Tag Archives: nick clegg

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Summer posturing has done little to advance Brexit

Writing in the Financial Times, Nick Clegg gives his assessment of where we are with Brexit at the moment. He is unimpressed with the Government’s Brexit papers, describing them as technocratic, insubstantial and lacking in leadership. He also sees Labour’s so called great shift on the single market as nothing more than a statement of the obvious.

The EU doesn’t escape criticism either, as he points out that they are being way too rigid on the timetable – but that, as he adds, is something that could easily have been foreseen.

There is a profound misreading among British negotiators of the psychology of their EU counterparts. This is not just the familiar difference in the political styles — the improvised repartee of Westminster versus a more formal and legalistic political culture — it relates to a deeper question: who bears responsibility? Across European capitals, there is a strongly held view that the UK has taken a decision that they wish had not happened, which they do not fully understand, and which they believe will make life harder for everyone. Some are aghast that, at a time when Europe faces US isolationism, Russian belligerence, a refugee crisis and threats from terrorism to climate change, the UK should choose to pitch everyone into an interminable navel-gazing negotiation. Not unreasonably, they believe that the overwhelming onus should be on the UK to explain what it wants from Brexit. Surely, they ask, if Brexiters have spent a lifetime campaigning to quit the EU, they should have developed answers as to how that should be achieved?

He’s not worried about the argument over money. We all knew this would happen and it’ll sort itself out. There are much bigger problems emanating from the Government’s incompetence, though.

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Who to trust on the economy? The CBI or Dr Fox with his kamikazee Brexit?

This week, it was very welcome to hear the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calling for the UK to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union once it leaves the EU, until a full trade deal is in place.

This seems to be simple common sense to me.

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I was never mad at the Lib Dems and you shouldn’t be either

Going through my final exams during a general election was heart breaking. I wanted to canvass and I wanted to write, but the only thing I seemed to have time to get involved in were political debates with friends and family, and it always came back the same comment: If you’re a student, why would you vote for the Lib Dems?

I remember the day that Nick Clegg supposedly betrayed his younger voters well. I was studying for my GCSEs when a BBC news reporter announced that a video of Nick Clegg apologising had gone viral on the internet and, although I was planning on sending off a UCAS application in a couple of years, I wasn’t angry at the Lib Dems. Yet it seems that many still are.

Going to university isn’t a right granted to us when we are born and it would be unfair to expect those who haven’t attended to fund a student’s education, when they themselves could be paying taxes to the government and improve the quality of our public services. Unfortunately, not every career allows people to work their way up and requires a degree, but if that is the type of career we want, then it is fair that we take out a loan to fund ourselves and repay it when we have the funds to do so. The reason for this? Social mobility.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg’s concession speech: We need to reach out to each other and heal divisions

Having spent all Thursday night at the count, I’ve been catching up on the results programmes to see how the extraordinary night unfolded.

I’m still pretty devastated that we’ve lost the country’s foremost authority on matters European from Parliament when we most need him.

Here is his typically gracious concession speech, in which he talks about the importance of people from all parties reaching out to each other to heal the division in the country. I suspect he would have said exactly the same thing if he had won.

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Nick Clegg: No evidence that human rights laws undermine security

I wondered how long it would take for Theresa May to roll back on her always flimsy commitments to human rights. They didn’t even make it till polling day.

She said last night that she’s prepared to rescind human rights legislation as part of a counter terrorism review.

Nick Clegg criticised this approach on the Today programme, saying that there was no evidence that human rights laws had anything to do with the attacks. Listen here.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg on why a “self destructive” hard brexit is so damaging for our economy and security

Nick Clegg has given a big speech on Brexit this morning. You can watch it here.

The highlights:

  • May and Corbyn’s conspiracy of silence as they pursue the hardest of Brexits – the politics of evasion and fantasy
  • The cost of leaving the single market and customs union
  • How the poorest will be most adversely affected by a hard Brexit while the rich will be relatively insulated
  • May will think she has a mandate if she gets a majority on Thursday but there are still so many unknowns
  • There is a chance to avoid all this – by electing Lib Dem MPs who will fight for our place in the single market and for a final say on the deal.

