Author Archives: Paul Walter

Good luck to Jonny Edge and team in Suffolk this Thursday




There are two by-elections in Suffolk this Thursday, both caused by the resignations of a Conservative councillor who was elected as an MP in Aberconwy, North Wales.

Jonny Edge is our candidate in both the contest for the Newmarket North seat on West Suffolk District Council and also the battle for the Newmarket and Red Lodge seat on Suffolk County Council.

Posted in Council by-elections and Local government | Tagged and | 1 Comment

YouGov poll on Lib Dem leadership: Ed Davey is a country mile ahead (contains caveats)

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Stephen Bush has written the following on the New Statesman “The Staggers” blog:

Ed Davey is on course to win the looming Liberal Democrat leadership election, a YouGov poll for the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Party Members Project, run out of the University of Sussex and Queen Mary University has found. YouGov asked members to choose between a field of Ed Davey, Layla Moran and Daisy Cooper, the new MP for St Albans, all of whom are widely tipped to stand. In that field, Davey wins outright in the first round, with 52 per cent of the vote against Moran’s 24 per cent and Cooper’s 9 per cent.

I did a little light Googling to see if I could find the data on this poll.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – there are referendums galore this Thursday

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You probably thought that we have had our fill of referendums for the next several millennia.

But, in my researches for this Thursday’s by-elections, I stumbled upon several Neighbourhood planning referendums happening this Thursday, 30th January.

Posted in Local government | Tagged and | 18 Comments

UPDATED: The 91 seats where the Liberal Democrats came second in the general election (or The Sunday data workshop experiment continues…)

Thank you all for your excellent comments to my earlier post, pointing out the errors in my spreadsheet!

I see it as an experiment in community data creation!

My main problem is that I did not screen out seats with a large Nationalist element, mainly in Scotland.

Posted in General Election | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Community data creation – A first (and wrong) attempt at listing the constituencies where the Liberal Democrats were second in the general election

UPDATE: This post has now been superseded. I have now issued a new post with the revised spreadsheet showing 91 seats.
Thanks everyone for your input on my errors, I hope you enjoyed joining in!

A friend asked me if I knew where, on Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s ingenious interweb device, there is a list of the 90 seats where the LibDems were second in the general election in December.

It turns out that I couldn’t find such a list, so I have created it – displayed below through the magic of Scribd.

Posted in General Election | Tagged | 29 Comments

Christine Jardine leads MPs’ debate on assisted dying – most speakers are in favour

On Thursday Christine Jardine MP led a Westminster Hall debate of MPs on the subject of the Assisted Dying Law. This was a debate which she brought about.

You can read the debate in full on the Hansard website, and below are Christine’s opening and closing contributions, replete with interventions from other MPs.

Christine has written an article in The Times (£) on the subject and the Westminster Hall debate was covered on BBC Radio 4’s Today in Parliament programme (starts at 15:22) – which included an interview on the subject with Christine.

Posted in Parliament | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments

What’s being debated in our members’ forum this week?

members forum wordleLibDemVoice has two parallel sites. The first is our public blog, the thing you’re reading now. The second is our private members’ forum, which only current Lib Dem members can access.

If you’re a member and want to chat with fellow party members about any issue that’s on your mind, then why not sign up? In addition, you’ll be included in our regular surveys’ of party members’ views.

Here’s some of the most active discussions this past 10 days:

  • The leadership election timetable
  • Violent crime
  • The influence of drugs on acquisitive

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

Dr Phillip Lee selected as Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for Wokingham

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Wokingham Today reports:

DR PHILLIP LEE is to carry on his connections to Wokingham after being appointed by the local Liberal Democrats to be its parliamentary spokesperson for the year ahead.

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 24 Comments

Full results from last night’s by-elections

There were four seats up for grabs in Brent, two of them in one ward – Barnhill.

Well done to all our candidates, Anton Georgiou, Jyotshna Patel, Michael Brooke and Larry Ngan and their teams who worked so hard in the run-up to yesterday.

Here are the results from the Brent Council website:

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Greenpeace climate change petition – shouldn’t we be doing this sort of thing rather than still having “STOP BREXIT” on our home page?

