Tag Archives: miriam gonzalez durantez

“Cook along with Miriam”

Spotted in Saturday’s Guardian, an article in a series of celebrity cooking with a difference, where Stephen Bush attempts to cook meals suggested by celebrities and comments on how he got on. It would be fair to say that he wasn’t impressed with Paul Newman…

Miriam González Durántez, on the other hand, seems to have been rather more convincing;

On Wednesday I make meatballs. Because González Durántez – or “Notorious MGD” as I have taken to referring to her – is a badass, her recipe for her children’s meatballs includes a glass of white

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Miriam says she and Nick knew about Jared O’Mara’s comments but he refused to go negative

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez was on Peston this morning as one of the panel of 3 guests who are there throughout the programme.

The subject of Jared O’Mara’s appallingly racist, misogynist and homophobic comments came up and Miriam said something very interesting instead. She said that Labour must have known about his past because she and Nick did.

That, of course, begs the question that if we knew why on earth didn’t we use it during the campaign. She answered that one as well, saying that Nick refused to run a negative campaign.

She pointed out the hypocrisy of Labour allowing someone with such deeply regressive views to present themselves as a progressive candidate.

It is very typical of Nick to take the high road and not the low one. He is, sometimes to his detriment, an idealist at heart who has always behaved with integrity.

Would it have made a difference if he had used what he knew about O’Mara? Well, let’s look at the change in vote share since 2015. The Labour vote only went up by 2.6%. It was an advance by the Tories of 10.2%, Tories who had hitherto voted tactically for Nick. They unsqueezed themselves presumably to give Theresa May the strong hand she craved in the Brexit negotiations. 

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: Catalonia and Madrid drift towards extremes

The situation in Catalonia is incredibly worrying. I can’t help but think about what this would be like if it were happening in Scotland and am grateful for the wiser heads (i.e. ours) in the Coalition that facilitated a legal referendum that settled the issue at least for then.

Both the Madrid and Barcelona governments escalate this situation in a text book “what not to do” approach. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, writing in the FT,  looks at this polarisation at the extremes and sees a need for reconciliation and moderation.  Both are wrong. Someone has to do something right, and soon.

The paradox

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Nick and Miriam talk publicly for the first time about their son’s successful Cancer treatment

About a year ago, I became aware that Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez were going through the worst ordeal any parent can face. Their eldest son Antonio was going through brutal treatment for a life-threatening condition. They were very much in my thoughts as my family also faced months of medical trauma. That sort of thing is scary enough when it happens to an adult, but utterly heartbreaking and terrifying beyond anything you are ever likely to face when it comes to your own child.

It was pretty much an open secret, but, thankfully, the media respected  the family’s privacy nobody published anything about what was happening.

Yesterday, Nick and Miriam talked about their son’s illness for the first time on ITV’s Lorraine programme. They wanted to raise awareness of Bloodwise, a charity dedicated to funding research into blood cancers. The aspect that Nick and Miriam focused on was that of finding a way of making the treatments less horrendous to endure. They wrote a blog for the charity, saying:

Antonio, our eldest son, was 14 when we first spotted a small, entirely painless lump in his neck.
Although he had no other symptoms, we made an appointment with our local GP.  We were lucky: our brilliant doctor quickly recognised that the lump could be something more serious. And so it was that after an ultrasound scan and a biopsy Antonio was diagnosed in September of last year with stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma in his neck and his chest.

Like all parents who have a child diagnosed with cancer, our first reaction was an overwhelming, if irrational, wish to take the cancer away from him and take it on ourselves. But of course you can’t. You have no choice but to watch your own child battle through the heavy treatment, however much all your parental instincts wish you could take their place.

The treatment he received in the NHS at the teenage cancer unit at UCLH was superb. Every single person working on the ward – from the reception desk to the expert nurses – was friendly, professional and compassionate. We were especially fortunate that Dr Stephen Daw, Antonio’s Consultant Oncologist, is a specialist in childhood and teenage lymphomas and leads research into improving treatments and outcomes.

