++BREAKING: Lynne Featherstone to replace Norman Baker at Home Office, Lindsay Northover to go to DFID

I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with Nick Clegg’s announcement that Lynne Featherstone is going back to the Home Office for the final 6 months of this Government. She spent the first two years there and in that time did all the set-up work for the Same Sex Marriage Bill. Since she’s been at DFID, she’s maintained a good working relationship with the Home Office because she’s been implementing a cross-Government plan to tackle FGM that involves them. I hope that she might also be able to dig her Transgender Action Plan out of the long grass where it’s been languishing.

Replacing Lynne at the DFID is Lindsay Northover. I’m delighted to see her with a job in Government that will really play to her strengths. Lindsay is a lifelong campaigner for equality and will continue Lynne’s work on forced marriage, tackling sexual violence and violence against women and girls.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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15 Comments

  • Julian Tisi 4th Nov '14 - 1:18pm

    Excellent news.

  • Rabi Martins 4th Nov '14 - 1:36pm

    I too an encouraged by these two appointments
    Both women and both with a record of promoting Equalities Congratulations to both Lindsay and Lynne !
    I have no doubt Lynne Featherstone is more than capable of standing up to Teresa May and will remind her of what Norman Baker said in his BBC Interview ” Liberal Democrats are partners in a coalition government not just Liberal Democrats serving in a Conservative Government ”
    As such have a right to expect the Home Office to reflect Liberal Democrats policies

    I am aware that in her previous stint at the Home Office Lynne’s efforts to address the Race Equality issues were not appreciated by the Home Secretary In particular her attempts to toughen up Race Discrimination legislation or rather prevent the Home Office watering down Race Discrimination legislation were frustrated time and time again But that was when Lynne had little experience of Ministerial office
    I am hoping this time round Lynne will stand her ground and champion Liberal Democrats Equalities policies much more robustly In fact Lynne should set her stall out up front and put Teresa May on notice that if her efforts in this direction are twarted by Teresa May or her colleagues she is just likely to walk out.

  • Lynne Featherstone should be in The Cabinet, not back in the Home Office.

  • So John Tilley.
    Which of our five cabinet ministers would you like to kick out just to address a gender balance issue?

  • Paul
    In order of preference —
    1. Clegg
    2. Laws
    3. Alexander

    Which would you like to see kicked out?

  • Nick Clegg.

  • Eddie Sammon 4th Nov '14 - 2:11pm

    I can’t help but think replacing Norman, especially this quickly, is the wrong move. I’m no Labour fan, but Yvette Cooper has impressed me a lot. Or we could just vote down any appalling initiatives US style.

    I’m sure Lynne will do a very good job, but replacing Norman quickly says “Norman is wrong, May is fine to work with”.

  • Edward Reach 4th Nov '14 - 2:15pm

    Very pleased to see Lynne Featherstone back at the HO. (though I also think she should be in the Cabinet) She did such great work in her previous stint there – not least in relation to same sex marriage. She is also someone I don’t think T.May will be able to brush off, if indeed she is treating the department as if it is part of a Conservative government with an overall majority.

  • Sadie Smith 4th Nov '14 - 2:47pm

    While I had hoped to see Lynne in the Cabinet, she will be good in the Home Office and knows what she is joining. She has a good style and will be no pushover. Given that there seems to have been prior discussion of Norman’s move with Nick, it does not look to me as a hasty move.
    Thanks are due to Jenny Willott, too. She was very good as a Minister and, when invited onto programmes like Daily Politics was very good. I hope the praise does not stop the Beeb inviting her again.
    We do have some very good women in Parliament.

  • Daniel Henry 4th Nov '14 - 3:05pm

    Eddie, hasn’t Yvette tried to out “right wing” Theresa May on a number of occasions? I know she often attacks the government for scrapping Labour’s illiberal control orders.

  • Eddie Sammon 4th Nov '14 - 4:52pm

    Hi Daniel, yes she has, but overall Yvette comes across as quite centrist and effective. I hear Lynne’s priorities are going to be tackling FGM and violence against women, but Yvette has also taken a hard and credible stand against these issues. Yvette isn’t a populist and generally when she speaks I listen; hence my high praise.

    I know she isn’t going to be to most Lib Dem tastes, especially with her toughening Labour’s approach to immigration, but it’s just my opinion.

    Best wishes

  • I think Lynne should be have been in cabinet, not because of her gender but because she is a well intended genuine liberal.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 4th Nov '14 - 10:22pm

    I’m very impressed that they’ve picked Lindsay Northover to fill the vacancy at DfID. She has done a very impressive, sure-footed job in the Lords, somewhat unnoticed by many Liberal Democrats, I suspect.

    She’ll be reliably sound in her new role and I hope that she gets a little more of the limelight in it.

    There is an awful lot of talent, experience and wisdom on our benches in the Lords, and none of them have let us down when it comes to holding ministerial office.

  • @Mark Valladares

    Fully support your comments about Lindsay Northover, someone who hasn’t had much by way of limelight but someone I’m sure will be an effective Liberal advocate in the months ahead.

    I was once at an event at which Lindsay was on a panel of speakers. Speech after speech went by and only hers was 100% in English, with no translations of the many, many other languages being spoken at hand. But she continued to look both interested and engaged for three hours. I don’t know how fluent she is in Punjabi, Urdu etc, but it was an impressive feat of determination!

  • Tom Snowdon 5th Nov '14 - 8:29pm

    @Johnmc
    I totally agree with what you say. Makes me wonder why Clegg does not rate any of our female MPs good enough for a cabinet role, even after four and half years ? Can’t wait to see someone more capable at the helm.

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