Tag Archives: julian huppert

Julian Huppert won’t stand again in Cambridge

Sad news for Julian Huppert’s many fans. He announced on Twitter this weekend that he won’t be standing for Parliament again.

While I understand that he might want his life back after seven years of ceaseless campaigning, I am very sad to see this. Julian was on the same side as me on practically every argument the party has had. It was fantastic to have such a prominent figure in the party campaigning so strongly against replacing Trident.

Julian was such a credible voice on matters of science and technology and riled the less knowledgeable to the extent that they greeted him with derision every time he got up to speak. He played a crucial role in making sure that the party stopped the Tories introducing the Snoopers’ Charter during the coalition years.

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Slideshow: Bonnie the Lib Dem cockapoo captures the spotlight in Cambridge

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+++Breaking: Jo Swinson to stand for East Dunbartonshire

Great news:

In a statement, she added:

This next Parliament will be pivotal for our country, both for Scotland’s place in the UK, and the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe.

I’m standing in the general election because I’m passionate about keeping Scotland in the UK, and averting the disaster of the Tories’ hard Brexit. Most people in East Dunbartonshire agree – 61% voted to stay in the UK and 71% voted to remain in the EU. They deserve a pro-UK, pro-EU MP.

East Dunbartonshire is the SNP’s second most marginal seat, with a majority of just 2,167 over the Liberal Democrats. The result last time makes it absolutely clear: this is a fight between the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, and one I fully intend to win.

I helped her get elected the first time round in 2005. She put so much work into it over the preceding two years. She worked part time and every morning she’d go out delivering. Every afternoon and evening she spent canvassing. She was disciplined, organised and effective. And she turned out to be a brilliant MP and Equalities Minister.

Her announcement comes after her old boss at the then Business, Innovation and Skills Department, Vince Cable, announced that he was standing for Twickenham:

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Paddick: EU court ruling on surveillance shows that Government overstepped the mark

When the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was just a Bill being rushed through Parliament with indecent haste, the pros and cons were hotly debated on this site.Today, the European Court of Justice ruled that the general and indiscriminate collection of data was illegal.

Now, this was a Bill passed by the Coalition Government with Liberal Democrat consent So shouldn’t we be feeling a bit embarrassed by this ruling? I guess we need to look at the position we were in at the time. Even if we’d told the Tories that we wouldn’t support the legislation, there would have been a majority in the House of Commons for it. In fact, Labour would have been falling over itself to make it even more authoritarian.

We also know what the Tories wanted to do with communications data – because they did it with the much more pervasive and illiberal Investigatory Powers Act passed, again with Labour support, as soon as they had a majority.

Back in 2014, we secured some important concessions from the Tories in return for our support on the DRIP Act.  Julian Huppert wrote at the time that it was what we already had but with additional safeguards as he set out the context to it all:

There is an issue we have to deal with now. The European Court of Justice threw out the European Data Retention Directive, which underpins all collection of communications data in this country. I sympathise with the reasons, but we must acknowledge that it causes real problems – we do need to have some way to keep some communications data, but under very careful control.

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LibLink: Julian Huppert “The UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill is about to become law – here’s why that should terrify us”

Julian Huppert MPJulian Huppert has written a powerful piece on Open Democracy.  He writes:

The Investigatory Powers Bill is sneaking up on the final steps before it becomes law – something that should terrify all of us.

Some of the powers in the Bill are deeply intrusive, and with very little possible justification. All of us want to be safe, and protected from terrorists and the like – but the evidence that these powers are all needed is thin indeed. However, the cost to all of our privacy is huge.

For example, a power the state never had before is to require a log to be kept for a year of every website we ever go to. Just think of that – your browsing history stored, just in case it’s ever useful. If you ever choose to visit a depression support website, would you want that to now be logged, potentially revealing your mental health state? What about an abortion advice site? Marriage guidance? Why does the state need to know this about every one of us?

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LibLink: Julian Huppert on criticisms of the Investigatory Powers Bill

 

Three parliamentary committees have now reported on the Home Secretary’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill. All three have raised major criticisms of both the powers proposed and the way they are set out.

That is the opening paragraph in an article by Julian Huppert posted on OpenDemocracy titled Three strikes against the IP bill.

He quotes the reports by the Science and Technology Committee on 9th February, by the Intelligence and Security Committee also on 9th February and finally by the Joint Committee with the remit to examine this bill which reported on 11th February. All were highly critical of various aspects of the Bill, and of the second in particular he claims that:

The proposals around communications data are described as “inconsistent and largely incomprehensible”.

