Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2010

Good morning and welcome to World Oceans Day. Apologies for having missed last Tuesday’s Daily View – I was over-excited as it was my birthday – and half term!

On this day in 1999, disgraced ex-cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was given an 18 month jail sentence, after he admitted lying during a failed libel action.  The former Conservative MP admitted both charges earlier in the year, following the collapse of his libel case against The Guardian newspaper and Granada TV.  Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Scott Baker told Aitken he had woven a web of deceit and committed an inexcusable breach of trust.

In 1963, a key figure in the Profumo affair, London osteopath Dr Stephen Ward, was charged with living on immoral earnings.  Dr Ward, who lived in Marylebone with Christine Keeler, was arrested three days after the resignation of the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo.

2 big news stories

Nick Clegg unveils political reform plans
As mentioned on Lib Dem Voice yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (it still feels both strange and exciting using those words together) gave Parliament more details of the coalition government’s plans for the promised reforms of our electoral and political systems. These included:

  • Clarity on fixed term parliaments and the 55% rule
  • An all-party committee of MPs and peers starting work this month to produce a draft bill on an elected second chamber by the end of the year, ahead of scrutiny by a committee of both houses.
  • Agreement that a boundary review designed to reduce the total number of MPs will take into account the geography of a region.
  • Speeding up plans to move to individual registration of voters before 2015.
  • Devolving greater powers to the Scottish Parliament and a commitment that a referendum on extra powers for the Welsh assembly will be held early next year.

Sarah Teather makes dispatch box debut
Before Nick addressed the Commons, Sarah Teather became the first female Lib Dem (or member of any predecessor party) minister to speak from the dispatch box when she answered education questions earlier in the day. You can read the Hansard record here.

2 must-read blog posts

Craig Murray  adds a personal perspective to the libel reform debate.

I am going to contact other bloggers to see if we can’t organise a day of campaigning by all major British bloggers against the UK’s notoriously oppressive libel laws, which put nil value on freedom of speech – literally – and are designed for the express purpose of protecting the rich from the revelation of truth.

Over at his Linlithgow Journal, Stephen Glenn is excited about goings on back home in Northern Ireland, where the first Northern Irish Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, made a keynote speech outlying his plans for community safety.

Bye for now and here’s hoping for a return to summer soon.

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