Tag Archives: dick newby

Dick Newby: We will not rest until we have stopped Brexit

In the final throws of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, MPs were left focusing on just one issue – the significance of just two words in relation to a parliamentary Motion that the Government would bring forward in the event of ‘no deal’ with the EU on the term of Brexit.  

The two words were “neutral terms”—a phrase, incidentally, which most of us have never heard before. The view of the Lords was that “neutral terms” would prevent the Commons having the opportunity to express a view on the merits of the Government reaching no deal in the Brexit negotiations, and on what should be done next. The Government argued that their formulation was necessary to preserve the constitutional role of Parliament and that anything else would mandate the Government in completely unacceptable ways.

Between the Bill leaving the House of Lords on Monday evening and it returning to the Commons on Wednesday afternoon, the Government clearly thought deeply about this matter and realised that their understanding of parliamentary procedure on Monday was flawed. They produced a Written Ministerial Statement which, in lay man’s terms, says that it will be up to the Speaker to ​decide whether or not any government Motion would be amendable, and that, in any event, there is nothing to stop the Commons debating any Motion that they want to on this issue. We have since seen a battle of spin as to whether this represents a significant climbdown by the Government or whether winning the vote represents a victory. 

I sincerely wish that Dominic Grieve had supported his own amendment on Wednesday. But if I am disappointed, neither the Government nor Parliament can take any satisfaction from what happened. 

This week’s events demonstrate the contempt in which the Government hold Parliament. First, they try to muzzle it by putting “neutral terms” into the Bill. Then, fearing defeat, they publish a Written Ministerial Statement just minutes before the debate in the Commons which rips up their earlier justification for using the “neutral terms” ploy. At every turn they demonstrated their only consistent characteristic: the determination to survive to another day. If there were a World Cup in kicking the can down the road, the Government would win it hands-down. But the can cannot be kicked down the road for ever.

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Liberal ideas for the future of Leeds – new book in a ninety year-old tradition

The Leeds Yellow Book 2018: Essays on a Liberal Future for Leeds, was launched on Friday 16th February, in a packed venue by Lord Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Honorary Leeds Alderman Michael Meadowcroft, Liv Powell of Leeds Young Liberals and Ian MacFadyen (all pictured above at the launch from left to right, Ian MacFadyen, Lord Newby, Liv Powell, Michael Meadowcroft).

The Leeds Yellow Book 2018 is a collection of essays by Liberal Democrats and liberals outside the party offering ideas on how to ensure that everyone in Leeds, however they started, can make life better for themselves, their family and their community. The Leeds Yellow Book 2018 has been compiled and edited by Michael Meadowcroft, Liz Bee and Ian MacFadyen. It is available from [email protected] or 0113 257 6232.

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Dick Newby: Withdrawal Bill exhibits Government’s arrogance and incompetence

As the EU Withdrawal Bill hits the House of Lords, here is Dick Newby’s speech in full:

It is now a year since Your Lordships House began its debate on the Bill triggering Article 50 and 10 months since the Article was triggered.

It is generally agreed that both the withdrawal agreement and the agreement on our future relations with the EU have to be concluded before the end of the year and so we are approximately half way through the entire period available for our exit negotiations. What has been achieved so far?

My Lords, Virtually nothing.

The Government has formally agreed on the future rights of EU citizens living in the UK, but this was something which from day one it said was going to do. It has agreed on a divorce bill – but again the Prime Minister had long been clear the Government was going to do so, even if some members of her Cabinet were not.

And on the status of Northern Ireland it has agreed a form of words which, far from settling the matter, are interpreted in a completely different way in Ireland from the gloss put on them here in London, as I discovered in a range of discussions I had in Dublin last week.

On our future relationship with the EU, beyond bland and meaningless platitudes, we have nothing.

In December we were told that the Cabinet would have agreed on our future trading relationship with the EU during January. Well January has come and virtually gone and there is still no sign of such a decision, or anything approaching one.

And the Prime Minister is now so cowed by a fractious and disunited Cabinet that she daren’t even make a speech on the subject. My Lords there are many Noble Lords in Your Lordships House with longer experience of governments than me, but I doubt whether any of them will have seen a Prime Minister and a Government in such a state of paralysis.

And in the real world, our growth rate has fallen from the highest in the G7 to the lowest, the head of the OBR describes the economy as “weak and stable” and the Government’s own assessments of the impact of Brexit on the economy are uniformly negative.

