Author Archives: The Voice

Wendy Chamberlain reminds Boris about the Scottish border

Wendy Chamberlain got to question the Prime Minister this week. She asked him to sort out the issue that means that she and other Scots travelling between Scotland and England, and everyone living in the Borders, who may cross from Scotland to England several times a day, to sort out a problem with the respective English and Scottish test and trace apps.

Anyone crossing the border has to manually switch between apps. It doesn’t happen automatically. So you might think that your app is working, but it isn’t if you haven’t made the change between them.

See Wendy in action here:

Boris Johnson sounded pretty clueless in response, as you would expect. He did say he’d sort it, though.

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Party Awards: Cllr Anood Al-Samerai: Embodying liberalism, fighting tenaciously with kindness

We conclude our series celebrating this year’s party award winners with Southwark’s Anood Al-Samerai who won the Patsy Calton Award, set up by Liberal Democrat Women to recognise exceptional women. You can watch the video of the whole party awards segment here and the submission made by Anood’s nominees is under the cut.

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Party Awards: Simran Meji – reaching out with relentless energy

This week we are highlighting winners of the Party Awards at our recent Conference. The Bertha Bowness Fischer Award is presented to a new member who has made a big impact. It went to Simran Meji. See the video of the whole party awards session below and the submission made in support of Simran under the cut.

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John Leech shortlisted for Lifetime Achievement award

The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce, alongside the LGIU, that John Leech has been shortlisted for their Lifetime Achievement in public service for his dedication to the LGBTQ+ community.

John Leech, who has dedicated nearly three decades of his life to public service, has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement award from more than 200 nominations.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey MP, praised the “relentless and fierce public servant.”

Whilst working at McDonald’s as a student, John Leech began getting involved in local campaigns and social good projects. In 1998, he was elected to Manchester City Council and has continuously served its …

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Party Awards: Anton Georgiou and the Brent Liberal Democrats – winning against the odds

Next in our celebration of this year’s party awards winners is the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, given to the local party which has done most to promote its BAME members to public office.

You can watch the whole party awards ceremony here and the full submission for Anton and the Brent Lib Dems is under the cut.

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Party Awards: Thay Thayalan, a strong campaigner with a problem-solving, can-do attitude

Our third Party Award features Thay Thayalan, former Mayor of Kingston, who won the President’s Award at this year’s Conference. Watch the whole Party Awards segment below and read the full submission in support of Thay under the cut.

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Party Awards: Mark Jeffery – key to Lib Dems winning back control

Our second of our series of features on this year’s party awards winners features Mark Jeffery, the winner of the Belinda Eyre-Brook Award given to people who work for our elected representatives.

See the whole party awards segment in the video, and the full submission in support of Mark below.

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Willie Rennie pays tribute to long-standing Lib Dem Cllr Ellen Morton

Sad news this week from Helensburgh. Ellen Morton, a councillor since 1999, has passed away.

From the Helensburgh Advertiser:

She was first elected to Argyll and Bute Council as a Scottish Liberal Democrat in 1999, representing the Helensburgh North ward.

From 2007, following the introduction of a new system of local government elections across Scotland, she became one of three councillors representing the Helensburgh and Lomond South area, taking in the Colgrain, Craigendoran and Churchill areas of Helensburgh as well as villages and hamlets including Cardross, Ardoch, Arden and Muirlands.

In her 21 years as a councillor she served in a variety of roles, including chair of the authority’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee and depute to long-serving council leader Dick Walsh, as well as chair of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park planning authority and chair of the Northern Roads Collaboration.

She is survived by her husband Gordon, children Catriona, Aileen, Andrew and Fiona, and grandchildren Kate, Logan, Emily and Elliot.

Willie Rennie highlighted her humour and leadership:

Ellen Morton was a lady that you crossed at your peril.

She was quick, bright and, occasionally, sharp tongued and she was kind, caring and such a hard worker.

Her twenty one years on the council were colourful because she had firm beliefs and was a fierce defender of her constituents.

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Party Awards: Gregan Crawford, the Data Dynamo

One of the highlights of Party Conference is the annual presentation to those people who have gone above and beyond. The Harriet Smith Award was established to recognise those who had never held elected office. This year, it was won by Edinburgh’s Gregan Crawford. Watch the whole party awards session here and read the submission in support of Gregan under the cut.

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Lib Dems and lockdown heroes honoured

The Queen’s Birthday Honours were postponed this year so they could include people who had served the community during lockdown. I’m sure a number of those will be Liberal Democrat members, so please let us know and we will update this post.

