Layla running for President and Norman to join TIG?

The Sunday Times has an article today (£) in which a highly worrying quote is attributed to Norman Lamb:

I want to be part of this movement. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed. We have to play our cards in giving it its best chance of succeeding.

Is he about to join TIG?

Well, I’d love to know what he was asked and in what context. By movement, he could mean the general prospect of this leading to a massive realignment of politics. He could be talking about the movement that this party’s strategy wants to drive.

Norman would be missed if he left us, but several senior sources have told me this weekend that they think it is unlikely that he will.

One said:

He is such a passionate Liberal and so loyal to the Party.

He has always been really good at working together across parties. I really wouldn’t want to lose him. However, his comments are not out of step with the feeling among our MPs generally. They think that the TIG project is just the start and that there are great opportunities for us from what may unfold in politics in the short to medium term.

The Sunday Times report has this to say about relationships between the two groups:

Meanwhile, a merger with the Liberal Democrats appears unlikely. Many of TIG’s founders believe the taint of the coalition years makes a formal alliance with the party politically toxic. What they instead want is for the party’s 11 MPs to join their new one, and they have been sounded out by Leslie and Berger about switching.

Lib Dems, on the other hand, feel protective of their party’s machinery, membership and history, and will not abandon it all for an upstart group with no official status and no formal policy platform. Some even feel uncomfortable about the prospect of joining forces with former Tories. “I worked with Anna Soubry during the coalition,” said one. “I like her, but she’s not a liberal. In many ways, she’s one of the last genuine Thatcherites left.”

I suspect that first paradoxical paragraph is an accurate reflection on what some members of TIG think of us. But it doesn’t make sense to say that  we’re toxic because of the coalition while accepting two MPs who were part of it, one of whom as a minister.  And then to say that we should join them. That’s about as all over the place as it gets. However, we have amongst our MPs three excellent and highly skilled former Cabinet ministers and two excellent and highly skilled former ministers. TIG is bound to be hoping that they can get someone to move across, but I see no indications that this will happen.

We have always believed in working with others on issues where we agree with people. TIG’s statement of values give some possible areas for co-operation but, as I said earlier this week there are key differences. You can’t change politics without changing the political system and TIG’s statement shows a certain complacency about the current system. We need to give people the Parliament they ask for and Vince has been making that point pretty heavily over the past few days.

And now for Layla. The Sunday Times article says:

Layla Moran, who speaks for the Lib Dems on education — and who became an MP in 2017, after the coalition — has told friends that she has ambitions to become the next party president and has so far ruled out a move.

I am as certain as I can be that Layla is not planning on running for President. I can’t see how it would make sense for her. Education is such a massive passion for her that I just can’t fathom the she would give that up for the president’s role. She already has a high profile in the party and is much admired by members and activists and, as she told Iain Dale the other week, she may decide to do other things. While I would never take anyone for granted, I can’t see Layla leaving our party.

She commented on the Times’ story on Twitter and she won’t be winning any awards for ambiguity.


Vince’s comments in the press about us potentially not standing against TIG in some seats have undeniably annoyed and unsettled activists across the country. The comms on this were very badly handled by his office but robust representations have been made by a fairly large number of people and we can only hope that that improves over time.

The general thrust of his comments, placing us at the heart of any disruption to our political system, is generally the right place, and we can’t deny that he has got us acres of coverage.

Who knows what the British political landscape will look like this time next week, let alone next month or next year. I don’t think this week’s events have the excitement of when the SDP came along and I can’t make my mind up whether that’s because I was 13 then and I am now much older and more cynical.

But our politics is much more of a cluster…k now than it was then. We have to be part of a radical realignment that leads to better and fairer government.



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

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Mark Goodrich 24th Feb '19 - 12:03pm

    Like a lot of activists, I am yet to be convinced by TIG but I think it would be insane to stand against them at the next general election. None are target seats with the possible exception of Heidi Allen (who seems one of the more liberal and definitely on a leftwards journey).

    I would much rather have the TIGgers than the other likely winners in those seats. Whatever view you take, there is no doubt, that they are inflicting damage on the government and the official opposition which can only be good for a long-term realignment of British politics.

  • I suspect that the TIG comments look so confused because they are focusing on getting more defections. At this stage it pays them to keep things vague.
    The argument about Libdems being Toxic makes no sense & TIG are making it because they can’t say what they really think. TIGs big advantage is their Newness but they can’t admit that without looking shallow. Equally Journalists can’t admit how obsessed they are with the latest thing.
    TIG have some attractive individuals & a lot of Buzz, we have Organisation, Members & Councillors. They need us & we need them so we have to find some way of working together. We cannot let this opportunity go to waste.

  • David Becket 24th Feb '19 - 12:07pm

    If TIG becomes a movement that can achieve political reform, which we failed to do during the coalition, then many of us will be tempted to move over.
    We do not need a MP as Party President, we have too few MP’s, we need new blood in that position. In any event there are too few candidates for the next leader without one of them going for President. I suspect this is just the Sunday Times (no friend of ours) stirring.

  • Duncan Greenland 24th Feb '19 - 12:14pm

    “The general prospect of this leading to a massive realignment of politics” that you refer to at the beginning of your piece is surely a prospect to be enthusiastically welcomed.But it will only be achieved by Lib Dem cooperation with members of the Independent Group and by a concentration of our limited resources.
    This absolutely must potentially mean (as Vince Cable commented ) Lib Dems not standing against MPs of the Independent Group.
    Specific decisions will of course be taken at the local constituency level,so there is no good reason for the comment “to annoy or unsettle activists “ as you suggest it has.

  • The reason that this annoys and upsets activists is that these people are not liberals. One of them is the architect of ID cards for pity’s sake!

    I did not come into politics to achieve change for change’s sake, I came into politics because I believe in liberal aims and want to further liberal aims. You don’t further liberal aims by abandoning liberal values to suck up to a bunch of authoritarian centrists with a fancy new label.

