Tag Archives: alan beith

Teather, Rogerson, Beith and Huppert speak against new family migration rules

Last week I wrote about a new report, contributed to by Liberal Democrats Sarah Teather and Sally Hamwee, which outlined the heartbreak and suffering the new family migration rules are causing. The income threshold of £18,600 with extra for each child, and the narrow methods by which this is calculated is stopping many people from being able to live with their spouses in this country.

Earlier this week, four Liberal Democrat MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate to try to persuade Home Office minister Mark Hunter of the inequity of these plans. Here are some extracts from their …

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11 Liberal Democrat MPs vote for registrars to be exempt from marrying same sex couples

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has made fairly easy progress through the Commons tonight. After a Government/Labour compromise on a review for extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, and the heavy defeat or withdrawal of amendments, including “son of Section 28”, it looks as though many of the barriers to this Bill’s passage have been removed.

There is still a further day of debate tomorrow, though, and further amendments to be debated.

One of the amendments discussed today, defeated by 340 votes to 150 in favour, was to allow registrars to exempt themselves from marrying same sex couples. Eleven Liberal …

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The 1983 election: highlights and hindsight

I spent more of my bank holiday than is healthy watching the rerun of the 1983 election on BBC Parliament.

When I lived through it, I was an innocent and idealistic 15 year old. I really believed people would be so outraged that the Alliance had polled 7 million votes, finishing marginally behind Labour but with about a ninth of their seats. As Shirley Williams said, it was “absolute rubbish.” Surely we would have PR within a decade?

Thirty years on, it depresses me that we are no further forward. Westminster remains the last bastion of first past the post, for Scots …

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Spring Conference 2012: registration now open

I am pleased to announce that registration for Spring Conference 2012 is now open.

For the first time, conference will be hosted by NewcastleGateshead. The Liberal Democrats have a proud history in the North-East. We control Northumberland County Council and Ian Swales MP, Sir Alan Beith MP and Fiona Hall MEP represent the Region in London and Brussels respectively.

Fiona said, “Conference is going to be a great boost for the area ahead of vital local elections in May. The region is gearing up to make it a fantastic weekend for everyone. I hope representatives also take …

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Opinion: A real opportunity to Make Justice Work

One of the highlights of conference for me was the breakfast roundtable organised by Make Justice Work. As conference goers and fringe organisers will know, getting one MP along is a challenge, managing to attract three must be close to a record! So it was a demonstration of the commitment our party has to reforming the criminal justice system that Justice minister Tom McNally, chair of the Justice Select Committee Alan Beith and member of the Home Affairs Select Committee Julian Huppert, all attended.

For those of you who don’t know the organisation, it was founded by Roma Hooper to …

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Opinion: Access to justice – why Liberal Democrats should not sit on the sidelines

Next week the Government will announce legislation to reform legal aid, following a Green Paper published last November to which the Ministry of Justice received an unprecedented 5,000 responses. Whilst “legal aid reform” was in the Coalition Agreement, the scale of proposed changes has taken many aback – in order to cut the legal aid budget by £350million, Justice Ministers propose taking whole categories of law related problems out legal aid entitlement – housing and debt problems, welfare benefit issues, employment law issues, immigration cases, consumer law problems, education cases and private family law issues (eg divorce and …

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Stephen Williams MP writes: Backbench committees and the louder Lib Dem voice

There has been much talk in recent weeks about how Liberal Democrats show our distinctiveness and make the party’s voice heard more loudly in government.

A key part of this is the role of the Lib Dem parliamentary committees, one of which I co-chair.

These committees are not simply talking shops. They perform two important functions: making our influence felt within government and preparing the ground for party policy in the future.

Increasingly, the fruits of these committees are being seen.

The Coalition Agreement is the contract that underwrites this government. It sets out the policy agenda agreed between ourselves and our Coalition …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNick Baird 18th Mar - 3:12pm
    Agree with what others are saying about the characterisation of Lib Dems. My local party seems very short of hippies and professors (absent minded or...
  • User AvatarChris Bowers 18th Mar - 3:09pm
    Oh dear. This is exactly the kind of conversation that makes me despair about whether liberalism is going anywhere. Let me explain. Nobody owns the...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Mar - 3:02pm
    Roland According to Joe the new loan is not from the government but from Serco. So it isn’t “a money grab by the DWP”. Joe...
  • User AvatarChris Bowers 18th Mar - 2:58pm
    Absolutely right, Martin. I'm alarmed that so few people are onto this. I covered it in my report 'Elections for Sale?' for the Joseph Rowntree...
  • User AvatarJoeB 18th Mar - 2:50pm
    Gordon's observation “Whatever you think of the coalition years, they demonstrated pretty clearly that the strategy of slowly building up Parliamentary representation to the point...
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 18th Mar - 2:39pm
    The party seemed to me very disinterested in encouraging people to develop new ideas for identifying supporters other than very intensive and inefficient personal contact....