Tag Archives: don foster

29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of

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Obituary for Tor Foster

Sad news, reported in the Bath Chronicle, that Tor Foster, married for almost half a century to Liberal Democrat peer and former Bath MP Don Foster, died last week.

From their obituary:

Tor supported Don ceaselessly in his political career. Intelligent, articulate, wise and warm she was universally admired, although always happier to take a back seat in public life.

When they moved to Bath in 1992, after Don had unseated the sitting MP, Chris Patten, Tor took great pleasure in creating a fine home in Northend. Myrtle Cottage became a haven for family, friends and political colleagues alike. An excellent cook – insisting on an aga, wherever they lived – many will recall long convivial lunches and suppers alive with discussion and debate. Often challenging and thought provoking, Tor had her own opinions and was never afraid to challenge Don, or anyone else, but always in a warm and inclusive manner.

As Don’s career progressed, and their children left home (Stuart, their son, to settle in Australia), Tor’s career in adult education also developed. She was a lecturer in education at both the University of the West of England (UWE) and latterly at Bath Spa University, and many tributes have been paid by former students, particularly citing her kindness and her sense of humour – and her insistence on good grammar.

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Splendid and moving tribute to David Rendel, former Liberal Democrat MP

David Rendel at Anti-Iraq war demo 15th Feb 2003 Some rights reserved by Paul Walter

David Rendel at the 2003 London march against the Iraq war. David described voting against the Iraq invasion, in the House of Commons, as his proudest moment.

Last Monday, a memorial event was held for former Liberal Democrat MP, David Rendel. This was at the Corn Exchange theatre in Newbury. Family, friends, colleagues and former constituents of David filled the hall to overflowing.

The tributes started with a film of David’s life put together by Rachael Clarke, Deputy head of policy of the Liberal Democrats. This film included video footage and photos from David’s political and family life.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Don Foster on health

This week, we are catching up on Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches.Today, we have Don Foster on health.

My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Crisp. I am grateful for this opportunity to make my maiden speech and, of course, for the privilege of joining your Lordships’ House. I hope I will be able to make a useful contribution.

I am also grateful for the generous welcome I have received from all sides of the House, and for the patient support and help from noble Lords—not least my noble friend Lady Walmsley—and from the attendants, doorkeepers, catering staff and all the excellent and courteous parliamentary staff as I struggle to find my feet and my way round this end of the building. I am especially grateful for the advice, “If lost, look for the blue carpet”.

I rise with a sense of trepidation similar to that which I felt when, 23 years ago, I rose to make my maiden speech in the other place, and, in 2010, when I seconded the Loyal Address following the formation of the coalition Government. That was a particularly difficult speech for a then 63 year-old to make, since the tradition is that that role is usually given to a “young, rising star”. I felt trepidation also when, as a junior Minister, I stood at the Dispatch Box to answer questions for the first time: a noisy and acrimonious event, full of the yah-boo which plagues the other place. They could learn a great deal from the courtesy and civility of your Lordships’ House.

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Don’s Dark Arts: Foster reveals the secrets of being a Chief Whip

The House Magazine has produced a Westminster Survival Guide for New MPs. One of the first articles is by former Liberal Democrat Chief Whip who gives some humorous, we think, advice on how to deal with your whips. It’s an article that seeks to take no prisoners from the start:

How to deal with the whips? You don’t have to. The whips deal with you.

He talks about how the job of being a whip has changed over the years. Gone are the days when a whip could hold something in your private life over you.

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What’s happening on P-31, Monday 6th April?

battle-bus

As any activist knows, Bank Holiday Mondays during an election campaign are not given to us for fun days out but for extra deliveries and canvassing. In most years, though not all, we get the use of the Easter Bank Holiday Monday as well as the May Bank Holiday during the short campaign.

The big yellow battlebus, with Nick Clegg and media on board, continues its journey around the target seats. This morning it will be stopping in Surbiton, home of Ed Davey and his team (including me). There’s a large local party, a …

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Our Don says farewell to conference with a song

Don Foster - Some rights reserved by Department for Communities and Local GovernmentWhen I first started going to Lib Dem conferences, we had fewer MPs than we have now. So, those MPs that we had were run ragged charging from fringe meeting to fringe meeting to speech to TV interview, as they were rather thin on the ground. It always seemed to be our Don Foster who was really doing loads of stuff. I did wonder how he kept going.

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Lib Dem Chief Whip on David Ward: “I do not intend to take further action in relation to the tweet”

David WardThree weeks ago, Lib Dem MP for Bradford East David Ward tweeted: “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”. The following day he issued an apology, saying:

I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza. I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.