  • TIG is saying the Lib Dems are toxic because they’re the votes they’re most likely to take.

  • Every few days there are people posting on this site telling us that we need to wear sack cloth and ashes and apologise to the public for our role in the coalition and until we do that we will remain deeply unpopular and untrusted. And then Caron and Paul tell us they can’t understand why TIG consider us toxic……….
    And while, I’m here, the idea that TIG aren’t true liberals, well lots of members and certainly the people who vote for us aren’t true liberals. They are centrists who think the Tories too nasty and labour not to be trusted with the economy or national defence. And let’s face it, we are prepared to be left wing authoritarian when the mood suits us.

  • Richard Underhill 24th Feb '19 - 1:30pm

    The World At One on 24/2/2019 has christened Chuka-Umunna as leader of the TIG.
    As there are more ex-Labour MPs in the TIG than ex-Tory he might be thought more likely to become leader if there is an election now or very soon, but that might put off future defections from the Tory Party.
    Father of House Ken Clarke MP has said that he is not minded to join them at the moment, depending on how the Conservative Party changes. He has previously said that he will retire at the next general election, but he did not retire in 2017.
    Given a little time I (foolishly) forecast a leadership election between Anna Soubry and Chukka Ummuna with Chuka as the front-runner and Anna as the winner.

  • David Warren 24th Feb '19 - 1:36pm

    The TIG people are not in the same league as those who formed the SDP all those years ago.

    Before his principled stand on the issue of Common Market Roy Jenkins was seen by many to be the next Labour leader when Wilson departed. Shirley Williams was a key figure on the moderate wing of the party and had come close to winning the deputy leadership before going on to join the cabinet in 1974. David Owen was a rising star and Bill Rodgers a mainstay of the battles with the left going back to the Gaitskell days.

    There is no one of stature in this new breakaway.

    We need to be more optimistic about our own situation and concentrate on campaigning for our unique Liberal message in the forthcoming local elections.

    A good result in those is in our grasp as the only united party with organisation on the ground.

    As for the party President position I would like to see it contested by candidates who are not MPs. It is a party role not a parliamentary one.

  • Paul Holmes 24th Feb '19 - 1:45pm

    Not standing against TIG in their Target seats (if they ever have any) could in theory make sense as long as a) Their policies are ones we agree with -as yet we have very little idea what those will be other than opposing Brexit. b) They don’t stand against us in our Targets -and so far they have simply expressed the wish for us to close down and join their blank sheet but made no encouraging comment about wanting to co operate with anyone.

    Long ago in a galaxy far far away I waited nearly 2 years before joining the SDP after their launch (never having been in any Party before) and then only after I had seen the detail of policy and actions unfold in the 1983 General Election. TIG at the moment is making a vague pitch of motherhood and apple pie -which didn’t hold up too well under scrutiny during Anna Soubry’s Newsnight interview and Chris Leslie’s Question Time appearance. Surely we need to wait and see what emerges and if they keep snarling at the hand of friendship it hardly promotes their supposed desire for a ‘new politics’.

  • Paul Holmes 24th Feb '19 - 2:04pm

    Caron -you ask how the TIG’s can critcise the LD brand as toxic because of the Coalition when some of their own were also in the Coalition Government?

    Well they might trade on the Heidi Allen line in a recent interview, that Lab/Cons alike they voted various ways in the past because of the Party Whip but now disown that (she said ‘putting it behind them’) and are starting afresh. Similarly part of Corbyns appeal to Lab members (and 40% of voters voted for his Labour Party in 2017) is that he clearly rejected Blairism, just as Blair in his turn made a fresh start by distancing ‘New Labour’ from that of Foot/Benn/Hatton. The Lib Dems on the other hand primarily still cling to saying what a great job we did in Coalition if the only the voters could understand! [I don’t agree by the way].

    On the other hand the TIG’s could yet have problems. Her former Lab colleagues faces were a picture when Anna Soubry praised Coalition and later Cons Govt austerity.

  • All successful parties in a FPTP electoral system are broad churches. Another reason to have a system that values everyone’s vote. The system is in flux and like it or not if you want to change it you will need to work with people like Anna Soubry ( by the way is she any more right wing than some posters here or some if our recently departed ex-MPs?).

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Feb '19 - 3:01pm

    The article here is a very good attempt with real insight, at making some , if possible, sense out of another article with, it would seem little insight, in other words the Sunday Times knows nothing!

    I think that everyone, Sir Vince, the new TIG mps, have handled this badly.

    Lack of preparation and coordination and therefore nobody saying anything in any sense accurate or consistent.

    If Chris Leslie and Anna Soubry can’t understand that the local Liberal Democrats in the city I am in, Nottingham, are their only friends so far in this area, they are going to lose their seats and my otherwise very staunch support.

    As it happens I am a natural to support this movement as the word Liberal and Democrat is in my view abused by too many, it means different things. Throughout the European countries an id card is policy and supported by most, even the liberal democrat parties. In the vvd in Holland, most of the Conservative tough on crime stuff is soft compared to views of Rutte etc.

    It is nonsense to describe these members of parliament as of little calibre.

    Luciana Berger is one of the most impressive, eloquent and heartfelt mps I have ever seen, and , with Heidi Allen, a woman to watch who could lead in future.

    Chuka Umunna is as likeable and liberal as any, and a supporter of electoral reforms

    He , like them, could lead, in my view, should lead a new movement, a mixed race, youngish and open minded man, the best of British, in the modern scene.

    Sir Vince needs to get his act together as do this group, no room for division or disagreement other than as one would and should welcome between friends.

    As for Norman and Layla, the best this party has, if they are keener on TIG than many, it is because they are so sensible, reasonable, and, are , like me, analytical, Virgos!!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Feb '19 - 3:19pm

    There are comments here that are themselves complaining of the supposed illiberaism of these TIG, folks, though in fact are in effect more guilty of that quality.

