Tag Archives: anna soubry

Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry write: The Independent Group and the Lib Dems working together is grown up politics

Today one of The Independent Group of MPs (TIG), Anna Soubry, will be speaking at a fringe event organised by IPPR North at the Liberal Democrats’ Spring Conference.  Inevitably, the Westminster village will ask why and speculate as to what this means.  But outside of Westminster, the idea that people who share similar values and have common views on things should work together is not news, its common sense.

There is no doubt that our politics is broken and needs fundamental change. We have a Government and an Official Opposition who are deeply divided, have failed to provide coherent leadership and to discharge their duties with the competence the British public are entitled to expect.  All public opinion research shows millions of politically homeless people are crying out for an alternative and something new – we left the main parties to create one.

A key facet of the culture of TIG is that we are non tribal – we share the same progressive values but we hail from different political traditions.  The fact people come from different political backgrounds should not preclude anyone working with others where there is agreement.  It is this belief that paved the way for the formation of our group and it is precisely why we had all worked with Liberal Democrat MPs long before our group formed on a number of issues, especially on Brexit, and will continue to do so. This is made easier by the fact that, unlike the main parties, the Lib Dems have not been taken over by parties within parties promoting the extremes of left or right.

In this sense, it should come as no surprise that at this time – when Brexit is the dominant issue facing our nation – our Brexit spokesperson should be speaking on a platform with Jo Swinson, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. We were delighted to have the full support of all Lib Dem MPs for Sarah Wollaston’s cross party Peoples Vote amendment which was voted on in the House of Commons last night.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 43 Comments

++Three MPs quit the Conservative party to join the Independent Group (plus one more Labour MP)

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The Independent Group now has eleven MPs in it, the seven original resignees from the Labour party, Joan Ryan who left Labour last night and three Tory MPs who resigned from their party today. The Guardian reports:

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Surely we should be concentrating our energies on Jeremy Corbyn, not people who are already supporting a people’s vote

Tom Brake has written a letter, a nice letter, to Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry asking them to support his Amendment, to be debated in the Commons this week, to the EU Withdrawal Bill, calling for a People’s Vote on Brexit. He said to them:

Dear Chuka and Anna,

Over the last two years we have worked cross-party to convey to the country the benefits of the UK remaining in the European Union.

Ahead of next week’s debate in Parliament, I urge you to support my amendment 19a to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which provides for the people to have the

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Vince on the Government’s “Road to Brexit” plans

Vince summed up in a tweet what many people are thinking about the Government’s Brexit plans and yet another attempt to show that they actually know what they are doing.

Please someone make that a cartoon.

He also had this to say on the comments by Anna Soubry and Chukka Umunna on the Andrew Marr Show that MPs could vote down a Brexit deal that wasn’t good for the country.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

It’s “Immigration Hysteria Day”. Again. Here’s how Lib Dems need to respond

Another day, another bout of “the UK’s about to be invaded by 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians” hysteria. But today it’s not Nigel Farage splattering mis-shapen statistics into the debate: it’s the Prime Minister, David Cameron – increasingly resembling Mr Farage’s mini-me – who’s showing leadership by following the tabloid press. Here’s how the BBC lists the new proposals:

  • New migrants will not get out-of-work benefits for the first three months
  • Payments will be stopped after six months unless the claimant has a “genuine” chance of a job
  • The “habitual residency test” to determine eligibility for benefits will be tightened up
  • An earnings

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PMQs: A points draw amidst chuntering, Morrissey and Mornington Crescent fun

Vince Cable lined up as a “bookend” for the Prime Minister at his question time today. One had a feeling, then, that university funding would be high on the agenda. And so it was.

In the first section of Q&A (with Ed Miliband) I think Miliband edged a points win – perhaps in decimal places. A “Rizla” win – a fag paper’s width between them.

Cameron failed to pick up Miliband on some obvious points. The opposition leader referred to English students likely to have the “highest tuition fees” in the world. But presumably that involves a comparison with tuition fees paid during study in other countries – rather than after graduation as in the case of the government’s proposals, which suggest “graduate contributions” rather than fees.
Miliband also referred to the system causing debt for graduates, but the system really can’t be described as instilling “debt” in the conventional sense. Cameron missed that one also.

In fact, Cameron only seemed to be warming up with Miliband but went on to score some corkers when Labour backbenchers asked further university funding questions.

Quite rightly Miliband highlighted the “80% cut” figure. He seemed more on top of his game this week and made an excellent joke:

Things are so bad that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (John Hemming) is offering his own unique solution to the votes tomorrow. He says that if you run quickly, you can vote both ways. I have to say that if the Kremlin were spying on the Liberal Democrats, we would know why: they want a bit of light relief.

Miliband quoted back David Davis on social mobility and the university funding plans. He also quoted back Cameron from last week “not so much waving but drowning”.

Cameron then gained a bit of composure with this rally (yes, it’s like tennis):

We are introducing a situation where nobody pays fees up front, including part-time students—which is 40% of students—and nobody pays anything back until they are earning £21,000. Under the new system, everyone will pay back less than they pay under the current system—They will pay back less every month; that is the case. The poorest will pay less, the richest will pay more. It is a progressive system, but the right hon. Gentleman has not got the courage of his convictions to back it.

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , and | 27 Comments
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