Tag Archives: lynne featherstone

LIb Dem Lords speak out on conversion therapy

Last week, Lorely Burt’s private members bill aimed at outlawing conversion therapy practices passed its first stage in the House of Lords.

This post highlights the speeches in support of the Bill made by Lib Dem peers, but there were many others made by people like Ruth Hunt, Michael Cashman and Helena Kennedy which are worth reading.

This post is a long one, but it is worth reading to understand why this measure is necessary.

Lorely explained in her opening remarks that conversion therapy s:

any practice with the predetermined purpose of changing or suppressing a person’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Conversion therapy is barbaric, cruel and harmful.

Listening to the debate, I felt I was back in the 80s and 90s. I remember then being chilled to the bone when I heard prejudice against gay people. That still exists, but the real venom these days is directed at trans people. And it’s quite interesting that some of the opposition now comes from the same people who opposed any liberalisation for gay people then. Our job as liberals is to protect these vulnerable groups from that prejudice, discrimination and from the cruelty of those who try to convince them that it is wrong or them to be who they are.

Here are some of the highlights of Lib Dem members’ contributions. You can read the whole debate here.

“My Bill will not tell people what to think or what to say” – Lorely Burt

There are many people—particularly young people—who may be wondering about themselves. It is not always straightforward to understand your sexuality or gender identity, and grappling with these topics can be confusing and even distressing. What these people need is not a cure, but space—and support—to work things out. This may take the form of speaking with a trusted adult, like a mentor or counsellor, to explore their own feelings in a non-judgmental way.

However, the difference between that and conversion therapy is that the latter has a predetermined goal to change that person. I want to make it clear: my Bill will not criminalise these sorts of open conversations in any way, nor will it tell people what to think or what to say. Freedom of speech and religious freedom are important cornerstones of any liberal society. As a Liberal Democrat, I have always championed these values, and the last thing I would want to do is to unduly curb anybody else’s rights. Noble Lords are free to say what they believe: the rules on free speech are the same here as anywhere else in British law. Noble Lords are entitled to express an opinion, just not to coerce somebody else into agreeing with them and changing their behaviour as a result.

“Hold that child safe until they find their own way forward without bias, prejudice and pre conceived rights and wrongs” – Lynne Featherstone

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10-11 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Whilst the Commons returned today, the Lords has a little longer to recover from any Christmas/New Year excesses, resuming its work on Wednesday.

There are three items of particular interest as far as the Liberal Democrat benches are concerned, all of which are scheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday, however, sees Oral Questions on levels of mould in social housing, HMRC’s processing of tax returns (a topical one, I’d suggest), NatWest branch closures and account terminations, and, most topically of all, potential Government proposals to reverse convictions of sub-postmasters linked to the failed Horizon software.

The Automated Vehicles Bill reaches Day 1 of its Committee Stage, with Sharon Bowles leading from our Benches.

As already noted, Thursday sees a rather strong Liberal Democrat influence with an Oral Question from Mike German, seeking an answer from the Government as to what consideration they have given to the findings of the Brook House Inquiry, published on 19 September 2023, in particular its recommendation for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

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10 years since Same Sex Marriage Act

One of the Lib Dems’ major achievements in coalition was giving same sex couples the right to marry. Today, it’s 10 years since the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received royal assent. It would be another eight and a half months before the first marriages took place in England and Wales. Scotland would pass its own legislation on 4 February 2014.

Each of the Parliamentary stages saw mostly bright and cheerful vigils outside. The picture comes from the second reading in the Lords on 3rd June.

Brightness, positivity and reasonableness were the …

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Lib Dems put David Cameron right on same sex marriage

This week David Cameron wrote a gushy article for the Independent on how proud he was to have introduced same sex marriage.

I was prime minister, driving forward a bill that would allow gay people to get married. The opposition was fierce, from the Church, sections of the press, a number of party members (one even tore up their membership card in front of me), and from some of the MPs I was hoping would help to turn the bill into law.

People assume now that equal marriage was inevitable, that the bill sailed through Parliament without difficulty. It’s true that the majorities in favour were ultimately large ones (the House of Commons voted in favour by 400 to 175!). But the antipathy from so many quarters really did make me think on several occasions that we would have to drop it.

Talk about fairweather friend! He actually admitted that he thought he would have to put a stop to the measure.

