significant shift from the Conservatives to UKIP, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise given the reaction to Theresa May’s proposals for Brexit. If, and one cannot be too cautious here, it is an early sign that Brexit supporters will desert the Conservatives if she proceeds as outlined, the beneficiaries are likely to be Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Of course, it might also cause Theresa May to revert to a more hardline approach…

But, whilst the experts and the commentariat pick through the entrails, we’ve got a website to run. And we start …

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Davis, Baker and Braverman quit, welcome to my day: 9 July 2018 – the day the Conservative Party breaks?

The overnight news that David Davis has resigned as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and that his junior Ministers, Steve Baker and Suella Braverman have gone with him, is the first public sign that the Chequers Accord is not the panacea that it was first thought to be.

I’ll be trying to keep up with developments here, but it may be that we are in a state of chaos. What larks, eh?

But seriously, what does this mean for the Government and for Brexit? And how should Liberal Democrat’s respond? Is it, as I would suggest, time to call …

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Welcome to my day: 2 July 2018 – hot, sexy liberalism?

I’ll be honest, I’m struggling today. Despite being half-Indian, I really rather prefer temperatures in the lower twenties Celsius. But as the burning sun beats down on most of us, Liberal Democrat Voice does not rest.

As the Government staggers from one attack from within to the next, and as senior Ministers overtly start their campaigns to replace Theresa May, what are Liberal Democrats to do? We’ve got a contribution which offers an interesting perspective on that from James Porter.

If there is a people’s vote, what should we want to see on the ballot paper? John King has been thinking about …

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Welcome to my day: Monday 25 June – it’s not the despair, it’s the hope that gets you…

England win 6-1, a huge march against Brexit. Anyone would think that we might be entitled to good stuff for a change. We’ll see if anything comes of either event, but it is nice to have something that offers hope, rather than the despair that has been so wearing of late.

There’s been a lot of hope in the past week for supporters of the NHS, but the Conservative proposal of an extra £20 billion for health spending turned to dust pretty quickly when it became clear that there wasn’t much actual money, and that what there was would be coming …

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

The decline of local journalism may mean more than just a lack of transparency…

Amidst the drama of Brexit, the Guardian covered a report from the US which may well have gone unnoticed by many. “Financing Dies in Darkness? The Impact of Local Newspaper Closures on Public Finance.”, published by academics from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Chicago on 8 May, might not, on the face of it, seem of great import, but I would suggest that it gives those of us who care about local government some cause for concern.

The authors summarise their report as follows;

The loss of monitoring that results from newspaper closures is associated

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTony Greaves 21st Oct - 6:53pm
    Just one point about the money - it is being said that there is a certain person (who has a very distinct political agenda he...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 21st Oct - 6:47pm
    And how many people did you convert from a Brexit stance to a Remain stance with this puerile nonsense? @ John Marriott, Perhaps you need...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 21st Oct - 6:22pm
    I add my view to that of colleagues, agree on the view put by Richard, in the same kind of way that Caron expresses, and...
  • User AvatarElaine Bagshaw 21st Oct - 6:02pm
    @Katharine We're only having to look at the Special Conference proposal because Vince put it on the table. I've always been against it, and pretty...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 21st Oct - 5:20pm
    Dismayed to learn that the Federal Board is even considering calling a Special Conference, I add my voice in total opposition to the idea, and...
  • User AvatarGraham Martin-Royle 21st Oct - 4:48pm
    And will this become another case of authorities demanding either a passport (not required by law to have one, not needed if not travelling abroad)...