Tag Archives: featured

John Pugh writes…Lord Ronnie Fearn 1931-2022

Most people who knew Ronnie have a Ronnie story. If there is a book written about how to become an MP or a Lord, Ronnie never read it.

He was never going to be one to tick all the boxes in a bloodless modern selection process  and yet he was loved by his constituents and possibly the only one who could have in the 1987 General Election delivered the only Liberal gain in England. He won because he was no political careerist using the constituency as a stepping stone,but because his only ambition was to represent the town of his birth and the people in it.

Southport, albeit it has its eccentricities and detractors, has deep Liberal roots and the heart of Southport liberalism is valuing each individual regardless of where they stand in the social hierarchy.

Ronnie practised rather than theorised about Liberalism showing an omnivorous and genuine interest in the daily life of ordinary and not so ordinary folk, patronising ,in the proper sense, all sorts of groups and associations.

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Erlend

You might know sad news is coming, but when it actually arrives, it still smacks you round the chops.

That’s how so many people in the party will feel tonight. Few people were as loved as Erlend Watson.

We knew time was short. His update on Boxing Day was very him.

FAREWELL
I wanted to break it to you all personally.

I am more certainly not going to make it through more than the next few months. Any extra events could shorten that so my best guess is 3 to 6 moths. I will put myself down for a proxy vote for May (not Theresa) in case of any survival. Cynical to the end.

The affection shown on social media since my op was lovely but I have lost a quarter of my weight and I no longer have the physical reserves to do that.

I am currently able to communicate and will do so as long as possible but clearly the timetable is very loose and the end could be sudden.

My final affairs I am leaving to my siblings and my social media executor as Simon Drage as he knows more of you than they do.

In the meantime I will take/return calls as and when I can. Some longer some shorter according to what I can do.

There will be a funeral and I think a memorial service (probably the latter in London during parliamentary session for those who that works for. Elements of English and Norwegian I hope the committal of ashes to be in Orkney next summer about the time of the shows next August subject to to Covid but that is obviously an open story..

In terms of my politics I haven’t a Liberal and a Liberal Democrat since age 10. I see there being anti liberal forces working in the world and that makes me very sad. These must be fought. I am partisan but include on the side of good not just my own leaders but many Labour, Conservative and other politicians and obviously many non Party folk. I am a multiple identity person. In terms of nationality I am an Orcadian who was born in Fife with other IDs through my genome (but that leaves the key flag at the funeral as a St Magnus one rather than a rainbow 🌈 one).

To end with a couple of (mis)quotes.
1)You are not wholly gone from Earth until the last soul you touched comes up to heaven to greet you..

2) Well dear friends, now we have come to the end of our fellowship in Middle Earth. I will not say do not weep for not all tears are an evil. Or in Norwegian, Vel kjære venner nå har vi kommet til enden av vårt felleskap i Midtgård. Jeg vil ikke si gråt ikke, for ikke alle tårer er av det onde.

Number 2 may be familiar to readers of The Lord of the Rings.

Within days, both the Young Liberals and ALDC had honoured him.
And tonight the news came that he had died, very peacefully, and with a friend by his side.

We’d been hoping that he would somehow defy the odds.

Erlend was a familiar sight at by-elections and at the Conference Glee Club. He devoted so much of his life to the party, working to elect parliamentarians and councillors alike.

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Helen Morgan’s inaugural: In the footsteps of the Women of Wem

In her inaugural speech in the House of Commons today, the country’s newest MP Helen Morgan told MPs:

“I will not give up fighting for the issues that matter most to North Shropshire: better access to health and ambulance services, a fair deal for farming, and proper provision of public services.”

Helen began by setting herself in the context on North Shropshire:

“While I am the first woman to represent North Shropshire in parliament, I am continuing a fine tradition of women in North Shropshire defending our democracy.”

She follows in the footsteps of the Women of Wem and made clear the Lib Dems opposition to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill.

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FOUR Lib Dem Council GAINS – What a night!

I’m doing the by-election results for ALDC tonight, with the help of some strong painkillers. I had a bit of a fall yesterday and hurt my hip. Nothing serious, but it is sore.

Tonight’s results got the endorphins flowing though. Not one, not two, not three but FOUR gains.

One gain came in one of the Toriest parts of Oxfordshire, where we haven’t had a councillor for 15 years.