Congratulations to Councillor Susan Prochak, Deputy Leader of Rother District Council, who has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Robertsbridge Parish, East Sussex.

We will add more names to this list if you let us know of other Lib Dems who have been honoured. Contact us on [email protected].

UPDATE from Caron

Two more Lib Dems I’ve spotted. Firstly a very well deserved OBE for Racial Diversity Campaign Vice Chair Josh Babarinde

And for John Loughton, whose Scran Academy operation provided thousands of meals to people who were isolating in Edinbugh, a BEM.

I’m not sure whether he is still a Lib Dem member, but he is a fantastic and inspiring man. I went to an event last year where he was motivating young people and encouraging them to make themselves heard to politicians and he truly is a force of nature.

 

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How you could help improve party diversity and member engagement or represent the LIb Dems internationally?

There are a few opportunities to get involved in the running of the party at a national level. Nominations close this Friday at noon, so act quickly. All of these roles require nomination by two members of the Federal Board and you can find them here. 

Federal People Development Committee

The first is for a member of the Federal People Development Committee. From the ad on the Party website (which also tells you how to apply):

The Federal People Development Committee brings together three key functions of the party: training, diversity engagement, and membership recruitment, retention and activation. Since the completion of the 2019 General Election Review, it also has an important role to play in delivering the reforms it has called for.

The FPDC meets regularly (at least once a quarter) throughout the year during the evenings (typically 18:00-20:00) for about two hours. Since the start of Covid-19, all meetings have been by video call and continued remote participation will be possible even once all Covid-19 related restrictions are removed. Reasonable expenses incurred will be repaid in line with the Party’s expenses policy.

Applicants will be expected to be able to demonstrate experience working in diversity, training or membership development, and a commitment to the Party’s values in these areas. A proven record of communicating with members, particularly through social media would be highly advantageous. It is desirable that applicants have a proven track-record of delivering successful programmes in any of the three areas listed above and that they understand the oversight and scrutiny elements of a non-executive role.

The election is caused by the resignation of the previous chair and all elected members of FPDC are entitled to stand for Chair.

Vice Chair of the Racial Diversity Campaign

The second is for a Vice Chair of the Racial Diversity Campaign whose aim is to “support outstanding Lib Dem BAME members to seek and win public office.”

Here’s the ad in full:

The Racial Diversity Campaign (RDC) is the vehicle within the party which finds, trains and supports BaME candidates through to their selection and beyond to successful election.

Its principal aims are to increase the number of ethnic minority MPs, MSPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners and. It would also work alongside ALDC to increase the number of ethnic minority Councillors and Council Leaders.

The Vice-Chairs of the RDC will be experienced in training and mentoring and have a deep knowledge of the party’s processes for candidates, from assessment through to fighting a campaign. The RDC is currently seeking to appoint a Vice-Chair to fill a casual vacancy.

More information about the RDC is available on its website.

The successful candidate will be elected to serve until 31 December 2022. The Liberal Democrats are committed to diversity and inclusion and we welcome applications from candidates from all walks of life.

Applicants for the roles of Chair or Vice Chair must be nominated by two members of the Federal Board, membership of which can be found here:

www.libdems.org.uk/federal_board.
For questions and further details, and to submit an application, please contact: [email protected]
Please apply by email attaching:

● Copies of emails (or equivalent) proving your nomination by two current members of the Federal Board.
● A manifesto of up to 200 words (additional words will be removed by the Returning Officer)

The Party will conduct due diligence on applicants and we encourage you to provide any materials you feel may be relevant. Optionally, you may also also attach a copy of your most recent CV.

Applicants are encouraged to inform us if any reasonable adjustments are needed to be made during any part of the recruitment process.

This advert will close at noon on Friday 9th October. All applicants will be presented to Federal Board and an election will be held, in line with standard internal procedures, in early October.

Two members of the Liberal International Executive

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We all love party political broadcasts, don’t we?

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Party Political Broadcast is here, and it’s rather good. Enjoy!

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Willie Rennie’s speech – Lib Dems are a Third Way for Scotland

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home


Willie Rennie’s speech to Conference was broadcast on his birthday on Sunday. It had been recorded in North Queensferry a few days before.

They filmed the speech twice, the first time outside, but there were interruptions from a flypast, a potato lorry and runners from his local club – no amorous pigs or other assorted livestock, though as has happened in the past.