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: How to beat the ticking Brexit clock: let British business leaders do the talking

There are few people in this country who have as much experience in negotiating international trade deals as Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.  In her Made in Spain book published last year, she drops casually into a recipe that she came across guacamole when she helped to negotiate the EU-Mexico trade agreement.

She’s written in the Guardian about the many dangerous mistakes that the Government is making in its approach to the EU negotiations.

She has some scary observations about who is influencing these proceedings:

British business leaders were asked to share the table with the Legatum Institute, a thinktank with unparalleled access to Davis and Theresa May and that seems to have been at the origin of some of the preposterous positions on Brexit taken by the government so far. Its inexplicable presence at that table was the clearest signal that the government has not changed its views on Brexit after the general election even one tiny little bit.

The institute has established a special commission on trade that consists of more than 20 people with different “trade” backgrounds. It is run by a British American director. The Legatum member who has just been nominated the UK’s new chief trade negotiation adviser is a New Zealander. The funding of the institute comes from a foundation that is part of a Dubai-based private investment group. So much for the UK “taking back control”.

The Government invited 33 business leaders to a discussion with this organisation recently. She goes on to show how this institute may have influenced the Government’s comments on things like “frictionless” access to the single market.

Miriam goes on to describe exactly why such an approach is completely unrealistic:

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: I don’t want my 3 sons to grow up in a world where girls feel second rate

Another Lib Dem woman who inspires many – in fact, she makes a mission of Inspiring Women is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

She has written for the Telegraph about the need for men and women to work together to make life better for the next generation of boys and girls.

She outlines the threats to hard-won progress:

In the US, President Donald Trump is putting into question women’s reproductive rights; in Russia, laws are being considered to decriminalise some aspects of domestic violence.

Just last week, a Polish MEP declared that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent.” Breitbart, the right-wing website pioneered by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, has claimed that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And so on.

Women still suffer from society’s expectations:

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Book review: Made in Spain, by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez Made in SpainI was delighted to get Miriam’s part memoir part cookbook for my birthday last week.

I love cookbooks and have a stack of them not in the kitchen but by my bed. My favourite sort have a lot of commentary and background as well as just recipes. That’s part of the reason I’m such a huge Nigella fan. She puts a lot of herself into her recipes and writing.   The two women have cooked together before and Nigella’s “Gorgeous recipes” endorsement on Miriam’s front cover is a very useful thing.

The book is worth it for a mini rant on stock alone, but it has so much to offer. The food is appetising – although I might use a bit more garlic than she does – with gutsy flavours. I can see myself making a fair few of these recipes, although I’d have to figure out how to use less oil. From a vibrant gazpacho simple pasta with bacon and peas taught to her sons when she broke her elbow during the 2010 election to a delicious lamb stew to the most wonderful sounding dish with potatoes, garlic and saffron, to lemon curd muffins, to olive oil chocolate mousse, there are dishes that could make me very happy. You never know, I might just cook some and compare her photos with mine.

Her recipes are interspersed with personal anecdotes:

I was first introduced to guacamole when I helped to negotiate the EU-Mexican trade agreement.

is quite a claim to fame!

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Miriam: “I only take applause from the platform when I have given the speech”

It is not like me to gratuitously share links to the Mail on Sunday but this time it’s worth it. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has given an interview to the Fail to publicise her upcoming cookery book Made in Spain: Recipes and stories from my country and beyond (available for pre-order here). My husband has had enough heavy hints dropped that I want this book for my birthday next week.

At least the Fail called her by her proper name, although they had to slip a “Mrs Clegg” into the headline. You would think her readers would know exactly who she was given how vile the paper has been to her at every opportunity over the last six years. She is not and never has been “Mrs Clegg.”

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez on her new cookery book to raise money for her Inspiring Girls campaign.