And then came gain number 3:

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Lib Dems take part in Kill the Bill protests around country

Lib Dems across the country joined protests across the country against the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Protests too place in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Plymouth, as well as a lot of smaller towns. The protests come ahead of a critical vote tomorrow in the House of Lords on amendments introduced in the Lords in November which greatly increase the authority of police to control protests including an increase in stop and search powers.

On Friday, Labour Lords belatedly said they will oppose the protest clauses. With the Lib Dems, Greens and independents opposing the restriction of the rights to protest, the amendments are likely to fall. As they were introduced in the Lords, they cannot be sent on to the Commons if peers vote against them.

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Beatrice Wishart: We need to do better at tackling Endometriosis

This week, the Scottish Parliament debated the horrible, painful, debilitating condition Endometriosis.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart highlighted the distress this condition can cause and the impact it can have on women’s whole lives – and says that we must do better than the misogynistic dismissal of this condition that we so often see. Here is her speech in full:

I congratulate Rachael Hamilton on securing this important debate. So much has already been said about the impact that endometriosis has across all aspects of life, but I make no apology for repeating some of what has already been highlighted today.

I want to start by outlining exactly what is at the heart of this discussion: the lives of women and girls. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to that in the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include, among others, painful or heavy periods, painful bowel movements and pelvic pain. An estimated 1.5 million women in the United Kingdom are affected, which is similar to the number of women who have diabetes.

However, as we have heard, it takes an average of eight and a half years to receive a diagnosis, which means eight and a half years of pain, of missing out, of uncertainty and of explaining. How tiring must all of that be? Relationships break down because the pain and struggle are too hard to comprehend. There is the misogynistic dismissal of so-called women’s issues and people saying that it is just painful periods or, even worse, that it is perfectly normal for women to experience pain.

There are long waiting lists and a postcode lottery for treatment. There is a serious problem with delays in getting an initial appointment with a consultant, and Covid has only made the long waits even longer. Non-urgent appointments have been delayed because of Covid, but, for patients, endometriosis is not non-urgent.

One person told me that, although their GP has been good, before being referred to a consultant, their daughter had to go through various other options to rule out cysts, irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances. More than a year after their GP’s referral, they are still to receive an appointment.

I have also been told by women that endometriosis has made them infertile, and how the inability to have children has affected their marriages. As many as 30 to 50 per cent of women who are affected by infertility have endometriosis.

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Changes to comments and posting policies on Lib Dem Voice

We are from today making changes to the comments policy on Lib Dem Voice. We also will more proactively encourage female voices on LDV, both in making comments and in authoring posts.

This change comes after a meeting of editors (online as we are scattered around the country) to discuss where we are on LDV and where we want to go.

We are concerned that LDV posts and comments are dominated by men. In recent weeks, three quarters of posts have been authored by men and nine in ten comments were by men.

We intend to change that gender balance and make LDV more representative of the Lib Dems and liberal values.

We will be proactively managing the comments debate to prevent it being dominated by a small number of individuals. They are nearly always men and seem to want to slug it out to the end between themselves – to win a debate that LDV readers have long lost interest in. Too often that debate is tangential to the subject of the article. Too often it is a debate that should take place elsewhere.

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Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson must resign #bbcqt

In a confident performance on BBC Question Time on Thursday night, Daisy Cooper tackled the question of the day. Should Boris Johnson resign?

She was forthright. The prime minister has broken the law. He has lied to parliament and the public. He must resign and the police should investigate.

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Mark Pack’s January report – the plan to build on our success in 2022

In 2021 we achieved something we’ve not achieved since 1993: winning two Parliamentary by-elections in the same year off the Conservatives. We start this new year with a larger Parliamentary Party than any of us would have dared dream of a year ago. (A winning run that has continued with the first council by-election of this year too – congratulations to now councillor Andrew Dunkin who won a seat from Labour from third place.)

The question now is how do we build on that success in 2022, and how do we make the most of our limited resources? Here’s the plan.

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Helen Morgan: “Anger at Conservative Party like nothing I’ve heard”

The first Lib Dem MP elected to the North Shropshire seat, held by the Conservatives since 1832, has been writing in the Independent today. Helen Morgan says:

The result has been described by many as a “shock” and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

Helen speaks of her arrival at Westminster expecting to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire.

How wrong I was. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before… It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

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Boris Johnson’s stealth tax to cost families £10.9 billion by 2026

The Conservative government’s stealth tax raid will cost the average family in England and Wales £430 a year by 2026, or a total of £10.9 billion, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures reveal the scale of the cost to families of the government’s decision to freeze the personal tax allowance and higher rate tax threshold until 2025/26, compounding the growing cost of living crisis.

