Tag Archives: iain dale

Listen to Wendy Chamberlain on being Chief Whip, and less exciting topics

Our Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain, has been talking with Iain Dale.

Wendy talks about her role as Chief Whip and how she tried to keep the Parliamentary team in line, especially during Covid. Iain Dale also asked her about her childhood in Greenock and her career in the police – and her love of shinty.

She then discusses her entry into politics, with the added complication that her husband is a member of the SNP. Fortunately, their differences on Scottish Independence don’t seem to have undermined their marriage.

Wendy became an MP within four years of joining the Liberal Democrats. They chat about her predecessor in North East Fife, Stephen Gethins, for whom both have a lot of respect.

I do genuinely believe that it is an enormous privilege to be elected as an MP to represent somewhere. The day you forget that is the day you potentially start to lose your reason for being there.

Iain Dale asked her about the challenges of “juggling so many balls” – the constituency, the Commons and specific party roles. She said:

There’s no doubt that being the Whip means that I am predominantly in Westminster from Monday to Thursday as well as being a Scottish MP –  which means that once I’m here I’m here so it’s not like you can just pop up the road. So, yes, it does potentially limit your time and I try to keep Sunday as a family day, but the reality is that media requests, looking at what we are doing the next day and all those kind of things …

Worth a listen.

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Layla Moran to appear with Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith in Bournemouth

Layla Moran MP will be the special guest star on Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith’s Lib Dem stop on their tour of Party Conferences.

The LBC Presenter and former Labour Home Secretary host a weekly podcast, For the Many, which is for me an unmissable hour of politics and outrageous filth. The live shows are a bit tamer. The presence of an audience is usually enough to remind them that someone else is actually listening.  Usually.

As many of you will be planning your Conference diaries in the next few days, make sure you include this show. It is bound to be hilarious. It’s happening on the Sunday night of Conference between 7 and 9 pm at Canvas, 24 Poole Hill, Bournemouth. You can get tickets here.

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LISTEN: Ed Davey on For the Many Live at Edinburgh

Ed Davey’s appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe is now available online.

He talked to Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith for their For the Many podcast.

Ed was in cracking form, very funny, bright and relaxed.

He came on stage while Iain and Jacqui were having a bit of a barney about women’s football. I had tweeted Jacqui after Iain told Harriet Harman that one thing that men could do better than women was play football. She got a lot of mileage out of that over the various shows. Anyway,  Ed was full of support for the Lionesses.

Jacqui then challenged Ed to come up with an act of heroism after Keir Starmer helped find a dog while he was on holiday in the Lake District. She might not have been expecting him to come up with an actual example, but he did rescue a woman from the path of an oncoming train.

Jacqui challenged him to get Iain Dale, who has said multiple times that he’s not sure who to vote for at the next General Election, to commit to voting Lib Dem. Ed is smarter than to fall for that trap, and, while he outlined lots of good reasons to vote Lib Dem, he recognised we might not gain Iain’s support.

Iain challenged him on why our national polling isn’t reflecting our by-election success. He pointed to local election success and the fact that we were talking to people about the issues they cared about.

His top task, he said, is to get the Conservatives out of Government.

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Review: Vince Cable at the Edinburgh Festival

Our Glorious Former Leader, Vince Cable, came to Edinburgh yesterday to talk to Iain Dale. It was great to see him for the first time Bournemouth  Conference in 2019. He looks well and hasn’t aged even now he’s turned 80.

There was a time when our press office held its breath whenever he came to Scotland. I remember one Conference in particular, ahead of the independence referendum where he said something that wasn’t quite our line which the press and the SNP made hay with. Today, he could not have been more on message, praising what Ed Davey was doing in terms of building the party’s infrastructure and campaigning capacity.

Talking of Ed, he’s going to be here on Saturday at 4 pm, talking to Iain and his For the Many partner Jacqui Smith. You can get tickets here. If you haven’t listened to this podcast, do, it is bloody hilarious and you need it in your life. And if you are going on Saturday, get in touch with me ([email protected]) and I’ll let you know where we are meeting beforehand.