Miriam González Durántez by Cabinet OfficeTheresa May apparently has over 100 cookbooks. That’s probably the one thing she and I have in common. I actually have a stack of them by my bedside table so I can dip in and out of them when I want. I tend to read them for pleasure as much as cook from them. I particularly like books which have a story around them to go along with the food.

That’s why Those Who Need to Know are under no illusions as to how disappointed I’d be if I didn’t get Miriam Gonzalez Durantez’s new book, Made in Spain, for my upcoming birthday. It’s conveniently being published just three days before.

On Thursday, Miriam appeared on ITV’s Lorraine show (from about 15 minutes in). She brought along some delicious looking food and talked a bit about some of the recipes. She also talked about her feelings on Brexit. You can also be under no illusion that she’s not very impressed with the new Foreign Secretary. I haven’t watched Lorraine in a long time and had forgotten how much I enjoyed her lovely and informal manner. Also, if you are as trashy as I am, Bucks Fizz are on the show too. If, like me, you are a die-hard Eurovision geek, it’s a must-see.

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzáles says free trade has won: adapt or die is the only option left to us

Writing on the Tata steel crisis in the Guardian, Miriam Gonzáles, who is a partner at the global specialist law firm, Dechert LLP, specialising in international trade, writes:

The Tata Steel sale has revived the battle between protectionists and free traders, a debate that became particularly acute in the run-up to the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995, which marked the success of “free traders” all around the world.

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Review: Miriam edits the Today programme

I never did get up at 6am to listen to the Today Programme. A horrendous night meant I was just getting to sleep at that time. Thankfully, there’s iPlayer in the World so I could catch up later. It’s well worth listening to which you can do  here.

The main themes were the sort of place Britain is and the opportunities it offers to people from other countries and the need for girls to have positive female role models and about women and leadership. Interviewees included Theresa May, Jamie Oliver, footballer Vincent Kampany, Tamara Rocco, principal dancer at the English National Ballet, Richard Branson, James Blunt and Nadiyah Hussein winner of the Great British Bake Off. There was also a really interesting section discussing why some young women feel the need to go to Syria.

I’ve done some more detail below, but I do think it was a varied programme. She was maybe more subtle than I would have been about some aspects of the way women are portrayed in the media, but we do need more talking about these kinds of issues so it was refreshing to see her present her thoughts in this way.

The British dream

Miriam argued British people don’t necessarily see the “British dream” in the same way as people from other countries. She defines it as the freedom to be yourself and realise your ambitions. She asks 3 prominent immigrants to reflect on their experiences in this country.

Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet said that other European cities tend to be built on national players. London is different because people come from all over the world and can reach prominent positions. He argues that “innovation is fuelled by diversity and seldom results from narrow thinking.”

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez to interview Theresa May on Today programme tomorrow

Miriam González Durántez by Cabinet OfficeIt’s great to see Radio 4 continuing with their holiday tradition of having guest editors for the programme.

Tomorrow it’s Miriam Gonzalez Durantez in the hot seat. Miriam has done brilliant work with her Inspiring Women campaign, taking women professionals into schools to talk to girls about their careers. During the election, she campaigned tirelessly for our key seat women candidates.

There is much to love in her line-up for tomorrow. For a start, she’s talking to the amazing Great British Bake Off winner Nadiyah Hussein. What we will need the popcorn for, though, is when she interviews Theresa May. I can’t imagine the Home Secretary getting an easy ride on Europe, immigration and civil liberties. I will probably have a nap when she interviews Manchester City footballer Vincent Kompany, though.

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Jo Swinson speaks out against gender quotas on boards

From PoliticsHome:

Senior leaders from business and government have gone head-to-head over whether mandatory quotas are needed to get more women to the top of organisations.