His self-congratulatory re-writing of history concludes:

It is one of the achievements of which I am proudest (I usually make a joke about my “gay pride”). As with many things, it was tough, but it was worth the fight.

This would have been fine if it had been his fight. This was a Liberal Democrat idea and it was our Lynne Featherstone who made it happen. She did the hard yards before she was moved from the Home Office. She even wrote a book about it, which LGBT+Lib Dems cheekily reminded Cameron:

On Twitter, Lynne Featherstone herself thanked Cameron for supporting it. There’s a but, though.

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Lynne Featherstone reflects on being left to handle the London riots

We’ve been thinking a lot about when ministers should and shouldn’t return from holiday recently, and the consequences of their decisions.

But the tragic and appalling events in Afghanistan weren’t the first time senior ministers have been away when something big has kicked off and their junior ministers have had to deal with it.

Today Lynne Featherstone tells My London about her experience 10 years ago when the Tottenham Riots broke out. Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, was off sunning himself somewhere and didn’t come back, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Theresa May were all away, so, for a brief time, Lynne was the face of the Government response to the riots.

I was the ‘duty minister’ that weekend for the Home Office. But this was such a big story, I expected to see the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary,”

She called Nick Timothy, who, with Fiona Hall was May’s extremely unpopular adviser when she was PM and was then at the Home Office. He told her to come in as she was “the only one in the room.”

Lynne assumed that someone more senior would be around:

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Lynne Featherstone writes….Vote Layla!

I took over as Layla’s mentor when Vince had to stop because he became leader. I didn’t know her. I’d met her only once at a training weekend a few years earlier. We had lunch to introduce ourselves to each other. I came away from that very first meeting thinking here is someone who should be our leader.

I did my damndest to get her to run last time against Jo and Ed. Sadly (but possibly wisely) she resisted my pleading. She felt having been in Parliament a short time, and with a majority of just 800, she wasn’t ready. This time, with her majority increased to almost 9000; there was no holding her back. She is original, brave, intelligent, empathetic, and charismatic, and she will move us forward together.

Layla is liberal through and through and through. She wants every single person to fulfil their potential and have the security to live life as they choose. The words in our preamble: no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity, called to her as they did to me.

Her key priorities on education, the environment and the economy – Universal Basic Income and carbon negative (not just neutral!) targets and a teacher-led curriculum are how we move forward. Bold, liberal ideas, delivered with the right message and messenger will build our party and our country back better. You can read more about her plan for the party and vision for the country here.

With Layla, we can move on from the coalition voting record. We can rebuild trust and deliver positive and progressive change. Yes – we did some good things during the coalition. I was the originator and architect of the same-sex marriage law. But brilliant and liberal as that was – it’s not what people think of when the word coalition is brought up, and the coalition will be brought up in the many interviews our new leader will be grilled in. Being able to move the conversation forward from it is vital.

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A love that dare not speak its name

On a quiet evening recently I watched the 2015 film “Carol” which is set in the 1950s and based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith.

The “Carol” of the title is a wealthy middle aged woman in a marriage that is breaking up, who has a four year-old daughter she adores. On a pre-Christmas shopping trip she meets a young shop assistant, Therese, and they have a connection. Carol’s husband, who she is divorcing, knows that she has had same sex relationships in the past and uses this as part of a custody battle – citing her ‘immoral behaviour’ to secure sole custody of their daughter.

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Vince reshuffles Lib Dem spokespeople

Vince  has announced several changes to his top team of spokespeople.

Tim Farron will be taking over the Communities and Local Government  brief, which really suits him with his longstanding interest in housing. Wera Hobhouse moves from there to cover Energy and Climate Change.

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine will now cover issues relating to Work and Pensions, taking on the portfolio vacated by Stephen Lloyd when he resigned the Whip in December.  Jamie Stone becomes Scottish spokesperson. Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael will speak on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Vince said of his new team:

I am pleased to announce today our new spokespeople who will speak out on the most important issues we face in Britain today.

While Parliament is consumed by Brexit, we need to remember that people are also affected by a whole host of other challenges.

We will continue to speak up for them as we continue our fight for the public to have a say on the Brexit deal with a People’s Vote.

It’s disconcerting that Lynne Featherstone no longer seems to have a spokesperson role given that she is one of the party’s best performers. She used to do energy and climate change in the Lords but that role has now gone to Chris Fox.