Iain started by asking him about his time as a Labour Councillor in Glasgow in the 1970s. Vince described how he was chief whip at a time when corruption was rife, and four of his group ended up in Barlinnie. He left for the SDP and has never felt  tempted by Keir Starmer’s Labour who are not offering anything positive. He criticised Wes Streeting for saying that it is better to offer no hope than false hope and thinks that they should be doing more to inspire people.

Education, he says, should be the priority at the next election, rather than the NHS. The Tories have failed so comprehensively on it and it desperately needs investment to improve attainment.

He reckoned that there was not much chance of us going into coalition after the next election. We would be heavily outnumbered, and the party would be reluctant to go there again.

Iain asked him if he was “pissed off “that he was seen as too old to go for leader back in 2006. He was, but he accepted the mood to hand power to the next generation

He talked about the coalition years, saying that he winced along with many of us at the Rose Garden scenes.  He says he’s probably the last man standing, though, who thinks that we were right to go in to the coalition and reeled off a long list of things that we had done,  the Green Investment Bank, the industrial strategy, investing in children from deprived backgrounds in school.

He vigorously defended privatisation of Royal Mail saying it was the only option to enble it to modernise as it wasn’t allowed to borrow.  He blamed the union for not co-operating. Iain pushed back on him as he thought the union leader was pretty reasonable from his interviews with him on LBC but Vince said that if they had co-operated, the privatisation would have brought in more money for the taxpayer. He also said that the most recent problems within Royal Mail were the result of bad management rather than the privatisation.

He considered resigning several times during the coalition years – over the  sting when he said some inappropriate things about the BSkyB takeover, when cuts started to hit his department, particularly in the further education sector and  towards the end when it was all going wrong.

He talked about his time as leader and the stroke which led to him stepping down. While he made a full recovery, he decided to stay quiet about it at the time in case it was seen as s sign of weakness.

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Kicking off the weekend

Welcome to the first proper weekend of the Summer holidays,  in England at least. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, we’re about half way through.

Powys Lib Dems help low-income families during Summer holidays

For many of us, it’s a chance to relax and unwind with our families. For others, it can be an incredibly stressful time. For parents on low incomes, the Summer holidays can be a nightmare. In Powys, Liberal Democrats have helped a bit with that, as we reported earlier in the week, by finding the money to continue the vouchers for families entitled to free school meals in their area. It was shocking that the Welsh Government scrapped the scheme introduced by our Kirsty Williams when she was Education Minister.

Labour is doing its best to kick struggling low income families in the teeth with Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour would not get rid of the two child limit on benefit claims. He’s got himself in hot water with his own party. I have to say that if I had been a single mother with 3 kids in Uxbridge,  struggling to pay the bills, I’d not have been inclined to go out and vote Labour on Thursday. They can blame ULEZ all they like for their narrow defeat, but could they have won if they had had anything hopeful to say to people living in poverty?

Somerton and Frome shout-outs

Of course, it’s always great to wake up on the Saturday after a glorious by-election win. The heroes of the campaign have, I hope, managed to get some sleep. A huge shout out to Paul Trollope, whose arrival in Somerset within 24 hours of the by-election being a reality got the short campaign off to a flying start. Ruth Younger, match fit from 3 by-elections already helped deliver Sarah Dyke’s victory yesterday.

I suspect all of the staff involved had plans for the Summer which probably involved getting some r and r before the build up to a General Election year. For the fourth time in two years, they mobilised and delivered a cracking campaign so well done to all of them.

And to everyone who travelled there, including the fair few who went from Scotland, a massive thank you.

One group of people who don’t often get thanked are the volunteers who host the Maraphones. Richard Huzzey, Jacquie Gammon, Stephanie Ouzman and Hannah Perkin have been running these events at least 4 days a week since June. On polling day, they were joined by Federal Conference Committee Chair Nick Da Costa who just popped in to make calls but ended up pulling a 12 hour shift as a host to help with the many people who joined in the event. Thousands of calls were made during the maraphones, to voters and to members to encourage them to go, which is crucial in the early days of the campaign to build momentum.