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Piggate: Miriam González Durántez and a cheeky recipe

mum and sons
The Evening Standard deserve full marks for spotting a certain recipe on a food blog which is run by Miriam González Durántez and her sons.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez argues for quotas on boards – but warns that inclusive culture is also necessary

Remarkably, we’ve seen a consensus between our two leadership candidates that some for of action such as all women shortlists or zipping in list contests, is necessary to do something about the party’s shockingly poor record on diversity.

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, as reported in the International Business Times, has called for quotas on company boards:

I am a reluctant supporter of temporary quotas. Intervention, on a temporary basis, is probably the only solution to make a big change. It irritates my legal mind because obviously discrimination cannot be sorted with another discrimination, but I’ve come to the conclusion that unless you make an intervention, change will to be difficult.

She did go on to say, though, that where there must be no tokenism. Companies must allow women on their boards to play a full part:

Boards have a specific role: controlling what the situation is for shareholders and the community as a whole, that is why they were created. Too many boards are either not diverse or diverse nominally and not inclusive. They sit women around the table but they don’t participate in discussions, those boards are not fulfilling.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: “Nobody calls Nick a working dad”

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez spoke about the double standards around parenting and work at a Marie Claire event this week. People refer to mothers who work as working mums, but the other parent is never referred to as a “working dad”:

We also do a project called Inspiring Primaries where we put in front of the younger children a panel of men and women, and we ask them ‘what job do you think these people do?’ And if it’s a blonde woman the answer is always, ‘a secretary, a party organiser or a hairdresser.’

The sexism has been so drip drip that we don’t even always notice it.’

I find people say of me, ‘she wears the trousers’ and as you can see, it is true, I have very nice trousers. Or if my husband and I share the school run, it’s me who has forced him, dragged him away from his work. But when people, or in my case the media, are using that label on you, they are not saying you are strong, they are saying you should get back in your box. You should make the dinner and have his slippers ready with a gin and tonic.

You can read the whole report on Marie Claire’s blog here. 

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Opinion: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez drops a few truth bombs on political parties

I’m currently studying abroad in Salamanca, where, as in the rest of the country, there are municipal elections on 24th May. (Yes, polling day is on a Sunday.) My bedroom floor is covered in a variety of different party propaganda (yes, that is the word they use in Spain for it) that I’ve gathered for academic reasons, obviously.

So, I was really excited to read Miriam’s article in El País recently. It most certainly did not disappoint – if you want a lesson in how to drop truth bombs on political parties, look no further.

Just to give a little bit of context – the Partido Popular is currently governing. It’s got “Working, Making, Growing” posters up around half the city, shouting from the rooftops about its economic success. Miriam notes that although progress has been made, it’s rather odd to be making that a central campaign plank while overall unemployment rests around 20% and youth unemployment around 50%.

She also attacks them for their failure to confront the ‘crisis of values’ facing the Spanish political system, talking of a ‘radical disconnect between the political class and citizens.’ She refers to Chris Huhne briefly, stating that the levels of corruption in the Spanish system could never occur in a country where a politician can go to jail for exchanging points on their driving licence.

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: It is the duty of every woman of my generation to stand up for young girls

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez joined Jo Swinson to visit female apprentices at a motorbike manufacturer in Jo’s constituency:

She also helped Jo launch an action plan for gender equality which includes action to tackle domestic violence, more childcare provision, more opportunities for women in science and engineering and work on body image.

Miriam went for a chat with Bryony Gordon from the Telegraph who was daft enough to ask her if Nick had sent her to help female candidates. That was never going to end well.

Miriam has been writing about her Inspiring Women campaign for the Huffington Post.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez supports Lynne Featherstone’s campaign

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez went to Hornsey and Wood Green yesterday to campaign with Lynne Featherstone. Here they are putting up the 500th stake board.

It’s great to see two women who have done so much to help women and girls in this country and across the world together.

If you have been impressed with her work over the past five years, you might want to donate to Lynne’s campaign.