The new analysis by the House of Commons Library has found the freeze will mean an additional 1.5 million people on low pay will be dragged into paying income tax by 2026, while a further 1.25 million people will fall into the higher rate tax bracket. The research is based on modelling using the latest inflation forecasts from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government drops their planned stealth tax raid that will “clobber families who are already feeling the pinch,” amid soaring energy bills and the rising cost of living.

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Helen Morgan challenges Prime Minister on Day 1

Within a couple of hours of being sworn in, North Shropshire’s new Lib Dem MP (never going to get tired of writing that) Helen Morgan was challenging the Prime Minister over the state of ambulance services in her constituency.

Helen tried to get Boris Johnson to commit to a “full and proper review of ambulance services by the care quality commission.” The Prime Minister refused, showing pretty callous disregard for the residents who had endured some horrifying waits for ambulances in recent weeks. The closure of four local ambulance stations has only added to current pressures.

The exchange in full went like this:

I welcome the new Member, Helen Morgan.

Helen Morgan
(North Shropshire) (LD)
Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ambulance services and paramedics are desperately struggling to maintain a safe and timely service across the country. My constituency of North Shropshire is no exception, and inexplicably has seen two of its ambulance stations closed, as well as waiting times sky-rocket. With the crisis in emergency care escalating, will the Prime Minister commit today before this House to supporting my call for a full and proper review of ambulance services by the Care Quality Commission?

The Prime Minister
It is very important that everybody should get the ambulance service that they need. That is why we are investing £55 million more and that is why there are 500 more people on the ambulance staff than there were in 2018.

Afterwards, Helen said:

There is no time to waste in solving the local ambulance crisis which is a life and death situation in Shropshire.

It is essential that the Prime Minister and his Government tackle this crisis. It was disappointing to see him turn down my call for a full and proper review into services.

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Helen Morgan MP sworn in after stunning by-election win

Helen Morgan has arrived in Westminster to take her seat after her stunning by-election win in North Shropshire.

Here she is with some of her new parliamentary colleagues:


In her first act as North Shropshire’s new MP, Helen will write to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid calling for an urgent meeting with the West Midlands Ambulance Trust, which asked to see him over four months ago.

The Trust asked to meet with Sajid Javid after declaring long waiting times posed a “catastrophic risk” to patients. Patients have been left waiting hours for ambulances to arrive, and in one case, a 95 year-old woman in Shropshire was left waiting 11 hours for an ambulance to take her to hospital.

In recent months, four local ambulance stations have closed in Shropshire despite the crisis.

The crisis has also been worsened by the surge in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant, which has seen ambulances being taken off the road across the country due to staff absences.

Ahead of her swearing in,Helen said:

I am here in Westminster to make sure the people of Shropshire are no longer taken for granted by this Conservative government.

The ambulance crisis is a life and death situation in Shropshire. I can’t think of many other meetings which are more important than this one. The Health Secretary cannot ignore this request any longer.

Despite thousands of local people signing petitions warning against local health cuts and distressing stories from those in need of emergency care, we have seen no action from this Government.

I am determined to hit the ground running on my first day and ensure the concerns of people in our local community are no longer ignored.

Ed Davey MP, said:

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Sally Hamwee writes…Lib Dem Lords will do our best to fight Nationality and Borders Bill

Ministers quite often urge “professional curiosity”,  a probing, analytical approach, not a careless, unthoughtful, knee-jerk response.  They haven’t applied it to the Nationality and Borders Bill – that’s the Bill that creates deserving and undeserving asylum-seekers, allows the Home Secretary to make people stateless, and provides for pushing back small boats at sea. And more.

Professional (political) curiosity should also prompt questions from us all about how a Bill (whose 100 plus pages I would like to throw out almost wholesale) can have any appeal.  Have people had bad encounters with individual refugees? Unlikely. Is it fear of the “other”? We are a mongrel nation; I tick the “White Briton” box, but I often think about what recent immigrants my family were.  Is it insecurity about housing, jobs, the economy? Quite possibly – and that’s where government effort should go, along with taking a lead on integration and valuing refugees.  This Bill extends the hostile environment to one of aggressive hostility.

Nor is it trauma-informed, and won’t become so by asserting that this is what guides the Home Office.  That’s the very clear view of the many organisations who know that assessing an asylum seeker’s age is not a straightforward matter of science, but should be about safeguarding (there’s a lot in the Bill that’s very damaging to children).  And that someone who has been subject to appalling experiences at home and undertaken an almost unimaginable journey to the UK is not going to be able instantly to relate their story fully and cogently, or probably for a considerable time (if ever).