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Want to know who Ed Davey would snog, marry and avoid?

Ed Davey is heading to Edinburgh on Saturday 12th August to take part in the For the Many Podcast with Iain Dale and former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Tickets, which cost £17, are selling fast, so don’t miss your chance by snapping them up here.

I hope he knows what he is letting himself in for as these shows can be quite the wild ride with a generous helping of smut and comedy alongside the politics. There’s usually a bit of snog, marry, avoid and in the most recent live show, outgoing Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price was asked which politicians he would like to see on Naked Attraction. There are some questions to which “none” is the only acceptable answer. To be fair, the live shows are usually less lurid than the weekly episodes, the audience providing a reminder that someone else is actually listening.

I reckon our Ed will handle himself pretty well as long as he realises that there are few boundaries. He is, I think, much better at these sorts of informal events than at the big set piece speeches.

For the Many has been going since 2017 and, if my calculations are correct, will hit its 400th episode during its Edinburgh run. I started listening to it by accident just before Christmas last year and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Since, I’ve gone back to listen to some of the episodes covering Brexit, Covid and the ongoing Tory psychodrama. As you would expect, Lib Dems don’t usually get the credit we deserve in their analysis so I generally fall asleep during the serious bits and wake up in fits of rib-breaking laughter at some of the outrageous filth they come out with.

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Iain Dale to quiz party president candidates TONIGHT on LBC

Christine Jardine and Mark Pack will face broadcaster Iain Dale on LBC in just over half an hour’s time.

Listen live here.

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Layla: I’m thinking of standing for leader..

We know that there is going to be a leadership election at some point in the not too distant future. Vince said as much last year when he launched his plans for a supporters scheme.

He said:

Once Brexit is resolved or stopped, that will be the time to conduct a leadership election under the new rules.

Those new rules will be voted upon by the York Conference next month.

We’re not going to get a leadership election imminently and of course nobody has yet announced their candidacy. But we can make an educated guess about likely front-runners.

In 2017, both Ed Davey and Jo Swinson decided against standing.  It’s interesting that they have joint billing with Vince at the Conference rally in York. Or maybe that’s down to Federal Conference Committee’s diplomatic skills.

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A must read: The Honourable Ladies Volume 1

I have a new incentive for rewarding myself for completing tasks. An item on my to-do list gets done and I get to read another entry in a wonderful new book edited by Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith which tells us about every woman MP from 1918-1996. It’s a real treasure trove which covers the battles women have fought over the past century for equal pay, against discrimination, for childcare, for rights in the workplace – for things even as fundamental as the right to continue working after marriage or to have your own bank account.

The Honourable Ladies’ profiles are written by women MPs and commentators with a few Liberal Democrats involved. Baroness Liz Barker wrote about Vera Terrington, who was Liberal MP for Wycombe from 1922-24, championing housing, women’s rights and animal welfare.

Jo Swinson wrote about an earlier young MP for East Dunbartonshire, Margaret Ewing, who went on to represent Moray. Her generous portrait makes you want to find out more.

In her profile of Megan Lloyd-George, Kirsty Williams tells about the radical Liberal who felt that the party left her and who joined Labour, about her independent spirit and the solidarity she found with other women – mirroring cross-party solidarity between women across politics that we find today.

Other Lib Dem contributors include Caroline Pidgeon, Lynne Featherstone, Olly Grender, Julia Goldsworthy, Kirsty Williams, Susan Kramer and Alison Suttie.

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Trump could be a good thing

What were you doing when Donald J Trump became the 45th President of the United States?

I was walking my dog. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it live. I just don’t know enough swear words.

Tim Farron wasn’t watching it either.

He made a video, though. And it was pretty uplifting.

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Tim Farron doing LBC phone in at 6pm tonight

Tim Farron will be taking calls from listeners on Iain Dale’s LBC show this evening. As the Tories and Labour seem to linking arms and heading off to Hard Brexit land together, Tim will know doubt be showing off what a proper opposition leader does.

