Author Archives: News Meerkat

+++Heidi Allen MP to stand down at the election, citing “nastiness and intimidation”

The Guardian reports:

The Liberal Democrat MP Heidi Allen will not stand at the next general election, citing the “nastiness and intimidation” she has endured as a politician as being behind her decision to quit.

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More from Jo Swinson on this morning’s cross party talks

Speaking after this morning’s meeting of opposition leaders to discuss stopping a no-deal Brexit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

“This was a positive meeting with a clear objective to stop the nightmare that is no-deal Brexit, which the Government have admitted will lead to medicine and food shortages.

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LibDem council chief: Government ‘must not crucify Portsmouth’ over Brexit

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The BBC reports:

The leader of Portsmouth City Council says he can not allow government inaction to “crucify Portsmouth” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the authority and Hampshire County Council had already spent £4m on preparations to avoid gridlock near the city’s port.

The government has just announced port towns in England will receive an extra £9m to pay for preparations.

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Jo tables motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government


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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson MP has tabled a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. She has also written to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to move an official motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson.

Speaking having tabled the motion, Jo Swinson said:

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Breaking news: Welsh Lib Dems select Chris Twells as lead candidate for North Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected local campaigner Chris Twells as the party’s lead candidate for the North Wales region at the next National Assembly for Wales election.

North Wales elected a Welsh Liberal Democrat AM at every election until 2016, when UKIP won two seats.

Chris was selected by Welsh Liberal Democrat members living in Ynys Mon, Arfon, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham in an all-member ballot.

Chris was born in St Asaph and brought up in Rhosesmor, Flintshire, attending the Alun School in Mold before going on to study Law at the University of York. He has been an active Liberal Democrat member since joining the party as a student because of its strong pro-European stance and support for human rights.

Caradog Steffan John, a fluent Welsh speaker and former researcher at the Assembly was chosen as the second candidate for the North Wales list and Wrexham Councillor Rob Walsh secured third place. Donna Lalek, a Community Councillor from Flintshire and the second-placed candidate at the recent European election, will be the fourth candidate.

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Vince Cable declines invitation to State Banquet for Trump

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Vince Cable has today declined an invitation to a state banquet with Donald Trump.

In a letter to Palace staff organising the impending state visit in June, Mr Cable said:

I have taken the view that as a party leader I should not support state visits where the government of the day has issued invitations inappropriately.

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Greta Thunberg speech in Parliament today should help everyone to take notice of protecting our planet – Cable


Today, schoolgirl Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the Houses of Parliament. Vince Cable has said that he hopes that this event will greatly increase the profile to our climate emergency.

He remarked:

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Posters: Always be careful where you put yours…

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+++Norman Lamb says he’s considering resigning the party whip

From the Guardian Politics Live:

The senior Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb (he was not far off being elected leader in 2015) has told the BBC that he is considering resigning the party whip because he is so angry about how the Lib Dems acted in the indicative votes last night. Lamb voted for the customs union amendment, but around half of colleagues voted against it along with other MPs who did not want it to succeed because they want a second referendum instead.

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Cabinet minister: ‘It is May’s inability to engage in the most basic human interactions that brought us here’

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BBC Newsnight’s political editor, Nicholas Watt, quoted a cabinet minister last night, providing perhaps the clearest insight yet into the Brexit mess. Here’s what Watt said:

In cabinet, I am picking up complete and utter dispair. I said to one cabinet minister “Why is the Prime Minister holding a vote when she is pretty sure she is going to lose?” and using very strong language, this cabinet minister said to me:

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Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

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Following concerns from Formula 1 team bosses, reported by Autosport magazine, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has warned that Brexit would “put Britain into the gravel trap”.

Seven of the ten current F1 teams, including world champions Mercedes, are based in the UK.

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Nick Clegg to move to 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California

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The Guardian reports:

Facebook has hired Sir Nick Clegg, the former UK deputy prime minister, as its head of global policy and communications.

Clegg, 51, will join Facebook as it struggles to cope with mounting political pressure over issues including fake news, data protection and the threat of government regulation.

The former head of the Liberal Democrats will move to Silicon Valley in January.

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Vince Cable calls for an “adjudicator” in any Brexit deal referendum, plus votes for 16 and 17 year olds


In a speech to the North East of England People’s Vote rally in Newcastle this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

Some say a People’s Vote would cause aggro, all the lies of 2016 would be repeated. We need to anticipate that. We need an adjudicator who can look at what campaigners say and fact check them properly.