    Gavin Shuker , called illiberal for a desire to have a conscience vote on a conscience matter, is not illiberal. And, note, all, he won damages in a libel action against the metro paper for claims made above, he is no homophobe, does not support gay conversion, and, as a Christian lay minister, is not to be criticised as in any way wrong for wanting a modest reduction in the limit for weeks allowed for an abortion, it is Twelve in liberty loving France and twenty four here!

  • Andrew Hickey, why didn’t you name names and so save me some time looking these people up in Wikipedia?

    Gavin Shuker I think is the MP you are referring to with regard resigning the whip if Ed Miliband whipped Labour in favour of same-sex-marriage. (Like one of our MPs he thinks it is OK to advertise that prayer can heal [“Healing on the Streets of Bath”]).

    Joan Ryan I think is the MP you are referring to, “In 2006-7 she was the minister responsible for the then government’s controversial ID card scheme” ( From the same article – she “was deputy campaign director of NOtoAV in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum”. Does she now support PR?

  • nigel hunter 24th Feb '19 - 3:46pm

    The Times is heading the way towards the rest of the Tory rags. They will try to disrupt. Layla could be a new stat for leader of the party. They will be happy for her to be out of the way .
    TIG have no organisation supporting them. They will try to poach from us or others to build support.
    Their is already another party getting organised.NOT Farages but one called RENEW. The lines for new politics for good or ill does look to be forming. It is possible that for them to grow they will all want a system of PR ,a future unholy alliance could be formed to achieve this aim.
    In the meantime the media and journo’.s will fall over themselves to cover the new ‘babies on the block’ The media has not been a friend to us, no juicy tit-bits for them to grasp.
    We should not panic but. carry on as Richard Kemp says and beaver away at the Local elections.

  • I hope that before people speak of our members doing things they actually ask them. I was glad that Vince stressed that the question of whether to fight a constituency is for the members to decide.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Feb '19 - 5:18pm


    By not saying things similar it appears this party is for the Independent mps, ,they not for the party.

    Sir Vince has talked , months of it, what is the effect, disharmony of centre ground colleagues.

  • bernard aris 24th Feb '19 - 5:41pm

    The incoherent appearance (plenty about unspecified “values”, but nothing hard-and-fast) of 2 of the TIG on Andrew Marr show left me severely underwhelmed. Professional politicians who seem to have grown towards each other being the pro-Regferendum/Remainers outsiders in the two mammoth parties (too big and too outdated) for the past months, they only get together to decide important TIG points tomorrow, letting everybody speculate. That is not doing professional politics by any stretch of the imagination.

    Being Dutch I don’t hear everything so I ask: has anybody heard anything, anything at all, about grassroots inititiatives in support of TIG in the way of starting a constituency group to support them? I haven’t heard anything of the sort, which could imply this is a “within Westminster” bubble thing without any substantial resonance amongst “centrist” or “Politial Renewal-minded” citizens in the UK.
    All the more reason to be wary of their demands that we surrender everything we just rebuild in the past 4 years to some vague group of wellmeaning, but over-ambtious go-it-alone MP’s.

  • Have we lost faith in Liberalism, in Liberal values, in the proud history of this Party and its achievements at all levels of government over the past 150 years? Are we so demoralised that we think it’s a better idea to throw in our lot with a bunch of third rate nobodies than too fight for what we believe in under our own colours? I was one of those who thought we should have strangled the SDP at birth – OK with hindsight I was probably wrong about that. But this lot have no coherent analysis, nothing even close to a uniformity of views, no leadership or organisational skills, and no future as a political force.

  • Novelty Jenny plus extra readers, viewers and pushing their owners line. I also rather suspect they are being set up to blame the Brexit we get. It would have been wonderful to have had our fairy/unicorn friendly Brexit but those dammed centraists stopped us, blame them for your lack of mythical beasts.

  • When the TIGs first launched on Monday I found it intriguing that they said in a few interviews that they expected “people in other parties to follow us.” Parties – plural, so not just the Tories. This form of words was used at their press conference and then in at least 2 interviews later. It did make me wonder….
    I can’t think any SNP MP would join them: they are as tribal as it gets and there’s no internal dissent. The DUP? Hardly! Plaid? I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t see what they would gain. Ditto Caroline Lucas – why would she give up the status she currently has? There’s Sylvia Hermon, and the various Indies (Woodcock etc). But they are not ‘parties’. That leaves just us. And I must admit I did wonder about Norman. But I sincerely hope not. It would be a real kick in the teeth to the North Norfolk party, which has worked so hard for him.
    If there is to be a new ‘movement’ we can be part of it by staying strong as the LibDems – we could provide an anchor to keep the new people/party rooted to a solid base of political reality. So our 11 MPs need to stay true, and I hope Norman will make a Moran-esque statement to that effect soon.

  • Mark Blackburn 24th Feb '19 - 6:58pm

    One attribute which unites most of the TIGgers more than any real value is ambition and their ambitions for different reasons were often not best served in the parties they belonged to. As such, the Lib Dems are the first and softest target on their route to domination. Don’t expect any cosy cooperation unless it suits their agenda.

  • John Marriott 24th Feb '19 - 7:38pm

    Just what have you really got against ID cards and how do YOU define “Liberal aims and values” without quoting from the Lib Dem rule book?

  • @John Marriot – I’m sure @Jennie can answer for herself, but she is not the only one of us to oppose compulsory ID cards. Speaking for myself, it is about individual liberty and the relationship that citizens have with those in power. The idea that I can be stopped in the street and forced to show an ID card is offensive to me as a Liberal. I don’t trust the state to always exercise that power responsibly, so I would rather they did not have it.
    Btw, the party conference has voted overwhelmingly against ID cards. Maybe that’s what you regard as ‘the LibDem rule book.’ To me, it’s an expression of agreement, freely entered into by members, of the things that bring us together as a party.