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On Iain Dale’s Top 50 Liberal Democrats list

Over the weekend, political blogger and LBC presenter Iain Dale unveiled his list of Top Liberal Democrats in 2016.  It is generally viewed with amusement by conference-goers. While it may give people bragging rights over certain of their colleagues, it is fairly arbitrary in nature.

I was particularly happy to see some of the most energetic campaigners our party has make it on to the list. Daisy Benson has been a massive factor in galvanising the Lib Dem Newbies into quite a force within the party. Former Presidential candidate and now PPC for St Albans Daisy Cooper is another welcome addition. What is absolutely astounding, though, is that Elains Bagshaw, who has made a name for herself with her incredible campaigning in Tower Hamlets, isn’t there.

Annoyingly, Willie Rennie has leapfrogged Kirsty Williams. He has certainly had a good year with his vibrant and bright election campaign, but Kirsty, for goodness sake, is a Cabinet Minister. Along with Lib Dem Council leaders, she has much more actual power than just about anyone else. 

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Lynne Featherstone’s “Equal ever after” is out now – how same sex marriage became a reality (with added Lib Dem flouncing)

Lynne Featherstone Equal Ever AfterLast night, at a glitzy party, Lynne Featherstone’s book, Equal ever after was launched. In it she tells the story of  her crusade as Equalities Minister to deliver same sex marriage.

The launch was attended by Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson, Julian Huppert and many, many more. Sadly, I wasn’t there, even though I was in London. I was at a meeting of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee instead.

You have to wonder what position Jo Swinson was in when she took this:

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More influential than the Liberal Democrat chief executive, 2 former cabinet ministers and a Council leader Really?

One of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a long time came during our Conference in Bournemouth when Iain Dale published his list of the top 50 influential Liberal Democrats. I’ve been meaning to write about it for ages but never quite got round to it.

I, believe it or not, am at number 30, up 11 places from last year. This puts me above Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Council in charge of a budget of millions, 2 former Cabinet ministers, Ed Davey and Danny Alexander and the Chief Executive of the Party. You can perhaps see why I was laughing so much. Mr Dale clearly has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this party.

Iain’s list certainly reflected our departure from government, with Tim Farron and his key allies close to the top. There are 17 women and 33 men in a vaguely random order. He said himself:

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Praise for Lynne Featherstone from the newly-married Iain Dale

LBC Presenter, publisher and blogger Iain Dale and his husband John Simmons have recently converted their civil partnership to a marriage.

Iain wrote about the day they got married here.

He had some pretty fulsome praise for Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister who made it happen.

Finally, when we were sitting in the register office going through the paperwork I had a moment when I thought of Lynne Featherstone. Lynne was the LibDem Home Office minister who, with the backing of Theresa May and David Cameron brought in the Equal Marriage Act. She lost her seat at the election, but she will always be able to look back and think that this was a real political achievement. Just as Roy Jenkins will be remembered for decriminalising homosexuality, she will forever be associated with equal marriage. I can think of worse political legacies. Most ministers go through their careers achieving very little. She set out to do something and had the political courage and nouse to see it through.

Cheers Lynne.

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LBC Women’s Debate: Lynne Featherstone gets Harriet Harman to admit she’s “happy” with Rachel Reeves’ plans to be tougher than Tories on benefits claimants

Last night’s 90 minute LBC women’s debate was, on the whole, well-mannered, informative and a billion times better than anything Michael Fallon had had to say.

Lynne Featherstone was our representative,  Nicky Morgan represented the Tories, Diane James UKIP and Harriet Harman was there for Labour.

I liked the 5 minute “Ask me Anything” segments where each candidate had to ask questions of the others. If I’m going to criticise, some of the questions were too long. If you are going to ask an awkward question, make it brief and make your opponent squirm for longer. Harriet Harman did keep her question brief, though – she asked Lynne which thing that Labour did in government did she like most and which thing she’d voted for in the Coalition had made her feel most uncomfortable. Lynne praised Labour’s Equality Act and said the Bedroom Tax was the most difficult thing. She did remind Harriet that it was Labour who had introduced the principle into the benefit system. She added that Liberal Democrats had had to hold their nose and vote for things that they didn’t like, but we’d always made them better than they would have been.

