Tag Archives: mike german

7-9 November – this week in the Lords

A short week in Parliament, with the short November recess starting on Thursday, but there’s plenty of Liberal Democrat interest.

Monday starts with the usual oral questions, this time including a question from Shas Sheehan regarding Government steps, as President of COP26, to acknowledge and address greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries, in the light of recent flooding in Pakistan.

The Seafarers’ Wages Bill receives its Third Reading, with Ros Scott from our benches expected to pursue the issue of how the legislation sits with international agreements in the maritime sector. So far, there’s been little sense that the Government gets this, but given their persistent disregard for such things, it’s unlikely that they’ll change their mind at this stage. And there’s Day 4 of the Committee Stage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, with Jeremy Purvis, Alison Suttie, Sarah Ludford and Dee Doocey attempting to prevent a blatant power grab by the Government, allowing them to, effectively, rewrite the legisaltion as they go along.

In Grand Committee, the Electronic Trade Documents Bill has its Second Reading, with Chris Fox up for our benches.

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15 December 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems
  • Labour’s failure to stand up for Wales and devolution in key amendment during Internal Market Bill is shocking say Welsh Lib Dems

Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems

With just 16 days until the end of the transition period the UK Government has admitted it has failed to secure land at Holyhead to carry out the extra checks on vehicles entering the country leading to fears of gridlock in the area.

In answer to a question from Lib Dem Peer Roger Roberts the UK Government admitted that “No land has yet been purchased two potential sites have been identified in partnership with the Welsh Government and commercial discussions are under way.”

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Mike German writes: Democracy, digital technologies and trust

A new report from the House of Lords has shone a searchlight on the effect of online activity on the health of our democracy. Over the past year Paul Scriven and myself have been members of a Select Committee taking evidence, investigating the level of harm, and developing proposals for tackling this critical issue. As Liberals we see technology can be a tool to help spread power, and improve democracy. But that can only happen with the correct framework around it.

Trust in our democracy is being eroded. Our key conclusions are that democracy should be supported rather than undermined by technology platforms, and that misinformation poses a real and present danger to our democratic processes.

There have clear examples of dangerous misinformation online during this Covid-19 pandemic. The online references to the 5G network and its connection with the virus, led some people to damage the telecommunications infrastructure. Other spurious medical advice has abounded. In the last General Election the Tories changed their website for the day. They claimed it to be an authoritative source of independent information in which -guess what – the Tory policy was the only right course!

The net effect of online misinformation is to threaten our collective democratic health. It is damaging trust in our democracy and takes us on a downward path where no-one listens, and no-one believes what they read and see. The government has promised an Online Harms Bill, but progress is moving at a snail’s pace. Ministers have been unable to even say whether we will get the new law before 2024. It is clear to us that the Tories are running scared of tackling the big online platforms. Our report calls for OFCOM to be given the power to hold these platforms legally responsible for content which goes out to their huge audiences in the UK.

Trust in what you find online has declined. People, particularly those coming up to voting age (16 in Scotland and Wales – catch up England!) need the skills and confidence to navigate online and find sources they can rely on. Too much of our education curriculum is about computing skills and not critical digital literacy.

There are lessons for all political parties as well, but the report singles out the Tories and Labour for their inability to see problems within themselves. Political parties must be held accountable for what we say, if we are to gain and expect the trust of the British people.

Electoral law has simply not caught up with the impact of online activity.

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German and Brinton stand up for victims on Worboys release

The release of serial rapist on parole after serving just 10 years has shocked many. Marina Hyde put it particularly well in the Guardian:

In technical terms Worboys has “paid his debt to society”. And yet, that doesn’t feel like quite the right analogy. I prefer to think that he’s been permitted to declare himself bankrupt to avoid paying said debt, and will be trading again in haste most unseemly to his creditors.

