Author Archives: Sal Brinton

Baroness Sal Brinton writes: Stalking law reform is needed now

Last month in the House of Lords I hosted the launch of the People’s Enquiry into Stalking Law Reform. I was also a member of the all-party Independent Parliamentary Inquiry, which took evidence from victims and bereaved parents of murdered victims (including Clare Bernal who was shot dead in Harvey Nichols in 2005 by her stalker, Michael Pech); probation officers; police; magistrates and others in the criminal justice system. I was invited to join the Inquiry because of my own experiences, which I have spoken of in the debate on the need for stalking reform.

What became clear to us during the Inquiry is that the present law is just not working for these victims and their families. The Harassment Act is used equally for neighbourhood hedge disputes as it is for murderous stalkers, and the penalties available to a court are ridiculously inappropriate. Much more importantly, the culture within the criminal justice system needs to change. We’ve seen that start to happen with domestic violence, but not about stalking which is often perceived as a fuss about nothing. Worse, some police have told victims they should be glad of the attention!

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Baroness Brinton writes: Towards a more diverse Parliamentary Party

Last year, Ros Scott, Nick Clegg and the Federal Executive (FE) asked me to conduct a review of issues relating to the role of Parliamentary candidates. Key to this review was how the Party will increase the diversity of its candidates standing in the 2015 General Election, and getting them elected.

The first point to make is that we made some real steps forward in selecting more women and BAME candidates in the last electoral cycle despite the disappointing results – the number of our seats went backwards, so making any progress in terms of representation was very difficult. The intense work by many in the party over the last few years has meant that there was significant progress in the lead up to the 2010 election: 50% of new candidates in held seats were women, and only just slightly lower in priority seats. Some excellent BAME candidates were selected (the highest number over the three main parties), but again, without electoral success. Although the fact that there no ‘safe’ seats in the Liberal Democrats (unlike Labour and the Conservatives) means that we cannot use some of the mechanisms used by the other Parties, we should absolutely not be complacent – we will have to work even harder, and invest more time, energy and resources than we have in recent years to make sure that our parliamentary parties reflect Britain in the future.

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Baroness Sal Brinton’s maiden speech

In recent months, LDV has been bringing its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Today, Baroness Brinton, of Kenardington in the County of Kent, made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate to call attention to the global and domestic challenges for women in the centenary year of International Women’s Day. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, I rise to speak for the

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Sal Brinton on the sentencing of her former Tory opponent

I’m very relieved that Ian Oakley, the former Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Watford, has finally been sentenced for his part in the campaign of criminal damage, harassment and intimidation against the Watford Liberal Democrats. Oakley has made the lives of well over 30 people a misery for the last two and a half years.

I was with Mark Watkin, another of Oakley’s targets, in court yesterday (Monday 13 October), to hear the verdict. It was depressing to hear the detail of the many incidents recounted again by the CPS, but very reassuring when the wheels of justice moved into action, …

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Sal Brinton on events in Watford

Today Ian Oakley, the former Conservative PPC for Watford, (and the former Tory manager for Ali Miraj’s 2005 Watford General Election Campaign) has pleaded guilty to five charges of criminal damage and two of harassment against the Liberal Democrats and their supporters in Watford. He has also asked for a further 68 crime incidents to be taken into consideration. This leaves around 74 incidents unaccounted for, from the 150 plus that have been perpetrated over the last three and half years.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday 16 September. I think I can speak for all of us in Watford …

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Lib Dems surge in Shapps’ constituency

Watford PPC Sal Brinton brings an account of the excellent Lib Dem performance in Welham Green.

The first by-election of 2008, and the first under Nick Clegg’s Leadership has given us a swing to the Liberal Democrats of 22%, and a very strong second place, in Welham Green, part of Welwyn Hatfield District Council (Grant Shapps MP’s local seat).

The full results were —

Conservative: 539 votes; 41% (67% in 2006); -26% change
Labour: 88 votes; 7% (19% in ’06); -12% change
John Elvy (Liberal Democrat): 484 votes; 37% (15% in ’06); +22 % change
BNP: 214 votes; 16% (n/a ’06); +16% change

John was a strong candidate …

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