Tag Archives: chris huhne

Nick Clegg leads business fightback in Europe

The FT reports:

Nick Clegg yesterday made a very public display of engagement with business over Europe as the deputy prime minister convened a business breakfast with Business For New Europe, a pro-single market group. Mr Clegg, flanked by Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, Chris Huhne David Laws, wanted to get the message across that he had dusted himself down and was ready to begin work on rebuilding relations on the continent after a bruising week for Britain.

But beyond the photo shoot and crafted media message lines, was a second, more exclusive meeting between Mr Clegg and the director-generals of key lobby

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LibLink: Mark Pack – The three stories that really matters – even to Britain

Over on his work blog, the Voice’s Mark Pack has a post looking at three important stories which have been largely overshadowed by the domestic political ramifications of the prime minister’s veto.

Here’s the first issue Mark identifies:

The actual significance of the summit was the latest, most extensive and more desperate attempt to save the Euro. Judging from initial reactions by economists and the financial markets, this time a Euro summit may just have pulled it off. It has not already been written off as a failure which, compared to other summits on the same theme, already makes it more successful

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Opinion: Feed-in tariffs and the Lib Dem fight to ensure the Coalition really is ‘the greenest government ever’

Feed-in tariffs, a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies, have been used successfully in many countries to increase the amount of electricity being generated from renewable sources.

The UK has actually been fairly slow off the mark on this. Our aim to be ‘the greenest government ever’ included support for feed-in tariffs.

Indeed, in the Coalition Agreement the preamble to the section on Energy and Climate Change said: ‘We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and support the creation of new green jobs and technologies.’ It went on to say ‘We will establish a full system of feed-in tariffs in electricity,’ and ‘We will encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced.’

So what is happening to the system of feed-in tariffs? And how are the changes going to encourage community-owned renewable energy systems?

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A trio of Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements in government

Like London buses, Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements are coming along all bunched together at the moment:

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has criticised “climate sceptics” and others who he argues are decrying the UK’s potential for renewable power … His comments are being interpreted by some as a riposte to Chancellor George Osborne who is believed to be more sceptical about the investment needed. (BBC)

Vince Cable rejects proposal to abolish unfair dismissal laws: Business secretary said plan devised by strategist Steve Hilton was unnecessary and unlikely to improve labour market flexibility (The Guardian)

In order to safeguard the NHS, free at

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WATCH: Chris Huhne – Save Money, Stay Warm, Go Green

Via YouTube here is Chris Huhne on the action he is taking over energy prices:

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The Independent View: Final Demand – it’s time to end the power of the Big Six

News last week that the Big Six energy firms are raking in bumper profits while the nation struggles with soaring fuel bills was just the latest electric shock to hit cash-strapped families.

Ofgem’s revelation that energy firm profit margins have risen to £125 per customer per year, from £15 in June, will crank up pressure on the Government to act – and rightly so.

But if Ministers really want to get to grips with soaring fuel bills we must also tackle the root cause – our nation’s reliance on increasingly expensive gas, coal and oil and the failure of the Big Six

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Huhne pledges to do ‘the right thing’ as he commits to nuclear power

This week saw Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne make a major speech to the Royal Society on the future of nuclear power, with the Coalition committed to a series of new reactors adjacent to existing sites.

The Coalition’s policy has long been trailed — a year ago, Chris put forward his views here on LibDemVoice.org, ‘Myth-busting: what the Coalition’s plans for nuclear energy really mean’. Here Chris acknowledged his shift from opposition to nuclear power to support conditional on no public subsidy — a shift which has majority support from Lib Dem members, at …

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Opinion: Huhne #tweetfail – Why #cockup is more likely than #conspiracy

Just as most people were packing up for the weekend, the Twittersphere and, eventually, the Mainstream Media were lit up with the story that Chris Huhne had apparently sent out a private text message to his 8,007 Twitter followers, including many of the great and good of “Fleet Street”.

The message said:

From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story. C

So what was this “story”? – we are all now wondering.

Think about it.

Chris Huhne had obviously been having a private text exchange with (that ubiquitous Huhne Aunt Sally) “a staff member” (if you believe what Huhne …

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Daily Mail sued by Carina Trimingham

The Press Gazette reports:

MP Chris Huhne’s partner Carina Trimingham today brought a High Court damages action over a “cataclysmic interference” with her private life.

The PR adviser, whose adulterous affair with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change became public in June 2010 – with Huhne leaving his wife of 26 years – is suing Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information.

Her counsel, William Bennett, told Mr Justice Tugendhat in London that – in eight newspaper articles and on its website Mail Online – the Daily Mail had exercised its expertise and determination to dig into 44-year-old Trimingham’s private life and

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Liberal Democrats in Birmingham take up Chris Huhne’s energy challenge

From the Birmingham Mail:

BIRMINGHAM City Council is hoping to slash gas and electric bills for householders and businesses by setting up its own energy supply business.