Merely out of interest, I wonder which sex offender treatment programme Worboys could have undergone inside in a manner that would have satisfied the parole board? I mean, I don’t want to put a downer on his X Factor journey here, but the main one used in England and Wales was scrapped last year after prisoners who had completed it were more likely to offend again than those that hadn’t. Well … there you go.

Yesterday a statement was made in the House of Lords Mike German replied for the Liberal Democrats:

My Lords, I too express great gratitude from these Benches for the Statement from the Government today, which gives an absolute expression of sympathy for those who have been affected by this case. Because there has been an obvious breakdown in the structure and systems of criminal justice which we are talking about, I wonder whether an apology on behalf of the Government would have been more appropriate at this point.

The Statement we have just heard raises a significant number of issues, many of which link back to legislative processes and rules which have developed over recent decades. Therefore, an understanding of the scope of the review will be necessary to give confidence to the many people who are feeling pain, misery and disgust at what they have seen in recent days. If we are to assuage them and to bring appropriate satisfaction to much of our society, we need to look carefully at the scope of this review.

As the Statement itself expresses it, we are told that the review will answer issues in these two areas: first, transparency in the process for parole decisions and, secondly, how victims are appropriately engaged in that process. This is indeed a focus of public concern at present but behind it lies a set of deeper and wider issues which have been thrown up by this case. We need to ensure that we see a review that touches all these issues if we are to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion to a much deeper issue than that reflected in the Statement. An example which has been thrown up by this case is indeterminate sentences. Nine hundred people were expected to get indeterminate sentences, but by 2012, when they were abolished, 6,000 people had received such sentences. Will the Minister tell us whether there is pressure on the parole system to clear this backlog which has affected the way in which it has dealt with these cases? We need some reassurance on that, not just those of us in this Chamber but the public as well.

Public confidence in the justice system has already been alluded to, particularly in the CPS and the role it played in reducing the number of cases brought to prosecution. It is essential that the public know why that was the case and the impact it has had on the victims and alleged victims who have been so hurt in recent days.

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Baroness Thomas writes… Getting Personal Independence Payments right

This afternoon the Department of Work and Pensions announces a significant change on the new Personal Independent Payments following significant Lib Dem pressure. Celia Thomas, the Lib Dem peer who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, explains why it’s a major win.

Getting the rules governing Personal Independence Payments right is vital. The new benefit, which will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance later this year, will have a huge effect on disabled people up and down the country.

I’m broadly in favour of the change to PIP, which seeks to clarify the eligibility of disabled people to this benefit, the purpose …

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Next week in the Lords: 29 October – 1 November

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

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

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

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Opinion: What price authenticity in our policy making?

As a mental health social worker, I have been trying to keep up with the debate, both within and without the party,  on the progress of the Welfare Reform Bill.

There are many commentators far more expert than I able to say how many different aspects of the legislation accord with party policy, or wider liberal views about the freedom and agency of the individual, or how far it falls short in respect of protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

This post is not about the detail of that.

I want to pose a question to LDV-reading colleagues as to how …

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Rolling news from conference: Saturday morning

Richard Kemp summates on motion, asking people also to back both amendments; i.e. cooperation rather confrontation to improve bill. Some MPs vote for amendment 1, some abstain. Amendment overwhelmingly carried. As is amendment 2. Lines 6-15 deleted from motion, amended motion carried. All MPs can spot voted for.

Evan Harris summates on amendment 1. “It is unusual for me to summate on a debate where there have been no speeches against my amendment”. Says government ministers must work hard to change the bill radically. Amendment 1 lays out how it should be improved – and Liberal Democrats in government “should follow …

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Lord Mike German’s maiden speech

In recent weeks, LDV has been bringing its readers copies of our new MPs’ first words in the House of Commons, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Alert LDV reader and bureaucratic blogger Mark Valladares, himself a husband to a Lib Dem Peer, our party’s president Ros Scott, has drawn to our attention that we have more new parliamentarians in the Other Place, who are also making maiden speeches. Earlier today we brought you the words of Baroness

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Our starters for 2008 – how did we do? (Part II)

A year ago, Lib Dem Voice posed 10 questions, the answers to which we believed might shape the Lib Dem year – time to revisit them, wethinks. To read Part I dealing with Qs 1-5, click here.

