Ros Scott’s Federal Executive report (July ’09)

The Federal Executive met on 13 July in an atmosphere somewhat less frenetic than at its previous meeting (18 May). Since then, Chris Rennard has resigned as Chief Executive, and I updated FE on how the process of appointing an interim Chief Executive had been determined and applied.

The successful candidate, Chris Fox, was in attendance and I can announce that he took up his new duties with immediate effect. In October, the FE will discuss the process by which a permanent replacement will be appointed. In carrying out this process, my confidence in our senior management team has been reinforced.

It was decided that the FE should write to Chris Rennard to thank him for the work he had done, and for the commitment he had displayed in his role, a point highlighted by Nick Clegg as part of his report.

In that report, Nick commented on the expenses crisis and its impact, on his stance on Afghanistan, before highlighting the work done by Meral Ece on the launch of the New Generation Initiative, part of efforts to support and develop members from under represented communities. He emphasised the importance of the Norwich North campaign, noting that our Autumn Conference holds great potential, as Conservatives begin to doubt whether Cameron can lead them to a Parliamentary majority and Labour continue to falter.

On the question of expenses, Paul Burstow reported that no Liberal Democrat MP had a phantom mortgage, had ‘flipped’ the designation of their home, or failed to pay capital gains tax. Preparatory work had been done on a draft code of conduct, but this was, to some extent, pre-empted by the introduction of the Parliamentary Standards Bill by the Government (awaiting its Third Reading in the Lords on 20 July). Once the legislation has been passed as is expected, albeit in rather amended form, work will continue on the code. He thanked the Whips’ Office and Press teams for their hard work on this issue.

Scrutiny sessions on the European and Local Election campaigns took place, with Willie Rennie, Chair of the European Election Campaign, and Andrew Stunell, his counterparty for the Local Election Campaign in attendance.

Amongst other business, I was able to report that the Candidate Retention Working Group, set up in the light of a number of candidate resignations, under the stewardship of Margaret Joachim and Tim Farron, will report back to the October meeting.

It was also noted that the Chair of the Campaigns and Communications Committee, Edward Davey MP, had resigned for family reasons. The vacancy will be advertised in Liberal Democrat News and a hustings meeting will be held at the Federal Conference in the event that the position is contested.

I can advise that a motion on the interim Peers panel will be deferred until the Federal Conference next Spring, with motions to amend the Election Regulations for Federal Committees, the Leadership and the Party Presidency to be put before the Autumn Federal Conference.

It will be proposed that the recommended membership subscription will be increased to £52 for the coming year, with the minimum and concessionary rates pegged at £10 and £6 respectively.

Finally, I proposed that an additional meeting of the Federal Executive be held to deal with some of the planned scrutiny work, and this will take place on Sunday, September 20th in Bournemouth.

* Baroness (Ros) Scott is President of the Liberal Democrats, and Chair of the Federal Executive.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds, Party policy and internal matters and Party Presidency.


  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 10:32am

    “On the question of expenses, Paul Burstow reported that no Liberal Democrat MP had a phantom mortgage, had ‘flipped’ the designation of their home, or failed to pay capital gains tax.”

    And was nothing at all said about Lib Dem peers in this respect? Given the circumstances, that’s astonishing.

  • Daniel Bowen 20th Jul '09 - 12:01pm

    Er, Mr Green Troll, Paul Burstow is Chief Whip in the Commons, not the Lords.

  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 12:35pm

    Well, I suppose being accused of being a “Green Troll” at least makes a change from being accused of being a “Tory Troll”! Why, I wonder, are people never accused of being “Labour Trolls” or “UKIP Trolls”? Though, come to think of it, one or two people have stooped low enough to imply I was a BNP sympathiser. All very confusing …

    But of course, I wasn’t suggesting Paul Burstow should have made a statement about peers allowances, I was just suggesting someone should have. After all, it was decided at the last Federal Executive meeting that “Our leader and Chief Whip in the House of Lords will undertake a thorough review of expenses and allowances in the House of Lords”:

    And I think Mark understands perfectly well why lords’ allowances are an issue of concern. It’s rather silly of him to pretend otherwise.

  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 1:47pm


    “I’m not on the Federal Executive, and merely thought that some clarification might be helpful.”

    If you are in a position to do so, by all means clarify whether anything was said at the meeting about lords’ allowances, which is what I asked. If not, then it would be pointless to encourage you to “angage”.

  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 2:44pm


    I asked a question which, I imagine, is of concern to quite a lot of people.

    Apparently you don’t know the answer to that question, so why do you feel the need to post all this other stuff?

  • “I will come down like a ton of bricks on any MP who has sought to defraud the taxpayer, profit for personal gain in the property market,” – Nick Clegg.


  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 4:59pm


    For heaven’s sake, I didn’t “attack” you!

    I simply said you were being “rather silly” with all the pretend mystification about why lords allowances should be a matter of concern. Actually I think that was a remarkably polite description, considering we all know precisely why they are a matter of concern!

  • Herbert Brown 20th Jul '09 - 9:30pm


    As your reply makes obvious, you know perfectly well why the subject of lords’ allowances is of concern:

    “… there was an issue regarding an individual and his claims.”

    To be precise, there was an allegation that Lord Rennard had falsely stated that his main residence was outside Greater London, and had wrongly claimed overnight subsistence allowance on that basis.

    That is why it is so surprising that – as appears from Ros Scott’s report – no statement has been made to the Federal Executive on the matter.

  • Maybe Ros could post on whether anything was said about Lords allowances? For example, are HoL members claiming for housing that they have always lived in, having acquired out of town housing in order to be able to claim for in London housing, in the manner than Chris Rennard has been accused of doing?

  • Herbert Brown 21st Jul '09 - 11:47pm

    “There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?”

    The only “difficulty” here is your silly pretence that you didn’t know why lords’ allowances were a matter of concern.

    Now that I’ve spelled it out for your benefit, perhaps you’ll have the good grace to stop playing silly games.

  • Herbert Brown 21st Jul '09 - 11:49pm

    And indeed, as Tim Leunig says, maybe Ros can post here. Unless she prefers Mark to post diversionary nonsense on her behalf.

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