The full text is below:

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“Breakfast doesn’t mean Breakfast”

A brilliant new poster highlighting the Conservatives’ plans to scrap free school lunches and replace them with breakfasts at a cost of just 7p per child was launched this week. Its slogan “Breakfast clearly doesn’t mean Breakfast” mocked Theresa May’s oft repeated Brexit remark.

The poster was issued to make the point that a quarter of a million children in poverty could suffer as a result of May’s plans. It shows what you could get – a slice of bread and a few baked beans – for the Tories’ budget of 7p per meal. There are alternatives – half a boiled egg, or 37.5g of cornflakes with 100ml of milk. Not a great start to the day.

Nick Clegg said:

Theresa May’s cruel and illogical decision to take away free, hot lunches for all infants will hurt hundreds of thousands of Britain’s poorest children.

It’s clear that the reintroduction of means-testing for school lunches will mean many children losing out on what could be the only hot, nutritious meal that they receive each day.

Theresa May is not only risking the health of some of our youngest children, but she will also create terrible inequality in the classroom.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Why the Liberal Democrats believe a legal, regulated cannabis market would improve public health

Nick Clegg has been writing in the BMJ outlining our position on Cannabis.

He compares criminalisation of drugs to the prohibition of alcohol in the States:

Far from controlling and eliminating alcohol use, the “noble experiment” of prohibition drove users towards increasingly potent and dangerous drinks. With no regulatory levers in place except the threat of arrest (which had to be set against the promise of handsome profits for those who defied the law), there was no effective way to control the market. The ensuing public health crisis was one of the key motivations behind the repeal of prohibition in 1933, when President Roosevelt signed a new law allowing the sale of beer with a maximum alcohol content of 4%.

For spirits in 1926, read “skunk” in 2017. “Skunk” is a direct result of prohibition. New cultivation methods have pushed up potency over the past 20 years. Just as 1920s-era bootleggers didn’t bother to produce and smuggle high volume, low alcohol beer, so the illicit cannabis industry has responded to criminal enforcement by developing products that maximise profit, with no consideration for the health of its customers.

He goes on to talk about the merits of regulation:

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Tory warnings about “bad Brexit” have one word too many

The latest Tory tactic seems to be to warn against a “bad Brexit” and to say that only they, if they get a whopping enough majority, can make sure we get a “good” deal. On that majority point, think of the last time you said to yourself “Oh, Merkel has a huge majority, we need to do what she says.” The point is that we go into these negotiations in a weakened position anyway. There are 27 EU member states and 1 of us. Who has the power here? The Tory brexiteers needn’t bother trying to blame the EU for a situation that they created.

Jeremy Hunt is the latest to talk of the dangers of Brexit going wrong and what that will mean for our NHS. In fact, if Brexit happens, it will damage our NHS on various fronts. The crash in our economy that would result if Theresa May’s extreme Brexit goes ahead would cost the NHS dearly. And today a report says that the NHS could stand to lose an extra half a billion if returning ex-pats came back to be treated on the NHS in Britain. This was entirely predictable.

That is just one problem of several highlighted by the Nuffield Trust:

According to the Nuffield Trust, it may not be easy to continue with this agreement after Brexit.
If all of these pensioners decided to return to the UK – a big if – they could be expected to fill 900 NHS hospital beds a year, it says.

The NHS would need about 1,600 more doctors, nurses and other workers to provide the care, it estimates.

Also, hospitals could end up short-staffed if migration of workers from the EU slows or stops post-Brexit.
And access to medicines could also become more difficult if the UK leaves the EU’s medicine licensing system.

So, we have a crashing economy, extra people to treat with fewer staff and restricted access to medicines. All of these are en entirely predictable consequence of any Brexit. It’s not exactly what was written on that bus, is it?

In response to today’s report, Norman Lamb said:

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New campaign poster highlights “Dickensian” Tory school meals plan

 

The Lib Dem focus this weekend has been attacking the Conservatives for their most controversial domestic policies – school lunches and the dementia tax.

