Tag Archives: jonny oates

19 July 2019 – live from Brecon, today’s press releases…

  • Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay
  • Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading
  • Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise
  • Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories
  • Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens

Today, the Liberal Democrats have brought forward a bill to safeguard EU citizens’ rights.

The Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates would provide a guarantee that, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of EU citizens and other EEA nationals living in …

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How Liberal Democrat Lords stood up for the British people – Jonny Oates

In a few years’ time, when people may well be wondering why Parliament didn’t stop the Government in its reckless pursuit of the most damaging brexit possible, it will be clear who stood up for their rights. As Labour crumbled in farce, Liberal Democrat peers stood firm for the rights of the EU nationals who are are parents, neighbours, partners, co-workers and against the Government. The Lib Dem lords did all they could to prevent the disaster.

Here is Jonny Oates’ speech when pressing the issue to a vote.

My Lords, I move this Motion for the following reasons. First, despite the large majority that voted for the amendment to the Bill in this House, the Government have failed to make any concessions and not even attempted to address the many issues raised by noble Lords in Committee. Secondly, the profound nature of the issue at stake should make us think very carefully before we concede. This debate is not over some arcane technicality or some petty, partisan disagreement; it is about people’s lives. It is about whether people will be allowed to live in the country that they have made their home with the people for whom they care, whether they can stay in a job or plan a career, and whether their children can remain in the school they know and study with the friends they have made. It is about their futures, their homes and their families, and it is about the fear and misery being caused by every further day of uncertainty.

Thirdly, we should weigh our decision very carefully, because this debate is also about the integrity of our country. It is about whether we will honour the unequivocal commitment made by the official Vote Leave campaign that, if the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the rights of all EU citizens in the UK would be guaranteed. Unlike most other issues arising from the referendum, there is absolutely no dispute about what was promised to EU citizens. The Vote Leave campaign, which was supported by a number of noble Lords, made the following categorical statement:

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Jonny Oates: Lords must mitigate Government’s extreme Brexit

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future. 

This was an absolute barnstormer from Jonny Oates and one of the highlights of the debate. He rode a coach and horses through the Government’s plans. He warns of the dangers of passing the Bill unamended: “it will grant the Executive unqualified and untrammelled power to negotiate an exit deal from the European Union on any terms, however pitiful the deal is for our country, however damaging it is to our economy, however much it strips British and other EU citizens of their existing rights and however much it tears up their lives.”

My Lords, like many in your Lordships’ House, I deeply regret the circumstances that have brought us to consideration of the Bill. However, after the tirade from the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, against the Liberal Democrats, I am at least reassured that we must be doing something right, and have never been prouder and happier than to be on the opposing side of an argument. Nevertheless, the referendum has happened and I accept that the Government had to carry out its instructions. But they had a choice about how they did so.

The Government could have acted boldly by consulting Parliament immediately and meaningfully, and publishing a Bill six months ago. They could have set out a policy which discharged their duty to negotiate withdrawal, but did so in a manner that took into account the views of the whole nation and gave protection to our economy. They could have acted decisively to reassure EU citizens in the UK, and consequently British citizens in other EU countries, that their rights would be protected. But they did none of that. Instead, they asserted the royal prerogative with the arrogance of a medieval monarch, and fought to prevent Parliament having a role. Instead, they decided to embark on extreme Brexit, exiting not only the EU but the single market and the customs union too—decisions which our current Chancellor warned, just a few short months ago, would be “catastrophic”.

On the crucial issue—the rights of UK citizens in the EU and of EU citizens in the UK—instead of a bold and generous offer, the Government have obfuscated and blustered. They have cast the lives of millions of people as so many chips in a game of poker. In doing so they have squandered good will towards our country, brought fear and uncertainty to millions of our fellow EU citizens and proven—if any further proof were required—how very little the Government understand about the art of negotiation.

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Jonny Oates on rejecting the easy option of cynicism and taking the harder route of making the world a better place

Late on Thursday night, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates put his very powerful reaction to Jo Cox’s murder on his Facebook page. With his permission, it’s reproduced here.