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

No, it didn’t, though this was in large part due to Nicol’s decision to resign the party leadership at the beginning of July, in order to put “the health and wellbeing” of his family first. The Scottish party has had a tough time, playing third fiddle to …

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Kirsty unveils new Welsh Lib Dem shadow cabinet

Via NewsWales.co.uk:

New Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams today announced her team for the Welsh Assembly .

She said, “The Welsh Liberal Democrat team is the most experienced in the Assembly, and we will be bringing that accumulated knowledge to the table on all our committee work and in the chamber.”

The Shadow Cabinet:

Kirsty Williams: Leader, Shadow Minister for Finance, Children and Young People.

Peter Black: Business manager, Shadow Minister for Health and
Wellbeing and Local Government (including housing). Assembly

Jenny Randerson: Shadow Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Education.

Mick Bates: Chair of Committee for Sustainability, Shadow Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs.

Eleanor Burnham: Shadow Minister for Communities, Culture and Equalities.

Mike German: Chair of Legislative Committee. Spokesperson on Europe. Member of sub-legislation, petitions committee.

Committee places are as follows:

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Kirsty’s win – what folk are saying

Congratulations from all at Lib Dem Voice to Kirsty Williams on becoming the first elected female leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. There’s more coverage over at the Welsh Lib Dems website, but here’s a few brief snippets from today’s papers:

Kirsty Williams makes political history (WalesOnline.co.uk)

KIRSTY WILLIAMS made history yesterday as she won the battle to become the new leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats – and with it the first woman ever to lead a major party in Wales.
She defeated former acting Deputy First Minister Jenny Randerson by 910 votes to 612 to succeed Mike German.

Ms Williams, 37, responded to her victory by vowing to fight all three of the Lib Dems’ rival parties. The Brecon & Radnorshire AM said: “My message to the other political parties is ‘Watch out – we are coming to get you’.”

Williams election ‘breaks mould’ (BBC.co.uk)
Kirsty Williams said she had “broken the mould” after being elected Wales’ first female party leader in the Welsh Liberal Democrat leadership contest. … Ms Williams, aged 37, launched her leadership bid saying she wanted to embrace the party’s talent to achieve success “in all parts of Wales”. … She said her party had to reach out to people who felt let down by politics and the assembly and she had “something unique to offer the people of Wales”.

“As a party we have broken the mould today by electing a woman,” she said. “If you have been turned off by politics, by the way the Labour Party has let Wales down, or the Conservatives’ attitude, or Plaid’s abandonment of principles, then come. We will re-ignite the flame of liberalism that once burnt so bright in this country. I am determined as leader of this party that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will blaze a trail for a new politics in Wales.”

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Mike German writes… my time as Welsh leader

Nominations to succeed me as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats close today (Nov 3), and in the morning, the first all-female leadership contest in British political history will start in earnest.

Very few are the leaders who get to leave in a (mostly) dignified way, and I am grateful to my colleagues – both supporters and otherwise – for allowing me this luxury.

Looking back, the highlights of the last decade are obvious. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the highlight of my time as leader has been the time we spent in government. For three years, we were …

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Race officially starts for Welsh Lib Dem leadership

The BBC wesbite reports:

Nominations have opened in the race to become the next leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Outgoing leader Mike German gave a farewell speech to the party’s autumn conference at Clydach, near Swansea.

Kirsty Williams, Brecon and Radnorshire AM, announced her intention to stand for the post a month ago; Cardiff Central AM today Jenny Randerson declared she would be joining Kirsty in the contest, ensuring the Welsh Lib Dems will soon be led by a woman. Here’s Jenny’s statement:

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Conference: Make It Happen debate… the live-blog

Yes, it’s the day of the Big Debate on Make It Happen, the party’s policy and consultation document, and there’s keen anticipation here in the conference hall. Over 100 members have applied to speak so far, so we can expect some fiery views on both sides of the should-we-cut-the-tax-burden debate.

