Tag Archives: Ming Campbell

Nick Clegg and Ming Campbell add their tributes to David Walter

From Nick Clegg:

 This is such sad news. I knew David for years and he was widely loved and admired in the party. He was a gentle and patient man with great integrity and an impressive career in journalism. 

I will always remember him for his great sense of humour at the most difficult or challenging times. He will be hugely missed by all of us in the party and our thoughts are with his family.

From Ming Campbell:

David Walter was a professional to his fingertips. He was universally respected and admired by his fellow journalists and held in great affection by the Liberal

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LDVideo: Ming Campbell – House of Lords reform part of Lib Dem DNA

Here’s a clip of former Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Menzies Campbell declaring reform of the unelected upper house — that century-old piece of ‘unfinished business’ — is an innate part of what defines Liberal Democrats:

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Opinion: What price democracy in the Lib Dems?

Over the past 21 months I have had many moments when I have felt close to despair about the behaviour of our parliamentarians. Sometimes, like voting in favour of tuition fees, they can rightly point to the Coalition Agreement – endorsed overwhelmingly – as Nick Clegg observed at the time – by a North Korean like Special Conference. Other times, like voting against party policy on Legal Aid and Welfare Reform – there is no such defence. Last night calls into question the fundamental values and principles of our party, not just in terms of flying in the face of …

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Sir Menzies Campbell asks for Scottish members’ views on Home Rule

Late last year, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie appointed North East Fife MP and former leader Sir Menzies Campbell to chair a Commission on Home and Community Rule to set out exactly how a liberal Scotland would divide up government power. Uniquely, our party looks at ways of devolving power from as well as to Holyrood.

Sir Menzies today e-mailed Scottish members to let them know he wants their views and outlining plans for a consultative session  at the Party’s Inverness conference in March. (Should you wish to attend, please note that the deadline to register at the cheaper …

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And the most-mentioned Lib Dems of 2011 were…

Two Lib Dem ministers made it into the top 10 of most-mentioned politicians in the national print media in 2011. Not surprisingly, one was Nick Clegg, the Deputy PM; the other was Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary.

Here’s the graphic which shows them placed 4th and 10th respectively:

Two Lib Dems also made it into the list of top 10 backbenchers who appeared in the national print media in 2011. Ming Campbell and David Laws popped up at 9th and 10th respectively (42nd and …

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Michael Moore MP writes: I am not your average unionist

In politics, as in other walks of life, labels matter. By accident or design, for good or for ill, they shape our identity — sometimes in our own eyes, but just as importantly in the eyes of others.

For all of us, our identity starts with where we belong. For my part I am a Borderer; a Scot; and British. Perhaps less fashionably but a long-held principle, I am comfortable that I am a European, too.

Beyond that, I am unashamedly a democrat, a liberal and an internationalist. But last week there was a stir in some parts of the media when …

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Was there a Clegg coup? Review of The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard

Many book titles reveal little about what their book contains, either providing but a banal name for its contents or a clever, clever name which obscures rather than reveals. However, The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard has a title which is revealing in two aspects. First, the way general accuracy in the book is marred by detailed slips – for whilst the general point of the title is true, with the May 2010 coalition being the UK’s first peacetime coalition in Westminster since before 1939, the title does not use the …

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Clegg orders fresh review of extradition laws headed by Ming

It’s two-and-a-half years since Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader publicly stood up on behalf of Gary McKinnon, a computer hacker wanted to by the US authorities under controversial extradition laws:

The Americans are hell-bent on extradition and making an example of him. He was told if he sat back, pleaded guilty and said nothing about his extradition, he could end up doing a shorter sentence in a British prison. But because he exercised his basic right to challenge his extradition, he’s now classed as a terrorist. … No fewer than three Labour home secretaries have played their part in

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Willie Rennie apologises for ‘unintentional offence’ of Lib Dems’ Alex Salmond cartoon

Some embarrassment for Willie Rennie, MSP and leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, this week following the publication by party staff of a cartoon satirising First Minister Alex Salmond’s hailing of the similarities between Scotland and Qatar:

The Stv website takes up the story:

Posted in Scotland | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Ming to head up Scottish Lib Dems’ Home Rule Commission

As the Scottish Lib Dems’ website announces:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has announced that former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP will chair the Home Rule Commission, set up to develop a blueprint for Home Rule in Scotland. The party’s Scottish conference in Dunfermline last month voted to establish a Commission to look at a settled distribution of powers between London, Edinburgh and local councils. Sir Menzies will join other Liberal Democrats to set out a long-term vision for a strong Scotland within the UK and powerful local communities in every part of Scotland.

Here’s what …

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

House of Lords reform: the next steps

As I mentioned when blogging Ming Campbell’s speech from Liberal Democrat conference, the motion in favour of Lords reform was passed overwhelmingly.

That in itself was not a surprise, but that does not mean actually securing Lords reform will be easy. Two immediate ways you can support the campaign for House of Lords reform are:

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Ming Campbell urges Lib Dem peers to back Lords reforms

One of the speakers in the Lords reform debate at Liberal Democrat conference was former party leader Ming Campbell, who not only backed the plans for elections to a reformed upper house but also directly addressed the Lib Dem peers who have been talking of opposing the introduction of elections:

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LDVideo at Conference | Farron on ‘Tory bashing’, Lamb on NHS reforms, and Ming on the Euro

At Birmingham and so missing out on how the Lib Dem conference is being reported? Not at Birmingham and so missing out on seeing Lib Dem MPs and government ministers up close and personal? We hope these videos will help re-connect you…

Tim Farron’s Tory-bashing


(Available on the BBC website here.)

Norman Lamb on NHS changes

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News in Brief: Ming savages Danny, ‘Parenting Matters’, and Don Foster on “rodents with wings”

Former party leader Ming Campbell is apparently furious with fellow Scottish Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, according to the Telegraph.

The two MPs are, it appears, at each others’ metaphorical throats over the handing over to the British army of RAF Leuchars in Fife (Ming’s patch), while RAF Lossiemouth in Moray (Danny’s neighbouring patch) — though it should be noted that RAF Kinloss, also close to Danny’s own consituency, will suffer the same fate as Leuchars.

The Telegraph quotes Ming implying with scarcely veiled fury that Danny’s intervention in the defence …

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Labour and the SNP’s judgement in Megrahi case completely wrong – Campbell

Lib Dem MP and member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Ming Campbell has been commenting on the revelations about the Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi case:

The Labour government completely failed to take into account the horrific nature of the crime, the consequences and the sentence imposed when it took the view that it could assist the release of Mr Megrahi.

Equally in Scotland, the Justice Secretary failed to take account of these three significant factors when reaching a conclusion about the exercise of compassion.

If both had paid proper attention, the Labour government would not have been so embroiled and the Scottish

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Tuition fees: which way will MPs vote on Thursday?

Today saw a weird piece of media face with an impostor conning several news outlets into reporting that Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart was going to resign as a PPS and vote against the tuition fees increase. The impostor even got as far as being interviewed by the BBC on the World at One before the hoax was rumbled. His office said that, “Mike is still waiting to see what the final offer will be before he votes and that has always been our line”.

(Ironically just before this took place, I was in Millbank to appear on the BBC’s

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Trident: no renewal this Parliament

The BBC reports that the predicted policy has won the day:

The government says £750m ($1.2bn) will be saved over four years on the Trident nuclear deterrent missile system by cutting the number of warheads on each boat from 48 to 40 and reducing the number of missile tubes from 12 to eight. The UK’s nuclear warhead stockpile will be cut from 160 to less than 120. The final “main gate” spending decision on Trident will also be delayed until 2016 – after the next general election.

Party President Ros Scott has emailed party members, saying

Trident will not be renewed

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Ming on university funding: new system may gain his support

Former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell was one of the party’s first MPs to indicate unhappiness with the Coalition’s programme for government, stating he would vote against any increase in student tuition fees that October’s Browne review on university funding might recommend. Under the terms of the Coalition agreement, Lib Dem MPs were supposed only to abstain on any such measure.

