Tag Archives: john leech

Manchester: Your children are watching….

You certainly can’t accuse Lib Dems in Manchester of shirking in this election campaign.

The party hopes to build on its one councillor, former Withington MP John Leech, who has provided the sole opposition to Labour’s 95 councillors since his election in 2016.

They’ve produced a hard-hitting film highlighting the worst of Labour’s excesses and offering a better way forward for the city.

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What the Lib Dems offer Manchester

Manchester Liberal Democrats have launched their local elections manifesto. Details of their policies on subjects like homelessness,housiing,  refugees and schools follow.

The Liberal Democrats hope to make gains on the Labour-suffocated Council. Labour currently has 95/96 seats. The 96th is held by our own indefatigable John Leech, who was MP for Manchester Withington until 2015. There are all-up elections next Thursday.

John said of the manifesto:

Our campaign is about everyone and everything that makes Manchester the great city it is today; a strong local community, a celebration of diversity and non-conformity.

Liberal Democrats care passionately about our local communities because it’s where we live and it’s what we believe in. We will always put local people first and it’s about time our council did too.

On the 3rd May, we have a chance to elect a council that leads from the front; that cities around the world look up to; where we celebrate diversity, house the homeless, welcome the desperate and build a future for our children. But only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can break this one-party state and build that vision.

Key Pledges:
ON REFUGEES AND OUR MORAL DUTY:

  • Immediately develop plans to house 50 at-risk families from refugee camps. In the long-term, we will also investigate how best to house as many orphaned child refugees as possible.

ON EU CITIZENS:

  • Demand the Brexit secretary guarantee the rights of EU citizens and maintain our stance on a referendum on the Brexit deal.

ON TRANSPORT AND ROADS:

  • Use some of the estimated £50million Manchester Airport dividend to establish a SmartTransport Development Fund dedicated to offsetting heavy carbon transport.
  • Introduce for a young commuter’s price cap, so they never pay more than half the hourly living wage rate to commute to work.
  • Crackdown on lazy road re-surfacing.

ON HOUSING:

  • Demand all developments over 15 dwellings meet the 20% affordable quota, and where not economically viable, force the developer to contribute financially to the benefit of the local community.
  • Guarantee safe, affordable housing for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

ON HOMELESSNESS:

  • Launch an investigation into all emergency housing applications to make sure that no one slips through the net.
  • Use council-owned premises to house every rough sleeper in Manchester before approving any further city centre developments.
  • Provide an administration address to every homeless person so that they can take the first step in getting their life back on track – this means they can begin applying for jobs.
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Manchester Together – Liberal Democrats launch powerful campaign video

Manchester Liberal Democrats produced a campaign video for their Council election campaign. In 2016, former Lib Dem MP John Leech was elected as the only opposition councillor to Labour. That’s right, it was just him and 95 Labour councillors. He punched well above his weight, though, frequently exasperating the Council leadership by subjecting them to some serious scrutiny.

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Can you help elect April in May?

Two years ago, former Manchester Withington Lib Dem MP was elected as a Councillor in Manchester. Since then he has valiantly provided the only opposition to the under-achieving Labour Council. Seriously, this lot are as good an argument for PR as you are ever going to find.  They have a huge sense of entitlement to power and they really don’t like opposition which John has been providing in generous and disproportionate amounts. 

John is great but it would be amazing if he could have some support in the Council chamber.

Standing in the Withington ward this May are April Preston and Alex Warren. April is amazing and no stranger to challenging things that just aren’t right. She crowdfunded the money to pay for one of the best fringe meetings I’d ever been to at a Federal Conference on feminism in York two years ago.

The Withington team has set up a crowdfunder for their campaign and it’s raised £500 in just a few days. They say:

Withington Ward Liberal Democrats will strive to put community back into the Council and with your help we will be able to challenge officials that neglect our beloved city.

Our candidates in this year’s elections are: April Preston, and Alex Warren.

April Preston was the first spokesperson for Stockport Young Carers and has been passionate activist from the age of 10 and continues to campaign on a wide on a wide range of issues from mental health to children leaving care. April is also a is a trustee of Autistic Association of Greater Manchester, she has campaigned to repeal Section 28, and against the Iraq war. April has also argued against the council’s treatment of our homeless and chaired events fighting for a more diverse and tolerant society.

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John Leech slams Manchester Council on homelessness

Labour today have an opposition day debate on Universal Credit. They are rightly calling out the huge flaws in the system and the misery its botched implementation is causing.

What’s interesting is that they now accept that the principles behind Universal Credit – as an end to the poverty trap – were sound. It is the huge cuts post 2015 when the Tories were governing on their own, and the implementation which leaves people without money for six weeks as standard which must be stopped. They raise the issue of homelessness and evictions caused by Universal Credit, too.

