Tag Archives: liam fox

19 November 2018 – today’s press releases

No music today, I’m afraid, for we have another clutch of press releases, including one which some of our readers might vaguely recognise as an overdue recycling of an old theme…

  • PM must come clean on immigration plans
  • Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’
  • FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of industry on vulnerable people
  • It’s time Fox was given his P45
  • Tories can no longer bury Brexit truth

PM must come clean on immigration plans

Responding to Theresa May’s speech to the CBI conference this morning, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May is desperately trying to win over the

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Is Vince Cable right to say that there is a 20% chance Brexit won’t happen?

Vince Cable told Sky News’ Niall Paterson this morning that there was a 20% chance that Brexit wouldn’t happen. He said:

The government is of course pressing ahead with negotiations but the sheer complexity, the practical difficulties, the fact that government is internally divided – we may get to the middle of next year and find this is just a horrible mess and there will be a growing political mood in the country and in parliament to find a way out and that’s why we think at the end of the day the public should have a choice as to whether they want to go ahead with Brexit when we’ve discovered what it’s about or whether they want an exit from Brexit.

I’ve been thinking for some time that we need a bit of a better roadmap to show the public exactly how it is possible to get out of this mess. Half the country, if it’s watching the news at all, is doing so from behind a cushion but is shrugging its shoulders because it thinks the course is set and that a damaging Brexit is inevitable.

I think that’s partly why Lord Kerr’s intervention the other week was helpful because it reminded people that Article 50 was revocable. We can actually get out of this mess if we want to. And he should know, given that he wrote the clause in question. Let’s remind ourselves of what he said:

It is not irrevocable.

You can change your mind while the process is going on.

During that period, if a country were to decide actually we don’t want to leave after all, everybody would be very cross about it being a waste of time.

They might try to extract a political price but legally they couldn’t insist that you leave.

Vince mentioned the practical difficulties and the “horrible mess” of it all. This was evident in the entirely divergent positions proffered by Ruth Davidson and Liam Fox just half an hour apart this morning.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 45 Comments

Why we must stand up for EU citizens’ right to stay in the UK #notacard

I’ve  only done a couple of posts in the past week or so, making reference to “events” keeping me away from LDV. When I came back from Witney, I found my husband very seriously ill.  An ambulance dash and some very scary moments later, my worst fears were confirmed and then some.

Things have now settled down considerably. We’ve had a couple of boring days without medical drama now and we’d like things to stay that way. He will be in hospital for a wee while yet, though, so please bear with me if it takes me some time to respond to things.  The rest of the team have been fantastic – so many thanks to them for stepping in while I’ve been preoccupied.

The reason for telling you all of this is to help you to understand how utterly furious I was to see that Liam Fox had actually said this out loud when asked about the rights of EU citizens following Brexit:

To give that away before we get into a negotiation would be to hand over one of our main cards in that negotiation and doesn’t necessarily make sense at this point.

You just can’t go changing the goalposts when people have made their home, maybe fallen in love, settled, had children, built lives and support networks. That is so wrong. It is simply not fair to put EU citizens in a situation where they won’t know what’s happening to them until the Brexit deal is stitched up behind closed doors.

The team caring brilliantly for my husband includes people who have moved here from other parts of the EU. I don’t want to think of any of them being used as a negotiating card. They are working hard, in very difficult, under-resourced circumstances, giving outstanding and compassionate care to people at their most vulnerable.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 37 Comments

Dr Liam Fox’s economic prescription: kill or cure?

Economic jihad. That’s how Vince Cable described Dr Liam Fox’s speech to the IEA this morning. Dr Fox’s speech is worth reading, though, precisely for the parts of it that have not been covered in the wider media. For it sets out a clear – albeit deeply conservative – approach to how to reform our economy for the long-term. But while the proposed destination is well-articulated, the route is far from certain.

Let’s start with the positive. I agree, broadly, with Fox’s analysis of the causes of our current economic state. While I wouldn’t exactly phrase it thus, there is …

Posted in News | 9 Comments

5 initial thoughts on David Cameron’s Europe speech

David Cameron - License Some rights reserved by Statsministerens kontor David Cameron delivered his long, long-awaited speech on Europe this morning (text here). Caron’s rounding up the reactions from Lib Dems here – but here are my five initial thoughts…

This is the speech Cameron didn’t want ever to have to give.