Miriam said of Lynne:

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez meets Miranda Sawyer

There’s an interesting interview between Miranda Sawyer and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez in the Guardian this weekend.

They meet at an Inspiring Women event on sport at the aquatics centre where the Olympics took place and, separately, in Miriam’s office.

Miriam talks about the attitudes in the Spanish village where she was brought up, where people pitied her working mother.

Her mother was the object of some local sympathy. “People felt sorry for her because she had to work,” González Durántez says, “but she wanted to. My mother has taught three generations in the village. I am never going to make so much of a difference.”

Actually, many of the women González Durántez knew had jobs – they just weren’t paid. Both her grandmothers came from rural communities where women laboured in the fields. Her maternal grandmother brought up eight boys (one died) during the Spanish civil war. “She was a tiny, dynamite woman,” González Durántez says. “Always vivacious and positive, a lesson in life.”

Though democracy came to Spain after Franco died in 1975, old-fashioned attitudes took a while to wither. At her school, “when boys did sport, girls did knitting. And boys, when they behaved badly, were sent with the girls.” González Durántez enjoyed reading and music – she played an hour of piano every day (“I say this to my children, who do half an hour a week!”). As the eldest child of the mayor, she was very much part of village life: “I organised things for the little kids, I helped my father in politics, I tried it all. A race or something, there I was. I wasn’t very good at running, but I tried it all.”

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When Molly from Sherlock met Miriam

In the bar on the Monday of the Glasgow Conference hotel last October, a smiling party press officer told me that Louise Brealey, Sherlock actor and writer, had been following Miriam Gonzalez Durantez around all day in order to write a profile for Red magazine. I’ve been looking out for it ever since and it’s now appeared. It’s a delight to read, so sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoy it.

The two women seem to have developed quite a rapport during the day, and that comes across in the article.

I met Louise at a Sherlock Convention (I could pretend I was there because of the Teenager, but I did get more involved than I anticipated because Louise and Benedict Cumberbatch were on the guest list) last February and was very impressed by the fact that she insisted on staying until every single fan who wanted one had her autograph. She spent time talking to each person and didn’t even take a proper meal break.  Having seen her in action, I can imagine her and Miriam getting on very well.

She picked up that the atmosphere of Conference was not quite the gloomy and doom affair the press made it out to be:

The newspapers have decided the Liberal Democrat conference is a bleak affair, but this morning the lobby of Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza thrums with cheerful party members necking coffee, shouting shop and forking sausages. ‘Are you thinking beyond May?’ a councillor from Wells asks a co-forker over his congealed fried eggs. The latter’s reply is inaudible.

This was the first time that Nick and Miriam had been interviewed together, too. Louise was sitting in the very seat I sat in when I went to a meeting with Clegg in that very room so I found her description of its corporate opulence quite amusing.  She, like many others who have met him, found Clegg “nice, friendly, bright, normal.” It’s just a pity we can’t get him on a one to one with 60 million people by May.

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Happy Christmas from the Cleggs: here’s Nick and Miriam’s festive photobooth card

Nick Clegg’s Christmas card has been unveiled today – a photobooth set of four shots depicting he and Miriam as Nick pulls on a red Santa hat.

clegg famil xmas card

The insta-reaction from the Twitterati has been positive:

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Inspiring women in fashion: Out and about with Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

We’ve occasionally covered Miriam Gonzalez Durantez’s Inspiring Women campaign. This week the Guardian covered an event which was dedicated to talking to girls about careers in the fashion industry.

Groups of eight students grill each of the women in turn. Leila, 14, who wants to be a journalist, dives straight in and asks Gonzalez Durantez: “Is your job more challenging fun or a fun challenge?”, “Where would you be now if you weren’t here?” and “What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?” On Daisy Lowe’s table, the atmosphere is giddy. “How tall are you?” asks one girl. “Are you a feminist?” poses another. And then, crucially, “Do you know Cara Delevingne?”

