Tag Archives: greg mulholland

Pub protection: The Casked Crusader strikes again

Ten days ago, pubs in England unexpectedly won the right to planning protection, as the Government conceded the closing of a loophole that has allowed many good pubs to be converted into convenience stores without needing planning permission.

The news was released by Planning Minister Gavin Barwell to Lib Dem Pub Champion Greg Mulholland, whose record in championing pubs has led him to be hailed as ‘The Casked Crusader’ by none other than the Sun newspaper, and loathed by lobbyists for the under-fire pubcos the BBPA.  Most notably he has led the campaign for a statutory Pubs Code and Adjudicator for tied pub tenants, delivered by Vince Cable and Jo Swinson in Government and defeating the Coalition Government in the process to secure ‘Mulholland’s Law’.
After falling victim to an orchestrated Labour coup to oust him as Chair of the All-Party Save The Pub Group, Greg has continued to press for relief from business rate increases (alongside PPCs Kelly-Marie Blundell and Daisy Cooper), for a Pubs Code in Scotland where tied tenants have no such protection, and for planning reform.  He also continues to fight for better working of the Pubs Code and a change of Adjudicator after the current Government appointed someone accused of inaction and serious conflicts of interest.

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Lamb and Mulholland to abstain on Article 50 vote – what does this mean for the party?

In news which should surprise nobody, both Norman Lamb and Greg Mulholland have said today that they will be abstaining rather than voting against the Article 50 Bill.

The three-line whip tells MPs to vote against if there is no referendum on the final deal with an option to remain in the EU.

Greg Mulholland explained his decision to the Yorkshire Post:

“The outcome of these negotiations is hugely important to the British economy… So I support there being a referendum on the terms of exit so the British people are the ones who decide what our relationship with these nations will be,” he said. ” as I have made clear, including to constituents, I do think that these negotiations should be allowed to commence and that I would not block them doing so, so I will not be voting against Article 50. “What is crucial is that all MPs scrutinise the progress of the negotiations and continue to push the Government to ensure British businesses have access to the biggest market in the world. “I will support sensible amendments to the Bill to ensure the Government does keep Parliament and the British people informed, that our NHS is protected and that British businesses do continue to be allowed to trade with European nations without damaging and costly tariffs and barriers that would harm them and the British economy. I also believe that we should seek to agree that British people living on the continent should be allowed to stay and that EU workers who moved here because we were part of the EU should also be permitted to stay and contribute to our economy and public services.”

Norman wrote about his decision in an article on his website

I fully believe that Remain voters and politicians across all parties must play a key role in influencing negotiations, to ensure that we avoid the damage to the economy and the country’s international status that a Hard Brexit would bring. My personal preference is for the Government to fight for full access to, and preferably membership of, the Single Market, and I will continue, alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues, to seek to achieve this. I continue to give my full support to Open Britain’s campaign “to keep Britain tolerant, inclusive and open to Europe and the world”.

The Liberal Democrats are united in our opposition to a damaging hard Brexit, united on the Single Market, and united in our determination to make sure the British people have the final say over the final Brexit deal. I fully support our leader Tim Farron and my colleagues inside and outside parliament in campaigning for these outcomes.

However, I have already committed, in public, not to block the triggering of Article 50. It’s no secret that I have an honest disagreement with the party’s position to vote against the triggering of Article 50 unless the Government guarantees a referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal. Given the vote of the British people on June 23rd, I am not prepared to vote to block the triggering of Article 50 when the bill is brought before Parliament.

Irrespective of my views of the outcome of the referendum, there is a democratic principle at stake, and I feel very strongly about this. When we voted to hold the referendum, we did not set out any preconditions for triggering Article 50, in the event of a vote to leave the EU. I do not see how we can introduce them now. I have therefore made the difficult decision to abstain on this vote.

No Liberal Democrat MP will vote to trigger Article 50

So what does this mean for the party?