Watch here. The text is below:

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Prue Bray becomes chair of ALDC

Wokingham Councillor Prue Bray in the new Chair of ALDC, the Association of Liberal Democrats Councillors and Campaigners. She takes over from Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson.

Prue said:

This is a particularly important time for ALDC and for Liberal Democrat local campaigners and councillors. We have made good progress in local elections in recent years and that needs to continue. ALDC is working hard to get more Liberal Democrat councillors elected and to help support our councillors make a positive difference in their local communities and on the Councils that we run.

We have a great team leading ALDC. I want to thank Mayor Dave Hodgson for leading the organisation so effectively through the challenges of the last four years.

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Speeches of #ldconf: We are liberals. We give people the tools to make their own choices

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home


Harrow’s Adam Bernard proposed the Universal Basic Income motion last night. Here is his speech in full:

Conference,

In the preamble to our constitution, the basic statement of our values, we aspire to a society where “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”.

——–
In a motion about Universal Basic Income, you’d expect me to talk about poverty — and I will — but I’m going to start by talking about conformity.

I’m going to talk about conditionality and why it’s bad.

Conditionality is where we say “We’ll help you if you’re poor, but *only* if you’re the *right kind* of poor person”

It’s where we say: “Of course we’re nice. Of course this is a caring society. Of course we’ll help you. BUT first you have to prove that you’re poor enough. Prove that you’re disabled enough. Prove that you’re mentally ill enough. Prove that you’re looking for work in the right way, apply for jobs in the right way, jump through all the hoops, take what you’re given and don’t answer back.”

THAT’s conditionality. And this motion says we should get rid of it.

——–

Over the last few decades, conditionality has increased. It increased under Thatcher and Major. It increased under New Labour. It increased — to our utter shame — under the coalition. And it’s still increasing now under the Tories.

And every increase has a nice, *rational* explanation — reducing fraud, maybe, or incentivising work.

But in fact every increase in conditionality means more stigma, more pain, more families unable to put food on the table.

——–

William Beveridge — one of our great Liberal success stories — identified his Five Giant Evils: “Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness”.

He attacked Disease not by setting up “poor hospitals” only for those deepest in poverty, but by laying out the framework for the NHS, which provides care to all, rich or poor, no questions asked.

Now, in the 21st century, we are calling for the same approach to Want. A regular payment, sufficient for basic needs, to everyone in society. No stigma, no questions asked.

Yes, this will mean to rich people as well as poor people. And you should feel the same outrage at that as when rich people use the NHS, send their kids to state school, or receive a state pension.

Yes, this will be expensive, just like the NHS is expensive, like state education is expensive, like the state pension is expensive. But we know that we can’t afford *not* to have those services in a modern, fair society – and we can’t afford not to have an absolute solution to poverty either.

——–

And what about Beveridge’s giant of Idleness? Aren’t we encouraging people to be lazy?

Our society has a myth that, say, cold-calling people to ask if they’ve been in a motor vehicle accident is paid work and *therefore* is a valid and *dignified* way to spend your life, but bringing up your child, caring for your elderly parents, or volunteering to help your community is not.

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LibLink: Vince Cable – Were the political ‘bad guys’ right all along?

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Vince Cable has written an article in the Independent with the clickbait headline: “When it comes to handling coronavirus, were the political ‘bad guys’ right all along?

He writes:

As the UK contemplates yet again a change in direction, with more restrictions on activity to curb Covid-19, we should reflect on what is happening elsewhere in the world. Only a few months ago, Sweden was the heart of darkness: a country which, for unaccountable reasons, had gone off the rails, embracing weird theories about the pandemic, disdaining lockdown, resulting in the slaughter of its elderly population and ostracism from the club of civilised social democratic countries in Scandinavia. Now it emerges that they may have been on to something, with a consistent – and apparently successful – approach.

The most recent (very preliminary) economic data also suggests that the United States, under a president regarded by most progressive folk as a malign, Covid-denying buffoon, has suffered less economic damage than most of the rest of the developed world. And Brazil, presided over by another malign, Covid-denying buffoon, has got away with much less damage, and less impact on its poor, than its Latin American neighbours, like Peru, Chile and Argentina who took the pandemic seriously.

So, were the Bad Guys right?

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Bruno says why he is a Lib Dem

The Lib Dems might have had a bit of a rollercoaster year along with the rest of the world, but we do at least appear to be winning over the support of the young (and we mean young) generation.

Listen to smart, inspirational schoolboy Bruno Tollett, aged 13, explain why he’s a Liberal Democrat and plans to vote Lib Dem when he turns 18 in 2025.