However, this week’s Times Higher Education Supplement indicates that the Coalition’s proposals for a graduate contribution may just be enough to win Ming over:

Speaking in the run-up to the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool starting on 18 September,

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“When two ride astride, one must ride behind”

Okay, the poster’s exactly 100 years old – and the issue highlighted here is Asquith’s Liberal government’s attempts to reform the House of Lords – but somehow it was the caption which to me seemed to resonate down the years into these Coalition days:


(From the LSE archives: COLL MISC 0519-053).

For others it may bring to mind Ming Campbell’s nag in Five Days that Changed Britain: “If you have a dog… for long enough, eventually you begin to look like your pet. Well, if you have a coalition …

Posted in Humour | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Ming: Trident must be included in Strategic Defence Review

A press release arrives in the Lib Dem Voice in-tray:

Commenting on George Osborne’s announcement that the Ministry of Defence will be responsible for the cost of replacing Trident, Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Menzies Campbell said:

“This confirmation of what had already been predicted makes it essential that the case for like-for-like replacement of Trident should, as the Liberal Democrats have agreed, be part of the Strategic Defence Review.

“How can you possibly take on such a large financial commitment as Trident without considering the military and political implications?

“If fierce cuts are to be made in Britain’s conventional forces, surely we have

Posted in News | Also tagged | 24 Comments

When is a rebellion not a rebellion?

The Coalition decision to raise VAT was, by some measure, the most controversial aspect of the Government’s first budget. In our recent survey of party members, 42% opposed the move, though 48% endorsed it (however reluctantly) to deal with the deficit.

The party’s MPs have also been wrestling with the issue. The VAT increase was debated on Tuesday night in the Commons – in the end only Colchester’s Bob Russell from the Lib Dems voted against the Government, siding with a Labour amendment.

As Jim Pickard in the FT notes, St Ives MP Andrew George, and four other Lib …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

The coalition agreement: transport & universities and further education

Welcome to the twentieth and last (phew!) in a series of posts going through the full coalition agreement section by section. You can read the full coalition document here.

Traditionally the transport sections of party manifestos contain commitments to various expensive, long-term public expenditure projects. In the current financial climate it is no surprise that the coalition agreement’s transport section is rather heavy on matters of regulation and bureaucracy and rather light on directly spending money to improve transport.

So we have a promise to “make Network Rail more accountable to its customers”, a commitment to “fair pricing for rail travel”, a …

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Daily View 2×2: 28 May 2010

As Big Ben chimes seven, it’s time to celebrate the day 151 years ago, that the famous bell was drawn on a carriage pulled by 16 horses from Whitechapel Bell Foundry to the Palace of Westminster.

To show that cuts in Westminster are nothing new, the cost of the bell was reduced by recycling the metal from the previous, faulty bell:

George Mears, then the master bellfounder and owner of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, undertook the casting. According to foundry records, Mears originally quoted a price of £2401 for casting the bell, but this was offset to the sum of £1829 by the metal he was able to reclaim from the first bell so that the actual invoice tendered, on 28th May 1858, was in the sum of £572.

If you’d like to know what Big Ben itself has to say today, you can follow it on Twitter: @big_ben_clock.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

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Tim Farron runs for deputy leader; Campbell and Munt back him

News from the Tim Farron campaign camp:

Following the announcement by Vince Cable that he will be stepping down as Deputy Leader to concentrate on his new role as Secretary of State for Business, Tim Farron MP has been urged by colleagues to stand for the position of Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Commenting Tim said:

“Having served as Vince Cable’s PPS during his eight glorious weeks as acting leader, I am fully aware of what a difficult act he will be to follow and I’m so grateful to Vince for what he has achieved in the role.

“His new …

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The coalition agreement: defence and deficit reduction

Welcome to the sixth in a series of posts going through the full coalition agreement section by section. You can read the full coalition document here.

Despite the importance of the two areas, these are two of the shortest sections in the agreement, reflecting how there are a small number of dominating issues.