We are told the Bill is to break the business model of smugglers.  I thought that politicians who admire successful business people should understand that they find ways round obstacles. The Bill will strengthen their hold over asylum seekers; it plays into their business model.

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A proposal for Single Member Proportional Representation

The history of reform is replete with proposals for change, so it is with some trepidation that I propose yet another system: single-member proportional representation (SMPR).

All electoral systems have merits, and I did not set out to make (nor could I!) the academically ‘best’ system. Instead, I used only one criterion: maximum feasibility. I sought to design a system that would have a fighting chance of gaining a majority both in Parliament and with the people in a referendum, while also delivering true PR. The well-studied failure of the AV referendum (and general apathy to reform in general) indicated that complicated systems will suffer at the polls; AV, after all, is the first and easy step on the road to STV. SMPR is intended for: delivering truly proportional representation and being palatable.

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Millions face food or fuel choice as energy bills set to soar

There is nothing new about the fuel poverty issue. But this year, with retail prices and energy prices surging, and pop up energy suppliers failing, keeping people warm should be soaring up in the political agenda. But fuel poverty remains in the margins of Westminster thinking. Perhaps that will change today with a report from the Resolution Foundation warning that “2022 is set to be the ‘year of the squeeze'”.

The failure of the UK’s privatised and badly regulated energy market to anticipate and react to supply shocks including the surge in wholesale gas prices is shocking. The problem has been made worse by our country’s abysmal failure to reduce energy use by insulating homes. Vulnerable people shiver under blankets while the precious and expensive energy they pay for heating seeps out through the walls, doors and windows and vents through the roof.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Warm Homes Discount to be doubled and expanded to support vulnerable households with their energy bills throughout the winter months. Ed Davey said:

“The Conservatives have totally failed to tackle the problem. They’ve scrapped insulation programmes that would have reduced people’s bills, cut support for the most vulnerable whilst increasing the UK’s dependence on imported gas, making our country more vulnerable too.”

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Forever young: Erlend Watson accorded life membership of Young Liberals

Long-standing Liberal Democrat member, activist, and election talisman Erlend Watson has been accorded Honorary Life Membership of the Young Liberals.

The announcement comes after Erlend has undergone a serious period of hospitalisation at the Royal Papworth Cambridge and after he has himself issued a Farewell statement on his own Facebook page (copied below with his permission).

Young Liberals Chair Eleanor Kelly said:

Erlend has been a great friend of Young Liberals since before most of our members were born.

With a long and varied career within the party, he has been a fixture of general and by-election campaigns for decades. He has often used his experience to act as a sounding board for our Chairs and Executives and has been a source of advice, wisdom and good humour for many young activists. Most notably, he served as Honorary President of the then Liberal Youth between 2011-12.

“As an executive, we think it only fitting that we award Erlend Honorary Life Membership of the Young Liberals, which we will be moving at our upcoming Winter Conference, and would like to reiterate our thanks to him for being a great ally to our organisation.

Alistair Carmichael MP said:

I have known Erlend Watson since he was chronologically a Young Liberal in Orkney in the late 1980s in Orkney. His commitment to the cause of liberalism and to the Liberal Democrats since then has been unwavering. Look up the word “stalwart” in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Erlend Watson.

For Erlend to be given honorary life membership of The Young Liberals is a fitting way for his commitment to be recognised. He is someone who will always be a young liberal, whatever his age! All of us who know and love Erlend thank them for taking this decision.

Annette Brooke, former MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole (2001-2015) said”

This is brilliant news and much deserved. It is right to recognise his work with Liberal Democrats nationwide and across generations. Erlend played the most important part in the successful campaign to win the Mid Dorset and North Poole seat in the 2001 General Election. His hard work late into the night, his good humour and his tolerance for my butterfly moments and my frequent visits to the hairdressers knew no bounds!

Erlend is the person to have with you at an election count. We shared and survived two nail biting occasions – the critical, but winning, Canford Heath double-council by-election in 2000 and the 2001 General Election where our winning majority was 384 votes.Erlend is like a walking computer in these situations.

My life obviously changed in 2001 and I know Erlend’s did too. When Erlend moved on from Mid Dorset and North Poole, he and the whole team had shared experiences of fun, hard work, enduring friendships, snap decision making, development of organisational skills, success, celebrations, and so much more. I like to think that Erlend’s experiences in Dorset set him on the path to making even greater contributions to future Lib Dem campaigns. Thank you Erlend.