The home page of the Liberal Democrat website, 10:55 22nd January 2020

This week, Greenpeace UK have collected almost 600,000 signatures for their petition to the government to act now on Climate Change.

The text of the petition gives a succinct list of initiatives which the government should be embarking on now to minimise the climate emergency:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 16 Comments

Good luck to our candidates and teams in by-elections tomorrow!


There are four seats on Brent Council, London, up for grabs in by-elections tomorrow. These contests have been caused by the resignations of four Labour councillors.

Posted in Council by-elections and Local government | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Did we spend 2019 expecting a 1980s-style realignment of politics?

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At conference you have all sorts of conversation and all sorts of unusual things happen. I could tell a tale or two but I am reserving them for my (never to be written) memoirs.

In September 2018, excitement in the party was high. One almost needed a brown paper bag handy to breathe into, should things get overly hyperventilatory.

The gist of the excitement was:

We have to be more relevant! There are rich people going round with large truck loads of cash, looking for somewhere to dump it.

We’ve got to be in on the conversations to set up a new centre party, otherwise we will be sidelined and irrelevant.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Lib Dem peers inflict defeats on government’s Brexit bill

House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentThe Guardian reports:

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has received a setback in the Lords after three amendments to the bill were passed.

In the government’s first parliamentary defeat since the general election, peers voted for EU citizens to have the right to be given official documentation if they lawfully reside in the UK after Brexit.

They backed a cross-party amendment to the withdrawal agreement bill allowing for physical proof of status.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Javid is cutting the UK’s nose off to spite our faces

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Last week, the Chancellor Sajid Javid sat down in the Pickles sandwich bar, Westminster, for an interview with the Financial Times. You can read the interview in full here, but you may have to subscribe or join the FT’s trial membership scheme.

In it, he talked tough about the UK post-Brexit trading scenario. Hopefully, this is pre-negotiation chatter, but what he said was alarming nonetheless:

There will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by the end of the year.

He said there would be no Treasury support for the big manufacturing sectors to adjust to the new trade rules. Rather peevishly he added that they had had since 2016 to prepare for the new scenario. Of course, they have not known what the Sam Hill they were needing to prepare for during those three years.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 34 Comments

LibDems failed to shift enough Tory remainers – Electoral Calculus on 2017->2019 voter migration

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Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus website has an excellent Infographic on Voter migration 2017 – 2019. Using human figures (voters) to represent one percentage point of the voters, he not only shows where 2017 voters and non-voters went in 2019, he also graphically shows 2016 EU referendum preferences.

His conclusion on the LibDems is interesting:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 37 Comments

Kicked into the long grass – the Lib Dem leadership election

Long Grass In Rainy Days
18.6 Should the post of Leader become vacant before the election of a new Leader, the Acting Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and the President of the Party shall jointly assume the responsibilities of Leader of the Party until the new Leader is elected.
Federal Liberal Democrat Constitution

This afternoon, the party announced the timetable for the election of a new leader of the party. This was agreed at the first meeting of the Federal Board chaired by our new President and current co-leader of the party, Mark Pack.

Nominations will open on May 11th, which is the Monday after the elections on May 7th. Nominations will close on May 28th with ballots opening on June 18th and closing on July 15th, after which the new leader will be announced.

I’m not privy to the Federal Board discussions but it does not take a mind-reader to, at least, pick out some of the themes behind this decision.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Should we be prouder and more vocal about our membership of the Council of Europe?


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Should we celebrate Europe Day every May 5th?

An LDV reader, John Probert (who has the rare distinction of being a remaining former councillor on Middlesex County Council) has made a suggestion along these lines.

After January 31st we will still be members of the Council of Europe, who celebrate Europe Day on May 5th (EU members celebrate it on May 9th).

Such a celebration would publicise the fact that we remain members of the Council of Europe, which was first suggested under such a name by Churchill in a wartime broadcast on 21st March 1943.

Its Statute says:

The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

+++Timetable to elect new leader set out

The Liberal Democrats have today agreed the timetable to elect the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

At a meeting today of the party’s Federal Board in London, the party agreed to open nominations for candidates on the 11th of May and close them on the 28th of May.

The ballot will then open on the 18th of June and close on the 15th of July, after which the party will announce the next leader.