Could we be looking at a Lib Dem star of the future?

 

Lib Dem Voice has obtained parental permission to share this video.

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Statement from the party about the London mayoral candidature

Here is a tweet from our party President, Mark Pack from last night:

Updated 10:50 14/9/2020: In line with our normal policies, we have not been publishing comments which explicitly favour or disfavour one candidate in a party election process. This particular case is now under investigation, so we will not be publishing speculative comments on the details.

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WATCH: Munira Wilson’s short, sharp debut at Prime Minister’s Questions

In case you missed  it, Twickenham’s Lib Dem MP made her debut at Prime Minister’s Questions this week. She was first up and her question was simple and effective:

And she was noticed:

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Luisa Porritt and Geeta Sidhu-Robb to contest London Mayoral selection

This week, London Lib Dems announced their shortlist to be the Liberal Democrat candidate to be London Mayor. This is taking place after Siobhan Benita took the difficult decision to stand down at the end of July. They have chosen former MEP Luisa Porritt and Geeta Sidhu-Robb. We have invited them both to write for us so you will hear from them soon on this site.

From the London Lib Dems website:

Luisa Porritt is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Camden Council and a former Liberal Democrat MEP for London.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb is CEO and founder of health and wellbeing company Nosh Detox, and former Vice-Chair of the People’s Vote Campaign.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13th October.

London Liberal Democrat Party Chair, Ben Sims, said:

“We are excited to start this contest to select our candidate for the London Mayoral Election in 2021. The Liberal Democrats are determined to offer Londoners hope for the future and, with two fantastic candidates, whoever wins will be ready to champion our vision.”

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Liz Jarvis on her experience of unemployment as a single parent

An article with the headline “I lost my job in the last recession. I know how difficult it will be for single parents this time” is compulsory reading, especially when written by a journalist who is also a Lib Dem member.

Liz Jarvis gives a very personal account of the impact of the recession on her and her family:

Every time more job losses are announced during this crisis I think of all the people behind the headlines, the lives affected, and the knock-on effect for local communities. I lost my job in the last recession and all opportunities seemed to vanish overnight. As a single parent of one, my little family’s financial situation quickly became very precarious indeed. For six months I struggled to find any regular paid work at all, and I was at risk of losing the roof over our heads.

The speed at which all this escalated was terrifying. As the bills mounted up I started to dread every text message, every phone call, every letter. The credit crunch had already bitten. I sold what I could and sometimes skipped meals so my son could eat. We had been on our own since he was 18 months old and being able to provide for him was massively important to me.

Like those excluded from government support during this crisis and the “forgotten freelancers”, because I had been on a contract I wasn’t entitled to much in the way of benefits, and had never been in the position to save for a deluge of rainy days, I applied for countless jobs and temp positions without receiving any reply. Christmas saw me scouring recruitment sites.

And she goes on to consider the current crisis and its impact, especially on women:

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REPRISE: Ed Davey’s first speech as leader of the Liberal Democrats

In case you missed it, here is Ed Davey’s acceptance speech from Thursday. Nothing happens for the first 19 minutes, so use the slider to get to that point. The text is below:

I’d like to start by thanking my friend Layla Moran. Layla, you fought a passionate campaign, full of energy.

I’d like to start by thanking my friend Layla Moran.

Since becoming an MP, you have inspired so many people, particularly young people. Your future is bright and I look forward to you playing a big role in my team.

To members of the Liberal Democrats, thank you for putting your faith in me and giving me the honour of leading a party I joined 30 years ago.

And I want also to thank a whole host of people who’ve run this campaign – whether in party headquarters alongside the Returning Officer, or in my own amazing campaign team.

The thousands of people who’ve volunteered time to campaign with me. Who’ve donated to my campaign. Who’ve championed our vision of a greener, fairer, more caring society.

I’d particularly like to thank Claire Halliwell, my Campaign Manager. Claire, you’ve been fantastic.

Thank you for putting your faith in me and giving me the honour of leading a party I joined 30 years ago.

And of course Emily, my wife and our two beautiful children, John and Ellie. Thank you Emily for your amazing support, patience and love.

I am sure I am speaking for many people when I say that – for all the stress and uncertainty of the last few months – one positive has been the chance to spend more time with our families. And so I’d like to thank Ellie in particular, for appearing as a surprise cameo in so many of my zoom calls and online hustings.

I want to talk now about the future of the Liberal Democrats.

I joined this party 30 years ago. I met Emily here. I have made so many good friends here.