Unfortunately, Labour’s council in …

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WATCH: John Leech’s story

See this fantastic video put together by John Leech’s team to celebrate the achievements of his career.

It showcases his tenacious support for a pardon for Alan Turing and other men convicted of homosexual acts and his audacious opposition to Manchester’s Labour council. It can’t be easy being the only opposition councillor in the room, but he gives them some grief and gets stuff done.

Enjoy!

In an email to supporters, John said:

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John Leech writes…Help save fire-rescue hero from deportation

If I asked you to imagine your ideal community, who and what would be in it? What kind of people would you choose to have as your neighbour? Would you want a neighbour who would be there in your moment of need – maybe even go as far as risking their life for you?

Well, you may have heard that just over a month ago, a resident here in Manchester did just that.

Robert Chilowa ran to the scene of a ferocious blaze engulfing a neighbour’s house after hearing screams of terror. He rescued two young children from the flames and assisted another who had broken her ankle in the disaster that had already claimed the lives of their grandparents. His heroic efforts were the only saving grace in an otherwise tragic event.

Now, I’ll take a pretty good guess that you’d want this man as your neighbour, right? Well, despite braving the devastating fire in Withington, rightly garnering national headlines, he has now been threatened with deportation.

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Manchester Labour don’t like Leech up them

Manchester’s Labour councillors are not used to opposition. They have had none (that’s no opposition councillors at all) for two years. All that changed on 5 May when former Liberal Democrat MP John Leech was elected for the Didsbury West ward.

At the first full Council meeting last week, John dared to ask a whole 8 questions of the Labour administration, and its leader was deeply unimpressed.

From the Manchester Gazette:

However, council leader Richard Leese, was quick to quieten down the opposition interrupting Councillor Leech’s supplementary question.

Leese sniped: “There is a right to ask a questions. Then there is a right to ask a supplementary question, not what appears to be half a dozen supplementary questions.”

Lease’s comment followed a series of questions from John Leech regarding services for recovering alcoholics. The Brian Hore Unit which supported people who had difficulties with alcohol, was recently closed.

Councillor Andrews – to whom Councillor Leech’s question was directed – could not answer, but he has promised to investigate and report back to the council when he knows more.

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Former MP Leech elected as Councillor

Former Manchester Withington MP John Leech has been elected as councillor for Didsbury ward. He will be the sole voice of opposition on Manchester City Council.

John said:

In 2005 I promised not to give up on the residents of Manchester Withington. I haven’t and I’m not going to. I will continue to fight for south Manchester as I always have done. I’m not going anywhere.

I couldn’t be happier to be back on the council and back in a position to help local residents.

Tim Farron said: 

John is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known and I am absolutely thrilled that his

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Tim Farron launches John Leech’s campaign to take on Labour in Manchester

John Leech and Tim FarronOn Monday night, Tim Farron went to Manchester to launch former MP John Leech’s campaign to win the Didsbury West Council ward in Manchester. The Lib Dems missed out by just 162 votes last May. The Labour Council is desperately in need of opposition. At the moment, Labour holds all the seats which is not a healthy situation in any democracy.

John was MP for Manchester Withington from 2005-15.

He told the packed meeting:

Fear has won where liberalism, hope and hard work has been trampled on by politics wreaked by division, complacency and the attitude of ‘that’ll do’. Well it doesn’t. It’s not good enough for me. And it’s not good enough for Manchester.

Nothing keeps me and the Liberal Democrats fighting more than an unjust system. And as long as residents in Manchester aren’t getting the best deal I’ll be here fighting and challenging that every step of the way.

I promised not to give up on the residents of Manchester Withington, and I’m not going to. I will continue to fight for south Manchester as I always have done. I’m not going anywhere.

We will rebuild. We will start making a difference again. We offer a fresh and strong voice on an often complacent council.

Tim Farron said in support of his friend:

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Safe standing at football grounds: “an idea whose time has come,” say Lib Dems

I can still remember my first ever live football match. It was a glamorous encounter between Everton and Newport County in the second round of the League Cup on 24th September 1986. A big part of what made it memorable was the electric atmosphere of the Gwladys Street stand at Goodison Park. I was nine, so everything seemed huge but the big scousers around me, shouting and cheering, made sure I could always get a good view of what was happening on the pitch.

I was reminded of all this by the headline in the The Mirror yesterday reporting Lib Dem plans to allow football clubs to introduce ‘safe standing’ areas at grounds:

mirror safe standing

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Ashcroft battlegrounds poll: Lib Dems set to lose four marginal seats to Labour

lib lab Labour Liberal Democrat logoThe second of Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft’s polls of Lib Dem marginal seats was published this week, focusing on four of our battlegrounds with Labour: Norwich South (held by Simon Wright), Bradford East (David Ward), Brent Central (Sarah Teather standing down, Ibrahim Taguri selected), and Manchester Withington (John Leech). Also included was Brighton Pavilion, which Caroline Lucas won for the Greens from Labour in 2010.