It is against this background that we begin our consideration of the Withdrawal Bill.  Of course it was never intended to be the Withdrawal Bill. It was supposed to be the Great Repeal Bill. That is until the Commons Clerks object to the use of the word Great. They could equally have objected to the word repeal, because this bill is not a repeal bill. It is a transfer bill, taking the whole bulk of existing EU legislation and turning it into domestic legislation.

ML whilst it is easy to dismiss the kerfuffle about the Bill’s title with a smile, it is very revealing of the Government’s overall approach to the Brexit process. It can be characterised as a combination of arrogance and incompetence which is now threatening the future of our country. And the background ticking of the clock is getting louder by the day. 

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Lib Dems “most sweary peers in House of Lords”

Something to amuse you on a dark January evening from iNews:

Our Lib Dem Lords make six out of the top ten profane peers

Six of the top 10 “sweary peers” are Lib Dems, with Baroness Sarah Ludford leading the pack with 51 profanities in 2017. It’s a pretty admirable feat given that peers only managed to score 287 swears between them across the whole year.

They have been joking about it on Twitter:

The Leader of the our Lords group was perhaps upset that he didn’t make the list:

Sarah Ludford was modest:

Liz Barker is such a diplomat:

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Newby: May’s Brexit plan will make us poorer, less generous and diminished as a nation

Lib Dem Lords Leader Dick Newby threw some serious shade at the Government yesterday in his response to the Prime Minister’s statement on Article 50 being triggered. He went through it and pointed out the many inconsistencies and false promises it contained. It’s a cracker.

Today is for me and my colleagues an extremely sad day. It marks the point at which the UK seeks to distance itself from its nearest neighbours at a time when, in every area of public policy, logic suggests that we should be working more closely together rather than less.

But sadness is a passive emotion, and it is not the only thing that we feel. We feel a sense of anger that the Government are pursuing a brutal Brexit, which will rip us out of the single market and many other European networks from which we benefit so much. We believe that the country will be poorer, less secure and less influential as a result, and we feel that at every ​point, whether it be the calling of the referendum itself or the choices made on how to put its result into effect, the principal motivation in the minds of Ministers has been not what is best for the long-term interests of the country but what is best for the short-term interests of the Conservative Party.

We do not believe that the Government have the faintest clue about how they are going to achieve the goals that they set out in their White Paper last month or the Prime Minister’s Statement today, and we have no confidence in their willingness to give Parliament a proper say either as the negotiations proceed or at their conclusion. We therefore believe that, at the end of the process, only the people should have the final say on whether any deal negotiated by the Government —or no deal—is preferable to ongoing EU membership. We will strain every sinew to ensure that outcome.

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Lib Dems react to Government defeat over #righttostay

Tim Farron and Dick Newby responded quickly to the excellent news that the Lords have done the decent thing and defeats the Government over EU Nationals’ right to stay.

The Government now needs to think again over how it treats the millions of EU citizens living in this country.

Theresa May has been stubbornly determined to use EU citizens in the UK as bargaining chips. Today the Lords have told her this is not acceptable. The Government must now secure the future of the millions who are currently being held in limbo by its drive for a hard Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats will stand up to this government

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Newby: Brexiteers will not intimidate the Lords

In an interview for The House magazine, Lib Dem Lords leader Dick Newby has said that support in the Lords is growing for a referendum on the Brexit deal. However, he says that even if that amendment is lost, the campaign for the people, not MPs or the Government, to have a final say on the deal, will continue:

But the fight for a second vote will not stop once Article 50 has been triggered, Newby insists. Indeed, “it’s just the beginning”, he adds, saying the Great Repeal Bill and other Brexit legislation could be amended. In the meantime, the Lib Dems will be campaigning across the country arguing the case for a do over.

Newby says it would be “implausible” for MPs not to grant a second referendum if public opinion shifts in favour of Remain in the coming months. Parliament bequeathed the decision on EU membership to the public once, why would it prevent it again, he queries.

“We will look at every opportunity to get this provision for a vote of the people at the end,” he declares. But are Tony Blair, who has called on Remainers to “rise up” against Brexit, peers et al the right figureheads of this movement? “I think that everybody involved in public life has a right to make the argument, but this is a people’s issue now… it’s not in the hands of the Commons.”

He was speaking before Monday’s vote in which an amendment calling for us to stay in the single market was lost because Labour peers were whipped to oppose it. There are still hopes that at least the right to remain for EU nationals will pass.