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Greg Mulholland wins award from road safety charity

Greg MulhollandLeeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has won the charity Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award for his campaign for justice for victims of criminal driving.

From the Yorkshire Post:

Mr Mulholland said: “I am very honoured to have been named Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Year. For many years now, I have worked with Brake and its fantastic staff, who have been very supportive of my campaign to get better justice for victims and families of criminal driving.

“It has also been a real pleasure to have worked with families and campaigners determined to get that justice. This award represents the work that we have all done together, and no doubt we will continue campaigning until we get the changes that we need to see. Until we get there, I look forward to continuing to work with Brake, so a huge thank you for this award.”

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Rare diseases are not so rare, but are rarely well-researched

rare-disease-day-logoYesterday was Rare Disease Day, although I missed the opportunity to write about it here. It does happen every year, in spite of it being on Leap Day this time.

But the report today that linked the Zika virus to an increased risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome has brought rare diseases back into the limelight. Rare diseases and disorders are defined as those which affect fewer than 1 in 2000 people, and there are over 6000 conditions that qualify.

And, counter-intuitively, a lot of people do suffer from rare diseases, just because there are so many of them. It is estimated that 3.5 million people in the UK have a rare disease, and half of them are children.

Eric Avebury was a great champion of rare diseases, and I enjoyed some stimulating email conversations with him about it after he wrote this post. He suffered, and eventually died from, a rare form of leukemia, which must have sparked his interest in rare diseases, although he was such a wonderful campaigner for all sorts of minority issues, from caste to gay asylum seekers.

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Greg Mulholland wins road safety award

Grea Mulholland has won a road safety award for his campaign to get a better deal for families of people killed in car accidents.

He won named Parliamentarian of the Month by the road safety charity Brake.

From the Bradford Telegraph:

Mr Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) presented his Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons on January 12. It was backed by 31 MPs and will next be heard on March 11.

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Mulholland accuses pubcos on cask ale

The Casked CrusaderWe know that Greg Mulholland valiantly stands up to the big pubcos and was part of a very successful move to give tenants more rights which resulted in one of the few Commons Government defeats of the last Parliament.

In yesterday’s Times (£), he accused the pubcos of passing on costs of duty to their tenants that they didn’t have to pay themselves.

The Lib Dem MP for Leeds North West believes that the pubcos are taking advantage of the agreement between HMRC and the brewers that duty need not be paid on, for example, four to six pints in a firkin containing 72 pints of ale.

He said that some pubcos were routinely charging their tied tenants for the full 72 pints, including the duty element, taking no account of the “undrinkable” portion. The recharging of duty on ale on which no duty had been paid was “potentially a criminal matter”.

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Liberal Democrat MPs explain Syria vote

We heard from Nick Clegg on Sky News last night and Tim Farron has written and talked about why he’s decided to support Syrian airstrkes.

Other MPs have been explaining their thinking. As we find them, we’ll put them up on this post.It’s going to be a bit of a marathon read, but worth having all the rationale in one place.

Alistair Carmichael

You will have seen it reported in the press and media this morning that Liberal Democrat MPs will support the motion in the House of Commons today to extend to areas of Syria our current military involvement against ISIL/Da’esh in Iraq. I want to explain why, after lengthy discussion and deliberation, we have reached this decision and why I will support it.

Decisions of this sort are never easy and this has been the most difficult one that I have ever known. I certainly do not share David Cameron’s reported view that those who oppose intervention are “terrorist sympathisers”. This is an issue on which we have all had to come to our own conclusions and for many of us it has been an enormously difficult process. I know no one, inside parliament or not, who has approached this from anything other than a position of good faith and I respect completely those who have reached a different conclusion from mine.

By comparison the decision to oppose war in Iraq was simple by comparison – it was clearly illegal and it was difficult to identify what the British interest in intervention was.

Recognising that some of the problems we are dealing with today have their roots in that disastrous misadventure, we should be quite clear about why this is a different conflict with different issues.