The party’s manifesto chief Danny Alexander has introduced Make It Happen – plenty of warm applause, including for the line that tax cuts for ordinary people are very much part of a social justice agenda. He urges conference to vote down Paul Holmes’ and Evan Harris’s amendment, arguing it will …

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Newsflash: Kirsty Williams to announce Welsh leadership bid

News reaches The Voice that Kirsty Williams, the Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, will announce in the next hour or two that she will stand for the leadership of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The current leader, Mike German, is expected to stand down after the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference.

The BBC have heard the rumour too.

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Lib Dems can conquer Wales!

On the streets of West Wales there are a lot of people disaffected with New Labour. Indeed, that’s something that people like to emphasise to me: the ‘New’ part. Whether people hark back to a Labour under Attlee or Wilson., I’m not sure, but I catch their drift.

Maybe there will be a Tory government after the next general election, or maybe not. No-one knows for sure. But one thing of which I’m certain is that the Tories will not make much headway here in Wales. Only in the pockets of Monmouth, South Pembrokeshire and Clywd West are they strong, together …

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Peter Black AM: Welsh Liberal Democrat leadership race to begin soon?

At some time on the weekend of the 11th to 12th October the current leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Mike German, will stand up to make a speech to our national conference and conclude it by announcing that he is to stand down from that position with immediate effect.

Although Mike only assumed the mantle of party leader just under a year ago, he has led the Welsh Assembly Liberal Democrat group from day one. He will therefore have served nine years in the post, ten if you count the leadership role he was elected to in the run-up to …

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German announces resignation as Welsh Lib Dem leader

And in more LDV news from Wales… Mike German has announced he will stand down as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems after the party’s autumn conference in October. BBC.co.uk has more here.

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Mike German on postcode lotteries

Today’s Western Mail reports:

POLITICIANS need to feel comfortable with the much-maligned idea of “postcode lotteries” in public services, Welsh Lib-Dem leader Mike German says today.

The idea is the inevitable consequence of more “localised” education and health provision, he says – ideas that are gaining ground within the party and enthusiastically talked up by new UK leader Nick Clegg.

Read more here.

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Leader article: 2008 for Liberalism in Wales

2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Welsh Liberal Democrats. May’s local government elections will offer a real test of Labour’s unpopularity. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to Labour in all our largest urban areas. While the first-past-the-post system remains in place, we will be pushing to strengthen our position in Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Bridgend – where we already lead the councils. Look out for Newport too, where – if as expected Labour lose overall control of the council – then all of Wales’ cities will have rejected their style of we-know-best politics.

It …

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10 key Lib Dem questions for 2008

Sky News’s Adam Boulton has posted his rather more worldly ’10 Questions for 2008’ over at his Boulton & Co blog:

A lot will happen that I can’t predict, but working from the known unknowns of next year’s calendar, here are ten questions which I believe will shape politics at home and abroad in 2008.

Forgive Lib Dem Voice for being a little more parochial, and concentrating on the world of Lib Demmery:

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting …

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German confirmed as Welsh leader (for next six months)

This from the BBC:

Mike German has been confirmed as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales. The South Wales East AM replaces Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik, who had announced his decision to stand down.

Mr German has also retained his position as leader of the six Lib Dems in the Welsh assembly. He was the only nominee for both contests. He had already announced he will stand down from the role some time after the local council elections next May.

Lib Dem Assembly Member, Peter Black, has blogged his views here and here. …

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100 days of Plaid in power

Several months ago, I wrote a piece for LDV setting out what I thought was a golden opportunity for the Welsh Lib Dems following a disappointing night in May.

Now, 100 days have passed since Plaid decided to kick the prospect of alternating government in Wales into touch and instead prop up a discredited and unpopular Labour administration.