That wasn’t quite the end of the matter, though. The Lib Dem disciplinary process required a meeting between the party’s Chief Whip, Don Foster, and David. That’s now taken place, and it’s been decided there will be no further action. The Yorkshire Post has published the statements issued by both:

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Bath Liberal Democrats select Steve Bradley as candidate to replace Don Foster

 Steve BradleyAt the weekend, Bath Liberal Democrats selected Steve Bradley as their parliamentary candidate in place of Don Foster who  has been the city’s Liberal Democrat MP for 22 years.

From the Bath Chronicle:

More than 180 local party members met yesterday afternoon at the Salvation Army hall in James Street West to debate, discuss and vote from a shortlist of six contenders.

After a lengthy five-hour event they selected Mr Bradley, who is a a former Lib Dem councillor in Lambeth.

Mr Bradley, who first moved to the city in 1991 as a student at the University of Bath, said: “I am immensely proud and humbled to have been selected by local Liberal Democrat members as their candidate for the 2015 General Election.

“Don Foster has been a tremendous champion for this city for 22 years. I look forward to working closely with him in his remaining year as our MP.

“And I hope the people of Bath will place their faith in me to continue Don’s hard work in parliament on their behalf.”

Don Foster MP said:

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Bath Lib Dems choose short-list to succeed Don Foster

don fosterThe Bath Chronicle reports the news of the contenders seeking to succeed Don Foster as Lib Dem MP for Bath:

The party has this week decided on a shortlist of contenders who will battle it out for the Lib Dem nomination. Mr Foster announced in January that he would be standing down from the seat he has held since 1992.

Several hopefuls turned to Twitter to announce they had made the shortlist including Chris Lucas, Steve Bradley, former Bath City chairman Councillor Manda Rigby (Lib Dem, Abbey) and former mayor Councillor

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Don Foster MP to stand down in 2015

One of the highlights of a dismal and disappointing election in 1992 was undoubtedly Don Foster’s election in Bath. He won the seat from then Tory party chairman Chris Patten.

Don has tonight announced that he won’t be standing in next year’s general election, it was in fact Jonathan Calder tweeted the news first, which led to me staking out Don’s Twitter and website looking for an announcement. When it came, it was on the Bath and North East Somerset website. Don Foster

After what will have been 23 wonderful years, this has been a very difficult decision to

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Did Nick Harvey turn down the job of Lib Dem chief whip?

nick harvey weaponSir Nick Harvey, summarily sacked as defence minister by Nick Clegg a year ago, was offered a job in government at last week’s reshuffle — at least according to James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday:

The Lib Dem leader had hoped Nick Harvey would be his Chief Whip. But, to Clegg’s surprise, Harvey turned down the job. ‘Clegg was gobsmacked,’ one Lib Dem tells me. The Deputy Prime Minister didn’t expect him to reject an invitation to join his inner circle. Harvey had been sounded out about taking

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Reshuffle redux: how Lib Dem members rated the ministerial performances of the sacked and the promoted

I posted earlier the most recent ratings by Lib Dem members of the party’s government ministers. Here’s how those affected by the reshuffle have done over the three-plus years we’ve been running our members’ surveys

Sacked

Michael Moore (Secretary of State for Scotland, May 2010 to Oct 2013)

michael moore performance

Jeremy Browne (Minister – Foreign Office, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister – Home Office, Sept 2012 to Oct 2013)

jeremy browne performance

David Heath (Deputy Leader – Commons, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister

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Don Foster declares war on betting shops

don fosterOne of the lower profile motions on the agenda for Federal Conference in Glasgow is entitled ‘High Street Gambling’. It is relatively short and contains just two recommendations:

Conference therefore calls on Liberal Democrats in government to push for:
1. Betting shops to be put in a new separate planning use class, allowing local authority planning committees to control them
2. The Gambling Act to be amended to allow council licensing committees to take into account the cumulative impact of a proliferation of gambling activities when considering applications.

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Opinion: Let’s stop pussyfooting over property prices

According to a report published by Shelter this week, if the price of an oven ready chicken had risen as fast as the price of the average house since 1971, it would cost £51.18. House prices simply have to fall if we’re to find any way out of our economic mess and many of those with mortgages are going to have to take a hit. What we need to do is to ensure that the pain is borne by those who can best afford it… and who caused the problem in the first place.