We put out a poster that channels Oliver Twist to highlight the Tory plans to abolish provision of school lunches and replace them with breakfasts.

When Nick introduced the lunches policy in coalition, he made sure that there was some pretty detailed nutritional standards to go along with it.

Each week, pupils eating free school lunches get: five portions of fruit, five portions of veg, five portions of protein (meat, fish, eggs or beans), five portions of starchy food (at least one being wholegrain) and five portions of milk or dairy.

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LibLink – Nick Clegg: Scrapping free school lunches is an attack on struggling families

Nick Clegg writes with great passion in the Guardian about the Tory plans to scrap universal free infant school lunches:

So much for compassionate Conservatism. So much for helping the “just about managing”. During my time as deputy prime minister, I repeatedly blocked the Conservatives from proceeding with tax, welfare, education and pensions policies that did not cater for the neediest in society. I became wearily familiar with the Conservative party’s habit of placing greater priority on the needs of “their” voters than those of society at large.

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WATCH: Call Clegg revived: People have the right to change their mind on Brexit

Call Clegg made a comeback today. During the coalition years, Nick Clegg took questions every Thursday morning on LBC. The banter with Nick Ferrari resumed today for an election special

Watch Nick defend the proposal for a referendum on the Brexit deal. Nick Ferrari suggested that he was defying the will of the people. Nick responded:

N

o one will be defied. You can’t change a decision made by the British people, other than by another decision of the British people.

By the way, people change their minds all the time, that’s why we have an election.

Last year, we weren’t able to compare the status quo with what Brexit really means in practice, because the Brexiteers very cleverly, very cynically avoided any description of what Brexit actually means. We still don’t know what it means.

So when you have that – not second referendum – but a first referendum on the deal itself, for the first timw, we as a country will be able to compare like with like.

He was also challenged about Vince Cable’s comments – and he observed that the biggest transformation in British politics was the collusion between the Conservatives and UKIP. The Tim Farron and gay sex question came up again.

Listen to find out what happened when Nick Ferrari challenged him over constituency tabloid newspapers.

And what would he ask Theresa May?

Enjoy!

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Nick Clegg: 5p rise in cost of petrol down to Brexit

Last June, the price of petrol was 111.2 pence per litre. Last week, it was 1118.1 pence per litre. The price of oil takes care of about 2p of that. The  rest – around 5p – is due to the post-referendum collapse in the value of the pound against the dollar.

This 5p increase works out at £2.50 on a tank of petrol for an average-sized car, or £60 per year for the average motorist.

For hauliers, the impact of the increase in fuel prices is far greater, adding more than £2,200 per year for the average lorry. 85% of everything we buy is carried by truck, so the increase in fuel costs will push shop prices up too.

Nick said:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The EU knows Theresa May is deluded on Brexit and soon the Tories will

Nick Clegg has been writing for the Guardian on Theresa May’s approach to Brexit. The article was published before May made her bizarre statement in Downing Street yesterday. Here is what Nick had to say later about that:

Theresa May’s desperate, bizarre statement could have come word for word from Nigel Farage.

The Coalition of Hard Brexit between the Conservatives and UKIP is now complete, and it will be hard-pressed families up and down the country who will suffer most.

In his Guardian article, he looks at the costs we are already paying for Brexit – which, remember, we were told would cost us nothing an in fact give us more money to spend on our NHS:

Voters are already aware that the cost-free Brexit they were promised is unravelling. The £350m a week for the NHS, the VAT cut and the instant solution to immigration have all evaporated. Instead there is the chilling grip of a growing Brexit squeeze on people’s income and public services.

Sterling is about 17% lower against the euro than it was in summer of 2015 (a lesser devaluation, of 14.3%, undid Harold Wilson’s government), which has led to inflation rising from around zero to 2.3% today. With average earnings continuing to stall, the cost of living is rising as we are forced to pay more for imported goods. Prices on supermarket shelves will go up. Energy bills will increase. And the cost of holidays this summer will be higher too, with everything from ice creams to hotel rooms noticeably more expensive.