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Lynne Featherstone writes on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

As a minister in the Department of International Development, Lynne Featherstone did so much to tackle this practice – work that is now starting to have results, with the first prosecution under the measures she introduced taking place recently.

Over on the party website, she writes about her work – and how the current Government is even continuing it.

Back in 2013 when I was a DFID minister, together with campaigners like Nimco Ali and Efua Dorkeeno, we kicked off the original government campaign on FGM. We succeeded in securing the biggest ever spending commitment in the world of £35 million to work towards eradicating FGM worldwide.

I am delighted to let you know that legacy has continued.

The current Secretary of State for the Department of International Development recently announced that an extra £50 million will go towards eradicating FGM worldwide.

On this occasion, I am delighted to be overtaken.

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1 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Tories failing to act on modern slavery in car washes
  • Lib Dems: Nobody should take lectures from Liam Fox
  • Landmark conviction in fight to stamp out FGM
  • Tories leading us to a Brexit wasteland

Tories failing to act on modern slavery in car washes

The Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action to tackle modern slavery in hand car washes after Conservative Ministers rejected a licensing scheme in their response to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Commission.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Yet again the Tories are failing to take the necessary action to tackle modern slavery, even though

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Lib Dems welcome mixed sex civil partnerships news

News that  the Government will legislate for mixed sex civil partnerships in England and Wales was welcomed by various Liberal Democrats. It makes sense that people should have the choice of what form of ceremony to have.

Our Lynne Featherstone was the Minister who instigated same sex marriage in England.

She welcomed the news on Twitter.

Lynne has always acknowledged the support of Theresa May, who, as Home Secretary, gave her Bill crucial backing. However, the Tories would never allow Lynne to introduce mixed sex civil partnerships. Even now they haven’t done it entirely voluntarily. They were forced to either scrap civil partnerships for same sex couples or introduce them for everyone.

It was therefore sad that the Prime Minister didn’t acknowledge Lynne’s role.

LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Jennie Rigg welcomed the move and said that this was just one of the things that needs to happen to achieve proper partnership equality. I did love the very on message inclusion of “demand better.”

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Euratom was not on the ballot paper

Embed from Getty Images

The Treaties of Rome of 1957 founded the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to create a European market for nuclear power. Its membership includes EU member states and has cooperation agreements with third-party countries like Canada, the US, South Africa.

In its Brexit White Paper that invokes Article 50, the UK will be leaving Euratom. Euratom is legally distinct from the EU but is governed by EU institutions and therefore this UK Government is …

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Lynne Featherstone’s speech in climate change debate

Here is Lynne Feathestone’s speech to yesterday’s climate change debate. The party passed entirely predictable policy – in summary, Paris Agreement is fantastic. Trump and the Conservatives are awful and we are the party of renewables and the green economy.

This is what Lynne said:

It was a glorious moment in time

The signing of the Paris Agreement

The world coming together to do the right thing

Thinking of future generations

Accepting responsibility

Taking real action to turn the tide

A moment in time

But time is not on our side

And the battle intensifies

Even as 97% of experts – so beloved of Michael Gove – agree on climate change

Even as the world agrees on Climate Change

Even as we have had the hottest summers

The wettest storms

Sea levels rising

And the fiercest hurricanes in history

Climate deniers still propagate untruths

It’s a hoax made up by the Chinese

It’s a scam

scientists are fudging the numbers

In my time as Minister for International Development

I saw first hand the impact that climate change is already having in some of the poorest areas of the world

I stood in Darfur and felt desertification under my own feet.

I saw with my own eyes the ravages that too little water in Africa and too much in Asia can bring.

I implored governments and leaders to stop the fight between peoples over scarce resources.

I visited communities learning to adapt to climate change.

Those living in areas already deeply affected by climate change don’t question its existence.

They see it. They suffer from it. They didn’t cause it.

If we don’t succeed in adaptation, mitigation and keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees centigrade – then the tide of human misery we have seen fleeing conflict will be as nothing compared to those fleeing the worst ravages of climate change

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Lynne Featherstone hits out at UKIP’s FGM policy

Lynne Featherstone has, rightly, reacted with horror to UKIP’s proposal to “implement school-based medical checks on girls from groups at high risk of suffering FGM. These should take place annually and whenever they return from trips overseas.”