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LibLink: Julian Huppert If you’re pro-science, you should be pro EU

There’s not enough Julian in these parts these days, sadly. In May just under 700 votes kept him from continuing as MP for Cambridge and one of the Commons’ few scientific experts. Today, though, he’s written for the Guardian’s Science column, saying that if you are pro-science, you really need to vote to remain in the EU.

Cambridge is massively pro-EU, for many reasons, but he highlights one in particular

The answer I think lies in another special feature of Cambridge: its world leadership in science and technology. We see this in the huge number of Nobel Prizes amassed here, 92 and rising; biomedical success, such as Humira, the Cambridge-developed anti-inflammatory drug that is currently the highest-selling prescription drug in the world; and technology leadership, such as the silicon chips designed by ARM, which now power almost every mobile device in the world. Last year there was as many ARM chips shipped, as there are human arms in the world.

All of this success, from pure research to the most applied technology, from huge global companies to tiny start-ups, benefits from our international connections, and particularly our role in the EU. We get large amounts of funding from the European Research Council – well above our expected share. Overall, about a quarter of the University of Cambridge’s research funding comes from the EU. Our students go on Erasmus exchanges, experiencing life and study elsewhere, and we get many students coming here from around the EU, benefiting from the free movement of people, enriching our cultural, academic and social lives – and spending their money in our city.

It’s not just Cambridge who benefits, though:

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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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Tim Farron and his Christmas cards

The press have been commenting on the various leaders’ and parties’ Christmas cards.

The Independent was pretty scathing about all of them apart from Tim Farron’s, with a headline “All of the political leaders’ Christmas cards are rubbish (apart from Tim Farron’s). “

His card is this one, designed by 11 year old Ami Woodburn from a school in Tim’s constituency.

Tim Farron's sleigh Christmas card 2015

 

This is where the mystery really begins, though, because the Guardian shows a different card for Tim:

Tim Farron's penguin christmas card 2015

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Farron: Lib Dems will resist Snoopers’ Charter

GCHQ Bude by Paul WalterIt looks like the Tories’ Snoopers’ Charter to be unveiled this week will be the blinged-up version, with even more sweeping powers than they tried to introduce before. Tim Farron told the Independent that the Liberal Democrats would oppose it just like we did in Government:

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, signalled that he would be prepared to muster his 112-strong bloc of peers to oppose measures which undermined individual liberty. “We would use all parliamentary tools available to us to ensure any proposed legislation is properly scrutinised,” he told The Independent.

“Liberal Democrats will always support proportionate measures to increase our security, but we must not allow cornerstone civil liberties to be swept away. We will wait with interest to see the detail of the draft Bill, as the Tories have long argued for powers that are not targeted and not proportionate. We blocked the ‘snooper’s charter’ in government and would strongly resist any attempt to bring it back.

“It would be a dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual and fundamentally strikes the wrong balance between liberty and security.”

Back in 2012, Nick Clegg almost agreed to this but after interventions, one by angry bloggers who understood the technicalities in a Conference call with a special adviser, he pulled back. Instead, a draft bill was tabled and subjected to scrutiny by a committee made-up of representatives from both Houses of Parliament, including our Julian Huppert. They rejected the plan and you can read their report here. They determined:

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LibLink: Julian Huppert on 1984, the Telecommunications Act and the crucial need for scrutiny of its use

GCHQ Bude by Paul WalterOver on Open Democracy, our old friend Julian Huppert writes an excellent piece on his work as an MP looking at the scrutiny of UK state surveillance. He points to the 1984 (yes really) Telecommunications Act and the little debated clause 94 which gives the relevant Secretary of State virtually limitless powers to order telecoms companies to do anything without any parliamentary scrutiny.

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LibLink: Norman Lamb and Julian Huppert: Defeating radicalisation and extremism, a battle we must win

On the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, Norman Lamb and Julian Huppert looked at what should and should not be done in order to tackle the radicalisation and extremism that leads to such awful attacks. They wrote for Politics Home and outlined first the measures we should not take, because they don’t work and are just wrong in principle:

But the 7/7 bombings also presented an existential threat to the sort of liberal society we want to live in – raising questions that many will have asked again in light of last week’s terrorist attack in Tunisia.

Do we address these threats by giving government the power to snoop indiscriminately on every citizen, and the vast resources needed to sift through all that information?

Do we target “at risk” communities and faith groups with increasing scrutiny, limit their freedom of speech, and intervene aggressively in an attempt to clamp down on potential extremism?