Brexit will damage public services too. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s growth estimates, coupled with the chancellor’s revelation in November that he will have to borrow about an extra £15bn a year from next year to plug the Brexit gap, amounts to a £59bn Brexit dent in the public finances over five years. That’s money that could have been spent on hospitals, schools and social care. The chancellor will have no choice but to cut elsewhere or raise taxes to provide our public services with the additional funding they desperately need. Whatever his choice, it’s you – the taxpayer – who will foot the government’s Brexit bill.

We voters need to understand the consequences of May’s reckless strategy, he argues:

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WATCH: Nick Clegg’s speech on Brexit

Nick Clegg gave his first major speech on Brexit of the election campaign today. You can watch it below. The full text follows:

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Clegg: Poor, insecure and vulnerable already paying price of Theresa May’s hard brexit

Nick Clegg is to make his first major intervention of the election campaign this afternoon in a speech at the National Liberal Club.
The former Deputy Prime Minister will criticise Theresa May for her pursuit of a hard Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn for his inept opposition.

He will point to analysis showing the average UK household is set to be £500 worse off this year than it was in 2016, and stress that only the Liberal Democrats are capable of providing this Conservative government with the opposition the country desperately needs.

He  is expected to say:

My argument today is simple: Our country cannot thrive without a strong economy. We can’t have a strong economy and a hard Brexit.

Theresa May alone is responsible for pursuing this course. It is already hurting the very people who need most help in society. So the question in this election is this: who will hold Theresa May accountable for the economic harm she will inflict on Britain?

Judging by the reports of last week’s lunch between Jean-Claude Junker and the Prime Minister, the Conservatives are once again proving to be as incompetent in doing the right thing for the country as they are ruthless in chasing votes.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg on Newsnight giving a clue about our election strategy

Nick Clegg appeared on Newsnight on Wednesday night at the end of a feature on Tory/Lib Dem marginals in the South West.

He said that Theresa May had called the election for cynical and opportunistic reasons, to try and “hoover up a huge majority” before the effects of Brexit hit and capitalising on the weakness of Corbyn.

He said that issues like the chronic underfunding of the NHS and schools were also important and were being overshadowed by Brexit.

In an interesting glimpse to our election strategy, he said that it was clear that Theresa May would still be PM and the Tories would still be the party of Government and the key test now was how to provide effective opposition to that Government. We are not going to sustain Theresa May in power to “implement a self-harming hard brexit” and we certainly aren’t going to help Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.

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Why Nick Clegg will defend his Sheffield Hallam seat

Nick Clegg has announced this morning that he will defend his Sheffield Hallam seat. He explained why:

Theresa May has called a General Election out of opportunism and intolerance: opportunism in seeking to exploit the weakness of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party; and intolerance in seeking a landslide majority to bring about ‘unity’, by which she means the ability to impose whatever interpretation of Brexit she wishes without meaningful scrutiny from Parliament.

Meanwhile, her Brexit-obsessed Government is failing to provide the decent schools, hospitals and social care which communities, including those I represent in Sheffield, rightly deserve.

This General Election once again places the interests of the Conservative Party ahead of the daily needs of the British people.

I will be re-standing as the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate in Sheffield Hallam – a constituency I have had the immense privilege to represent in Parliament for twelve years – because I vehemently oppose the direction that Theresa May wishes to drag our wonderful country.

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Our country is divided, and our constituencies may be, too

Wayne Chadburn’s post yesterday afternoon asked a question that the Liberal Democrats may have answered and agreed on nationally – that the majority of Lib Dems oppose Brexit – but it is a question that is still of huge regional significance. And national electoral success is won regionally, seat by seat. Significantly, the proposed boundary changes – if recommended next year in their current form – would move parts of the current Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency in South Yorkshire (where Wayne Chadburn is based) into Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg’s patch.