Lynne, in her work as Home Office and International Development Minister, changed the law to tackle FGM. She said:

UKIP’s approach is horrifically heavy-handed and will alienate the very communities we are trying to reach out to. We should be training our teachers and other providers such as community experts to identify those at risk and teaching children themselves that FGM is wrong and to come forward if they fear for themselves or a friend.

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Lynne Featherstone interview Part 2: The future

In the hours following the icy gales of Storm Doris, I caught up with Lynne at Taunton’s most distinguished hotel, The Castle. This is the second instalment of our chat. You can read the others here. A more detailed discussion of the path to same sex marriage will appear tomorrow.

Of your achievements in politics, where would you put the equal marriage bill? 

Oh, right at the top. It is the most public. It is the most clear cut and obvious. But it shares with others. Clearly the FGM campaign wouldn’t have happened. I am incredibly proud of it because I find it extraordinary that we allow a practice such as this to go on in this country and around the world. I always say that if they were chopping off half a boy’s willy, this practice would not have lasted four seconds let alone four thousand years. This is because we don’t rate women and girls.

The one that people don’t know about is the disability in the developing world campaign, which I’m incredibly proud of. I changed the structure on how we give money. I refused to give any money to any educational charity working in the developing world unless they had totally accessible schools. That made a huge difference.

That is the thrill of politics – you can use it to try to make the world a better place. It sounds terribly naive, but that’s what I went into politics for. I was one of the very few lucky people who managed to do some big things. I got a lot of satisfaction at every level, but there’s nothing like being a minister.

Along with many other Lib Dem MPs, you lost your seat in 2015. What are you up to now?

Yes, I did lose my seat. For the first two weeks, I laid on the sofa eating chocolate and drinking alcohol while watching every episode of 24 and all the Harry Potter films. That was an excellent start to my new life!

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Lynne Featherstone interview Part 1: Early life and influences

As Minister for Equalities in the recent coalition government, Lynne Featherstone was the originator and architect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. She has received various accolades and awards for her work on equalities. In his book Gay Shorts (2015), the former Conservative Party politician turned broadcaster and member of the LGBT community, Iain Dale said that:

Same-sex marriage will be associated with Lynne Featherstone in the same way that we associate David Steel with the 1967 Abortion Act and Roy Jenkins with the legalisation of homosexuality.

In the hours following the icy gales of Storm Doris, I caught up with Lynne at Taunton’s most distinguished hotel, The Castle. The previous evening, she spoke at a party fundraiser in East Devon. After our interview, she was heading off to another commitment,as the guest speaker at the Bridgwater and West Somerset Liberal Democrats annual dinner. She is certainly a woman in demand! Among the bustling crowd of Saturday night revellers, who were making good use of the historic hotel’s bar and restaurant, Lynne and I managed to find a table and a couple of chairs, tucked away in a reasonably quiet corner.

In the hour that I had with the Lib Dem peer, I wanted to cover a lot of ground. Obviously, the subject of her new book Equal Ever After was going to dominate much of the conversation. Besides the same sex marriage bill, I wanted to find out more about the former MP and her life before  and after her time as Minister.

You are a north London girl, could you tell me a bit about your childhood?

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Lynne Featherstone: It was as if MPs’ cojones had gone missing

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. 

Lynne Featherstone was characteristically pithy, slamming the government’s position on EU nationals as “no way for a decent country to behave” and was quite clear that the people must be given the final say on the deal – and wonders what would happen if public opinion changed on Brexit. Would the brexiteers be so happy to listen to the will of the people then? She said the Lords should do what the Commons didn’t have the nerve to do and amend the bill to guarantee EU nationals’ rights, membership of the single market and that referendum on the deal.

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and I could not agree more with him on that last point.

I do not take kindly to threats. There may be many reasons for which this House in its current form should be abolished or reformed, but expressing our views honestly is not one of them. Those in the other place who seek to threaten and bully us should be ashamed of themselves. If we send this back to the Commons with amendments, it is simply to say, “Look at this again”—that is what we do with legislation. At least, that is my understanding after a year in your Lordships’ House. This is no different.

We live in uncertain times in an uncertain world, which is even more uncertain today now that the new leader of the free world appears to have no understanding of or respect for his role—or worse. Each day brings another jaw-dropping statement, press briefing, appointment, tweet or executive order, the reality of which is stark and dangerous. I have always been a great fan of America and have always wanted a close relationship with the country that has the most power. I also wanted a close relationship with Europe. I am now concerned about our relationship with the former.