Internationally, is it right to believe can we combat terrorism by bombing some of the most volatile regions in the Middle East, particularly if it may be contrary to international law?

To each of these, as Liberal Democrats our answer must be – emphatically, no.  Firstly, it doesn’t work.  In 2005 the Security Services were already faced with too much information, on too many threats, to see the wood from the trees. Remember that if we tread roughshod over disenfranchised faith communities we will earn ourselves more enemies than friends.  And if we spend the next year bombing Syria all we will have to show for it are craters, innocent casualties, and a rising defence bill.

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Julian Huppert writes…#libdemfightback: from theory to practice

As we move on from the trauma of the General Election, I have been hugely encouraged by the new sense of energy, and the huge new membership – we’ve got almost 200 new members here in Cambridge, for example.

There are lots of reasons – people realising their values chime with ours, people feeling bad about the huge hit that we took, people rather belatedly realising what we achieved.

This will form the core of the #libdemfightback – and I have no doubt that we will fight back and win more seats at all levels.

It is of course really important that we keep these members, and make sure that they do get the policy discussions, the community activity, the sense of value that they want. We cannot just let them believe we are nothing more than a campaigning cult, our rituals being leaflet delivery and door knocking.

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Lib Dems on 48% in poll… really!

The Liberal Democrats are on 48% in a poll with the closest rival, the Greens,  trailing in our wake with just a third of that total.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change anyone’s vote. It’s in the Big Beard Poll on Keith Flett’s blog. Keith runs the Beard Liberation Front which earlier this year announced our Julian Huppert as the Parliamentary Beard of the Year.

The campaign says that it is entirely up to voters to decide but a key criteria is how Parties are prepared to go in signing up to the BLF Beard Friendly Britain Manifesto (below)

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, “Of course the LibDem leadership is as clean shaven and suited as other parties but the LibDems still do retain some of their traditional hirsute following. The LibDem candidate for Cambridge Julian Huppert, for example, is a former winner of the Parliamentary Beard of the Year Award.”

The Beard Liberation Front manifesto is as follows:

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Julian Huppert talks about Lib Dem policies on Science and other things

SCIENCE Matters is a series of interviews organised by the British Science Association with six Science spokespersons. Here is Julian Huppert doing us proud.

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New Ashcroft report show Lib Dems gaining ground in majority of seats polled

Lord Ashcroft has released some new polls in six Liberal Democrat/Conservative marginals and two Liberal Democrat/Labour marginals, including Nick Clegg’s seat.

In all but two of the seven Lib Dem held seats,  the Liberal Democrats are gaining ground. In Cambridge, Julian Huppert has pulled head of his Labour rival. He has gained ten points in six months to have a 9 point lead. There is absolutely no room for complacency, though.

Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall), Andrew George (St Ives), Adrian Sanders (Torbay) have slight leads and have gained ground since the previous polls.. Ashcroft emphasises that it’s all very much in the margin of error but it’s going in the right direction. In Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg has halved the gap between himself and Labour. What’s interesting is that Clegg’s vote has leapt up by 7 points – but Labour have gained 6 points as Greens and UKIP support has fallen. Even despite that fall in support of the smaller parties, Clegg has closed the gap to within the margin of error.

Ashcroft finds a movement to the Conservatives in both Nick Harvey’s North Devon seat and Stephen Gilbert’s St Austell and Newquay. In North Devon, our vote has actually gone up and in St Austell it’s stayed the same – but UKIP’s vote has melted back to the Conservatives.

In Camborne and Redruth, which Julia Goldsworthy is trying to win back, the news is not so good, with the Liberal Democrats having a bit of a mountain to climb as the Conservatives gain ground. Update: It’s worth incorporating this comment from someone who actually knows the area, Mathew McCarthy, into the main post:

Knowing Camborne, Redruth & Hayle as well as I do know (having been campaigning there pretty much full time since December 2013) this polling simply does not reflect the reality on the ground. We’ve been gaining serious ground in council by elections, winning one from 4th place last summer, and we know we’re in with a shout in May. We have an amazing candidate who is more well known than the current MP and is more popular amongst undecided voters.

We’re working absolutely flat out to deliver a great result in May, and I know Lib Dem teams across the whole country are doing the same. All I have to say to those Liberal Democrats campaigning flat out across Cornwall and South West England and indeed everywhere is thank you for the amazing effort you’re putting in.

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Paddy Ashdown can’t hurt me now

Paddy Ashdown video screenshotLast night in his rally speech, Paddy Ashdown jokingly suggested that he might deliver a cruel and unusual punishment to anyone who didn’t do the 10 calls from the Team 2015 phone bank that was requested of every member over the Conference weekend.