  • Neil Sandison 24th Feb '19 - 8:42pm

    In terms of the rising stars in TIG Heidi Allen has impressed me the most but then i do not know her local credentials that well, but she has been principled on universal credit perhaps she is the compromise candidate between Chukka and Anna that most would feel comfortable with ?

  • I always though ID cards were a bit of a red herring. We are in a society were you have to prove your identity every time you need to do something. Enter a bar and you look under 25 and the chances are they will ask for proof of ID, ideally your passport. Try to open a bank account t with out proof of identity and nationality, try to travel (even in the UK by plane) without a passport. Rent or buy a house, again identity is key. Even booking a hotel room is difficult. If you want to pay cash for the hotel room , you will quite often be told we will take cash but only if we can have a debit or credit card details as well. Even as a white middle aged man people ask me to prove who I am, how much worse is it for those younger and of a different ethnicity.

  • I echo those on here and elsewhere who urge caution and a “wait and see” approach to TIG – there is nothing to be gained by rushing to judgement … before we can better discern what they actually stand for or to what extent they might help to transform the U.K. political landscape, etc.

    However, I am also struck by the strident and intolerant tribalism of some of those who shout loudest in defence of their proclaimed “Liberal values” – without even a hint of humility about our own party’s mixed record in upholding those values when in office. Lib Dems are supposed to be committed to promoting political pluralism and respecting diversity of opinion – but some of us seem to prefer behaving as a narrow and exclusive sect of “Liberal” purists and true believers who all too often demonstrate open contempt for other political traditions.

    How we relate to others, both within and outside our party ranks, provides an opportunity to demonstrate our (pluralist and generous) liberalism in action. It is not necessary or realistic, certainly not at this early stage, to expect there to be a full convergence of values between ourselves and TIG – but there is surely no harm in a gradual process of constructive dialogue and engagement with them, to jointly explore areas of similarity and difference … with a view to identifying specific issues where we share common political objectives, on which future cooperation would be possible and potentially fruitful … but, in the meantime, without making any firm commitments or promises on either side.

  • @tonyhill

    I very much admire your support for liberalism.

    I think it fair to say though that there are quite a number of seats we wouldn’t have won in 1997 if we hadn’t had the SDP OR the hard work of the Liberals in the 70s getting the first councillors elected in an area. Winchester and Portsmouth South come to mind as two that I know of but I suspect there are quite a few others.

    So I hope you are wrong 🙂 !

    Some of what you say about TIG – and in comparison to the SDP is I personally think a little exaggerated. To get to where they have got to does I would I venture show some leadership and organisational skills. By definition they lack a ground army and like the
    gang of four they MIGHT well underestimate how much they need one.

    Arguably the SDP in social democracy had a more though out ideology. But it was also very much defined as against Thatherism and Footism (not that he ever got an -ism!).

    They are not liberals but neither were the SDP. They are once again close to being social democrats and the ideology of Blair, Cameron and Clegg who were all very close to each other ideologically and arguably could have belonged in the same political party together.

    There are so many parallels with the SDP and I think virtually everything that has been said on LDV – both fear and it being an opportunity – over the last few days would have been said if Liberal Voice had existed in the 1980s. I am trying to think – without much success – to think were there are NOT parallels. I think the major one is that the SDP had obv. not happened in the past. I think as a result TIG may struggle to get many more MP defections – particularly if Corbyn and May handle their parties well (which is may be a big IF!). As 83% of MPs defecting to the SDP lost their seats – so it does spell political death.

    I think that the most pertinent thing I have heard said about TIG was by Matthew Paris and that was that it frees up what had become a political logjam. And that does at the very least make things interesting.

  • John Marriott 24th Feb '19 - 10:23pm

    Like them or not, ID cards could make life easier for many people. Many European countries seem to function perfectly well with them. David Raw, as usual, has made some very salient points. It really does amaze me how paranoid some people appear to be. If you’ve got nothing to hide then surely you’ve got nothing to worry about. I guess that the lady whose initial remark led to my question doesn’t consider me worthy of a reply.

  • Tony Greaves 24th Feb '19 - 10:48pm

    I am fed up to the back teeth of clever-clogs Westminster Bubble merchants saying that the Liberal Democrats are “toxic”. It’s just typical of the stupid way they spread stuff amongst themselves and feed on nonsense. Then just repeat it to whoever in the outside world is daft enough to listen to them.

    As for the Sunday Times talking about feeling “protective of their party’s machinery, membership and history” what a load of rubbish. For all our problems since 2015 we have an active, functioning party that actually stands for a set of principles and objectives (which we call Liberalism) – we have 2000+ Councillors and more expected in May this year – and our “machinery membership and history” are huge assets to be used and developed, not “protected” as some kind of historical heritage.

    Let us be as disruptive as we can, but the likes of Leslie and Berger, who appear to have no clear ideology, principles or indeed reason to be active in politics other than self-promotion and dislike of the Labour leadership, are likely to be of little use to us. Meanwhile we wait with baited breath to see what the TIGgers will actually stand for when they get round to talking to each other about policies!

  • Tony Greaves 24th Feb '19 - 10:52pm

    Oh and I forgot to add – if you read anything in the Sunday Times about the Liberal Democrats it is likely to be (a) wrong, (b) intended to do us harm, and (c) contradicted next week. How has a once great newspaper fallen.

  • “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

    Before Lib Dems pick on the TIGer who likes ID cards, the TIGer who voted for austerity, and the TIGer who is Christian, what about…

    the Lib Dem who lied about speeding…
    the Lib Dem who couldn’t tell us whether gay sex was sinful…
    the Lib Dems in Coalition who voted for austerity…

    There are good and bad people in all parties. Picking a fight with TIG is just totally insane.