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Opinion: Merry Christmas, Mr Turing

Merry Christmas. What’s on your tree this year? Baubles? Tinsel? Some of that fake snow that looks a bit like candy floss and gets everywhere by New Year? Almost certainly some fairy lights.

However you decorate your Christmas tree, you would probably think it looked a bit bare if it only had the star on the top. You’d be right. Which is why, however big an achievement it is for those who have campaigned for it, I can only raise one-and-a-half cheers today at the news Alan Turing has at long last received a posthumous pardon for the conviction he received …

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Swinson argues against unpaid internships, Leech advertises for unpaid interns. Who’s right?

On the face of it, Liberal Democrats are sending out mixed messages on internships at the moment.

Jo Swinson, as employment minister, has been promoting the Government’s Pay and Rights helpline (0800 917 2368) and talking about it being appropriate to pay interns while John Leech’s office in Manchester is offering an unpaid internship proramme. This is in contrast to the party’s internship programme which is offering the National Minimum Wage.

Jo on Good Morning Scotland (from around 1:52 in) that she wanted to ensure that employers were not unwittingly or unintentionally doing the wrong thing and making sure that people …

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Alan Turing: is a pardon the best way to excuse our crime against him?

Alan_Turing_photoThe campaign to pardon Alan Turing, the father of computer science who was convicted for acts of homosexuality in 1952, troubles me.

I take as a given the good intentions of those Lib Dems such as Lord (John) Sharkey and Manchester MP John Leech who have led the calls in parliament. But I am struck by Matthew Parris’s words in today’s Times:

Why only Turing? Many, many tens of thousands of gay men have been convicted for behaviour that was once against the law. Tens of thousands of careers, reputations

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John Leech writes to a constituent

john leechAny of us who have been elected to public office will have received letters, emails or even phone calls that shock us into realising that not all our compatriots are liberal and fair-minded.  Rascist, homophobic or simply personally offensive rants, expressed in highly charged language, remind us that we still have much work to do.

When it has happened to me I have initially been quite upset, then dealt with it by distancing myself from the contents and refusing to respond. But maybe there is another way to handle such communications.

John …

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Liberal Democrat John Leech wins Patchwork Foundation’s Lib Dem MP of the Year award

john leechGood news for Manchester Withington MP John Leech from the Manchester Gazette:

At a packed awards ceremony at the House of Commons tonight, south Manchester MP John Leech was presented with the first ever “Lib Dem MP of the Year” award for his work with deprived and minority groups.

He received the award from House of Commons Speaker John Bercow at an event organised by the Patchwork Foundation.

The Patchwork Foundation is the first BME charity to ever give awards out, following nominations from members of the public, and applications considered by

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EDMwatch #1: animals, VAT on tabloids, Diabetes and Sir Alex Ferguson

I thought it might be a good idea to introduce a new feature for the start of the shiny new parliamentary session – a regular look at the Early Day Motions tabled by MPs. These are basically House of Commons petition and are used to raise awareness of an issue. One of the biggest elements of an MP’s postbag or inbox is a pile of requests from supporters of a particular organisation or charity to sign a particular EDM. As a rule, ministers don’t sign EDMs.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that MPs could just sign them with a click of …

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Opinion: One last chance to achieve far-reaching libel reform

The Defamation Bill is nearly law. Several key reforms needed to protect free debate are already included in the Bill, thanks to the tireless work of the Libel Reform Campaign (declaration: I have acted as an adviser to the campaign), the heroic defence of free speech by individuals in the face of financial ruin, and Parliamentarians from both Houses, with Lib Dems leading the charge.

At the very last, however, a Tory attempt to scupper one of the most important provisions that was included in the bill needs to be defeated if the ensuing Act is to achieve …

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John Leech tables parliamentary motion about homophobic chants at football matches

Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, has tabled an Early Day Motion (number 1265) which calls for action to be taken against homophobic chanting at football matches, pointing out that if the chants were about someone’s race or skin colour, then they would be tackled.

His EDM says:

That this House welcomes the report from the Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters’ Club (BHASC), along with the Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN), that details evidence and a log of the level of homophobic chanting at both home and away matches; recognises the extent of the problem when Brighton fans have been

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LibLink: John Leech – Smoking ban working

No smokingOn his blog, John Leech MP, reminds us that there has been a 12% decrease in childhood asthma since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007 (with Scotland leading the way a year earlier).