The local authority wants to use its clout as a wholesale energy buyer and solar power generator to offer gas and electric to the city’s 440,000 homes and 50,000 businesses at a cheaper rate…

The council wants to capitalise on a freeing up of the energy market announced by energy secretary Chris Huhne at last week’s Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham…

The city council’s deputy leader Paul Tilsley is taking up the initiative with a scheme to

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Opinion: Is the Chancellor ready to listen to the best economic brains in the Cabinet?

Having just left one party conference, where I was able to deliver my message on the shortcomings of the Coalition Government’s strategy to revive the UK economy and to promote my alternative take on the official Lib Dem approach to party policy development, in advance of the next General Election, (see Facing the Future ), I am now waiting to hear what George Osborne has to say at the Tory party conference in Manchester, in just a few days’ time.

Labour really is – as Alistair Campbell has recently put it – the third most interesting party in the …

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A messaging mess: what Liberal Democrats are achieving in government

As I wrote in the immediate aftermath of Nick Clegg’s conference speech, the party was much better at saying what it was not and what it was against – not the Conservatives, not unhappy, against tax cheats, against overpaid under-performing company directors and so on – than what it was for.

In theory the answer should have been found in the conference packs handed out to people on arrival at the Birmingham ICC, for inside them was not only an “In government – on your side” leaflet but also three others from different Liberal Democrat ministers, all promoting the party’s …

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Liberal Democrats Conference round-up and preview: Tuesday/Wednesday

What happened on Tuesday in Birmingham at Liberal Democrat conference and what to watch out for today, Wednesday:

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LDVideo at Conference | A Chris Huhne double-bill

At Birmingham and so missing out on how the Lib Dem conference is being reported? Not at Birmingham and so missing out on seeing Lib Dem MPs and government ministers up close and personal? We hope these videos will help re-connect you…

It was Lib Dem energy secretary Chris Huhne’s day in the limelight yesterday, with his speech to the party’s Birmingham conference generating acres of coverage. Here’s how the BBC reported it.

Chris Huhne on fuel poverty and energy prices


(Available on the BBC website here.)

Huhne inspects energy efficient house

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Liberal Democrats Conference round-up and preview: Monday/Tuesday

What happened on Monday in Birmingham at Liberal Democrat conference and what to watch out for today, Tuesday:

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Nick Clegg’s speech on the economy – text in full

DPM-LSE-14Sept11_8846

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg delivered a speech on the economy at the LSE this morning. Here’s the full text:

Good morning. Today I’m going to talk about the economy. I’m certainly in the right place. For more than a century LSE scholars have been at the forefront of every major economic debate asking – and answering – the most pressing questions of the day.

Today, the big question facing governments is this: Given the unprecedented pressures in the global economy, what can we do to restore stability and encourage growth?

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The Independent View: Vince needs to consider his legacy

Plan A is looking shakier than ever. After a slow climb out of recession, growth is now stalling and unemployment rising again, the approach taken thus far – cutting the deficit, and waiting for a spontaneous boom in the private sector – feels ever more risky, both politically and for our pockets. Vince Cable, who has always looked uneasy with a “plan for growth” that involves little except sitting back with fingers crossed, must feel increasingly unnerved.

And he’s right to be worried. His credibility is on the line and his legacy at BIS is yet to be secured. Now is …

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Opinion: How the market will decide our energy future

Recently articles from both the TUC and CBI have bemoaned the burden of increasing energy costs on energy intensive businesses. Both organisations make the rather obvious error in thinking that a carbon price will inevitably drive the cost of energy upwards. In fact, the opposite is true. The stronger the price signal, the faster the market works to balance supply with demand.

The supply of fossil fuels is finite. Conventional oil has already peaked its supply (as admitted by the chief economist of the IEA) and tar sands and fracking are far too damaging to the environment to continue as …

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Mike Tuffrey writes… The Big Switch: turning London’s buses and taxis electric

Rudolf Diesel has a lot to answer for. The compression engine he invented has become the great workhorse of heavy duty vehicles like the buses, taxis and vans which fill our streets. But the nasty side effect of diesel fuel is fine particulate exhaust emissions that are creating a major health crisis. Tiny particles get deep into the lungs, causing thousands of premature deaths and a big increase in ill health.

The biggest culprit in central London, where the health problems are most acute? Yes, buses, taxis …

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Huhne ‘orders inquiry into fossil fuel lobby influence over Tory MEPs’

From the Guardian this week:

Chris Huhne has ordered a private inquiry into which fossil fuel lobbyists “got to” the Conservative MEPs who defied David Cameron and voted down an ambitious carbon emissions target in the European parliament on 5 July.

“I have asked for a full analysis of what happened,” said the energy and climate change minister, speaking at an event in parliament. “We thought the vote was going to be close, but it was not close. We want to see which lobby groups managed to get to the MEPs.”