Many of the students are deadly serious and focused, pumping the women for information about their big breaks in the industry, asking whether a university degree is necessary in fashion and wondering how one can have a high-flying career and a family – a subject Gonzalez Durantez knows well. “I always get a lot of questions when I tell them that, when we came to the UK, I decided to give up my job to ensure that my family was in the same country,” says Gonzalez Durantez. “I think it’s important for them to see that a ‘hard professional woman’ or a ‘family woman’, it’s a combination of things.”

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Nick and Miriam join Lorraine to talk about inspiring women and school meals – and grate cheese

Nick Clegg got cheesy yesterday morning on ITV’s Lorraine show. He was helping their chef make ragu for going on bonfire baked potatoes and was entrusted with chopping onion, carrot and celery and grating cheese which he seemed to carry out with reasonable competence. My mind boggled a bit when he asked which bit of the grater he should use. It was for going on top of a baked potato. It didm’t really matter.

Anyway, he took the opportunity to talk about the successful introduction of his school meals policy. This was not a serious political interview. It was never going to be, but it is quite nice to see well-informed discussion of the issues in an informal way. I think Nick should be doing much more of these things. You can watch him here.

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Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez on faking it, elites and inspiring girls

Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez by Liberal DemocratsThere’s a great interview in the Standard with Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez. It irks me slightly that Charlotte Edwardes doesn’t even get 20 words into her article before she mentions what Miriam is wearing. At least she got “top corporate lawyer” in there first, so I guess that counts as progress.

All the papers have picked up on what Miriam said to a group of young women – telling them that women have been faking things for years so they should fake self confidence. It’s  about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

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Clegg refused to speak to Gove “for months”, told Cameron “life is too short” to continue rowing

Nick Clegg Q&A 19That’s the claim in today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg has refused to speak to Michael Gove “for months”, according to a source close to the Deputy Prime Minister, revealing the extent of the breakdown at the heart of the coalition.

Mr Clegg was involved in a number of vicious stand-offs with Mr Gove over his unpopular, reformist agenda before his shock demotion from Education Secretary to Chief Whip in last week’s reshuffle. The row escalated after the Lib Dems forced through a free school meals policy for five- and

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Lord Storey on Nick Clegg: Not popular, nice guy, principled. What do the headlines report? “Toxic”

Lord Storey photo by Keith EdkinsWhen I first heard that Nick Clegg  had been described by former Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey as “toxic”, I expected to see some sort of angry denunciation. Actually, Mike Storey’s comments were much more considered and balanced. What he said was what every single Liberal Democrat knows, that if you speak to lots of voters, you know that Nick Clegg is not a popular person. He said “some might use the word toxic.” He then went on to add that he found that very …

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez 1 – Telegraph 0

Today’s Telegraph published an article which suggested that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez was behind Nick Clegg’s decision to take a robust line with Lord Rennard last week. It seems too much to ask that they actually get her name right, referring to her as Miriam Clegg throughout. But, according to Miriam, interviewed by the BBC at an event for her Inspiring the Future organisation, they didn’t get much else right either:

 I say this with a very heavy heart because this is in the Telegraph today and ever since the Telegraph was the very first newspaper who supported this campaign

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The Clegg Family Christmas Card, with a little help from their sons

Here is the Christmas card Nick Clegg and Miriam González Durántez will be sending out this year:

Clegg family Xmas card 2013

The London Evening Standard explains:

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“Move over Nick” says Telegraph as Miriam Gonzalez Durantez launches women’s network

Liberal Democrats have known that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has put considerable time and effort into supporting women within the party. She has now moved on to the national stage to launch a campaign, Inspiring Women, which aims to send 15,000 women to talk to 250,000 girls in schools about their careers and to encourage them to aim high.

Earlier this month, we covered her article in the Telegraph in which she explained why she wants to do this:

The new generation of girls are clever, engaged and curious; they are ambitious, but in a realistic way; they are not afraid of

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