Tag Archives: john sharkey

LibLink: Lord Sharkey on protecting pensions

Lib Dem peer John Sharkey has written in Politics Home under the headline “We must protect the triple lock on pensions ahead of a difficult winter“. He writes:

For the second time in a month, pensioners have been plunged into uncertainty over the future of their payments with the new Prime Minister refusing to take anything off the table ahead of the fiscal statement.

The triple lock was a core Liberal Democrat policy brought in by the Coalition government and we are determined to protect it throughout this turbulent time in politics.

This is in spite of the pledge by Rishi Sunak to uphold the 2019 Conservative manifesto which states “We will keep the triple lock”.

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Lord Sharkey calls for convictions for homosexuality to be posthumously disregarded

While the attention yesterday evening was on the Lord’s debate on revenge porn, Lib Dems were also supporting another amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, this time on posthumous pardons for men convicted of homosexuality.

During the debate, John Sharkey explained that 75,000 men were convicted of homosexual acts under laws repealed in the 1960s. Legislation passed in 2012, gave 16,000 of them still alive the right to apply to have their convictions disregarded, but this left 59,000 similarly convicted, but now dead, unable to get such redress. Last year Alan Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon.

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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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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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Hope for Lib Dem Sharkey’s bill to pardon Alan Turing

Alan Turing and meLast Friday I made my first ever visit to Manchester, where I did the traditional thing of posing to have my photograph taken with the statue of Alan Turing.

Yesterday, Liberal Democrat peer John Sharkey introduced his Bill to grant Turing a posthumous pardon. The World War 2 codebreaker was subject to appallingly cruel treatment – chemical castration and disgrace after being convicted for being gay. He killed himself two years after that.

The Government allowed men convicted of similar offences to have those convictions disregarded but that didn’t help …

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Opinion: Government must act to encourage healthier diets

Yesterday, Chris Rennard and John Sharkey raised the important and inter-connected issues of sugar consumption and childhood obesity, respectively, during Oral Questions in the Lords.

These related topics prompted fifteen minutes of debate from a packed Chamber, as the responding Minister – Earl Howe – spelt out what the Government is doing to encourage healthier eating and prevent the problems associated with poor diet and lack of exercise, from worsening.

John Sharkey began proceedings by pointing out that not one of the companies signed up to the responsibility deal for calorie reduction is a fast-food operator. He …

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Next week in the Lords: 4-7 February

House of LordsStrangely enough, in the absence of a Lords Reform Bill to debate (and who’s sorry now?), things are relatively quiet on the red benches. Quiet, but not exactly dead, I’m delighted to say. And now that Paddy Ashdown has hit Twitter, life is going to be a bit more exciting. And talking of Twitter, don’t forget that our Parliamentary Party in the Lords has its own Twitter feed. And yes, those are real Peers tweeting, in live time. So, what might they be covering next week?

On Monday, …

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Next week in the Lords: 29 October – 1 November

There are those who suggest that what this country needs is less legislation and more management and proper scrutiny. Perhaps the House of Lords is taking this to heart, as the diary for the week is reflective of such a wish…

Monday sees the beginning of the Committee Stage of the Election Registration and Administration Bill, with Chris Rennard and Paul Tyler leading for the Liberal Democrats, and William Wallace responding on behalf of the Government.

Liberal Democrats will be looking to ensure that voter registration remains mandatory, as …

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Fifteen new Liberal Democrat Peers appointed

Fifteen new Liberal Democrat working peers have just been announced…

  • Dr Sarah (Sal) Brinton – Executive Director of the Association of Universities in the East of England
  • Dee Doocey OBE – Chair of the London Assembly
  • Qurban Hussain – Deputy Group Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Luton Borough Council
  • Judith Jolly – Chair of Executive Committee of Liberal Democrats in Devon and Cornwall
  • Susan Kramer – former Liberal Democrat MP
  • Raj Loomba – businessman and campaigner for widows’ rights
  • Jonathan Marks – commercial and family law QC with specialist interest in human rights and constitutional reform
  • Monroe Palmer OBE – Liberal
  • Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 77 Comments

    Yes to Fairer Votes campaign unveils its first appointments

    Yes to Fairer Votes, the group being created to campaign for a yes vote in the electoral reform referendum, has unveiled its steering committee:

    Pam Giddy, Chair
    John Sharkey, Vice Chair (and former chair of the Liberal Democrat general election campaign)
    Neal Lawson, Compass
    Peter Facey, Unlock Democracy
    Willie Sullivan, Electoral Reform Society
    Carina Trimingham, Electoral Reform Society

    The initial version of the campaign website is also up and running at www.yestofairervotes.org – and you can sign up to support the campaign and offer your help.