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Greg Mulholland’s Fair Deal for your local campaign shortlisted for PR Week Award

The Casked CrusaderYou know us! Any excuse to use this photograph.

This isn’t entirely gratuitous, because the Casked Crusader Greg Mulholland’s successful Fair Deal for your local campaign has been shortlisted for an award, in the Public Affairs category of the PR Week Awards.

The Wharfedale Observer has the story:

The campaign, backed by ten industry groups, culminated in a Parliamentary victory last year when a bill amendment was added to ensure licensees would have the right to independent rent assessments.

PR Week, one of the main publications in the campaigning and lobbying sector, has now chosen the Fair Deal scheme as one of the Public Affairs category finalists for its annual awards.

Mr Mulholland said: “It is a huge honour for us to be nominated for such a major national award and make it on to the shortlist.

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Greg Mulholland’s row with the Speaker – the obvious solution

Yesterday, Leeds MP Greg Mulholland tried to ask a question about the availability of a drug to treat a constituent’s rare disease – and was prevented from doing so by the Speaker for being “long-winded.”  ITV News has the story:

Speaker John Bercow had warned Mr Mulholland to be quick in his statement but after referring to missed decision dates given to families by health authorities, the Lib Dem was told to resume his seat.

Six-year-old Sam Brown from Otley. Sam, who has Morquio syndrome needs Vimazim treatment, mentioned by Mr Mulholland, but NHS England deferred a decision over whether to provide the drug, then last week announced it would wait for guidance from NICE, the health body consulting on the drug.

There is a video of the exchange on the ITV site and, to be honest, I’m quite annoyed with John Bercow. Greg was no more long-winded than many of the other questions that day – Hansard has the details so you can see for yourself. All Greg had said before he was interrupted was this:

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LibLink: Greg Mulholland MP: Drugs for ultra-rare diseases

Yesterday, Greg Mulholland held a Westminster Hall debate after constituents told him that the provision of drugs for their son was under threat because he has a very rare condition. You can read the transcript here.

People with rare conditions not only have to fight their illness, but also, because it’s rare, there is unlikely to be much in the way of research. Friends of mine have raised tens of thousands of pounds for research and to support other families after their baby son died of a rare neurological condition. Another friend set up a charity that brings together sufferers of her daughter’s rare disease from around the world every year and has worked to bring together specialists from various parts of the world.

There are huge question marks over funding for drugs for rare conditions after NHS England’s system was found to be discriminatory. Greg wrote for Politics Home explaining the issues and setting out what he wants the minister to do:

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In full: Lib Dem MPs’ Commons tributes to Kennedy

We’ve already posted the video of the tributes to Charles Kennedy from the Commons on Wednesday and we’ve also posted Nick’s in full. We thought it might be useful to put the text of all five of the Lib Dem tributes, including Nick’s, in one post for ease of reference and posterity. They all did Charles proud. Greg and Mark talked about the way he really connected with ordinary people and about his concern for others. Norman spoke about his unfailing courtesy in his dealings with people, highlighting the need to tackle the stigma around mental ill health and emphasising Charles’ passions for internationalism and social justice. Tim’s emotional tribute spoke about Charles the persuader, how he could change minds and really tug on the heartstrings. Nick’s was just beautiful, and I particularly liked the memory he shared about their fly smoke outside the National Liberal Club where they discussed the Coalition. In years to come, I hope that Charles’ son and those who were close to him find great comfort and pride. To be universally admired in our tribal politics takes some doing.

I guess I should advise that if you are going to read all five of them in one sitting, you will need a cup of tea and a box of tissues.

So, here they all are, starting with:

Greg Mulholland

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Greg Mulholland: “We beat the British establishment”

The Casked CrusaderWe will never miss an opportunity to show off this amazing photograph from the Sun showing Greg Mulholland as the Casked Crusader, the guy who did more than anyone else in the last Parliament to help publicans by campaigning for them to have more power against exploitative measures by large pubcos.