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WATCH: Lynne Featherstone’s message on the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM

One of Lynne Featherstone’s main achievements in government was around tackling Female Genital Mutilation. She has recorded a message for today’s International Day of Zero Tolerance against FGM.

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Lynne Featherstone calls on UK Government to support Women’s Health Fund to replace funds lost by Trump’s abortion gag rule

I have felt sick to the stomach virtually every day this week as new pronouncements come from the new US President. Already he’s damaged our planet by authorising new pipelines, promised to reinstate torture and proclaimed that he’s going to build that wall no matter what.

For me, though, the worst was the distasteful image of a man who has gloated about sexually assaulting women sitting, surrounded by men, signing an executive order which will ensure that vulnerable women lose their lives. He has reinstated the “global gag rule” on abortion which means that no US funds can go to organisations which provide abortion services. No US money pays for abortion services, but no organisation can receive funds for its other programmes.

The impact of this on Africa is highlighted by this Washington Post article:

In Kenya, public health experts raised immediate concerns about the new policy. Women here often resort to dangerous methods to end their pregnancies, including drinking battery acid and using wire coat hangers. In parts of rural Kenya, young women have hired local healers to stomp on their stomachs until the pregnancy is deemed over.

“Trump’s policy means even fewer services will be offered,” said Chimaraoke Izugbara, a researcher at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi. “Some women will not be reached, and providers may not be available to offer services. I think we are headed to a major disaster.”

Nearly 8,000 women in Kenya die every year from complications caused by pregnancy and childbirth. At least a fifth of those deaths are caused by self-induced abortions, according to Izugbara.

However, Dutch trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen has a solution:

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Are we in a fracking mess?

Over the past few weeks you could be forgiven for assuming that the party is in a bit of a mess on the fracking issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Scottish and Welsh devolved governments both had a moratorium on fracking on the basis of inherent risks in the technology, with unquantified dangers of seismic disturbance and pollution of water tables, as well as (still unaddressed) risks of waste material transport, treatment and disposal. Permitting planning authorities to reject fracking on these grounds is important. Both our Welsh and Scottish parties supported these moratoria. When a moratorium was debated at Westminster before the election, many of the 58 votes against were from the non-government Lib Dems.
However, as many have said, the evidence for these risks being unavoidable is weak. Fracking can be done safely, from a purely technical point of view. The massively over-interpreted RSE report said so.
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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: The Tories continue to attack the planet

Lynne Featherstone today tries to get the House of Lords to oppose Tory cuts to renewable obligations, which, as she points out in an article for Politics Home, is hardly consistent with the protocol they signed up to in Paris.

I do not have the space to list the full litany of destruction that has been wrought since the election by this government but it includes such worrying measures as privatising the Green Investment Bank, ending support for onshore wind power, weakening the zero carbon homes standard, and reducing the incentives to purchase low-emission cars.

Now to add to that list we have rooftop solar, a cornerstone of the Solar Strategy produced in April 2014. The tariff that has been set for the 1-5MW solar band is much too low to incentivise rooftop deployment in that size range, leaving larger rooftops with essentially no route to market. The large-scale rooftop market is potentially the most significant and cost-effective solar market. This market dominates across Europe and is expected to reach grid parity first, and yet the UK is not taking this market seriously.

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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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Featherstone: Lib Dems will fight to protect renewables sector

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsEnergy and Climate Change spokesperson Lynne Featherstone has accused the government (perfectly reasonably) of making “ideological cuts” to the renewables sector. Speaking ahead of a Lords debate on the Energy Bill tomorrow, she said:

Liberal Democrats have made changes to the Government’s Energy Bill in the House of Lords, and will be fighting to protect onshore wind subsidies in the debate.

We will be fighting to keep these changes, which will help protect our renewable energy industry in the face of brutal Conservative cuts.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Lynne Featherstone on the commonwealth, LGBT rights and international development

This week, we’re catching up on Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches. Today, it’s Lynne Featherstone who spoke following the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. “From wild child to the heart of the British establishment”, she says:

My Lords, I am so very honoured to be here and to have a continuing platform from which to pursue the political passions of my life. But first I thank noble Lords across the House for the warmest of welcomes. I have been utterly charmed and beguiled by the doorkeepers, Black Rod’s Office and the police, all of whom I thank for their kindness and courtesy, and not infrequent rescue from a wrong turn. I am delighted to make my maiden speech on the recent Commonwealth meeting, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Luce, for bringing forward this opportunity to me.

