Letter to Nick Clegg – Secret courts and bedroom tax

Dear Nick,
Following the vote in Parliament last night the Prime Minister demonstrated how to graciously step back from a position and accept the will of our democratically elected representatives that Britain should not engage in the folly of military intervention in Syria.To step back, accept that you have lost the vote, and so quickly return to the task that parliament has set is not in my view a sign of weakness, it is a clear sign of strength and dignity that will serve the Prime Minister well.

At our Spring conference this year you faced two major votes where you disagreed with the view of the vast majority of members of the Party.
Will you now follow the lead of the Prime Minister and graciously step back from your position and accept the will of our democratically elected conference representatives that both secret courts and the under occupancy rules and levy are wrong?
In the case of the under occupancy rules and levy literally thousands of British people are living in fear that they will have to uproot their homes and move to smaller unsuitable housing as a result of the social cleansing exercise that the under occupancy rules impose, whilst the simple reality is that the rules do nothing to alleviate the chronic shortage of affordable housing that our country faces.  I will not repeat here the concerns our colleague Paula Keaveney raised with you in your ‘ask Nick’ session at Spring Conference or the many excellent contributions to that debate.
In the case of the secret courts cases placed before a Judge under the Secret Courts do not represent justice as the claimant will not know what acts the security services accuse them of, nor will they therefore be able to defend themselves against false or erroneous allegations that may be made to a Judge.
I will not repeat here the concerns our colleague Paula Keaveney raised with you regarding the under occupancy rules and levy, or that I raised with you regarding the secret courts, in your ‘ask Nick’ session at Spring Conference or the many excellent contributions in the relative debates.
I would however point out that Liberal Democrat conference has voted virtually unanimously to oppose both of these pieces of legislation; will you as Leader of the Liberal Democrats now graciously accept defeat and do the job that your party has elected you to do?
Iain Donaldson

* Chair of Manchester Gorton Liberal Democrats, a member of the NW Regional Executive and the English Council and Vice President of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Well said.

  • Nothing more to be said, which of course makes this post redundant.

  • Maggie Smith 30th Aug '13 - 12:36pm

    Nice to see this kind of thing.
    Just like to point out that in the vast majority of cases there will be no uprooting, simply because there is insufficient “smaller” stock for people to be moved to, which simply means they will have their assistance reduced with no other option available to them.

    The figure of 90% + has been suggested but even if its less than that it is still a deliberate attack on the finances of the poor rather than a constructive way of freeing up capacity. But then had the correct questions been asked at the time (actually the glaringly obvious questions) then this would have been known in advance by your party leadership. If this was known at the time, well……there’s not much to add really.

  • So little has been said about the effect of the bedroom tax on private rented tenants who have been waiting for a on bedroom council flat, especially those with severe mental health problems who receive very little priority compared to downsizing local authority tenants.

    I really struggled to find a one bedroom flat myself because of the pressure placed on lists by this bedroom tax. In my local authority, downsizing council tenants received an extra 200 points, which often meant many had over 300 points even though many had only been on the list less than a month.

    Compare this with the 210 points that I had, even though I’d been waiting for eight years and had received 30 extra points because of the effect my current accommodation was having on my health.

  • Also , sadly don’t expect Nick Clegg to listen to you if you use the term ‘social cleansing’. He;s made his mind up that it’s no such thing.

    In relation to my situation, I was quite fortunate that after waiting around for about four months in privately rented shared house I managed to secure a place although it is a very poor state of repair and it was only because other people higher up on the list refused it that I was able to get it. I felt a little forced to accept the accommodation as I was about to become homeless.

    This is even though, prior to the bedroom tax, the same property would have been available for around 130 points, such was the pressure placed on this resource. Ironically I would have been happy to live in a two bedroom flat and pay the levy were that accommodation available to me as a single person.

  • A Social Liberal 31st Aug '13 - 12:07am


    I think you’ll find that there are significant numbers of evictions where the bedroom tax has played a major role in tenants being forced to leave

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