May there be many more campaigns ahead to which you can contribute albeit in a more advisory capacity.

Erlend’s personal statement:

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North Shropshire: It wasn’t a fluke says Helen Morgan

Interviewed by the Guardian, Helen Morgan said the Liberal Democrats’ win, which overturned a Conservative majority of nearly 23,000, was not a fluke. Morgan said her election builds on the party’s success in the Chesham and Amersham byelection in June and the Lib Dems are capable of winning over more voters than people expect and the Lib Dems have proved their popularity is no longer confined to parts of the country which voted Remain.

We’ve won two big byelections in just over six months. We’ve now proved the Chesham and Amersham result wasn’t a fluke.

Everyone said that was about HS2, but in North Shropshire it was about issues that affect everyone in the country. I think it proves we can make a difference across a much wider area than people thought we might be able to.

She said there was anger at ambulance waiting times and concerns in the farming community about trade deals but Brexit is no longer an issue.

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Ed Davey’s Christmas message

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Vince Cable says we could win 30 more seats in 2024

Writing in the Independent today, Vince Cable predicts: ”A realistic if optimistic outlook is that the Lib Dems could take 30 more Tory seats at the next general election.” Some may think that is ambitious but if we don’t have ambition we are never going to succeed.

He begins with Orpington, a by-election, on a massive 26 per cent swing in 1962. That was fifty years ago and the political quicksand has shifted since then. But it doesn’t mean that, buoyed by our successes in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire, we can’t deliver 30 MPs.

The experience in North Shropshire was that people no longer talked about the coalition. Only the very left talks about that now. We need to stride forward. Build on the excitement and momentum that we have gained during 2021. Ensure that we can get more MPs elected in 2024.

Over to Vince Cable.

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What a mess! The Brexit fiasco

Brexit has not been done. There never was an oven-ready deal. Whatever Johnson thought was ready for the oven is now burnt to a cinder.

It’s time to use ridicule to explain how this UKIP-Tory government has made such a mess of Brexit. Five and a half years since the Brexit referendum, and Liz Truss has just become the sixth minister in charge of getting Brexit done. The public are beginning to understand that Johnson did not have a clue what sort of Brexit he wanted when he was campaigning to leave and is now struggling to come to terms with the failure to deliver.

A succession of incompetent ministers have attempted to reconcile the Leave campaign’s contradictory objectives. We started with David Davis – who went to meetings with Michel Barnier without any briefing papers. He lasted nearly two years as Brexit secretary. Olly Robbins did most of the work, reporting to Theresa May, against a backdrop of hostile briefings from Tory MPs. Dominic Raab picked up the poisoned chalice when Davis and Johnson resigned over May’s Chequers package. He lasted four months, a period distinguished only by his admission that he had not understood how important the port of Dover was.

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Lib Dem MPs demand action on ambulance waiting times

Helen Morgan, the new MP for North Shropshire, started her first working day since the by-election win by demanding action on local ambulance waiting times. Helen Morgan, along with Lib Dem health spokesperson Daisy Cooper yesterday called for an urgent review into the ambulance crisis which leaves thousands in Shropshire waiting too long for emergency treatment.

The letter to the Health Secretary calls for a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review into ambulance services in England, with all ambulance services across the country now at REAP level 4 – the highest level meaning that ambulance services are under “Extreme Pressure”. With Covid rates rising, there is now a fear the ambulance crisis in Shropshire will worsen. The region already has one of the worst performing ambulance services, with new figures released over the weekend revealing 52% of patients at Royal Shrewsbury are left waiting more than 30 minutes in an ambulance before being handed over to A&E. The backlog in A&E, and shortages of ambulances, leaves those in need of emergency care left waiting dangerously long amounts of times before receiving care.

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Daisy Cooper is named one of top 20 backbencher MPs – vote now

Congratulations to Daisy Cooper who has been named as one the more influential backbench MPs in the House of Commons by communications consultancy Pagefield. The company is running a vote to select the top backbench MP. Vote here for Daisy. Voting is open until Friday 7 January.

Pagefield says:

Many expect Cooper to make her own bid for the party leadership, especially if she can help lead the strategic growth of the party within the southern Conservative ‘blue wall’. With over 700 parliamentary contributions… she displays a wide range of expertise and an oratorical talent that reflects her increasing ambition and influence.