There has been a bit of an onslaught from the Brexiteers, predicting all manner of consequences if the Lords dares to do its job and scrutinise the Government’s legislation.  Dick says that peers won’t be overly bothered by the invective coming their way.

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Lib Dem Lords vs Article 50 Bill: Dick Newby: Government plans ” horrifying mixture of pious aspiration and complacent illusion”

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re reminding you of some of the best over the course of this weekend. 

Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging – unlike the stream of Tories who got up to repeat what seemed to have been a script handed down from the Whips which basically said “The Lib Dems said they wanted an in-out referendum and now they aren’t accepting the result. Na na na na na.” 

We kick off with Leader Dick Newby’s cracking speech. He addressed the issue of …

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LibLink: Dick Newby: Parliament, Article 50 and the case for a second referendum

Lib Dem Leader in the Lords Dick Newby has been writing about the EU referendum and Brexit for the Reimagining Europe website.

He is clear that Brexit will not resolve the problems which motivated people to vote to leave:

The overarching message which I take from the result, is that very many people feel alienated from the way the country is run and are worried about their economic futures. They don’t see the benefits of recent social and economic change. And they see large scale immigration as a threat, not as a benefit. Brexit alone would not assuage these fears, not least

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Liberal Democrats launch national consultation on Brexit

Liberal Democrats are launching  a National Consultation exercise on the impact of Brexit on local communities.

All Lib Dem parliamentary candidates will contact businesses, health and educational institutions and civil society organisations in their constituencies to discuss their Brexit concerns.

Launching the initiative Dick Newby, Lib Dem Leader in the Lords, said:

This Tory Brexit Government are clearly floundering as they try to get to grip with the multitude of difficulties that leaving the EU presents. While the Government thrashes about, we will be talking to ordinary people up and down the country to understand their concerns.

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Lord Dick Newby writes…We have more chance of breaking the mould of British politics than we had in 1981

House of Lords chamberIt was a great honour to be elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in the Lords earlier this week. The challenge facing me and my colleagues is straightforward. How do we help the Party occupy as much as possible of the centre and centre left of British politics – ground which is currently vacant?

Obviously we can do our bit by trying to defeat or amend the worst of the Tory legislation. We face a Tory government unrestrained, Labour are not doing their job as the opposition. It is the Liberal Democrats who have to step up to the plate and be the real voice of opposition. We held the Government to account last session on tax credits, trade union reform and refugee children. We will seek to do so in coming months, for example on Investigatory Powers. And if we ever see any legislation promoting grammar schools, we can guarantee it a rough ride in the Lords.

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Dick Newby is new Lib Dem Lords leader

Whoever runs the Lib Dem Lords’ Twitter account has a sense of humour:

Dick Newby beat Robin Teverson in the race to succeed Jim Wallace.

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What our busy peers will be up to this week

Here are some of the things our team in the House of Lords will be doing this week:

Monday: Roger Roberts will be pushing the Government to take action to relieve the situation of unaccompanied refugee children. Tim Farron has been pushing the Government to accept 3,000 at risk refugee children but David Cameron has recently rejected the proposal. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to find a solution which does not leave these children vulnerable.

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Liberal Democrat Peers: they’re your secret weapon, if only you’d use them!

Last week, the outreach programme of the Parliamentary Party in the Lords moved into its next phase. There is, unfortunately, a catch, in that, through no fault of their own, the earlier phases haven’t reached quite as far as they might have hoped.

The campaign for Liberal Democrat Peers to make one thousand constituency visits before the 2015 General Election continues – Suffolk Coastal were very hospitable – but too many Local Parties seem oblivious to the possibilities that nearly one hundred (very occasionally) ermine-clad Parliamentarians, with four thousand years of service to the Party between them*, can offer. I …

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Who will follow in Tom McNally’s ermine footsteps?

The news Helen Duffett posted this week — Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords — was rather drowned out by the Tory conference and the row over the Daily Mail’s smearing of Ralph Miliband. But as the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy (no, not the fictional Mr Bridget Jones: different guy) points out here, it’s a role that matters lot these days, especially with the House of Lords here to stay for the forseeable…

The decision of the avuncular Lib Dem Lord to stand down as deputy leader of the House and leader

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Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords

Tom McNally has today written to Dick Newby (Lib Dem Deputy Chief Whip) to say that he intends to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords.