When moving to Sheffield in late 2015, I bought a home within this constituency not only because I think south-west Sheffield is a great place to live, but because – for the first time in my life – I’d be living in a constituency where I would have voted for my sitting MP. I have since delivered Nick’s Christmas cards, enjoyed the annual fundraising dinner and made friends with fellow Lib Dems. As an academic in a university’s Modern Languages department, I worry about the future of ERASMUS. And so on.

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Blue Wednesday

So, the day has arrived. I’m wearing blue, as Roger Roberts suggested, for 3 reasons. As the Government  carries out the worst assault on our children’s future I have seen in my lifetime, I’m  doing this for three reasons. Out of sadness at what today means for our future, out of pride in the EU’s values of peace and collaboration – and out of defiance. I will not stand by why the Government destroys our country. I will take every opportunity for peaceful resistance as this incompetent and reckless government puts us all in harm’s way.

I will not stand by while the Government refuses to give us a say on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations. What sort of democracy is that? People voted to take back control, not hand all power to ideological brexiteers who do all they can to avoid checks and scrutiny. Who would you rather had the final say on your future? You, or Theresa and her trio of Brexiteers?

That Theresa May has the nerve to suggest that the country should come together behind her shows how out of touch and comfortable with power her Government is. It’s that old saying about power corrupting. With a Labour Party missing in action, waving its demands as the Brexit horse bolts down the road, May thinks she can do what she likes. She has made no attempt to build any bridges whatever with the almost half of us who voted Remain.

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On Article 50 Eve, what are senior Liberal Democrats saying?

Who’s Eve, I hear you ask? Well, for me, as an ardent pro EU supporter, tonight feels a bit like Christmas Eve when you know that somehow you have found your way on to the Naughty List and all that’s going to be in your stocking in the morning is a lump of coal.

For those Leave voters who were duped into thinking that everything was going to be hunky dory if we could just get rid of that pesky EU, the reality may well prove far worse than that.

One thing is for sure. The Brexiteers will be held rigorously to account by the one party which has opposed them from the start – us.

Labour’s six tests unveiled on Sunday were, to paraphrase the old Commodores song, too much, too little, too late to ever trust them again. Their best chance of success would have been to support the Liberal Democrats’ bid to add a parachute to the Article 50 Bill, but they chose not to do so. They will not be easily forgiven.

Tomorrow is a very big day. It’s much more than the delivery of a letter. It’s the first step on a perilous journey, driven by people who haven’t got a clue what they are doing. The Government approaches the negotiations in such a mean-spirited, graceless fug of self-righteousness. I have rarely had such little confidence in any group of people as I do in them.

Ahead of Article 50 being invoked tomorrow, Tim Farron had this to say:

Theresa May is about to take the plunge on the biggest decision to hit the UK in modern times.

She is pulling the trigger that will set in motion a chain of events which will change this country forever, and doing so without a proper plan, without a proper team of negotiators and without proper protections for millions of people who have been left in the lurch.

It is still possible for the British people to stop a Hard Brexit and keep us in the Single Market. And if they want, it is still possible for the British people to decide to remain in the European Union.

Democracy didn’t end on 23rd of June – and it hasn’t ended today either. Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to make sure the people can have their say over what comes next.

There are some serious worries out there that the Government, rather than face up to its own shortcomings, will flounce off from the negotiations towards the end of this year, saying that the EU is being so intransigent that there’s no point sticking with it and we’re just leaving with no deal. Nick Clegg has set out why that is a bad idea on the Liberal Democrats’ website. Here’s a couple of examples:

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WATCH: Farron, Clegg and Cole-Hamilton’s messages of EU defiance

Today, Tim Farron, Nick Clegg and Alex Cole-Hamilton have done us proud. Their passionate messages of defiance were very different. Clegg’s anger, Farron’s optimism and Cole-Hamilton’s emotion were exactly what we need right now.

Here are their speeches. Sit back, enjoy, and tomorrow get out there and help them by persuading others to oppose the stark, extreme Brexit that will hurt so many people.