We need to get over our obsession …

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LibLink: From Baftas to building standards – why Don Foster isn’t looking back

don fosterDon Foster begins his article in the Telegraph thus:

Having spent the first two years of the coalition government as a Lib Dem spokesman on culture, media and sport I knew what a gruelling schedule was, well before becoming Communities Minister.

Fitting in film premières, football and rugby matches, plays, and the BAFTAs was tough but somebody had to do it as the old joke goes. And I loved it. And now as the minister with responsibility for housing what have I swapped this for? Building regulations conferences.

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Danny, Don and Nick stand up for Local Government in a way that Pickles never has

The Autumn Statement has announced no further cuts to local government in the next financial year, with a 2% cut the following year.

We’re grateful to Danny Alexander, Don Foster and Nick Clegg for stepping in and saying “no” to further cuts to local services over the next year – in a way we just haven’t seen from the DCLG Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

Liberal Democrat Ministers have stopped an across-the-board cut of 1% to local government next year. That means up to £240m extra that will be in council budgets every year which will help fund youth services, streets, parks, …

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Does Don Foster like his new government job?

The current edition of The House magazine features our very own Don Foster in full colour on its front page. There’s an interesting article on the legend that is “The Don”, but this little passage, about his job in government, caught my eye:

“One of the fantastic things I did for the first two-and-a-half years of this Government was to represent the Liberal Democrats at film premieres, at football matches, at rugby matches, at plays, at the BAFTA awards, and so on. It was hardly a big sacrifice to lose out first time round. I loved representing the

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Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

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LDVideo: Remembering the 1992 general election, 20 years ago today

Thursday, 9th April, 1992 — the first election for the newly-formed Liberal Democrats, and the last election when the Tories won a parliamentary majority. Here’s a video trip down memory lane…

Andrew Marr on John Major’s biggest popular mandate in electoral history

Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail

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LDVideo | Election archive special… 1992

Last weekend — in a desperate attempt to offer our readers an alternative to The X-Factor — we highlighted some clips from elections of yesteryear: first, the 1960-70s, then the 1980s. Today, we’re scrolling forward to the video footage of the 1992 general election…

Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail

(Available on YouTube here.)

Don Foster wins Bath from Chris Patten (from 3:05)

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News in Brief: Ming savages Danny, ‘Parenting Matters’, and Don Foster on “rodents with wings”

Former party leader Ming Campbell is apparently furious with fellow Scottish Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, according to the Telegraph.

The two MPs are, it appears, at each others’ metaphorical throats over the handing over to the British army of RAF Leuchars in Fife (Ming’s patch), while RAF Lossiemouth in Moray (Danny’s neighbouring patch) — though it should be noted that RAF Kinloss, also close to Danny’s own consituency, will suffer the same fate as Leuchars.

The Telegraph quotes Ming implying with scarcely veiled fury that Danny’s intervention in the defence …

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Hughes, Farron and Foster write to Rupert Murdoch – full text of letter

Simon Hughes, Tim Farron and Don Foster have written to Rupert Murdoch about the proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International.

They ask Murdoch to respond to public opinion by changing his commercial strategy in the UK: withdrawing his News Corporation bid for BSkyB and concentrating all his efforts on cleaning up News International.

The letter in full:

Proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International

Ever since the report of our Information Commissioner ‘What Price Freedom?’ and the conviction and imprisonment of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2006, there has been growing concern about the policy and practices of UK newspaper titles owned

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Live music: government backs Lib Dem peer’s bill

The Publican reports:

Live Music Bill gets government backing

Baroness Rawlings, a government spokesperson, told the House of Lords the coalition will help the private members’ Bill become law, but with caveats.

The Bill, tabled by Lib Dem Lord Clement-Jones, includes plans to offer a licensing exemption to pubs that host gigs attracting an audience of 200 or fewer. It tallies with The Publican’s own Listen Up! campaign.

But Baroness Rawlings said certain criteria had to be met for the Bill to get the coalition’s full support…

Lord Clement-Jones said he was “delighted” the Bill had received such a “positive reception”.

He later added: “The

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PMQs: Miliband goes all Ballsy

Good Lord! Ed Miliband and David Cameron actually agreed on something. They agreed that yesterday’s growth figures were “disappointing”. They even agreed that if you set aside the bad weather impact, the figures were flat over the last quarter. An amazing level of agreement at PMQs! Unheard of!

Miliband asked about the causes of the disappointing figures. Cameron pointed to the UK’s large deficit and the large banking boom and bust. Ed Miliband then asked Cameron to confirm that he still thinks we are “out of the danger zone” (Cameron’s words from 15th December). We are no longer linked with PIG (Portugal, Ireland, Greece), said Cameron.