For defence there is the Trident compromise – it will be replaced unless there is a better value for money alternative. What the wording leaves unclear is the extent to which any alternative has to meet Trident like-for-like in terms of destructive power and constant instant availability. Whether …

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LDVideo Easter Saturday special: Lib Dem leaders at PMQs

Welcome to this latest LDVideo instalment, and today as a special holiday treat we’re highlighting three political video clips showing Lib Dem leaders on top form at Prime Minister’s Questions.

First up, is Ming Campbell. Now Ming didn’t always have the happiest time at PMQs, but there were times when he hit his stride perfectly, and this was one such occasion, on 24th January 2007, when shaming Tony Blair’s failure to debate in the Commons whether troops should be withdrawn from Iraq:


(Also available on YouTube here).

Secondly, how could we forget Vince Cable‘s starring turn as acting leader? Certainly Gordon ‘Mr Bean’ Brown will never forget it:

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Memo to the media: Clegg was first on Labour’s stealth tax, as Tories play catch-up

Excuse me, while I discard my customery mode of politness, and begin to vent …

From Nick Clegg’s budget response, 24 March 2010:

Finally, on tax, the other gross disappointment in this Budget was the failure to make our tax system fair. Under Labour, the bottom 10 per cent. pay a staggering 48 per cent. of their income in tax, while the richest pay 34 per cent. The Chancellor took pride in saying today that he would make no big announcements on tax. How can he look at a system such as that and say, “Let’s have more of the same”?

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Parties select their “star performers” for General Election campaign

From the FT:

The Liberal Democrats will centre their campaign on joint appearances by Nick Clegg, leader, and Vince Cable, Treasury spokesman, in an attempt to project a blend of youth and experience.

A clutch of former Lib Dem leaders will be deployed in the regions. Paddy Ashdown is taking a hands-on role directing the Lib Dem’s defence of the south-west heartlands. Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy will be touring seats in Scotland and the north.

The article also lists Chris Huhne (“pugnacious, quick-footed”) and Lynne Featherstone (“sound media performer”) as ones to watch in the Liberal Democrat campaign.

Read the …

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Book review: Peter Watt’s Inside Out – 5 things which struck me

Let’s begin with the positive: Inside Out, Peter Watt’s autobiographical account of his two years as Labour general secretary during the handover from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, is an entertainingly gossipy book which, at 200 pages, doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s packed with anecdotes and throwaway remarks which cast a new – and rarely flattering – light on Labour’s senior dramatis personae. In short, well worth reading.

But does Peter Watt come out of it well. Hmmm, there I’m less sure. Here are the five aspects of the book which struck me …

Thing 1: Tribalism

The over-riding impression of Inside Out is quite how tribal politics is. And not just tribal between parties – that’s, at least in part, to be expected – but also within parties. For example, the very New Labour Peter Watt boasts of exploiting the rift between Blair and Brown when hacking for the post of general secretary, accumulating a motley collection of votes on Labour’s National Executive Committee from “trade unionists, people on the hard left and passionate Blairites”.

Mr Watt presents the traditional mea culpa at the end of the book (“tribalism turns good men bad”), but it’s easy to be sage after the event: what politics needs is for its participants to recognise this when they’re in leadership positions, not when they’ve shed them.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 18 January 2010

Happy Monday morning, everyone.

On this day, in 1788, Britain established a penal settlement at Botany Bay in Australia; while, in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States to King Edward VII. Even more excitingly, it’s the birthday of AA Milne (b. 1882), Oliver ‘Laurel &’ Hardy (b. 1892), Cary Grant (b. 1904) and Peter Beardsley (b. 1961).

But without further tarrying …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Holyrood: The Budget Battleground (Caron Lindsay)

    The first act of the budget drama plays out this week. Let’s hope that the process is more serious production and less pantomime farce.

  • A couple of classy links (Alix Mortimer)

    I once saw a blogger, a smart, impassioned, left-wing blogger, comment to the effect that his £40,000-odd salary was not that high.

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