Farron said that the future has not been written yet and we can change the country’s course:

Nick’s focus was young people and holding this awful government to account:

And Alex told Theresa what she’d have to do to deprive him of his EU citizenship:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The EU is facing a liberal insurgence. Now is not the time for Britain to leave

Nick Clegg has been writing for the Independent in the wake of the Dutch elections in which the racist populist Geert Wilders didn’t do as well as expected. He recounted a family gathering in the Netherlands at Christmas time.

What was striking when we were talking about the Dutch elections, however, was almost everyone around the table wanted to cast a vote that provided the best guarantee of keeping Wilders out of power. For most, that seemed to point towards supporting Mark Rutte, the affable and skilled Dutch PM, even if they’d never voted for him before.

It worked and the lesson, he finds, from D66’s success is not to pander to populism. Be yourself.

The polarisation of politics along new lines – no longer left vs right, but now open vs closed – is mobilising voters against right-wing populism. We are witnessing the beginnings of a liberal backlash against the backlash against liberalism. Of course, it wasn’t just Mark Rutte’s VVD which benefited, but other parties too.

D66, the second Liberal party in the Netherlands (lucky Dutch to have two liberal options) did well, surging to almost level pegging in the polls with Geert Wilders and adding seven seats to their tally in the Dutch Parliament. D66 are, ideologically, most similar to the Liberal Democrats in Britain. Alexander Pechtold, their experienced leader, told me when we met how he was going to run an unapologetically pro-European campaign. He was not going to bend to the populist times. His decision paid off handsomely.

And he sees the chance of reforms that would make British voters want to stay in the EU.

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From selfies with Clegg to the Glee Club stage – my first Liberal Democrat conference

I am currently in my first year at the University of Leeds, studying Politics and Parliamentary Studies. I officially became a party member in November 2016, but I have always been a Liberal Democrat at heart!

Last weekend was my first time at a party conference and I can honestly say it was one of the best weekends of my life. I did not really know what to expect, but I certainly did not expect to get to meet Nick Clegg on the first day! This was a pretty momentous occasion for me as you could call Nick my ‘Lib Dem hero’ given that he was the main reason I first became interested in the party.

My experience of conference undoubtedly proves that I joined the right party. What other party would have the unique event that is Glee Club? Slightly bizarre at first, but after a couple of G&T’s my (not so) secret love for karaoke shone through. Anyone who witnessed my attempted parody of “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse can vouch for this (along with the fact that I am a terrible singer). 

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WATCH: The Conference rally with Olney, Clegg, Farron, Malik and Pearcey

We reported on the Conference rally the other night. Now you can watch the whole thing here. See Sarah Olney thank her helpers and talk about why she joined the party and is fighting Brexit. See Nick Clegg take apart the Brexiteers’ case and warn of the populists undermining the checks on their power. See Jackie Pearcey tell us why we should go to Manchester Gorton to help her. See Hina Malik talk about her passion for dives it and how Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg persuaded her to join the party.

Finally, Tim Farron, after the obligatory pops at George Osborne and Dr Paul Nuttall, talk of Liberal Democrat values of internationalism and of giving EU nationals the right to stay and about why the people having the final say on the Brexit deal was so important.

Enjoy!

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Defiant Conference rally sets out Liberal Democrat anti-brexit stall

The Conference rally is always an opportunity to enthuse the Liberal Democrat conference goers and to set the tone for the whole weekend.

Last night’s was a gritty show of defiance of a Government that refuses to listen to any sort of reason over Brexit, contempt for an opposition that helps them on their way and a strong statement that only the Liberal Democrats will stand up for the rights of the British people.

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Rennie’s independence referendum risk: why it may well be a good thing

There’s a phrase that goes “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.” I have sometimes said to Willie Rennie that I think he’s being too safe and that he needs to take more risks. He’s taken a pretty big one this morning by saying in no uncertain terms that Liberal Democrat MPs at Westminster will vote against a Section 3o order, the mechanism that would allow the SNP to hold another Scottish independence referendum. Certainly, the Tories will no longer be able to say, as they have been falsely alleging for the past year or so, that we have gone soft on independence.  Showing Scots that they have a progressive pro UK party prepared to stick by its word is a good thing.