Let’s be clear, David Cameron is making this speech now to try and keep the Conservatives together. The threat from Ukip and the party’s right has proved too powerful to withstand. Offering a referendum was no longer …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 37 Comments

Nick Clegg trashes Liam Fox’s economic policy demands

During yesterday’s Radio 4 interview with Nick Clegg there was a feisty exchange over why so much time in the interview was being taken up with the details of when and to who Jeremy Hunt should next answer questions to about his conduct, rather than issues such as the state of the economy.

Certainly the media loves investigatory process stories. Not only the Clegg interview but the subsequent coverage of it neglected the economy, even though Clegg had some choice words to say about former minister Liam Fox:

Martha Kearney: Liam Fox recently accused the Liberal Democrats of being a brake on

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The Tories’ tax problem

Cut national insurance contributions, says Liam Fox. Cut capital gains tax, says David Davis. Give tax breaks to married couples, say Stewart Jackson and others. Back wealth taxes to cut taxes on “families and employers”, says Tim Montgomerie.

There’s no shortage of Tories suggesting taxes for George Osborne to cut when he delivers his budget. Yet it’s the junior party in the coalition which is leading the debate on tax cuts – a curious situation which no doubt shocks Tories as much as it infuriates them.

The reasons the Lib Dems are leading the way on tax cuts are straightforward. First, the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

The Independent View: MoD suppresses Lib Dem review and spending information on Trident ahead of Parliamentary decision

Liberal Democrats can be rightly proud of their record on challenging like-for-like Trident replacement and keeping Britain’s nuclear weapons near the top of the political agenda – certainly during the last general election campaign. But now it looks as though their coalition partners are moving to stifle the gains they have made. Not only has the Defence Secretary announced the suppression of the Lib Dem-led Trident Alternatives Review. He is also making a mockery of the delayed Trident replacement decision – scheduled for 2016 – by committing to spend £6 billion before that decision date. This is hardly fair play …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Liam Fox set for £17,207 pay off

It’s official. Liam Fox is set to receive a severance payout of £17,207 for quitting his post as Defence Secretary, and that hefty wedge is due to drop into his bank account on 30 November. That’s not idle speculation or even what I picked up after reading some newspaper report or other. It’s what a Ministry of Defence official personally confirmed to me yesterday.

I asked a Freedom of Information Act request about it only last Monday, and the answer appeared in my inbox only six working days after it was asked, which is record quick time in my experience. What …

Posted in News | 8 Comments

PMQs: You can’t gesticulate your way out of a Balls-up

He still looks like a clever sixth former to me, but it is fair to say that Ed Miliband has cracked Prime Minister’s Questions. His performance this week was excellent.

“Just a bit late” was David Cameron’s description of Miliband’s raising of the Fox affair. It is easy to understand why Miliband did not raise the subject last week. Labour played a canny game with Dr Fox. They did not call for his resignation and at the last PMQs, Miliband did not ask directly about the issue. This allowed Dr Fox to swing in the media wind, without obvious Labour encouragement. …

Posted in News, Parliament and PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Jasper Gerard writes… The truth about David Cameron’s relations with Liam Fox

Rarely can a ministerial resignation be less mourned than Liam Fox’s. An intriguing aspect of his fall is explained in my book The Clegg Coup. Senior Lib Dems and Tories told me repeatedly how Cameron and Fox loathed each other. Indeed, Cameron would often ring our Nick Harvey rather than his Fox to the extent that Harvey became known as “Cameron’s man at the MoD”.

“Fox sees himself as the prince across the water,” I was told. “He thinks Cameron never faced a proper challenge for the leadership because he was edged out in the first round by David Davis, whom he considers flaky. Liam is not going to blow his shot too early and it’s a good way off, but I do think he wants to challenge Cameron for the leadership.”

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

LDV Caption Competition | Liam Fox “was he pushed?” Edition

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


(Hat-tip to @RichardOsley.)

Here’s former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and colleague, joined stage left by a mystery hand. What do you think they might be saying or thinking?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Julian Huppert “it’s all a bit of a blur” Edition.

The winner, according to The Voice’s judging panel of one, was this one by Neil McGovern, with …

Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Labour’s problem

There’s been nothing dramatic about this conference season apart from a few gaffes, but under the surface, I think the Labour conference was significant.