  • Tony Greaves is so right. There are only three credible political philosophies that hold sway in the UK – Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialisism.
    Liberalism as represented by Liberal Democrats in the UK is a distinct ideology based on fundamental and unchanging principles that can never be toxic:
    Popular consent – recognising government can only be effective if it operates with the consent of the majority of people in the country.
    Equality of voting rights, so that every vote counts and access to justice through the law.
    Individual Liberty – Habeus Corpus and Freedom of Speech
    Economic and Personal Freedom – tackling poverty while keeping government at arms length from peoples personal lives.
    Politicians need to choose where they stand. Like the SDP before them, TIG will eventually need to figure out where they stand.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Feb '19 - 12:02am

    To see , after effort to at least support the values and attributes of the finest amongst these, to do so, with caution and reason, then, finding comments such as those of Tony Hill and Greaves, makes me both sad and aware why these mps do not want in any strong way to be associated with another, this, other, party.

    They have left bitter and mean aside awhile. To describe, as these two do, Luciana Berger in these ways they have done . What had you achieved of national significance for a persecuted minority , and much else, before your later thirties? When did you go to work in a national arena after death threats? When did you speak up with courage and forthright eloquence in the face of hate and ridicule?When did you chair national groups representative of a minority community? What did you do for mental health?

    She alone makes them at least worth a bother with. To put it very subtly she is as good as any of the Liberal Democrats in the Houses, of parliament.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Feb '19 - 12:03am

    One thing that can be said for the 11 TIGGERS, is that they are an extremely broad church.

    How successful the doctrine will be when they actually sit down and try to work out what, other than an opposition to Brexit they have in common, will be interesting.

    The three amigos don’t seem to have fully detached themselves from Mrs May’s apron strings, and I expect them to give her continued support.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Feb '19 - 12:17am

    And by the by, when there is talk of what they stand for,what do any mps stand for, thy’re all variations on various philosophies, Luciana Berger is the great niece of the great Emanuel, Manny Shinwell, a legend on the moderate, yes that wing of the Labour party, who served in governments and war and lived to be over a hundred, even I remember him from the t when a little boy and he in his nineties, a pedigree of that sort hardly makes her an ideological or philosophical interloper!!!!

  • A Liberal Democratic admitting to being “toxic” is as daft as the confession of a certain Chris Leslie who claimed that he was going into an election without anyone being able to pin any spending commitment on him whatsoever.

  • And as for Manny Shinwell I was part of a team of sixth formers who interviewed him for a Tyne Tees TV programme. My opinion of him was confirmed by Jo Grimond who told me about him knocking someone out in an argument – rather in the manner of that UKIP MEP many decades later!

  • ID cards, are seen by a lot of people, as being like something from repressive regimes where officials can demand to see someone’s “papers”. They could be seen as increasing governments potential for yet more layers of monitoring and so on. There is, to some of us, an innately illiberal mistrust of people built into the idea that if they don’t want to give others access to great chunks of personal information then they must be hiding something. It’s a presumption of innocence thing. Plus putting lots of info in one place would probably increase rather than decrease the potential for fraud, much like the internet has. On the other hand ID cards could be quite convenient.

  • Sean Hagan – had you been reading LibDem Voice through the Coalition years you might have noticed my critical comments about some of the things our MPs were supporting in government.
    Michael1 – I’d be quite surprised if any of the defecting MPs have done very much in their local parties to build on the organisation they found there when they were selected to fight their safe seats. I exaggerated a bit in my original post: the three Tories and Umuna are people with ability, and I do admire Soubry for her courage in campaigning in such a high profile way against Brexit. It should be remembered, though, that Wollaston spent the first part of the Referendum campaign on the Leave side, and only switched to Remain after the murder of Jo Cox.
    Lorenzo – you credit Tony Greaves and myself with rather a lot of influence, but for my part if my post on LDV puts off people like Gavin Shuker and Joan Brady from having anything to do with us I will be delighted!

  • John Marriott 25th Feb '19 - 8:27am

    @Joe Bourke
    “Socialisism”? That’s a new one on me. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone when it comes to typo’s! My excuse is that ex 2nd row fingers don’t fit on modern keyboards or pads. What’s yours?

    Talking of ‘Manny’ Shinwell, I’m old enough to remember him and David Raw is right. He was certainly no shrinking violet. I wonder how he would react to having his religion traduced by middle class intellectuals (I use the latter word with caution)?

  • Of course we’d be mad to stand against the TIG MPs. Do we want TIG standing against ours? How absurd would that be, as if the mountain presented by the voting system weren’t big enough already.

  • Mick Taylor 25th Feb '19 - 8:55am

    David Beckett can of course speak for himself. For my part – as a member of the Liberals and LibDems for over 55 years – I won’t ever be joining TIG. As the late Dr Michael Winstanley said at the 1970 Liberal Assembly ‘If the Liberals didn’t exist, we would have to invent them’
    TIG is not a bunch of Liberals. At the moment, stopping Brexit is the only thing we have in common with them. If a sensible arrangement can be made not to oppose each other in target seats, well perhaps. Given the energy sapping and time wasting of the deal with the SDP and the lengthy interruption of political campaigning that went with it, I certainly don’t want a repeat of that.

  • David Raw 24th Feb ’19 – 10:47pm…………..….. but still waiting to see if any ID card objectors refuse NIC cards, passports and census returns…… and whether they’d ever considered anonymising their very public personal websites ?…………

    Or whether they use credit/debit cards, store loyalty cards, shop online, etc.: or perhaps they live in a cave and use cowrie shells.
    ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ is far more intrusive than a single card and we all, happily or otherwise,co-operate.

    BTW…The assertion that Manny Shinwell was a ‘moderate’ is laughable. His, “The middle class “not worth a tinker’s cuss”, says muchl and his views on nationalisation would shock even the most ardent Corbyn supporter. Still, this party seems adept at re-writing far more recent history so labelling, even a firebrand Socialist like Shinwell, as ‘moderate’ is not surprising.

  • David Wilkinson 25th Feb '19 - 9:07am

    Due to waiting for a delivery of leaflets I thought I do post otherwise I would not waste a single minute on this TIG dribble.

    Tony Greaves spot on again.