There is an argument that anyone who likes going to the pub in Leeds North West needs to vote for Greg. In fact, there’s an argument that anyone who likes going to the pub should vote Liberal Democrat given the valiant work by Jo Swinson and Vince Cable in the face of strong Tory opposition.

Greg has written for the Publicans’ Morning Advertiser about the things he and the Liberal Democrats have been able to achieve and the mountains they had to climb to do it.

The Parliament started well, but then reform plans hit troubled Tory waters with a u-turn on plans to regulate the industry.

Diligent research by Greg and his colleagues got the issue back on the political agenda and a long campaign finally led to that amazing victory last November.  Greg says:

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Leeds North West Labour candidate Alex Sobel has to make second apology for untrue campaign statements

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. What’s important is that you learn from them. And when political opponents make mistakes, there are times when you need to show a bit of understanding and “there but for the grace of God go I” attitude. Election campaigns are fraught and exhausting and those working on them make massive sacrifices. The chances of mistakes being made through sheer fatigue are quite high.

There are times, though, when a campaign doesn’t learn from its mistakes and it’s legitimate to point that out.

Alex Sobel, the Labour candidate in Leeds North West, has had to make two apologies in the last 10 days for putting out leaflets with two separate untrue statements on it.

The first time, Labour had to distribute 15000 copies of an apology to Liberal Democrat candidate and sitting MP Greg Mulholland for saying that he’d voted for a piece of legislation when he’d been on paternity leave. Greg Mulholland’s website has the details:

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Opinion: Pubs matter so why not protect them in planning law?

Today has seen the third House of Commons debate on pubs in less than three months: rather like the proverbial London Bus. But with the rate of pub closures in the UK still running at 29 a week, a marginal decline from 31 a year ago, communities’ cries for help have been coming along rather faster.  There is a growing issue with pubs being converted to supermarkets in particular.  With long-awaited reform of the industry grinding its way through the House of Lords (where the resistance of Tory peer and former pubco director Lord Hodgson, sometimes rather distasteful, is thankfully proving futile), the focus is now on planning.

The Coalition has for the first time recognised pubs as community assets in national planning law, albeit weakly, and has introduced the Assets of Community Value process which is starting to let a few communities buy their pubs.  A fortnight ago, Lib Dem Minister Stephen Williams announced some additional protection for communities who get pubs listed as an ACV by removing permitted development rights.  But an amendment by Conservative Charlotte Leslie MP, backed by Lib Dem Pub Champion Greg Mulholland, narrowly failed to remove the much-exploited loophole that allows pubcos to sell or lease pubs to Tesco (formerly) and the Co-Op (principally at present) for supermarket conversion that sees often successful pubs close forever.  That amendment reflected Lib Dem policy.

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All hail the Casked Crusader and his cross party supporters!

The Casked Crusader

Greg Mulholland and MPs from all parties should be toasted (in the drinks sense not the fork over the fire sense) in every pub in England tonight. Greg’s amendment to the Small Business Bill, giving pub landlords in tied houses the right to a fair rent, squeaked through the House of Commons by a margin of just 15 votes.

28 Liberal Democrats and 15 Tories defied the Government whips to pass the measure, overturning the Government’s usual majority of about 60. It’s a good, transformative liberal measure which takes power from large companies and gives it to struggling landlords. Gareth Epps deserves a whole heap of praise as well for his pretty tireless campaigning on the issue.

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Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland becomes first MP to play rugby for GB

Greg GB 3Greg Mulholland, Lib Dem MP for Leeds North, made a little bit of history last week:

On Saturday 12th July I had the huge honour of becoming the first MP to pull on the famous Great Britain white shirt with the red and blue ‘V’, and play for his country at rugby league. I was selected as part of the 20 man GB side who defeated Australia in the over 35s international in Warrington.

How did he get on? Well, you can find out over at the party’s Ad Lib

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Greg Mulholland MP writes…We made it! From the summit of Cotopaxi

Greg on CotopaxiThere could hardly be a greater contrast than the one I experienced recently- from the hustle and bustle of the local and European election campaigns to scaling volcanoes in Ecuador to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Battle Back Centre.