Smoking is an issue I feel passionate about; I have long supported campaigns to ban smoking in public spaces. However, I believe we need to go further and that research finding such as these studies should give us that impetus. In February of last year I signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 2724) that noted “the

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++ Government wins vote on Benefits Uprating Bill; 6 Lib Dem MPs rebel

There were no serious doubts the Coalition Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill — pegging increases in welfare payments at a below-inflation 1%, the same as public sector wage rises, for the next three years — would be approved. The only question was the size of majority and how many Lib Dems would rebel (I’ve been keeping a running tally here this afternoon).

There were two votes tonight. First, a Labour amendment to the Bill, defeated by 321 votes to 262, a government majority of 59. Then a vote on the unamended second reading, which the government won by 324 votes to …

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++ SHOCK! HORROR! LIB DEM MP CAUGHT UP IN NEW EXPENSES ROW!

I’m deeply grateful to the Manchester Evening News and its reporter Deborah Linton for exposing Manchester MP John Leech’s shameless attempts to exploit the taxpayer by…

(brace yourselves for the shock)…

… offering coffee to staff working at his constituency office and members of the public visiting him.

With unbelievable extravagance, Mr Leech has splashed out on two £34.99 coffee makers from Aldi for his Didsbury office. As if that weren’t shameless enough, he also bought coffee beans to actually put into the actual coffee makers!

Then to …

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In other news… Nick talks Dutch, Farron’s footie boycott, Hemming’s whistleblower charter & more

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

Nick Clegg insists on speaking Dutch at Cabinet Office meeting (Telegraph)

Nick Clegg, who speaks five languages fluently, chose to conduct a recent meeting at the Cabinet Office with Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, entirely in Dutch. Did the Deputy Prime Minister, whose mother is from the Netherlands, do so to outfox a Downing Street official whom David Cameron had allegedly sent to spy on their conversation? “Nick enjoys being able to talk Dutch,” the Liberal Democrat leader’s spokesman tells Mandrake.

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In other news… London PPBs, Clegg paint attack, Turing pardon latest, Darlington Lib Dem leader barred

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

  • Lib Dems fight reduction of their party political broadcasts in London (Guardian)
  • Provisional plans being drawn up by the BBC suggest giving the Lib Dems two party political broadcasts for the elections – the same as the Green party – rather than the three the Lib Dems enjoyed alongside Labour and the Conservatives in 2008. … A party source said the Lib Dems were confident the decision would be overturned, given that they have seven MPs in the capital, 246 councillors, and

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    Lib Dem MPs set to rebel over ‘back-door’ nuclear power subsidy

    ‘Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new National Planning Statement), and also provided that they receive no public subsidy.’

    So declares the Coalition Agreement. However, as the Guardian reports, the finance bill due to be debated this coming week introduces a form of subsidy, and it’s attracted opposition among the party:

    A large group of Lib Dems are concerned about clause 78 of the bill, which MPs will consider

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    Tim Farron writes… Join the Lib Dems YES! to Fairer Votes campaign

    Tim Farron launches the Lib Dem YES! campaign

    This morning I launched the Liberal Democrats’ Yes! To Fairer Votes campaign in Manchester.

    Over 100 local members and supporters came along to hear speeches from Simon Hughes, John Leech, Gordon Birtwistle and Floella Benjamin about how monumentally essential it is that we win this Fairer Votes referendum.

    As Nick Clegg has already argued, this is “a battle between reformers and conservatives” and this is our chance, our one opportunity for genuine electoral reform.

    By winning this referendum …

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    John Leech MP: The door is not shut on Labour

    Manchester Withington MP John Leech is due to speak at a Fabian Society fringe event at the Labour Party conference on Monday.

    Titled “Is the Lib/Lab coalition Gone Forever?”, the event will also feature former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone and former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett.

    According to the Press Association, John Leech has said,

    The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.

    Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last 13 years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so

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    The LDV Bank Holiday Monday caption competition – the “Nick Clegg meets Tardis” edition

    There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader …


    (Photo: Alex Folkes).

    Here’s Nick Clegg campaigning with the Lib Dems’ Manchester Withington MP John Leech at a primary school – but what do you reckon Nick’s saying, or the kids (or John) are thinking?

    The winner of our most recent caption competition, the “David Cameron sucks bitter lemon” edition – according to The Voice’s judging panel of one – was this one by Jen.

    Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged | 16 Comments

    A straight choice? Does this squeeze message hold water?

    Under our First Past the Post voting system, the squeeze message is a legitimate one, used by all parties when it’s to their benefit.

    Voting for the third (or lower) placed party in the seat is, they all argue, a wasted vote. Those lower placed parties will say otherwise, but it’s a fair tactic. Lib Dems would say that under a better voting system, tactical voting wouldn’t be needed.

    But in this election we’re seeing a new twist on the theme from the Labservatives, and it’s a bit of a stretch to see how it could be honest or …

    Posted in General Election | Also tagged , , , and | 12 Comments
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