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Vince Cable speech: break-up the big tech monopolies

In a speech in London this morning entitled ‘Taming the Tech Titans’, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable has called for stronger international and domestic regulation of big tech companies. You can watch the speech here.

He has criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon, comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past, and suggests ways they can be broken up.

The speech also focussed on how start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized tech firms can thrive in a more competitive market.

The text released in advance of the speech has Vince arguing that

Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems. “

National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic wellbeing of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses – one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

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Layla Moran: Conservatives are abdicating their responsibilities on sex education

In interviews with The Sunday Times and Andrew Marr, new Education Secretary Damian Hinds signalled he would encourage restrictions to pupils’ rights to sex education. In the former interview, he is reported to have acknowledged he was reversing the policy of his predecessor, Justine Greening.

Hinds also failed to commit to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds as part of a review of the university system.

Responding, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The sexual harassment and intimidation scandals – and the resulting need for the #metoo movement – and the shocking rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks are just some of the reasons why compulsory sex education is vital.

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LibDem Jobwatch

Fancy working as a Political Assistant?

Haringey Lib Dem council group are keen to find an assistant on a fixed-term basis until the end of the May, with the possibility the role could be renewed for a further 4 years pending election results, performance etc. The post is an official council role and is politically restricted.

Obviously Haringey Council is an interesting place to work!

Applications close on the 18th January. Further details here.

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Resolution Foundation Report on Autumn Budget

Britain is on course for the longest period of falling living standards since records began in the 1950s, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that under plans set out by Philip Hammond in the Budget yesterday, the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of the Parliament, while the richest third will gain an average of £185.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:

This analysis exposes the reality of Britain’s economic future under this Conservative government.

The squeeze on pay and living standards is set to carry

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Norman Lamb jointly leads cross-party call for long-term NHS and Care review

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Liberal Democrat MP and former health minister Norman Lamb has organised a cross-party group of 90 MPs, including select committee chairs and former cabinet ministers, to write to the prime minister urging the government to establish an NHS and Care Convention to find a sustainable long-term settlement for these services.

The call has been backed by a high-profile group of 15 committee chairs, 22 former ministers, six former secretaries of state, and several prominent ex-shadow ministers and select committee members. The Convention would work on a cross-party basis, engaging with the public and the health and care workforce, to confront the mounting pressures in the system arising from an older population and growing demand for healthcare.

Ahead of the Autumn Budget on Wednesday, the MPs are urging the government to address the short-term challenges in the system, as well as endorsing the proposal for a cross-party approach to put these services on a stable long-term footing.

The initiative has been led by former Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb, the Conservative Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr. Sarah Wollaston, and Labour’s former Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall.

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Joy after “overwhelming” Australian vote for equal marriage


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The BBC reports:

Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic poll.

The non-binding postal vote showed 61.6% of people favour allowing same-sex couples to wed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

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News from the Liberal Democrats International Office

The Liberal Democrats took an active part in the 199th Liberal International Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg in October. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Better Governance: Liberal Answers to Twenty-first Century Challenges”.

Delegates adopted resolutions on freedom of belief, tackling the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya, and the rise of authoritarianism in Cambodia. The delegates elected a new Secretary General of LI, Gordon Mackay. He is a Member of the South African Assembly for Democratic Alliance.

Liberal Democrat Party President Sal Brinton held a number of meetings with key individuals at Liberal International, ALDE and …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Cable: Comments from Goldman Sachs boss shows threat of Brexit to our financial sector

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Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, is turning out to be a bell-weather of the London banking community regarding Brexit. He doesn’t tweet very often, but when he does, his tweets cause quite a kerfuffle.

Recently he made interesting comments about Frankfurt:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

Fun on the campaign trail #1: Willie Rennie and Jo Swinson as Di Caprio and Winslet – or Sergei and Aleksandr

Back in 2005, there was a very dignified photo-op during the election campaign that had then Scottish Lib Dem Leader and Jo Swinson during her first election on a canal barge. It was played time and time again on the news.

Yesterday, Willie Rennie and Jo Swinson launched her campaign to win back East Dunbartonshire on a boat in Kirkintilloch.

The image from that is a bit more fun and perhaps not quite as classy as the 2005 event.