    Love Layla Moron”s comment about the Sunday Times,could be be a good leader

  • Joseph Bourke 25th Feb '19 - 9:22am

    John Marriott,

    No excuses, although I did split my thumbnail carrying a box yesterday. We had a very good English Language teacher at school. She was a great admiirer of the Russian women who fought on the Eastern front during the war.
    I am fine with the English of the venerable Bede, Chaucer or Shakespeare;Norman English, modern usage, American English or Pidgin English; slang, Internet English and even emojis, as long as the meaning is clear. LoL.

  • “No ID cards” is a self-imposed and dogmatic requirement to become one of the few but noisy (and ALWAYS present at Conference ‘cos not wanted elsewhere) self-appointed True Liberals, whose tiresome rag-bag of mixed self-serving shibboleths and modish nonsense has seen us hurtle into fourth place (fifth after UKIP?) in polling, behind a bunch of people with no discernable principles or ideology – but still preferable to ours.

  • David Becket 25th Feb '19 - 11:00am

    Bringing this thread back to reality. Until last week our opinion poll ratings were improving, we had (slowly) crept up to double figures. Along comes TIG and we are back down to 5/6 %. What are we going to do about that?
    They are short on policy, they may never agree one, but they look young and enthusiastic.
    They claim the obvious, the Political System is broken, most people will agree with that.
    We on the other hand look uninspiring. Our leader was in the coalition cabinet and our deputy leader was a minister. Nobody is going to believe us when we claim the system is broken. We need fresh blood at the top, and we need it now. We have a very small pool of suitable candidates, which is why we need a President who will take a public facing roll.

  • Tom Watson said to be getting involved.
    Talk to spme of us who have had dealings with him.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Feb '19 - 11:59am

    So many comments so much knowledge so many know alls !!!

    Manny Shinwell, as War secretary was asking for increases in defence spending to back the Korean war, was considered very patriotic, even jingoistic by the far left, punched because he was told to go back to Poland, the suggestion as a man who loved this country disgusted him as this was his country, did not support the left in the Bevan Gaitskell internecine war in the Labour party, resigned the Labour whip in the Lords in the early eighties in his later nineties, against the leftward militant drift of the Labour party, wherever the remarkable fellow is he is no doubt celebrating the stance of his wonderful niece!!!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Feb '19 - 12:01pm

    And we can be moderate and radical, these are related to various points of view and are not set in stone!

  • @David Becket

    Clearly TIG is both a threat and opportunity as I said earlier and Tom McNally said on the Westminster Hour last night.

    There are quite a few issues with the Deltapoll which showed us on 6% and 5% with TIG.

    1. It seems to have a systemic house effect that shows us lower than the other pollsters. It had us at 6% when other pollsters had us at 8% and 9%. Equally BMG normally us higher than other pollsters.

    2. It is wrong therefore to compare poll from one company showing a party at x% and another from another company at y% and says this is a big change in their vote.

    3. 326pols twitter account that adjusts polls says that in their opinion 6% in the Deltapoll is equivalent to 8%. Essentially they adjust for turnout on age – they say mid-term younger voters say they won’t vote but do vote in (slightly) higher numbers at a general election.

    4. This Deltapoll poll does seem slightly odd with a 12% vote for the SNP in Wales! This might be a typo, a mistake or a quirk but it doesn’t inspire confidence.

    5. Deltapoll is a new company that according to Wikipedia have only ever done 5 political polls.

    Clearly our vote has gone down in polls a bit but in other polls only in those voting intention questions that include TIG as a specific option – and they show a bigger drop in the Labour and in some Tory votes which is actually good for us electorally.

    TIG won’t be fighting the May elections so we have an opportunity. There is also SOME evidence in local council by-elections that people may be more prepared to vote for us in local elections than they have before and than they are nationally. I think nationally it is less distaste for the coalition than the familiar chicken-and -egg problem that we are low in the polls and people would vote for us if we were higher….!

    Always politics moves on – in the 80s from Thorpe and the Winter of Discontent, in 2000s Tory sleaze etc. It is a background but we are moving into a new phase of British politics as we did then.

    The Liberals and SDP followed a similar trajectory in the polls – with the SDP quickly overtaking the Liberals in the polls.

    While it will seem quick in retrospect, events are slow on a day-to-day basis and difficult to read the runes and to predict events (if not impossible!).

  • Peter Watson 25th Feb '19 - 12:40pm

    @Jayne Mansfield “when they actually sit down and try to work out what, other than an opposition to Brexit they have in common, will be interesting.2
    Extreme dislike of Jeremy Corbyn is the other thing they all have in common!
    Seriously though, given that the “shared values” they trumpet about only seem to include opposition to Brexit and Corbyn as a still not very unique selling proposition, it is a little surprising that none chose to defect to the Lib Dems. I guess the fact that all of them soundly defeated Lib Dem opponents in 2017 (most of whom lost their deposit) must be a factor in legitimising the positions of those now leaving the parties they represented at that time.

  • Graham Evans 25th Feb '19 - 5:36pm

    The problem with ID cards was not the concept, but that they were to be compulsory and stacked full of personal data. I would have happily accepted a card which had basic information comparable to a passport confirming date and place of birth, citizenship, and possibly NI number. Arguably it might also indicate whether you are a UK resident to confirm you qualify for free NHS treatment.

  • Peter Hirst 25th Feb '19 - 6:17pm

    I see the TIG as a media opportunity to take some of the limelight from the other two main Parties. Surely our Board can sanction some in depth discussion that will give us the appropriate headlines. We are in sore need of some positive coverage and surely it is in the nation’s interests for us to cooperate as fully as we can.

  • Passports, driving licences, bank cards etc. are all a) voluntary, and b) the info they each contain is available to just one agency. A *compulsory* state-controlled ID card system would allow the government way too much control over the citizen. You can call that paranoia but in fact a natural suspicion of those in power is a very basic principle of Liberalism. Some here may not like it, but opposition to compulsory ID cards has been party policy for a very long time, and the last time it was debated at conference the vote was overwhelming.