The “one-Wales” government as it is known has had nothing but gentle times so far. The position within the year and the Welsh electoral cycle have not presented the real and serious challenges to the stability of coalition politics. And yet, relations between the two governing parties have been anything but amicable. It all started when Peter Black pointed out the immature and almost laughable way in which back-bench Plaid AMs were failing to adhere to the principal of collective responsibility. They were openly attacking government announcements and claiming that because they were made by Labour Ministers, their party bore no responsibility for them. It beggars belief what the relationship will be like when times actually begin to get tough.

Those within our party who argued against joining Plaid and the Tories in Government, were particularly concerned by the lack of clear costings and affordability of Plaid’s manifesto. The party’s immaturity was clear when it offered a succession of promises to the Welsh public such as free laptops for kids and big grants for first time buyers. This “happy-meal” politics as Kirsty Williams called it, took no account whatsoever of the tougher budgetary times ahead. With the CSR announcement earlier this month, it has become clear that the one-Wales agenda is worryingly unaffordable.

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Welsh leadership in German’s hands… for a year

Mike German, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly, has announced his intention to retire from the post in 2008. This from the BBC:

Mr German said he had “unanimous support” from his colleagues in the assembly to continue as their leader. He is also to stand for the separate role of Welsh Liberal Democrat leader which MP Lembit Opik is to vacate.

“I think it would be wise to do that, to bring the leadership into the National Assembly,” Mr German told BBC Wales’ Politics Show. “I think that was Lembit’s view, and I agree with him,

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Öpik steps down as Welsh Lib Dem leader

Okay, so we’re a few hours behinds with the news, but I was out having a life. James Graham and Anders Hanson were first up, and here’s what the BBC say:

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Lembit Opik has announced he is to stand down from the post. He told the party’s autumn conference that he was doing so after six years so that the positions of assembly group leader and Welsh party leader could be decided at the same time. Assembly group leader Mike German is due to announce his intentions about his own future

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Lib Dem leadership announcement this Sunday

Before those of you outside Wales get too excited… This from the BBC:

The leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Welsh assembly, Mike German, is expected to reveal this weekend whether he wants to remain in the job.

Mr German said he would “probably” announce his decision during his speech at the party’s autumn conference in Aberystwyth on Sunday. He told journalists: “I have come to a conclusion,” and that he was “99%” certain about his decision. But the AM said he would continue to listen to the views of party members.

Mr German has held the role since

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Challenge to German’s Welsh leadership likely

According to Wales on Sunday:

LIB Dem AM Peter Black last night gave the strongest hint yet he will challenge Mike German for the party leadership. The party’s social justice spokesman – who called for Mr German to go after May’s Assembly election – indicated he would stand if none of his Assembly colleagues did.

It comes as a second Lib Dem AM publicly called for their leader to quit. Mick Bates, the party’s agriculture spokesman, said it was time for Mr German to move on.

You can read the full story here.

Here’s what Peter told the paper:

“I’m still talking to colleagues

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Welsh Lib Dem council leaders oppose LD participation in assembly coalition

I was a touch surprised to hear on BBC radio this morning that parties in Scotland were negotiating the future government of their nation… with no mention of Wales, where the same process is going on.

The leaders of the Lib Dem controlled councils in Wales are expressing grave doubts about propping up Labour in Wales:

Welsh Labour leader Rhodri Morgan could ask the Lib Dems to share power after his party fell short of a majority.

But Lib Dem leaders of four Welsh councils say they are all against it, amid doubts raised over the assembly group leadership of Mike German.


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Welsh Lib Dems launch Assembly campaign

The Liberal Democrats promised a “fair, green future” as they launched their campaign for the Welsh assembly election on 3 May.
They pledged guaranteed NHS service standards, a fund to help families go green and smaller class sizes.

Mike German, leader of the Lib Dems in the assembly, said the party would take action to deal with climate change and to give young people opportunities.

More from the BBC.

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