Enough, now, with the angry people. Enough with the raging and the cries of betrayal. Enough with the cynicism. Enough with the shout that every politician is dodgy, or on the take or untruthful. Enough with those who fuel the cynicism in their puerile, childish headlines or their languid, over-sophisticated commentaries. Enough with those who would never step up to the plate, do the work or accept the accountability. Enough with those who twist the slightest openness in the words of politicians and then complain when their words become closed and their language obtuse. Enough with those who have never done anything for anyone but are happy to question the motives of any person who attempts to do so. Enough of those people who listen only to their own opinion and then castigate MPs for being out of touch – MPs who week in and week out are in their towns and villages, on the doorsteps, in their surgeries, listening to others, soaking up pain and grief and suffering and often abuse. Enough of the people who fuel the rage, enough of those who can take the image of suffering and desperate people, robbed of dignity and hope and of the lives of those they love and use it for their political advantage. Enough of all the rage and division and hatred.

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Some reflections on #IDAHOBIT

Today is the annual International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia as we saw from Team INtogether’s post earlier.

The party has been marking the day in various ways. We’ve been tweeting up a storm. Liz Barker and Jonny Oates recorded this video:

There’s been a series of lovely graphics:

Norman Lamb has resubmitted his motion calling for people who want gender neutral passports to be able to have them. Recently, I saw on social media a teacher who has transgender and non binary pupils under their care object to these proposals. Imagine how that makes their pupils feel and how confident they would feel about that teacher to support them. That brings me to what’s been happening north of the border.

Willie Rennie took time out of his short-lived campaign to be First Minister to emphasise the need for all teachers in all schools – that’s the denominational ones, too – to be trained to ensure that all Scotland’s schools are inclusive environments for learning.

He said:

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Lord Jonny Oates at the Pudding Club at York

Lord Oates

I was delighted to welcome Lord Jonny Oates to York last month for a visit to our annual Pudding Club – one of the highlights of our local parties social calendar!

Lord Oates, who was recently made a life peer after serving as a councillor in Kingston Upon Thames and later as Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg, highlighted his concerns about proposed cuts to Universal Credit to local party members in York.

As readers will know, last year George Osborne was forced to re-think cuts to working tax credits after a local and national campaign by the Lib Dems. The changes were set to hit 8,000 families in York, but the Chancellor said households claiming the benefit would be helped by “transitional protection” as they moved to the new single Universal Credit.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, claimed that “nobody will lose any money on arrival on universal credit from tax credits”. Many residents in York were reassured and pleased that a U-Turn had been made.

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Oates and Scriven show why Britain needs the Liberal Democrats

Jonny Oates on ID cards
The Palace of Westminster is quite disorientating. There’s an escalator that goes from the bright modern Portcullis House into Westminster that I always call the Time Machine because it really feels like you go back 300 years in 30 feet. This afternoon, if you’d wandered into the House of Lords, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d gone to sleep and woken up in 2005, because here were Labour and Tory peers trying to bring back ID cards. And just like 2005 (who remembers Police, not Plastic), it was Liberal Democrat peers cutting their way throughout the authoritarian smog like Mr Muscle on a greasy kitchen worktop.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Jonny Oates on international trade and on running away to Ethiopia at 15

We like to cover our Lords’ maiden speeches. Nick Clegg’s former chief of staff, Jonny Oates made his last week. He talked about international trade and particularly about encouraging trade with Africa, and told us something about his life that may well become one of those Lib Dem trivia questions for fundraising quizzes. I think we need to know the full story.

My Lords, it is an honour to make my maiden speech, albeit necessarily briefly, in this debate. I want first to thank everybody who made my introduction to your Lordships’ House so easy—in particular, Black Rod and his staff, the doorkeepers, attendants and police officers, who have been an unfailing source of directions, advice and, above all, patience. I also want to thank my two supporters, my noble friends Lady Parminter and Lady Suttie, who have been great friends to me over many years.

I have taken the geographic part of my title, Denby Grange, in tribute to my late uncle Lawrence, who was a miner at Denby Grange colliery in West Yorkshire all his life. My title is not only a tribute to him; it is a wider acknowledgement that my good fortune is built on the shoulders of my grandparents and parents, uncles and aunts. They all faced much tougher challenges than I ever have and, through the sacrifices they made, they opened up a whole world of opportunities to their children and grandchildren that they never had themselves.

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Stephen Lotinga appointed as Nick Clegg’s new Director of Communications

stephen lotingaReaders may recall the rather brief tenure of Emma Gilpin-Jacobs as Nick Clegg’s Director of Communications – she left after a few weeks in the job “because my strategic global, corporate-focused communications experience will be better utilised in a less day-to day-political operational role”.