New research by the Guardian and Greenpeace into lobby groups and

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The Lib Dems on ‘Hackgate’ and Murdoch: Ashdown, Huhne, Hughes, Farron, Oakeshott all join the fray

It’s been a frenzied week in British politics, with attention for once focused less on the mis-deeds of politicans than the criminality practised by many journalists, both at the News of the World and beyond. Here’s a brief round-up of what the Lib Dems have been saying…

BSkyB takeover: Lib Dems hint at backing Labour motion to delay deal (Guardian)

The Liberal Democrats have indicated they could back a Labour move in parliament to delay the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB until after the police investigations into phone hacking. …

Hughes told Sky News: “We have to be careful and I would

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‘Yates of the Yard’ should have listened to Huhne on ‘Hackgate’

Today’s Telegraph carries an interview with the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner John Yates with a full mea culpa for his failure to get to grips with British journalism’s criminal free-for-all. As the paper notes:

Mr Yates had the opportunity to reopen the case in 2009 but chose not to do so after just eight hours’ consideration, including consultations with other senior detectives and Crown Prosecution lawyers. … In his interview, Mr Yates addresses last week’s revelation that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator working for the News of the World, had allegedly hacked into teenage murder victim Milly Dowler’s mobile phone

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Revealed at last? Labour’s low carbon policy thinking

There’s one less blank sheet of paper at Labour HQ as the party gets ready to reveal how its policy review is progressing.

Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Meg Hillier is to give a keynote address to green executives and industry leaders which will “for the first time offer a detailed insight into the opposition’s low carbon policy thinking.”

Looking forward to finally hearing what Labour think, 9 months and 7 days after first appointed as Chris Huhne’s shadow!

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Chris Davies MEP writes: Conservatives and climate change – Tuesday’s revealing vote in Strasbourg

While Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is at the fore of efforts in the European Council to raise EU ambitions for reducing CO2 emissions, Conservative MEPs are refusing to back the Government’s position, and look set this week instead to demonstrate their real views about efforts to curb global warming.

At issue is a vote due to take place in Strasbourg on Tuesday that will determine the Parliament’s stance on the European Commission’s strategy to promote a low carbon economy. The result is on a knife edge.

Posted in Europe / International, News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 21 Comments

Lib Dem MPs set to rebel over ‘back-door’ nuclear power subsidy

‘Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new National Planning Statement), and also provided that they receive no public subsidy.’

So declares the Coalition Agreement. However, as the Guardian reports, the finance bill due to be debated this coming week introduces a form of subsidy, and it’s attracted opposition among the party:

A large group of Lib Dems are concerned about clause 78 of the bill, which MPs will consider

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Opinion: The Social Liberal Conference was a major success

The SLF conference was a major success. Yes, it was “full” – David Hall-Mathews careful not to refer to the event as “sold out”. Yes, lots of people debated and tweeted like crazy on subjects ranging from NHS reforms to the history of the American fridge. But it wasn’t the numbers or amount of talking we did which was the most important. It was the fact that there is still a groundswell of progressives alive and well in the Liberal Democrats. In fact, since entering government with the Conservative party, and with a recent “win” (yet to see how it …

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Chris Huhne: we need smart regulation in the energy sector

Yesterday Chris Huhne spoke at the Social Liberal Forum‘s conference on smart regulation for the energy sector:

It’s a pleasure to speak at the first conference of the Social Liberal Forum.

We Liberal Democrats have always prided ourselves as a party of ideas – and they’re needed more than ever now that we’re in government. Whatever your view of The Orange Book back in 2004, it did at least trigger a debate about Liberal ideology, about what it means to be a Liberal Democrat in today’s Britain. I was pleased to contribute both to The Orange Book and to its

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‘Renegades with a mission’ – the Sindy’s verdict on the Social Liberal Forum

The Social Liberal Forum — a group of Liberal Democrat members who advocate ‘that a democratic and open state has a positive role to play in guaranteeing individual freedom’ — met yesterday for their first conference on a high note: their mobilising role at the party’s spring conference is widely credited with having strongly influenced the Coalition’s changes to the controversial NHS reforms.

Here’s how the Independent on Sunday, with an inevitable nod towards stereotypes, reports the gathering:

Welcome to the first annual conference of the Social Liberal Forum – the home of “proper” Liberal Democrats. Not the quasi-Tory,

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The Guardian cottons on to rise and rise of the Social Liberal Forum

The Social Liberal Forum got a profile in The Guardian this week, rightly highlighting its growing influence in the party (something I particularly noted over the Sheffield health debate):

In a tribute to the forum’s growing influence, cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Chris Huhne will attend the SLF conference on Saturday, with party deputy leader Simon Hughes.

The group claims about 1,500 members, and has no full time staff. It has only just appointed a director – Mark Blackburn, a former Lib Dem candidate for Westminster.

The group was set up after the party leadership won a vote at the 2008

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What’s the difference between Ryan Giggs and Ed Miliband? Nick Clegg tells all…

In the USA they have the White House correspondents’ dinner, an occasion for leading politicians to take pot-shots at the media, themselves, and – most crucially – their opponents. Barack Obama’s quip-assault on Donald Trump ended the wannabe Republican presidential hopes before they’d begun.

The UK has no equivalent, but (as PoliticsHome’s Paul Waugh notes) the Parliamentary Press Gallery lunches are the nearest equivalent. And today was Nick Clegg’s turn to convey a serious message… whilst landing a jab or two. So, who was in Nick’s sights? Step forward Labour’s troubled leader Ed Miliband, and one-time rival Chris Huhne. …

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