And with those friends, I have campaigned across our country, knocking on tens of thousands of doors, delivering hundreds of thousands of leaflets.

The reason I have done all this is simple.

I love our party. And I believe in it.

I love our party.

I believe in it.

I stand for all the things the Liberal Democrats stand for:

Social justice, political reform, equality and protecting our environment.

I stand for fairness and for fighting to protect the rights of ordinary people.

I’m determined our Party backs a Britain that works with other countries across the world for peace and prosperity.

But we have to wake up and smell the coffee.

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Mark Pack reports back

Party President, Mark Pack, has issued another report back to members. This time he focuses on the reports that are being presented to the online Autumn Conference at the end of September. You can read the Conference reports pack here.

This year, as a result of a review by the Federal Board on the working of our party’s central committees, there are more reports than usual to Conference. They give an interesting insight into the inner workings of the Liberal Democrats, with contributions, as usual, from the Federal Committees …

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Make your mind up time: Lib Dem Women’s hustings

There are just 19 hours left in the Lib Dem Leadership election. Many of you will still be making your final decision on who to vote for.

If you are still not sure, why not watch some snippets of the 47 hustings that have taken place so far?

One event that isn’t on the website is the Lib Dem Women event that took place last month. They have recently uploaded it on to You Tube and you can watch here.

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Apologies

You may have noticed that we are having some technical difficulties with our site at the moment.

These have been manifesting themselves in a number of apparently unrelated ways – we can’t schedule posts in advance, we can’t add pictures or tags, and the Recent Comments in the sidebar are very out of date.

Our technical guys are working on it, but in the meantime please be patient with us.

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Three opportunities to see Layla and Ed this weekend

After a brief five day hiatus, there are more opportunities to put our leadership candidates through their paces this weekend.

Tonight, at 7pm, is the North West hustings. Register here.

Tomorrow, there are two events. Liberal Democrats Abroad at 2pm and the Equality and Diversity hustings at 7:30 pm.

You don’t actually have to remember to register in advance. You can just watch the livestream here.

Ballot papers are now all out. If the party has an email address for you, you will have received your ballot online. If you can’t find it, search for “Alan Masters” and make sure it hasn’t gone into your junk or spam. If the party doesn’t have an email address, then you will be one of the 8000 or so people who will have received a ballot by post.

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LibLink: Rabina Khan on the treatment of migrants

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Cllr Rabina Khan is written in The Independent under the headline: ‘The treatment of migrants crossing the Channel is plain wrong and against British values.’ Rabina is a councillor in Tower Hamlets and Special Advisor to Lib Dem peers.

She writes:

Home secretary Priti Patel tells us the UK government is committed to “shutting down” routes used by migrants crossing the Channel to the south coast and disassembling the criminal gangs “making fortunes” enabling the illegal crossings to take place.

And whose fault is it anyway? Well, the French of course – as far as the government is concerned. If the French stopped the migrants putting to sea on their side of the Channel, our brave Border Force officers would not have to be dragging them out of their deflating dinghy on English soil.

Does anyone truly believe this will stop desperate people crossing dangerous waters in search of sanctuary and safety? It will not. The government often speaks of its admiration for the Australian points system for refugees. The way we treat these sad souls arriving from war zones, refugee camps and the deserts of North Africa needs no rating – it is plain wrong.

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WATCH: Christine Jardine stand up for immigrants on Channel 4 Political slot

Channel 4 runs a regular political slot and this week it was the turn of our Christine Jardine to highlight an issue close to her heart. Our Home Affairs spokesperson made a passionate case for immigration and why we need to welcome and support immigrants. This was filmed at the height of the pandemic and she did a Zoom interview with a doctor who was working long hours and taking huge risks, yet still faced exorbitant fees and visa stress to be able to work here.

You can catch up with the three minute programme here. 

 

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++ Breaking news: Siobhan Benita stands down as candidate for London Mayor

With the London elections postponed until May 2021, members in the capital have today received an email from Siobhan Benita, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.

She writes:

I am writing to let you know that, after much consideration and with sadness, I am standing down as the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London.

The demands of being a candidate are significant, particularly for an election of this scale, The nature of the role, which is unpaid, makes it very difficult to combine with other work. Sadly, at this stage, I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of

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Layla and Ed: The Iain Dale interviews

Over the last couple of weeks, leadership candidates Ed Davey and Layla Moran have taken part in hour long interviews with LBC presenter Iain Dale.

He certainly put them through their paces. Compare and contrast both interviews here:

First up, Ed from 16th July

And Layla from 21st July

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