Her replacement has now been appointed. Here’s how Nick’s chief of staff, Jonny Oates, announced the news:

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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 Independent View: Conservatives admit their role in election attacks on Clegg

Back in April, in those heady days after the first televised leaders debate, as news of the remarkable Liberal Democrat poll surge began to come through, Nick Clegg spoke to the members of his campaign team on the phone. None of them could quite believe what was happening, but they agreed on one thing: ‘They’re going to come for us.’

As everyone will recall, ‘they’ did – with a string of lurid newspaper stories, reaching a peak on 22 April, the morning of the second leaders’ debate.  Most Lib Dem Voice readers will remember: ‘Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem donors and payments into his private account’ (Daily Telegraph); ‘Clegg’s crazy immigration policies’ (Daily Express); ‘Wobble Democrat’ (Sun); and ‘Clegg in Nazi Slur on Britain’ (Daily Mail).

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Opinion: I always love Conference

I always love conference, in fact I love all three Party conferences. Because inspite of the fact that I am most comfortable with my LibDem tribe I am on the whole comfortable with people with a genuine interest in politics. Let’s face it all of us are such a small proportion of the population.

As I walked through Liverpool in the evening I strongly suspect that those girls dressed up to the nines, well kind of in nothing actually, had no idea they were hosting a party of Government in their hometown.

That is what is so great about conference, …

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What Lib Dems are saying (or not) about Andy Coulson

The official Lib Dem line on Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s director of communications, could not have been clearer prior to the election: this Voice headline from July 2009 gives the flavour – Huhne on Coulson: “either complicit or incompetent”.

Yet the party leadership has been noticeably more reticent to comment on the most recent allegations, triggered by the New York Times’s typically thorough investigation.

(What does it say, by the way, about the quality of the British news media today that — with the honourable exception of The Guardian — it was left to a US newspaper to …

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Who is who behind the scenes in the coalition?

Today’s Guardian has a pretty decent go at covering who the key advisers are, on both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative side, how they are working together, who talks to who and so on.

The piece has been praised by others today, but I only say “pretty decent” because it doesn’t mention Alison Suttie. Talking about Lib Dem advisers without mentioning her is a bit like talking about Lib Dem MPs without mentioning Vince or my diet without mentioning chocolate. Previously for Ming Campbell and now for Nick Clegg she’s played an absolutely key role in a deputy chief of …

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Opinion: The Lib Dems need a better communications strategy

An opposition party can only be truly effective via the media. Government has its own spin and PR, but the opposition must cultivate this through good press stories for them and bad ones for the government.

Blair understood this better than anyone and used it to great advantage in the dying days of the Major administration, mostly through the fanaticism of Alastair Campbell.

Fast forward to today and a small party perpetually in opposition is now in government. When in opposition, projecting a clear party line was a key goal. For the Lib Dems in government, …

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Annoyed by BBC Question Time panel selection? Then you know what to do.

A couple of years back, I was moved to write to the BBC complaining about Question Time’s pro-Tory bias, regularly featuring Tory-supporting journalists alongside Tory MPs.

Well, that’ll learn me to be careful what you wish for. Because what do we have to look forward to on tonight’s QT panel? The following: an official Labour representative (Lord Falconer), and two former Labour MPs (Clare Short and George Galloway); and, for balance, an official Tory representative (Theresa May), and professional right-wing agitpropette (Melanie Phillips). Deep joy.

As Love and Liberty’s Alex Wilcock acerbically notes:

It’s not as if the Liberal Democrats have

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Lib Dem HQ: read what Nick said, not what the press reported!

An email pings into LDV’s email inbox from the Lib Dems’ director of election communications, Jonny Oates, stating categorically that Nick Clegg did not express a preference for dealing with the Tories over Labour.

Now it has been known, just occasionally, for Nick to speak a little faster than he thinks. But, as I posted here, yesterday Nick really was crystal clear about how he would approach the vexed question of a ‘hung Parliament’ – and still the media managed to distort his remarks! In rebutting today’s inaccurate press reports, all Jonny had had to do is reproduce the …

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The inside story of how the Lib Dem general election manifesto will be drawn up

The debates and disputes around the Liberal Democrats’ Bournemouth conference give a taste of what is likely to be a tricky process of drawing up the party’s manifesto for the next general election.

Formally, there is a three part process to that manifesto: the manifesto working group chaired by Danny Alexander will present work to the Shadow Cabinet which will then in turn (quite possibly amended) go to the Federal Policy Committee (FPC).

How will this process work and who will the key people be in drawing up the manifesto?

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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

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