In no way am I scared of Paddy and his humorous threats were not the main reason I headed down there this afternoon. Honest.

It  was all very painless and great fun. You are greeted by cheery volunteers who sign you in and give you a mobile phone, a script and a list of calls to make. The biggest problem I had, typically for me, was that it took me ages to work out how to end the calls on the, shall we say, old fashioned models we were using. I was sitting next to Julian Huppert. He was calling voters in his Cambridge constituency. I was calling people for Stephen Williams in Bristol West. And here is the proof:

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Julian Huppert as you have never seen him before

Well, maybe not the real one – but we thought you might like a late night treat.

LGBT+ Chair was inspired by this on Pinterest. Like many Liberal Democrat activists he’s an admirer of Julian Huppert for the way he’s been such a strong supporter of equal rights for all and the way he’s spoken up for transgender people as well as being a strong, credible expert on matters relating to science.

So he decided to adapt the Pinterst picture as a tribute to the Huppertmeister.

Post by Dave Page

We think there should be badges of this at Conference with proceeds going to Julian’s campaign. Can someone please make this happen?

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LibLink: Julian Huppert: Safe seats and second jobs are at the root of the Rifkind/Straw mess

Julian Huppert MPAs Parliament prepares to debate whether MPs should have second jobs, Julian Huppert has written on the controversy surrounding Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind for the Guardian.

He attacks what he calls an “abhorrent” and “unacceptable” aspect of our political culture and sets out why he thinks there should be more regulation of MPs’ outside interests.

Many of us work night and day to get through our work. We find it is the equivalent of having two full-time jobs – one in Westminster and one in the constituency.

But there are just far too many who don’t behave that way. They’ve been here so long a sense of duty morphs into one of entitlement. They get caught up with the pomp and ceremony, allowing the link between the public and their parliamentary role to unravel.

At the crux of this failure is our electoral system. Safe seats generate complacency. They give many MPs the opportunity to sit back, knowing they’ll get re-elected again and again. And it is often in safe seats where some MPs find they have enough time to take on two jobs. Suddenly they believe they don’t need to respond to casework or do the work in parliament. They are above all that – and why shouldn’t they earn £5,000 a day at the end of their careers?

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LibLink: Julian Huppert: Journalists must be able to protect their sources

Julian Huppert MPJulian Huppert has tabled an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill enabling journalists to better protect their sources. He wrote about why this was necessary in the Guardian – apparently over 600 applications have been made to access journalists’ phone records in the last three years. That’s about four a week. As Julian puts it:

How will anyone be brave enough to contact a journalist in the public interest, if they know that they can easily be tracked down?

What’s more, these actions have clearly discouraged whistleblowers from coming forward, having a chilling effect on free speech.

Current procedures do not give adequate protection to journalists:

At the moment the police quite rightly need the approval of a judge before they can take documents from a journalist. But they authorise themselves to access the journalist’s mobile phone records and other communications data. This cannot be right.

As a matter of principle, police and security services should not be able to authorise themselves to snoop on journalists to get to their sources. It may be convenient for the police but it’s not right for freedom of the press and it’s not right for the whistleblowers who badly need protection.

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Julian Huppert’s Green opponent in trouble for Twitter transphobia

One of the best moments for me of the debate on the Same Sex Marriage Bill was when Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert spoke out against elements of the Bill which would cause real heartache and injustice for transgender people and their partners. His understanding, sensitivity and eloquence on these matters was second to none. Of course he was well briefed by Sarah Brown and Zoe O’Connell among others but he put his head above the parapet to try and secure fairness for people who are all too often marginalised.

His expertise on this matter (and many others) is a …

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Julian Huppert, banking on visibility

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeVarsity – the Cambridge University student newspaper – has profiled Julian Huppert. It doesn’t begin too well:

“Huppert the Muppet, I call him,” says the cab driver taking me to see Cambridge’s most visible politician, Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for the city since 2010.

But it gets better.

“I think it will be a very tight race,” he says, “and it’ll be a question of whether people like my track record as someone who has worked for Cambridge and delivered for Cambridge.”

He does work hard in Parliament: They Work For You ranks him “well above average” for his participation in debates and questions, and he is in several all-party groups, as well as the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Yet Huppert cites constituency work as the most rewarding part of his position, talking at length about a constituent whom he had assisted in finding housing.