The Heads of Government emphasised the need to protect individuals from all forms of violence and discrimination. Violence and discrimination abound across the world. From the almost two women a week here in the United Kingdom who are killed by their partners or former partners, as you go across the world it just gets worse: acid attacks, female foeticide, breast ironing and rape as a weapon of war. I have raised these issues at the very highest levels in countries where women have no rights and in those where there are laws, but no implementation. However, there is nothing more totemic to illustrate the lack of women’s power in this world than female genital mutilation. I am proud to have introduced and spearheaded the campaign in the coalition Government to address FGM both here and abroad.

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Lynne Featherstone calls for cuts to solar energy to be rescinded

 

Following on from Ed Davey’s outspoken criticism of the Government’s cuts to subsidies for renewals, we hear that Lynne Featherstone has tabled a motion in the Lords calling for the cuts to the feed-in tariff subsidies for solar energy to be rescinded. These subsidies are being reduced by a huge 65% next month, which will lead to the loss of up to 18,700 jobs in the industry over the next four years.

This motion could result in another defeat in the Lords – something we have been growing used to since the notable Lib Dem campaign on tax credits.

Tim Farron is quoted in the Financial times:

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IfG interviews former Lib Dem ministers, feat. Browne, Swinson, Hughes, Featherstone, Cable, Huhne

The Institute for Government did a lot of work during the coalition looking at how this (by English standards) unusual arrangement was working, and could work better. Now we have (for now at least) moved beyond coalition, the IfG has been interviewing ministers who served in the last government, seeking their reflections on their time there.

The IfG website has transcripts of a number of interviews with both Conservative and Lib Dem former ministers. The Lib Dems featured are:

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Lynne Featherstone writes…March with me for a pledge we can be proud of

The long awaited Paris talks on climate change are finally upon us. This is a chance for the world to come together to address the biggest threat facing humanity and decide on a collective response.

As a party we have been extremely committed to the cause of addressing climate change for many years and we’re not going to stop now. Nick Clegg signed a pledge with David Cameron and Ed Miliband for the UK Government to seek a deal in Paris to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees. We need to make sure this happens.

I am speaking at the big climate rally in London on 29th November – The People’s March – and will be marching with Green Liberal Democrats to make our voice heard.

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Working together in North London

haringey lib dems

The campaign in Hornsey and Wood Green this year to keep the wonderful Lynne Featherstone as MP was the biggest we in Haringey have ever fought.  One of the really gratifying aspects of the campaign, despite the disappointing results was the way in which other North London parties came to help. Whether it was knocking on doors, writing blue envelopes or running fundraisers for Lynne, the support from our neighbouring parties was fantastic.

After Lynne’s defeat came the depressing task of closing down the constituency office and laying off staff. The local party looked hard at party finances and decided that the only way forward was for us to pool resources with other parties nearby. So we started discussions with Camden and Islington about sharing office space and an organiser. Three months later we have a new office, smaller but better located than our previous office and a new organiser who is shared between the three local parties.

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Praise for Lynne Featherstone from the newly-married Iain Dale

LBC Presenter, publisher and blogger Iain Dale and his husband John Simmons have recently converted their civil partnership to a marriage.

Iain wrote about the day they got married here.

He had some pretty fulsome praise for Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister who made it happen.

Finally, when we were sitting in the register office going through the paperwork I had a moment when I thought of Lynne Featherstone. Lynne was the LibDem Home Office minister who, with the backing of Theresa May and David Cameron brought in the Equal Marriage Act. She lost her seat at the election, but she will always be able to look back and think that this was a real political achievement. Just as Roy Jenkins will be remembered for decriminalising homosexuality, she will forever be associated with equal marriage. I can think of worse political legacies. Most ministers go through their careers achieving very little. She set out to do something and had the political courage and nouse to see it through.

Cheers Lynne.

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Opinion: Animal welfare legislation misses the mark

Leading animal welfare charities dismissed legislation introduced by Lib Dems in coalition as being not fit for purpose.

The new ban, coming into force in October 2015, will prohibit the testing on animals for finished household products in the UK – but not all their ingredients. The ban will only apply to ingredients where more than half of their usage is expected to be within household products. This is seen as a considerable u-turn by then Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, who announced in 2011 that the ban would ‘apply to both finished household products and their ingredients, although in …

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