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North Shropshire: Helen Morgan talks to Midlands Politics (video)

This morning Helen spoke to BBC Midlands politics.

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Ed Davey: The Conservatives can be beaten anywhere

You have to hand it to Ed Davey. The poor man has had Covid since Monday but he hasn’t let it stop him contributing to and celebrating our historic by-election victory in North Shropshire.

He might have been stuck indoors but he maraphoned like a trooper.

Perhaps the only benefit of his self isolation is that he is unlikely now to get a Council Tax Bill from Shropsire Council given how much time he has spent there in the past month.

Covid is not much fun, even when you are fully vaccinated and boostered as Ed is, but he has stepped up to …

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Boris: “One wheel on my wagon and I’m still rolling along”

Embed from Getty Images

Note: To balance out the motifs presented in the song mentioned here, you may like to visit the websites of The Native American Rights Fund and/or Native Americans in Philantrophy

Following up on Andy’s great post this morning, readers of a certain age will recall a song called “Three wheels on my wagon” by the New Christy Minstrels. You can listen to it via YouTube below. It’s a cracker.

The singer, in the persona of an American “pioneer”, describes “singing a happy song” as a wheel comes off his wagon, while he is chased by a band of arrow-firing “Cherokees” who are intent on killing the singer and his fellow wagon passengers.

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Boris Johnson is sinking into pig manure. Has he had his day?

Is Johnson about to book the removal vans and move out of Downing Street? His stint as prime minister over? Yes please. Bring the vans in and bring the tenure of this increasingly hapless “leader” to an end.

At first thought, keeping Boris Johnson is good for us Lib Dems. His incompetence helped deliver the stunning North Shropshire result and get us our 13th MP. But his incompetence is now damaging our country. After Partygate, Peppagate, backbench rebellions and today, the resignation of Lord Frost, he increased looks as though he is up to his neck in Peppa poo.

As Oscar Wilde didn’t say: “To lose one by-election Mr Johnson, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” And there is that sense about Boris Johnson. Carelessness. The sense of not having a grip on the public mood and on the mood within his own party.

Is it time for him to walk the plank?

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Ed Davey on historic North Shropshire win and Keir Starmer pact

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey spoke to BBC reporter Justin Webb earlier this morning. He said he was proud of our party and our campaigners. We have brought hope to the whole nation by proving the Conservatives can be beaten anywhere. Brexit was not an issue in the by-election. Voters were more concerned about ambulances and GPs.

Ed is cool on a pact with Keir Starmer for the next general election but confident that we can make more inroads into the Blue Wall.

Here is the transcript.

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Helen Morgan acceptance speech: “ Johnson you are no leader”

What a victory! Nearly six thousand majority. There are huge implications for the government and Boris Johnson. We’ll cover those in later articles.

In her speech, she told the prime minister, Helen said:

Our country is crying out for leadership. Mr Johnson, you are no leader.

She told the voters in North Shropshire:

Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas… I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.

Helen said the NHS in Shropshire is teetering on the brink. The rural economy is in a precarious state.

Below, we report Helen’s acceptance speech in full. Here is the recording.

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++++Helen Morgan wins North Shropshire!!!

March the brass bands. Beat the drums. Sound the trombones. Honk the horns. Dance through the streets. Silence the soothsayers, those that thought this by-election couldn’t be won.

We won this by-election and won it well. Turning a 22,949 “unassailable” vote for the Tories into a stonking win for us. A Tory majority of votes transformed into a stunning vote for the Lib Dems. A swing to us of 34%, giving us a majority of 5,925.

Helen Morgan won this by-election. The team supporting her won it. The hundreds of Lib Dem activists from around the country won it. Our national team won it. Ed Davey won it. Our MPs won it. Now they are 13 strong.

This was not just a bloody nose for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives. It was a bloody good win for the Lib Dems.

  • Lib Dems: 17,957
  • Conservatives: 12,032
  • Labour: 3,686
  • Green: 1,738
  • Reform: 1,127

We must now ensure that Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire are just the beginning. We have taken some hard knocks as a party in recent years. But now we have picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off. We have shown that we again can be winners. Winning here. Winning everywhere.

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Recent Comments

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    Ronnie was a great liberal, a great man, and a great MP. He was probably a great Lord as well, but to those who knew him, the title Lord barely registered as i...
  • Gordon
    A lot to like here but some differences. For one, money emphatically IS fuel. (It’s also a lubricant but that’s less interesting.) For example, the ...