Our challenge to climb Cotopaxi, a 19,347ft active volcano, was almost derailed due to bad weather and the mountain being closed the days prior to our climb. However, our successful Cotopaxi summit attempt was carried out despite fresh snow and treacherous conditions; I knew this was the only chance to climb

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Greg Mulholland MP writes…Support my gruelling 20,000 ft climb to raise £10k for Royal British Legion rehabilitation centre

Cotopaxi in the clearAt the end of May, I am joining serving and former soldiers and two other MPs in trying to tackle one of the world’s highest volcanoes, Cotopaxi in Ecuador at 19,347 feet. I am taking on this tough challenge to raise awareness of the Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre, the national rehabilitation centre which provides adaptive sports and adventurous training for injured servicemen and women.

The Battle Back Centre helps achieve the best possible recovery and either return to service duty or make a smooth transition to …

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The ten most active MPs on Twitter are…

Courtesy of John Rentoul, news reaches us of a list of the ten most active MPs on Twitter in 2013.

top tweeters

Yes, it’s our Tim and our Julian at the top of the list, with an honourable mention for Greg Mulholland.

Tim has managed an incredible fifty tweets a day this year, and probably should avoid piers for a while. And for anyone out there who wonders, it is him, and not a staffer, as those of us who have discovered that, by mentioning Tim in a tweet, you …

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Tim Farron “set to vote against the “Bedroom Tax” while Swales, Mulholland, R Williams and Sanders table motion against it

From the Guardian‘s live politics blog (3:15)

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is set to vote against the government on the bedroom tax tonight, I’m told. A friend of Farron’s tells me: “Party conference in Glasgow expressed its will very strongly against the bedroom tax and so Tim is listening to party members and will probably be voting against the government tonight. Tim is the voice of the party members, they have expressed their view and Tim wants to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Here’s the motion on the bedroom tax that the Lib Dems passed at their party

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Teather, Swales and Mulholland urge Government to rethink Legal Aid proposals

Listening to the Commons debate, secured by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, I felt relieved that I live in Scotland where the measures don’t apply. The big issue that’s hit the headlines is the withdrawal of choice of solicitor, but there are many more problems with it including the one year residence test. As Sarah Teather pointed out, how would representation be secured for a baby who is the subject of care proceedings.

Sarah talked about the effect of the measures on refugees:

Were it not for the intervention of lawyers, many refugees would be homeless at the very time when the

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Greg Mulholland to propose “complete separation of state marriage and religious weddings”

Greg MulhollandLib Dem MP Greg Mulholland was one of seven Lib Dem MPs to abstain from the vote on same-sex marriage in February. He explained his reasons for doing so here:

I do agree unequivocally that all adults must be treated equally in terms of legal recognition of their relationship and the rights that they convey; the question is how best to deliver that at the same time as protecting freedom of conscience. These are two important rights and must both be delivered simultaneously. The problem is that as currently drafted, the Marriage Bill delivers neither of these. It is a confused and flawed piece of legislation that does not actually deliver equality as it proposes different definitions of marriage for heterosexual and same sex couples; nor does it sufficiently protect freedom of conscience for people with religious and other differing views of marriage. This is why I was unable to support the Bill at second reading, however nor did I want to vote against it or what would be misinterpreted as my being anti equal legal rights, which I am very clearly not.

Greg now has a proposal, though it’s far-reaching legislative changes may not be well-received at Westminster:

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Opinion: Why Greg Mulholland MP is wrong to criticise the NHS Medical Director

When I heard yesterday that the local MP had called for the NHS Medical Director to resign following his decision to suspend all paediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary I dismissed it as predictable populist rabble rousing in search of a good local headline. On realising it was our own Greg Mulholland I felt angry and ashamed. How could one of our MPs have got this so wrong? Or as Stephen Thornton, the Chief Executive of the Health Foundation put it last night, “How low will local MPs stoop? Why does ‘local’ always trump quality in their eyes”. Quite.