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Julian Huppert: Commons should debate ban on fisting and watersports porn

Julian Huppert MPPinkNews reports:

A ban on the production of certain types of porn in the UK will be the subject of a debate in the House of Commons, if a Lib Dem MP who opposes it gets his way.

Brought in by the Audiovisual Media Services regulation 2014 last week, the ban states that any online paid-for porn such as Video on Demand (VoD) must adhere to the same rules set out for those producing DVDs. Those rules are set out by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC), and ban

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LibLink: Julian Huppert: Politicians can’t afford to look tough any more. We need to embrace drugs reform

Writing in the Independent, Julian Huppert makes the case for drugs reform in the wake of the Parliamentary debate brought by he and Caroline Lucas. They were debating the Home Office report instigated by Liberal Democrat ministers which provided evidence that the prohibitionist approach simply doesn’t work. Unsurprisingly, the Tories did everything they could to suppress it. Julian writes about the debate and the Liberal Democrat perspective:

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How – or will – Nick Clegg replace Norman Baker in the home office?

jenny willottNorman Baker’s decision to quit as Lib Dem home office minister — citing significant differences with his boss at the department, the Tories’ Theresa May — means a vacancy has opened up. How will Nick Clegg fill it? We’re unlikely to have long to wait, but here are what I see as his options…

Nick could simply promote a current MP. If he does so, then the obvious choice would be Jenny Willott. She covered Jo Swinson’s maternity leave at the business department, earning good reviews along the way. A promotion …

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Disco as you’ve never seen it before….

Disco 2014Last night, saw the Liberal Democrat Disco, organised at conference by Cambridge local party to raise funds for its general election campaign.

It was a great night with a packed hall featuring the “Battle of the LibDem deejays”.

Alistair Carmichael was cheered the loudest, thus winning the accolade of “deejay of the night”. His set included Lulu’s “Shout” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”. He finished on a serious note, explaining that we had passed over midnight into the Sabbath. Coming from the islands of Scotland (where they are very serious about these things), Alistair felt there should be one song of religious observance. He therefore played “YMCA”.

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Julian Huppert writes to Theresa May over Snoopers’ Charter allegation: “I would expect you to issue a public correction and an apology at the earliest opportunity”

Julian Huppert MPRemember when the Tories were, briefly, a party which stuck up for individuals’ privacy? It happened, honestly – when they were in opposition. But now, in government, home secretary Theresa May is happy to push the traditional authoritarian measures beloved by Tories and Labour alike.

And so it was, again, today that she pushed forward the Snoopers’ Charter (aka the little-loved Data Communications Bill), noting, accurately, that it would already be law if it weren’t for those pesky Lib Dems. Fair enough: it’s an honest argument. Lib Dems believe in civil liberties, Tories tend not to.

But Theresa May went well beyond honest debate, alleging that Lib Dem opposition to the state’s right to track your every internet move was a direct threat to children’s lives. Hold on a moment, points out Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Julian Huppert in a letter to Mrs May published this evening (see below), that’s just not true and you owe the party an apology.

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Revenge porn: Ministry of Justice launches consultation, Hannah Thompson interviewed on Women’s Hour

Smartphone bar.We’ve written about the issue of revenge porn extensively over the last few months, most recently covering the amendments introduced in the House of Lords which would make it illegal for abusive ex partners to upload intimate images to the internet without consent.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation on the issue, saying:

The Government is keen to understand more about the scale of this issue, whether incidents are being reported to the police or other authorities and, where they are, how these are being dealt with. This will allow us to

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LibLink: Julian Huppert – We can’t tackle revenge porn using existing laws

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeLib Dem MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert has wirtten an article at Politics.co.uk explaining why he’s supportive of a new law to make revenge porn illegal. First, he sets out why the it’s a problem that needs tackling:

These images were typically taken with consent, or by the victim themselves – but there was no consent for them to be broadcast to everyone, but rather an expectation that they would be kept secret. This causes immense harm to the victims – the shame and humiliation of

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Julian Huppert’s Tory opponent in Cambridge next May will be… an ex-Lib Dem London mayoral hopeful

chamali fernandoThe Cambridge News reports that Chamali Fernando has been chosen by the Conservatives to contest Julian Huppert’s Cambridge constituency:

A barrister and Liberal Democrat defector has been named as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Cambridge. Chamali Fernando, 35, was adopted by party members to fight the 2015 poll at a special general meeting. She joined the Tories in 2009, two years after she unsuccessfully sought the Liberal Democrat nomination for the London mayoral poll. And it’s a case of second time lucky in Cambridge for Ms Fernando, who missed out

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