When the tables were reversed, Lynne asked Harriet whether she agreed with Rachel Reeves’ comments  that Labour would be tougher than the Tories on benefits claimants. Iain Dale emphasised Lynne’s point by saying to Harman that she must have winced at that. But when reminded of Reeves’ comments, she said

If that’s what she said, I’m happy to go along with that. She’s absolutely excellent and she sees things as I do.

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Iain Dale to host political fundraiser for Lynne Featherstone

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsIain Dale, former Conservative candidate and blogger turned LBC Radio broadcaster, made the shock revelation this morning on his ConservativeHome diary:

Next week, shock horror, I’m doing another political fundraiser. Brace yourselves. It’s for Lynne Featherstone – yes, the Liberal Democrat MP. She’s a mate and did sterling work on equal marriage, so I’ve decided to do it – and hang the consequences. All I need now is to do one for a Labour and UKIP MP or candidate, and I will truly

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Tall and Lindsay make the Liberal Democrat “power list”

The  Times (£) today publishes its list of the Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats which has been compiled by blogger turned LBC presenter Iain Dale. This site’s two co-editors and our Associate Editor are both in it.

At 33, Stephen Tall is described thus:

Last year Tall replaced Mark Pack as co-editor of the hugely successful Liberal Democrat Voice, the must-read site for party activists. A research associate at CentreForum, he is usually more at home with the politics of David Laws than of Simon Hughes, but rarely picks factional fights as a critical friend of the party who prefers to talk up its achievements rather than knock them down.

This is all fine except its not accurate that he replaced Mark Pack. They worked together for several years.

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Paddy: Clegg “has had 17 buckets of s**t dumped over his head by the right-wing press”

Paddy Ashdown talks on "The global power shift" in Brussels March 1st 2012 -  Some rights reserved by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE That’s the rather striking quote from Paddy Ashdown in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC radio. Here’s how the Herald reported it:

Speaking to LBC radio’s Iain Dale, Lord Ashdown insisted the party’s dismal poll ratings would recover as the “true Nick Clegg” was revealed to voters.

“The right-wing press in this country detest the coalition – detest it,” he said.

“If they want to destroy the coalition, what they do is

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On Sarah Wollaston’s naming and shaming in The Times of “very aggressive male bloggers”

sarah wollastonBlogging is back in the headlines again today. Dr Sarah Wollaston, the feistily independent Conservative MP for Totnes, has hit back at those online critics who denounced her role in the trial of her fellow Tory, Nigel Evans, acquitted this week on all charges of sexual assault and one of rape.

In an interview with The Times, Dr Wollaston was keen to stress that she was in no way challenging the verdict in the case, adding that she empathised with Mr Evans and his ordeal. She confessed, however, that the

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Liberal Conspiracy is dead – and so too’s the amateur blogger (more or less)

Sunny Hundal announced on Friday that left-of-centre blog Liberal Conspiracy is coming to an end:

I no longer have the time to maintain Liberal Conspiracy as a daily-updated news and opinion blog, so as of today I’m going to stop. This site will become an occasionally updated personal blog, with the odd guest-post.

It’s fair to say LibCon received an underwhelmed response from Lib Dems when it was launched six years ago, mostly on account of it including the word Liberal in its title but not so much in its outlook. Sunny himself was sport enough to respond to

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Iain Dale accepts police caution for assault on anti-nukes protestor

iain dale no nukesOn Tuesday, Conservative blogger, publisher and LBC radio presenter Iain Dale hit the headlines when he took on anti-nukes protestor Stuart Holmes, who’d annoyed him by insistently trying to get in shot while ITV’s Daybreak programme interviewed his latest high-profile author, Damian McBride. (See Iain Dale unilaterally disarms anti-nukes protester in front of TV cameras.) Iain immediately blogged his justification, but after the police became involved, he decided to apologise and has today accepted a police caution. He’s now issued a Statement and Apology, …

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LDVideo: Iain Dale unilaterally disarms anti-nukes protester in front of TV cameras

Don’t mess with Dale! And definitely not when he’s in protective publisher mode and wants to ensure a hassle-free interview for his latest political author, Damian McBride. Just a still photo and the link to the video for now, but it’s bound to be on YouTube soon enough…

iain dale no nukes

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Bob Worcester forecasts Lib Dems to be reduced to 24 seats in 2015. I’ll run naked down Whitehall if that’s the result.