In the meantime, Ed Davey MP and Party President Mark Pack will continue as joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking after the meeting, Liberal Democrat Party …

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Annoyance of LibDem MPs over power of “new sexy people” in 2019 election decisions – Five candidates ready for party leadership contest – Timetable today

Ailbhe Rea has written a long article on the Liberal Democrats for the New Statesman.

There are some interesting points about the 2019 election covered, based on reported conversations with our MPs:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 40 Comments

Vote share increase for Tara Murray in Bristol

Well done to Tara Murray and team (above with Ed Davey) for an impressive vote share increase in the Brislington East by-election in Bristol yesterday.

The result was:

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Will we ever move forward if failure is seen to be richly rewarded?


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I worked in the computer industry for my career.

I count myself lucky that I survived in a job that long.

But you have to be careful in industry.

I should imagine if a business manager spread a budget of £20 million over five times the area it should have been spread, with the result of modest failure rather than modest success, then she/he would be consigned to a dusty office with “special projects” written on the door for the rest of their career.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 122 Comments

Rumour: Jo Swinson set to be awarded a peerage

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye is proving to be quite a goldmine. I thoroughly recommend buying a copy at your local newsagent or similar outlet.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 47 Comments

“Her disastrous miscalculation” – Sir Nick Harvey’s view on Jo Swinson’s support for December election

Former North Devon MP, Sir Nick Harvey stood down as Liberal Democrat party chief executive shortly before 20th October last year.

In this fortnight’s Private Eye, a letter from Nick is published which severely criticises a decision made by the then party leader, Jo Swinson, soon after he left the role on 28th October.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 99 Comments

Whatever happened to the class of 2015? – the full list


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the result of my researches, in alphabetical order. If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Whatever happened to the class of 2015? – third and final excerpt


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the third and final part of my researches, from P to W in alphabetical order (Part 1 is available here and part two is here). If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 12 Comments

Alastair Campbell plays his annual bagpipe lament to Charles Kennedy at his graveside

This is quite something. Handkerchieves at the ready. Thank you to @JohnPugh2017 who retweeted this.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Whatever happened to the class of 2015? (2)


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the second part of my researches, from H to M in alphabetical order (Part 1 is available here). If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 3 Comments

Music news: Two albums released by former Lib Dem MPs



During my researches for my “Class of 2015” articles, I have been delighted to find that two of our MPs from the “Class of 2015” have released musical albums.

Norman Baker, who lost his Lewes seat in 2015 and previously recorded with his band “The Reform Club”, has released a solo album called “Staying Blue” which is available widely on Angel Air Records. A couple of the tracks are on YouTube including “Shipping Forecast” (above) which includes a snippet of the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast and these classic lines:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Reminder: there’s still time to get the early bird discount for the York Spring Conference

This is a gentle reminder that you can still take advantage of the “early bird” discount if you register before January 7th – that’s this coming Tuesday – for the York Spring Conference.

Due to feedback from our esteemed LDV editor, Caron, the deadline was extended especially to allow people sufficient time after the hard work of the election.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Whatever happened to the class of 2015? (1)


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the first part of my researches, starting in alphabetical order. If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Liberal History | Tagged | 15 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDan M-B 28th Jan - 11:24pm
    I was polled. The question was: "Imagine that these were the only three candidates, but Layla Moran and Daisy Cooper weren't competitive. In this scenario,...
  • User AvatarHywel 28th Jan - 11:23pm
    "it was under Nick Clegg’s watch that we managed not only to fail to win several seats from Labour that should have been easy wins...
  • User AvatarYousuf Farah 28th Jan - 11:00pm
    Since the UK is leaving the EU, decoupling and isolating, as someone else eloquently put it in this thread, would it not make sense to...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 28th Jan - 10:58pm
    Peter Martin It’s all nonsense of course. In any case, what makes you think Lib Dems are in any position to lecture anyone on “cosy...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 28th Jan - 10:50pm
    Peter Martin The last time I checked, London was in the South of England and Labour always has good representation there. That proves my point....
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 28th Jan - 10:50pm
    And thank you very much, Katharine. I'd only add that the stats for all UK Foodbanks show a 22% increase in demand over the last...