That made it into the Times Red Box briefing.

And there are signs that the Scottish Lib Dem press office are rivalling their London counterparts in the sass department.

Here’s that Meerkat Moment.

And here’s the video that Willie and Jo made to launch her campaign:

At the same time, Theresa May was in Scotland at on of her tightly controlled events where she’s allegedly meeting ordinary people so that she doesn’t need to subject herself to the scrutiny of millions on a tv debate. Willie’s had this to say about her visit:

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Tony Blair advises voters to consider supporting the Lib Dems or Tories

The Independent reports:

Tony Blair has advised those going to the polls to consider voting for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats in order to weaken the Prime Minister’s mandate for a hard Brexit.

The former Prime Minister said it was important to vote for candidates who had an “open mind” on the final deal and that people should not limit their votes to just Labour because the issue was “bigger than party allegiance”.

…Speaking on Sunday on the BBC’s The World This Weekend programme he said: “The absolutely central question at this general election is less who is the prime minister on 9 June, and more what is the nature of the mandate.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Labour are trapped in a nightmare of two parties – Tim Farron on Corbyn’s speech

Here is Tim Farron’s response to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Liverpool Labour conference today:

Corbyn’s speech shows Labour’s problem, the last time I saw ovations like that was Iain Duncan Smith’s Blackpool conference speech. Here was a quiet man turning down the volume, especially on Europe. He barely mentioned Brexit and said nothing on the importance of the Single Market. It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only pro-European party now.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 84 Comments

On Radio 4’s Today, Miriam González Durántez warns of the challenge of Brexit

Miriam González Durántez was interviewed by Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. As an international lawyer who has worked as a trade negotiator she was asked about Brexit.

Posted in News | Tagged | 10 Comments

+++Tim Farron calls for general election as Theresa May is set to become Prime Minister

Yet another dramatic turn of events. Theresa May is a drive up the Mall away from being Prime Minister as Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Tory leadership race.

Tim Farron commented:

Posted in News | Tagged | 82 Comments

‘I came from Bangladesh, the Government lost my passport and now I’m a Liberal Democrat’

The Plymouth Herald reports:

Voters in next month’s council election will be confronted by a host of new names – but none with a more fascinating story than the Liberal Democrat candidate for Efford.

Rafiqul Haque grew up in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and came to the UK on a family holiday aged 14.

While they were here their home country elected a new government and their citizenship was revoked, rendering them effectively stateless.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Landmark diversity change will make the Liberal Democrats look like the nation we want to represent – Sal Brinton

Liberal Democrats have embraced diversity today by voting in favour of all-women shortlists.

Building on earlier successes and designed to increase diversity amongst candidates and MPs, the motion was supported by Party Leader Tim Farron, and passed overwhelmingly at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York.

In addition to introducing all-women shortlists, the motion ensures more spaces on constituency shortlists for BAME and LGBT+ members. It also means the Liberal Democrats will be the first political party in the country to implement all-disabled shortlists.

Party President Sal Brinton said: “”Over the last few months many party members have told us they think it is time we dealt comprehensively with the lack of diversity amongst our MPs, the wider party and parliament overall.

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Vince Cable on “decaying” relationship with “bloody-minded” Osborne in government

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Lembit on being able to afford a pint

We read the Daily Express, so you don’t have to you.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRossMcL 12th Nov - 6:55pm
    @David Evans - "I really hope our leaders have a cunning plan which will turn this all around in the next few weeks, because to...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 12th Nov - 6:46pm
    Hard to argue with the IMF-analysis, and the only logical explanation: Brexit. I would not linearly extrapolate this trend: so far, private investment has been...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 12th Nov - 6:22pm
    - Jo Swinson should react as quickly as Corbyn in visiting flood areas etc AS QUICK AS CORBYN. She has to have a childcarer in...
  • User Avatartheakes 12th Nov - 5:59pm
    Received emails from ITV and BBC this afternoon. The former still exclude Jo but of course there is the court hearing. The BBC are seemingl;y...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 12th Nov - 5:57pm
    A timely reminder of how quickly politicians forget and sacrifice allies for a quick short term fix on the road to long term disaster. Thank...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Nov - 5:48pm
    Christine is right, Brexit trumps every issue. Here is Prof Chris Grey, from his blog, 'The Brexit Blog, "As prefigured in my previous post, this...