In …

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Greg Mulholland explains his abstention on equal marriage bill

Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, has put a lengthy statement on his website explaining why he abstained during last night’s vote on the Marriage (Same sex couples) Bill. He did not want to vote against as he supports equality, but he does not feel that the Bill, as currently drafted, delivers that.

He said:

I do agree unequivocally that all adults must be treated equally in terms of legal recognition of their relationship and the rights that they convey; the question is how best to deliver that at the same time as protecting freedom of conscience. These are

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Baroness Thomas writes… Getting Personal Independence Payments right

This afternoon the Department of Work and Pensions announces a significant change on the new Personal Independent Payments following significant Lib Dem pressure. Celia Thomas, the Lib Dem peer who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, explains why it’s a major win.

Getting the rules governing Personal Independence Payments right is vital. The new benefit, which will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance later this year, will have a huge effect on disabled people up and down the country.

I’m broadly in favour of the change to PIP, which seeks to clarify the eligibility of disabled people to this benefit, the purpose …

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In other news… Teather’s non-defection, Mulholland on beer price-fixing & MEPs on Irish abortion law

Sarah Teather Would Rather ‘Poke Her Eyes Out’ Than Join Labour (Huffington Post)

Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather would rather “poke her eyes out” than defect to the Labour Party despite being sacked from the government, according to the party’s chief enforcer. After the New Statesman noticed Teather had voted against the coalition plans to cap benefits, a policy she decried as “immoral and divisive”, rumours swirled that this meant she was about to defect to Labour. However the speculation was shut down by Lib Dem whip Alastair Carmichael, who tweeted: “I just asked her, says she would rather poke

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PMQs: Opposition leader asks: “Can I agree with the Prime Minister”?

2012’s first Prime Minister’s Questions started with a bit of a score draw about rail fares. It got rather heated as Ed Miliband said the government had allowed fares to go up by 11%. He said:

The last Labour government saw that the train companies were taking advantage of consumers…we took away that power from them

David Cameron retorted that:

The power (to increase fares well above inflation) was given to them to do that by the last Labour government.

Channel 4 News FactCheck, as usual,has an excellent analysis of this spat, concluding that they couldn’t give either men a “Fact” or “Fiction” …

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Ed Davey writes… Glass half full – or half empty?

My announcement last week on pubs hasn’t won me or the Government three cheers from the likes of CAMRA or Fair Pint. Yet I believe it is a notable success for tenants and lessees across the country – and time will prove it so.

For the pubcos have till Christmas to make their Codes of Practice legally binding – so tenants and lessees can enforce their rights – and they know that if they don’t, Parliament would be very happy to make it legally binding for them.

Coupled with the other reforms we negotiated from the pubcos and brewers, real change has …

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PMQs: Bits start to fall off Cameron’s wagon

After last week’s Miliband success at Prime Minister’s Questions, this time we started off with Ed Miliband in softly softly mode. He asked about Libya and the service chiefs’ concern about an extended campaign. Displaying a becoming measure of gravitas, he also asked whether the defence review should be revisited in the light of the “Arab Spring” which William Hague has described as more important than 9-11. That’s a good question given that the review didn’t mention Libya, Tunisia or Egypt.

David Cameron said he has been assured by the military grand fromage that we could keep the campaign going as …

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Greg Mulholland is first convenor of new Backbench Group

Greg Mulholland MP (Leeds North West) is the first convenor of the new Liberal Democrat Backbench Group. On being appointed he said,

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party has to work in a completely different environment than before and it is important that the voice of the Lib Dem backbenchers is heard.

We look forward to working constructively with Ministers and the Liberal Democrat leadership to make the government programme as positive as possible in these difficult times, as well as bringing a distinctively Liberal Democrat perspective to some debates.

Given the role of various Conservative backbench MP groupings in exerting pressure from their …

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