  • Joseph Bourke 25th Feb ’19 – 6:16pm…………..I assume that now that these defections have convinced Jeremy Corbyn of the need for a peoples vote, both the Libdems and TIG will be voting with Labour on Wednesday on their expected amendment calling for a referendum on the government’s deal…………..

    I note that the BBC news has now shifted from “Labour MPs insist that Corbyn MUST support another vote” to “There are dozens of Labour MPs who are against another vote and will be extremely unhappy with Corbyn”..

    Ah, well!

  • Nom de Plume 25th Feb '19 - 7:05pm

    ID cards are common (universal?) in the rest of the EU. They are like compulsory passports. In principle I support them. They would help not only with ID but could help clarify nationality issues. Windrush-type scandals would be more difficult. At least people would know where they stood as regards nationality.

  • Expats,

    this was a worried Polly Toynbee commenting before the announcement:
    “The defection of eight Labour MPs seems to have had a big effect, breaking the obstinacy of the leadership team. Today the pressure mounted further, with deputy leader Tom Watson talking of setting up a social democratic grouping, and Momentum’s chair, Jon Lansman, openly criticising the leadership over antisemitism. It seems to have finally jolted Corbyn into action. A deepening divide between shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Corbyn over a range of issues has been brewing, but failure to back the Kyle/Wilson plan would be the breaking point for many in Labour, with frontbenchers among those poised to resign. MPs have shown me an avalanche of emails from local party members resigning over Corbyn’s Brexit feebleness.”
    And a relieved Polly Toynbee writing after the announcement “At last, Jeremy. Now Labours mission must be to prevent any Brexit”

  • David Raw 25th Feb ’19 – 8:57pm…………A second referendum ? Thank goodness Tom Watson and Keir Starmer (plus the late rebels) have finally got this into Jeremy Corbyn’s stubborn noddle…..

    I’m sorry, David, but reluctant as I am to take credit for this shift in policy, I have it on the very best authority (my own) that Jeremy’s change of heart is due to his having read my posts on here.

    After all, what else could he do after seeing my post of 21st Feb ’19 – 10:02am…and reading that I, of all people, could write “I too am frustrated with Corbyn but, as I’ve often written, there are, currently only two games in town and I can live with most of his policies.” and my,” I still believe that when, not if, May’s posturing in Europe ends with no real progress and she refuses to countenance a ‘custom’s union’, Labour will back another vote rather than allow a ‘No Deal’ disaster”..

    He may well of asked, “Who is that masked man (hiding behind a username)?” I have only one answer..”A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver, away!”

  • I really do not understand what all the fuss and objection was about over ID Cards.
    The info held on the card and data base was
    Full name,Date of birth, Place of birth, Gender
    Address of principal place of residence in the United Kingdom
    The address of every other place in the United Kingdom or elsewhere where person has a place of residence.
    A photograph of head and shoulders
    Other biometric information
    Residential status
    Entitlement to remain in the United Kingdom where that entitlement derives from a grant of leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, the terms and conditions of that leave
    Personal reference numbers

    National Identity Registration Number
    The number of any ID card issued
    Allocated national insurance number
    The number of any relevant immigration document
    The number of their United Kingdom passport
    The number of any passport issued to the individual by or on behalf of the authorities of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or by or on behalf of an international organisation
    The number of any document that can be used by them (in some or all circumstances) instead of a passport
    The number of any identity card issued to him/her by the authorities of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom
    Any reference number allocated to him/her by the secretary of state in connection with an application made by him for permission to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom
    The number of any work permit relating to him/her
    Any driver number given to him/her by a driving licence

    Considering this is the same sort of information you have to give whenever applying for a bank account, loan, mortgage, credit card, applying for a passport, I fail to see what the issue is.

    What is so wrong with having to carry an ID card and proving eligibility to services

  • jayne mansfield 25th Feb '19 - 10:07pm

    Nice try expats.

    Given Mrs May’s intransigence, I had no doubt how this would pan out. Jeremy Corbyn just needed a little nudge …from people like me!

    Deep problems remain, for example, the number of MPs who would support the amendment. The parliamentary arithmetic is not great.

    If there is support , the effectiveness of any campaign to gain a significant Remain Vote will not be easy. One can only hope that the people who led the last dismal campaign for Remain, are not in charge of leading it.

  • @matt – the fuss about Id cards, is because in the UK we don’t have Id cards. Additionally, it consolidates into a single “database” information that is currently distributed across different government departments.

    Given the UK governments approach to data protection and amassing data on people, you can be sure that the government will misuse the data, particularly if the UK does leave the EU and so no longer has to comply with higher standards and a differing idea of data ownership…

    So the question with Id cards is: do you trust the people in Westminster to protect your interests and no misuse Id cards. Going on the Brexit debacle and previous history, I suggest a reasonable answer is no.

  • @Roland

    There are already databases in existence that hold all your information on Name’s, dob, gender, marital status, Alias, Previous addresses, your financial history. Its called Equifax, experian to name just a couple
    So please explain to me what is the problem with having your residential status and immigration status added to this data base?

    “you can be sure that the government will misuse the data” is this a tin foil hat moment? please explain how this data would be misused

  • Matt
    I’ve never had give fingerprints or other biometric details to open a bank account.

  • Maybe not, but you have a photo taken for your passport and driving licence, what is so wrong with having bio metrics added to this in the form of finger prints?

    My Australian husband with indefinite leave to remain has this on his bio metric visa card, it shows his residential status here in the uk and when we go through airport security, with a quick scan of his finger, we are through with no drama’s.
    So really, what is the problem with us having this? What is there possibly to object about

  • Many phones now have Finger print recognition.
    Banks allow you to log on to your online banking apps through finger print recognition.
    This is the way that security is progressing. I fail to see what the issue is here and wish someone could explain it

  • jayne mansfield, David Raw….