While I enjoyed the Lib Dem conference, I don’t think the journalists did. Whenever I passed a well-known TV presenter, they had a face like thunder. They were looking for factionalism and controversy, but all they found was Lib Dems facing up to a difficult situation with determination and loyalty. That makes dull TV, so they must have been tearing their hair out.

The Tory conference was more entertaining.

Theresa May’s remark about cats, and the more recent

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 35 Comments

Liam Fox and Jorge Mendonca, then and now

Liam Fox, February 2007 on the allegations against British solider Jorge Medonca over the death of Baha Mousa:

A whiff of political correctness hangs heavy over the case against Col Mendonca.

Liam Fox, September 2011, on reading the report that condemned British solider Jorge Medonca over the death of Baha Mousa:

As I read the report, my predominant feeling was disgust that individuals could have acted in this brutal way and that their appalling behaviour has tarnished the reputation of the British army.

Liam Fox’s change of stance should be welcomed. He’s had new evidence presented to him, he’s changed his mind and that is how things …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Nick Harvey MP writes: A hard look at defence spending

Today the Commons defence committee published a report criticising the MOD for decisions taken in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).  The report claims that recent defence budget reductions will leave our Armed Forces unable to execute the operations the Government sets for them post-2015.  
 
I disagree.
 
It is true that the MOD is reducing numbers of service personnel across the Army, Navy and Air Force and indeed the MOD has altered the equipment programme, which led to the deletion of Nimrod and Harrier.  But these tough decisions were necessary in order to address the black hole in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

The Independent View: Alternatives to Trident replacement must include the possibility of no nuclear weapons

Since Liam Fox made his announcement last week that while Trident replacement design is going ahead, the Lib Dems will also be looking at alternatives, there has been a flurry of derision about the latter initiative. Most obviously this comes from Liam Fox and the hard–line pro-nuclear lobby who just want to rubbish it. But criticism of Lib Dem efforts also comes from some anti-nuclear quarters and I am not convinced that this is totally reasonable.

From my point of view, it would be very easy to have a pop at the Lib Dem leadership for not backing CND’s maximum programme …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

The battle over Trident

At the time the coalition government was negotiated, Trident looked to be one of the most contentious policy areas for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to agree on. However, for all the barbed Cameron – Clegg exchanges over Trident during the election, it now looks as if the biggest tensions on the issue are coming from within the Conservative Party.

In my series of posts reviewing the content of the coalition document, I pointed out the compromise it contained on Trident:

It will be replaced unless there is a better value for money alternative. What the wording leaves unclear is the

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Hung Parliament talks: what will be proposed to Monday’s meetings?

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive are scheduled to meet again on Monday. If a firm proposal is coming out from the talks today, expect it to be put to them both tomorrow. The big question is what might be proposed…?

Right across the party, both from senior to grassroots levels and from social through to economic liberals, there is very strong feeling that significant movements on electoral reform are a must for any arrangement. Given the country’s current economic woes, there is widespread agreement that PR isn’t the only issue at stake, but – for example – …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 38 Comments

“When the public booed Liam Fox for raising hung parliament concerns” – FT

In case you missed this week’s Question Time, here’s how the FT reported it:

Last night’s Question Time ended on an extraordinary note. The public are more in favour of a hung parliament than the Tories care to admit. But I never expected an audience to heckle and boo Liam Fox when he warned of an indecisive election result triggering a run on sterling…

This should be a salutary lesson to Cameron’s team. People seem to like the idea of politicians working together. The worm in the election debate shot up when Clegg spoke about a cross-party co-operation to tackle the deficit.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 10th Dec - 6:45am
    leave voters tend to be older . Older people aren't so easy to get marching about . This is why political "causes" tend to like...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 10th Dec - 12:10am
    The last thing we need is any hint of squabbling within the growing People's Vote campaign of which we Lib Dems are clearly an integral...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 10th Dec - 12:01am
    I don't think that People's Vote is sidelining the Liberal Democrats. The issue is that the amendment does not have cross party support or the...
  • User Avatarfrankie 9th Dec - 10:45pm
    Interesting to see the much vaunted Betrayal of Brexit managed to garner 500 more people than a meeting in the Excel Centre. They lack the...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 9th Dec - 10:43pm
    My good friend Bill le Breton is wrong again in this thread! Twice in a row!! Perhaps I should have a good talk with him...
  • User AvatarTonyH 9th Dec - 10:27pm
    I agree that Caroline Lucas is a better public advocate than Vince. I don't agree that she is better than Layla or Christine or Tom....