At a conference fringe meeting on Monday evening, the pollster’s pollster Bob Worcester, MORI’s founder, made a forecast of how many seats the Lib Dems will win at the 2015 election: 24.

His prediction was based on current polling which he’d fed into the Electoral Calculus website and implied the number should be 17. His slightly higher punt allows for known Lib Dem strengths, such as our MPs’ habit of holding on tight in seats we win through sheer Stakhonovite grit.

Forecasting the next election is a bit of a mug’s game, as the Coalition means there’s no past precedent to …

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Helen Duffett and Stephen Tall among “most influential” Liberal Democrats

Yesterday afternoon the Telegraph published the first part of Iain Dale’s annual list of the 50 most influential Liberal Democrats. It contained two members of the Liberal Democrat Voice team.

First, a new entry at number 49 for our associate editor Helen Duffett:

Helen Duffett acts as a bridge between the party establishment and the membership. She is credited with a huge improvement in the effectiveness and relevance of party communications. As Honorary President of Liberal Youth, Associate Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and host of regular online Q&A sessions with Lib Dem Ministers, she is, unlike most messengers, widely liked

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LDVideo: Nick Clegg Entschuldigt Sich

I suspect Nick Clegg may well have had enough of spoof videos by now. But on the off-chance he hasn’t, LBC’s Iain Dale has re-worked that famous clip from Downfall… almost affectionately, I think. Judge for yourselves:

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Telegraph’s annual list of 50 most influential Liberal Democrats is out…

It’s Liberal Democrat conference, so it’s time for the latest Iain Dale / Daily Telegraph list of the 50 most influential Liberal Democrats. Of course our interest in covering the story on Lib Dem Voice is in no way related to two of the team appearing in the list…

In less than shocking news, Nick Clegg still tops the list at #1. Up to #2 is Vince Cable, followed by Tim Farron, Danny Alexander and then Nick Clegg’s Chief of Staff (and former double winning general election agent) Jonathan Oates.

Going further down the rankings finds the double blogger appearances:

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The Bigger Book of Boris: lots of jokes, not much politics

One of the questions that ambitious politicians often struggle to answer safely is, “Do you want to be leader of your party / Prime Minister?” Answer ‘yes’ in some form and journalists will line up to write stories about party splits, pending leadership challenges and the like. Answer ‘no’ and many will not believe you – whilst also quietly filing away the answer to quote back at the politician at an embarrassing later date.

The Bigger Book of Boris (an expanded version of the earlier Little Book of Boris) shows Boris Johnson’s political skill with humour in his answer to this question. …

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Someone likes Liberal Democrat conference…

Over on Dale & Co Gareth Knight writes:

Any Conservative, including Iain Dale who attends the Liberal Democrat conference, remarks how impressed they are with the mere fact the conference is where party members openly and robustly confer on policy. The exhibition stands at the Liberal Democrat conference include dozens of party groups as well as the recent deluge of large companies and organisations desperate to suck up to the party they’ve proudly ignored until now. The agenda for conference is focused on policy papers with speeches for and against where the party leadership will frequently get involved in the

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Top 50 most influential Lib Dems (according to Iain Dale)

In what has become a regular of party conference season, the Daily Telegraph has published a list of the 50 most influential Liberal Democrats assembled by “Iain Dale, Brian Brivati and a team of Liberal Democrat insiders”:

As one MP put it, the year has been “about the rise of the left”. Confidence in the party outside Westminster has grown even as polling numbers remained minimal. Liberal Democrats seem to have discovered that even in government the world does not end if you disagree. And this has given rise to a new breed of rebel, personified in Tim Fallon, Lib

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