    Sorry, but yet again we have to disagree. As I’ve already explained to Tom Watson and Keir Starmer, I’m not sharing the credit for changing JC’s mind with anyone.

    BTW, unless I get full credit on this matter, I’ll just do an ‘Elizabeth Bott’.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Feb '19 - 8:58am

    We move on.

    The swing to the extreme right has been fuelled by fear. One wonders whether the leave campaign would have won the vote in 2016 if people felt that their politicians listened to their concerns about national security.

    The one hopeful sign I have had in conversations, is that unlike in the 1960’s when racism really was an issue wrapped in arguments about immigration, this is now mostly not the case. Even those who are fearful of asylum seekers and refugees , are fearful because they feel we don’t know who is coming into the country, whether they will be an asset or they are intent on harm. We need to get back onto an even keel by accepting that these fears are real, and make changes that reduce them.

    I believe that ID cards used to check who is entitled to be in the country, who has left, who is entitled to employment and resources is a one such method of calming the pot pourri of fears.

  • @matt, I agree things are a bit barmy and with the march of security enhancements to our technology gismo’s the discrepancies will increasingly become obvious.

    Yes, people have voluntarily put large amounts of personal information into Facebook, and yes Equifax et al do know a lot about you. However, these are outside of government and are now getting regulated by GDPR…

    Currently, much information in government is distributed across systems, but is being integrated. For example, if you use the online passport renewal or driving licence renewal service, you will be asked to provide information that will allow the government to link the DVLC driver licencing database with the Home Office passport database (I’m taking as given the link between the passport database and the DWP NI database.

    The question I asked was: to what extent do you trust the government.
    For example, with an Id card the police doesn’t need to maintain their own database of photos, they can simply use the master database… In some respects, the issue revolves around the difference between UK ideas and European ideas, where in the UK it is legal unless it is explicitly illegal (and you’re found out) and the European viewpoint where things are only legal where it is expressly permitted. Hence why the UK government has had issues complying with European data protection legislation.

    Many phones now have Finger print recognition.
    Since circa 2001, there have been systems out there that use your voice – remember all those services where “your call will be recorded”. The systems I worked on, used voice to reduce the incidence of fraud, at the time the technology wasn’t sufficiently reliable to uniquely identify you, but was good enough to flag potentially fraudulent transactions to human operators.

    Personally, I’m broadly happy with the concept of an Id card, but know that great care will be needed to implement it, remember the list of government departments/agencies that can look at your communications/internet records if they desire…

  • Nom de Plume 27th Feb '19 - 10:08pm


    “to what extent do you trust the government.”

    My response would be, ” If you think the government is dodgy, you want as many of your rights and obligations explicitly stated in law as possible.” It is Windrush which changed my view on ID cards.

    If Equifax know a lot about you, why wouldn’t the government know all that and more. Surveillance is ubiquitous.

  • @roland

    “The question I asked was: to what extent do you trust the government.
    For example, with an Id card the police doesn’t need to maintain their own database of photos, they can simply use the master database”

    I trust the government with my data and I would not have a problem with the police having access to a master database which contained photo of every person with an ID card. What would be the problem with that? I am of the opinion that if you are a law abiding citizen, then you have nothing to fear. And if it helps police to solve crimes in a more efficient and cost effective way, then all the better.

    Id Cards would have been a good way to identify who is entitled to what and who is entitled to stay legally within the United Kingdom.
    It would have solved the problem with windrush and im assuming would have helped border control with entry and exit checks.

    I really do not have a problem with my data being shared across Government departments. I would have a problem with my data being shared “outside” of a government department without my authorisation.

    I am sorry, I just never understood what all the fuss was about and to date I am still waiting for someone to explain to me what the big issue with it was.

  • Matt – I think you are asking an important question, and it may well be the case that the liberal world has moved on in the twenty years since Blair’s government started to try to implement ID cards. The LibDem membership now is largely of a different generation to what it was then, a lot of the old activists having been driven out by the Coalition, or become old and tired. However, people like me grew up in a world where democracy in Europe was less common than police states of the left and right, and recent events in Turkey should give us pause if we think that governments are always going to be neutral to the political views of their citizens. Indeed, recent events in this country with sections of the media, and MPs, describing Remainers as “Traitors” are worrying too: it is not impossible that a Brexit Party/ERG government could sweep to power, and I would certainly not trust that sort of government to uphold our basic human rights.

    I remember the Young Liberal campaign in the sixties “Don’t Use the Postcode”, and I didn’t for another twenty years or so. Working as a postman for a year I saw the unintended consequence of postcodes, which was to dehumanise the job, close local sorting offices, eliminate local knowledge, and set the organisation on the road to the appalling service we have today. It also introduced the lazy shorthand “Post Code Lottery” for any cheap headline contingent upon differences in service provision between one area and another – Liberals believing that local priorities should be determined by local people as part of the democratic process. I don’t know what the unintended consequences of having ID cards would be, but by the time we found out it would be too late to do anything about it.

  • marcstevens 2nd Mar '19 - 11:32am

    I would agree with Matt. I have no problem with ID cards whatsoever and am an advocate of their introduction over here. Other EU countries like France use them quite freely. it is easier to produce one card than a myriad of ID checks you have to go through when applying for jobs with employment agencies etc. The system works over there without all these imaginary threats to civil liberties etc. As Matt says if data is shared with the police, govt departments etc for crime prevention purposes etc then what is the problem. It becomes more of an issue if information is passed onto a 3rd party without someone’s consent as happens all the time now with private sector companies despite GDPR. The obsession with civil liberties within the party is something I associate very much with the orange bookers and their libertarianism, the I do what I want attitude and it doesn’t matter how it affects others. To me that is not what liberalism is all about and state intervention in so many areas such as the smoking ban in buildings has proved to be a very good policy. I now don’t have to breath in other peoples’ smoke inside ever again minimising the risk of my crohns disease flaring up.

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