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 12 Comments

    John Sharkey to run Liberal Democrats’ Fairer Votes campaign

    Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has announced the appointment of John Sharkey as chairman of the Liberal Democrats’ Fairer Votes Campaign – the campaign for a “Yes” vote in next year’s AV referendum.

    Nick Clegg said,

    I am delighted that John Sharkey has accepted this role.

    This is a vital campaign for the country and I can’t think of a better person than John to run it for the Liberal Democrats.

    John Sharkey is one of Nick Clegg’s closest advisors and a former MD of Saatchi and Saatchi, who worked on the Conservatives’ 1987 General Election campaign.

    More recently, he chaired the …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

    3 reasons to be relaxed about Nick’s “secret debate dossier”

    The Sun today splashes on the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G news that Nick Clegg’s campaign strategists have been advising him on how to perform to the best of his abilities in the televised leaders’ debates:

    The dossier – bizarrely titled I’m Not Here Right Now – was left in the back of a cab on Thursday at about 10.30pm, soon after the end of the first election debate. … The dossier was written by John Sharkey, chairman of the Lib Dem election campaign team and Mr Clegg’s strategic communications adviser. It includes blistering criticism of Mr Clegg’s performance in rehearsals for last week’s

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    First election debate: winners and losers

    Now the dust is starting to settle after the first debate, who are the winners and losers – aside from the party leaders?

    Winner – liberalism
    Loser – hostility to foreigners

    Praising some aspects of immigration, talking about no like-for-like replacement of Trident, pledging to scrap tuition fees, promising to cut taxes for most by raising taxes for the very rich – Nick Clegg won the debate not by abandoning policies for some  mushy middle ground, but by sticking to core liberal beliefs. Those beliefs were carefully wrapped in language and arguments designed to be appeal to a wide audience – but …

    Posted in General Election and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

    Ros Scott writes … Party President’s report to members, January ’10

    In the two months since my last report, the election campaign has started in all but name.

    After a phenomenal amount of work by the manifesto team – led by Danny Alexander, the party’s policy unit headed by Christian Moon, and the Federal Policy Committee – we have now established the broad outlines of our campaign:

    • Reform of the tax system to create a fairer base,
    • introducing the pupil premium to give all children a fairer start in life,
    • creating sustainable housing and jobs and
    • political reform to bring in a fairer voting system, and

    Posted in Op-eds and Party Presidency | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

    Follow the yellow brick road? The Liberal Democrats’ general election campaign

    Guide to 2010 election book coverHere is my chapter from the Total Politics Guide to the 2010 General Election, looking at the prospects for the Liberal Democrats:

    The 1997 general election turned out to be a once in a generation opportunity for many local Liberal Democrat campaign teams to gain a Parliamentary seat from the Conservatives. At the tail end of a by then deeply unpopular Conservative Government, the election saw unprecedented numbers of seats falling to the party. A few seats that were not quite gained from the Conservatives in 1997 did subsequently fall in 2001 and 2005, but it was the 1997 election with the Conservatives in government that was the main opportunity. Nearly every campaign that missed then did not subsequently win.

    Posted in Books and General Election | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 7 Comments

    Liberal Democrat General Election Team announced

    Nick Clegg has announced today the team that will advise him on strategy, resources and communications, as well as the planning and delivery of the Lib Dems’ General Election strategy.

    From the Liberal Democrats’ website:

    Nick Clegg said:

    “I am delighted to announce the team that will lead the planning and delivery of our General Election campaign.

    “I have asked John Sharkey, my adviser on Strategic Communications and the former MD of Saatchi’s, to Chair the Campaign, supported by Andrew Stunell MP as Vice Chair.

    “John’s extensive experience managing major communications businesses combined with Andrew’s campaigning expertise will be a formidable combination steering the

    Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 31 Comments

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