After Cameron said “If you do not deal with your debts, you will never have growth”, Ed Miliband came back with “If you do not have growth, you will never cut the deficit.” That has to be his best rejoinder ever at PMQs. Cameron dealt with that, however, by quoting the head of the OECD: “if you don’t deal with the deficit you can be assured that there will not be growth because confidence will not recover”.

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Don Foster MP speaks out against homophobia in football

Don Foster, Lib Dem MP for Bath, has given an exclusive interview to the Gay Football Supporters Network where he discusses homophobia in football and his own love of the sport.

From the Gay Football Supporters Network website:

Why do you think that we have made so much progress in football regarding racism (Kick It Out etc) and yet homophobia remains prevalent in the sport? Why do you think there are currently no openly gay professional players?

I think that groups such as yours have a vital role to play in challenging prejudices. We need to see individual fans,

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Digital Economy Bill latest – two cheers for the LibDem team

As Liberal Democrat Voice has reported in depth over recent weeks, there was a surge of debate around the party’s response to the Digital Economy Bill, leading to our open letter from PPCs, and the emergency motion passed at conference. Great joy.

Then it all went quiet.

There has of course been a little matter of the Budget. MPs and candidates have been, quite rightly, out on the hustings and the doorsteps. But if our Parliamentary party were otherwise engaged, the blogosphere was not. The dedicated campaigning of the Open Rights Group was joined by the 38 Degrees lobby. They have objected not only to the content of bits of the Digital Economy Bill, but also the obvious concerns about its process.

If nothing else, this Bill has highlighted to a new generation of voters the urgent need for Parliamentary reform. The unelected second chamber; ridiculous rush, horsetrading and lack of debate of the washup; the way a Government elected with a minority of the vote can railroad through legislation – all of this must change.

The Open Rights Group anti-disconnection rally took the issue from the screen to the streets, and I was delighted to be invited to speak on behalf of our party. As I told the crowds, we started campaigning for Freedom of Information against a Tory government; now we are campaigning for free exchange of information under Labour. When you deal with a death, there is a cycle of emotion from grief through anger to acceptance. When it comes to the death of our freedoms under Labour, as Liberal Democrats we may be aggrieved, we are angry, but we will not accept it.

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The Independent View: Liberal Democrats should oppose the Digital Economy Bill

Last week we reported that, following the concessions forced on the government, Don Foster MP is broadly happy with the Digital Economy Bill’s proposals on illicit downloads. Jim Killock of the The Open Rights Group has a different take on the situation:

The Digital Economy Bill should be opposed by Liberal Democrats. Mandelson’s Bill seeks to reduce illicit downloads by punishing innocent people, removing any chance of a reasonable defence, and by disconnecting people.

Let’s start with this first idea, of disconnecting ‘infringers’.

Let’s say you pay BT, for broadband and somebody else downloads a number of copyright music tracks. You, your family, and …

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“A Liberal believes in the raucous, unpredictable capacity of people”

That’s the striking quote from Nick Clegg which opens The Power of Creativity, a set of new proposals for the arts and creative industries published today by the Liberal Democrats. The paper goes on to make the point that,

The first chairman of the Arts Council was that great Liberal John Maynard Keynes. His vision as set out in 1946 remains ours in 2010: “to create an environment, to breed a spirit, to cultivate an opinion, to offer a stimulus to such purpose that the artist and the public can each sustain and live on the other in that union which

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  • User AvatarRob Parsons 19th Dec - 12:21pm
    The sentence that reads "However, it has its" should read "However, it has its own food bank".
  • User AvatarP.J. 19th Dec - 11:55am
    @Mark Argent @John King I agree entirely. Problem is that we have to be realistic. Given the human condition, it is unfortunately, quicker and easier...
  • User AvatarWilliam Le Breton 19th Dec - 11:33am
    Of course I welcome the fact that we have finally come round to the obvious course of tabling (almost) our own vote of no confidence...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 19th Dec - 11:26am
    @David Raw ! I am not as you know saying that PCSOs are equivalent to full-time police officers. To say that is to completely and...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Dec - 10:32am
    On second thoughts, perhaps that sentence should have read ‘Intellect 1 Common Sense 0’. And no, I’m not going to name the MP, although I...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Dec - 10:13am
    @Jayne Mansfield The trouble with all Representatives, from Parliament down (or should it be ‘up’) to Parish Council, is that you don’t need any qualification...