Lord McNally’s letter is as follows:

1 October 2013
Dear Dick,

I will shortly be coming to the end of my ninth year as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. Before that I served as deputy to Shirley Williams for three years. It seems to me that now would be an ideal time for the Group to select a new leader to serve out

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AD LIB Preview: The one with the kilt

AD LIB September 2013The September issue of AD LIB magazine hits subscribers’ doorsteps this weekend. And it’s wearing a very fetching kilt as Glasgow prepares to welcome the Liberal Democrats for Federal Conference. It even has Gaelic on the front cover. And a saltire, which is bound to annoy our nationalist friends, but, hey, they don’t own it.

There’s an article by someone you might recognise which mentions the Krankies and drinking cocktails out of a gramophone. I have to say that much of the cool stuff in that “Welcome to Glasgow” …

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Next week in the Lords: 11-14 February

House of LordsIt may only be February, but like schools, half-term is approaching fast (don’t forget, Easter is a bit earlier this year). And with the break starting on Friday, there’s still quite a bit of business to squeeze in. Curiously, there are no oral questions or debates initiated from the Liberal Democrat benches all week, but the agenda isn’t without interest.

On Monday most attention will be focussed on the Second Reading of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill. Baroness Stowell of Beeston has the unenviable task of leading …

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Next week in the Lords: 22-25 October

I thought that I’d try a different format for the preview this week, so let’s see how it goes…

Monday sees the Third Reading of the Local Government Finance Bill. After this week’s drama, when the Government suddenly came up with an additional £100 million to support local council tax support schemes during the transition phase, one might expect the Bill to be passed relatively comfortably. However, Labour will almost certainly endeavour to ambush this if they can.

Perhaps more interestingly, and certainly a more emotional moment than …

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Lib-Lab cooperation: there’s one easy way to find out if Labour are serious

Today’s Guardian big-ups a call by Labour’s chief whip in the Lords, Lord Bassam, to his Lib Dem opposite number Lord Newby as a sign that ‘elements of the party are preparing the ground for a possible Lib-Lab coalition after the next election.’

I have to say on first reading the tenor of Lord Bassam’s note strikes me more as told-you-so than conciliatory, but maybe I’m being over-sensitive — judge for yourselves from this excerpt:

“The last couple of years have been a bit bruising for your colleagues in this house, and no doubt they will be looking forward to

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From the Lords: Dick Newby steps out…

As a keen observer of life in the House of Lords, I feel it my duty to explore some of the less well-known aspects of life there. And, as a photograph has come into my hands that deserves a wider audience…

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In other news… Lib Dems close no libraries, Paddick pledges 360,000 homes, & Newby is new Lords whip

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Tim Farron: No library closed under Lib Dem leadership (LibDems.org.uk)

Last year, more than 40 libraries were closed by Conservative and Labour councils. In stark contrast, for the second year in a row, no Liberal Democrat-controlled council in England and Wales closed any library. Liberal Democrat-controlled Cardiff is opening five new libraries and Portsmouth and Bristol are also opening new libraries.

Tim Farron said: “Cutting services like Labour and Tory councils are doing will do long-term damage. Liberal Democrats are doing the right

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Chris Rennard writes: Dick Newby to be new Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Lords

Lord Newby (Dick Newby) has just been appointed as the new Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Lords. This appointment is made by Tom McNally (as our Leader in the House of Lords) and at the same time Nick Clegg has asked Dick to serve as Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House. Dick will take up his duties in time for the State Opening of Parliament on 9th May.

Dick is a greatly respected and much liked figure amongst all those who have worked with him (and in roles in which it is sometimes difficult to be both). …

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Coming up in the Lords… 23 January – 2 February

It has become abundantly clear since the Christmas break that most of the Parliamentary excitement, apart from that curiosity known as Prime Minister’s Questions, is going to come from the Lords until Easter, and the coming fortnight will be no exception.

Days 5 and 6 of the Report Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill will take place on January 23rd and 25th, with the Third Reading scheduled, perhaps optimistically for 31st January. It’s always dangerous to guess exactly how much progress will be made on Day 4, taking …

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Lib Dems back High Pay Commission’s proposals to curb excessive executive salaries

The High Pay Commission, an independent inquiry into top pay in the private sector, published its final report yesterday. Here’s how The Guardian reports its key conclusions:

The commission sets out 12 recommendations to tackle high pay. The main reforms include:

• Greater transparency in the calculation of executive pay to end the “closed shop” on pay decisions. At present, many people do not understand until it is too late how a vast salary – often composed of as many as seven different elements – is worked out.
• Putting employees on remuneration committees, a move included in the government’s own

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