Tag Archives: Alistair Carmichael

WATCH: Liberal Democrat MPs slam Government’s contemptuous approach to Parliament

This afternoon, Alistair Carmichael led an emergency debate, which he had secured, to raise the many ways in which the Government is marginalising Parliament. From ignoring Opposition Day debates to curtailing debate on legislation to the Henry VIII powers.

His speech introducing the debate was excellent. Watch it here.

My favourite bits are this:

The best Governments—and if ever there was a time in our country’s history when we needed the best possible Government, this is surely it—are those that are tested by Parliament, by the Opposition parties and by their own Back Benchers. Time and again, our system fails when the Government and the Opposition agree and arguments remain untested. How different might the debates on the case for going to war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003 have been if the then Opposition had been prepared to take a more questioning approach to Tony Blair’s case? I am sad to say that this Government, however, do not welcome scrutiny by Parliament, but rather seek to avoid it.

and the bit where he challenged MPs to get assertive:

In one sense, the Government have done us a favour by bringing this issue to a head, because it forces us as a House to decide what our role in the future of this country is going to be. Is it to be an active participant, with a strong voice and a decisive say, or is it to be a supine bystander as the Government continue to do as they wish, regardless of their lack of a mandate and, as is increasingly obvious, their lack of authority.

I have been a member of many debating societies over the years. They have all been fine organisations that provided entertainment and mental stimulation in equal measure. I mean them therefore no disrespect when I say that I stood for Parliament believing I was doing something more significant than signing up for a debating society. The difference is that in Parliament—in this House—we can actually effect change. Whether we choose to do so is in our own hands.

I loved the fact that the Tories responded by slagging off the Liberal Democrats in the most immature way as they clearly had no defence.

Christine Jardine said that MPs were there to serve the electorate, not to play games. She talked about seeing Parliament as others see it and the impression it gives to people outside who were not involved in politics.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Not the best day for the British government’s Brexit endeavours

It’s not been the best day for the British Government. Theresa May had to accept that Japan’s immediate priority was its trade deal with the EU, which should not be surprising given that it gives access to half a billion people compared to our 60 million.

In the joint press conference held by Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Theresa May, Mr Abe stopped short of committing to a rapid new trade deal after Brexit, saying only that the two leaders would discuss the issue.

Instead, the Japanese Prime Minister stressed the need for a smooth and orderly Brexit that minimises disruption for Japanese investors in the UK.

Alistair Carmichael said:

Theresa May went to Japan seeking a new trade deal, she’s now had to admit the biggest priority will be completing the one the EU is already negotiating.

Once again the promises of the Brexiteers have been dashed on the rocks of reality.

It’s a sign of the Prime Minister’s weakness that rather than going abroad to fight for British jobs, she’s been forced to desperately fight for her own.

The chances of the UK getting a trade deal with Japan before Brexit are about as slim as the odds of Theresa May staying on to fight the next election.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the Brexit negotiations aren’t going well for our Brexiteers. At a joint press conference, Michel Barnier, the EU’s negotiator, warned there has been “no decisive progress” on key issues and there were issues of “trust” between the two sides.

Tom Brake said:

The government is stuck in a Brexit quagmire of its own making, and risks taking the country down with it.

Five months on since Article 50 was triggered, progress in these talks has been almost non-existent.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 76 Comments

Vince’s six questions for David Davis on the customs union

Vince Cable has set out six questions the Government must answer after the “constructive ambiguity” in its document published yesterday told us not a huge amount. The questions seem designed to reveal whether the government’s position is actually based on any evidence about the impact of its options or whether the options are just a fig leaf to cover up the deep divisions in the Cabinet.

Vince said:

The government is offering two ways forward but won’t tell us which it prefers. That’s no doubt because cabinet ministers can’t even agree amongst themselves.

These plans are more concerned with papering over the cracks within the Conservative party than protecting our economy.

All those industries that depend on membership of the customs union, from the car industry to aerospace, still have no clear idea what is coming down the track.

All they know is that instead of jumping off a cliff in 18 months, the government now wants to do so in a few years’ time.

The government must come clean over the real costs of these plans for British businesses and consumers.

And on to the six questions:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Alistair Carmichael is to be the Lib Dem Chief Whip

In an interview with his local paper The Orcadian, Alistair Carmichael ruled himself out of standing for the leadership, saying:

“It is difficult enough juggling the demands of having a family in Orkney and living between there, London and Shetland, without making it more complication.

“I think there are other things that I can do that add value to the party’s efforts, rather than be leader.

He revealed what that would involve, too. He’s going to go back to the role he had during the early Coalition years – as Chief Whip.

That role will be very different now. Then, he had to …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Farron: I am determined to protect decent people from being taken for granted by a heartless Conservative Government

Well, I certainly chose a fine two days to be sent to the Highlands campaigning. I mean, I’ve barely been able to catch up with the manifesto launch yesterday and the leaders’ debate tonight. I’ve been in the most wonderful places on the planet as far as I am concerned, but have been experiencing the broadband and connectivity problems first hand.

I will be back home tomorrow night. I haven’t yet seen the Leader’s Debate, but by the magic of technology, I can bring you Tim Farron’s opening and closing statements.

He kicked off with a powerful and personal appeal:

I got into politics to fight.

To stand up to those who take you for granted.

I grew up in Preston in the 1980s.

I saw what happens when decent people are taken for granted by a heartless Conservative government.

I am determined to stop that happening again.

The decent Britain I love is under threat.

Theresa May – backed by Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn – is going for an extreme Brexit deal that will damage our future for generations.

Don’t give up.

The Britain I love is not lost yet.

No matter which way you voted in the referendum:

If you care about our children, do not cut our schools.

If you care about our elderly, don’t leave them on trollies in corridors.

If you want Britain to lead the world, do not turn your back on it.

A brighter future is possible.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 51 Comments

Carmichael: If you don’t want to come out of the single market, the Lib Dems are the only party who will speak up for you

Here’s Alistair Carmichael talking to BBC News earlier, saying that the Lib Dems are “optimistic and confident” about what we can achieve in this election:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

LibLink: Alistair Carmichael calls on Labour to get behind the Liberal Democrats on Brexit

Posted in LibLink | 17 Comments
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