So why is this a risk? Well, there’s nothing more likely to get Scottish backs up than being told by Westminster that they can’t do something. If that actually happened, it might drive people to support having another referendum, even if they didn’t want to leave the UK. At the moment, though, every poll suggests an increasing number of Scots who don’t want to go through the divisive trauma of 2014 all over again. Willie’s announcement is very much in keeping with both our principles and public opinion. That’s actually a point that the didn’t make in his Sunday Politics Scotland interview, but worth pointing out.

Our party is and always has been a pro UK and pro EU party.  We are against leaving the UK  for all the same reasons that we are against leaving the EU – we believe in partnership and collaboration and see nationalism and isolationism as a recipe for disaster. We explicitly ruled out supporting another referendum on independence in our Holyrood manifesto last year and there is no way we could go back on that. Reneging on key manifesto promises has not gone so well for us before. It’s therefore entirely logical and consistent that we would oppose independence at every opportunity to do so.

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LibLInk: Nick Clegg: UK not taking seriously Brexit impact on Ireland

Nick Clegg has written an article in the Irish Times accusing the British government of not taking  the impact of Brexit on Ireland seriously enough. David Davis didn’t even mention maintaining the “soft border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic:

Instead, the government made a fleeting reference to the fact they will aim to “minimise frictions and administrative burdens”. This suggests that in one shape or form there will be an unwelcome return to checks at the Border.

There is a pattern here – the government doesn’t appear to be taking seriously the negative impact Brexit will have

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Children’s Mental Health Week: Nearly two thirds of children feel worried all the time

Nick Clegg has written an article for the Huffington Post to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, highlighting a study which found that nearly two thirds of children feel worried all the time.

As he says, stress and worry are part of life but it’s important that people have the right support when they need it or that stress and worry could develop into mental ill health.

Stress and worry are a part of every walk of life. No job, no task, is without its stresses and strains. During my time as deputy Prime Minister I would have numerous decisions to juggle which would leave me worrying about whether I was making the right choices or not. Luckily I have an amazing family and close friends who gave me all the support I could wish for. Not everyone is as fortunate.

As an adult having to deal with such pressure is extremely difficult to navigate so I can’t imagine what it would be like for a child to feel anxious and stressed all the time. Yet I was surprised to learn this week that nearly two thirds of children say they worry all the time. Accordingly to a new survey published by children’s charity Place2Be 63% of children still at primary school say they worry “all the time” about at least one thing to do with their school life, home life or themselves.

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Nick Clegg cheered by students

Six years ago, Nick Clegg was not the most popular politician amongst students. Now, things have changed as many young people find that he speaks for them as the Government hurtles towards a hard Brexit which will blight their future and opportunities. The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour watched him speak to a crowd of students last night:

In his Standard column this week, Nick described another student debate, in his Sheffield constituency, where he had a few words to say to the Labour MP on the panel:

I was on a platform with other politicians taking questions from a student audience. A local Labour MP was having the normal go at me about tuition fees. Fair enough — though I noticed he omitted to mention Labour’s own role in introducing tuition fees, and then trebling them on its own watch.

No, the moment Labour’s malaise really struck me was when this MP started speaking about the vote last week in the Commons on Article 50. He displayed none of the intelligence or humility of Keir Starmer, the shadow secretary for exiting the EU, who disarmingly confessed to the gathered MPs how difficult the issue is for Labour. Instead, in Sheffield this MP started to deliver a sanctimonious lecture to the Ukip and Conservative panellists, berating them for placing immigration above the economy in the Brexit talks.

I couldn’t contain myself. Irascibly, I interrupted his pro-European sermon to remind him that he’d just got off a train from London having voted with Douglas Carswell, Michael Gove, John Redwood and other zealous Brexiteers. How could he claim he was representing the interests of the youngsters in the audience having given his support to Theresa May’s uncompromisingly hard Brexit, yanking the UK out of the single market altogether?

I don’t believe that it would have been a betrayal of democracy if MPs had voted against the Government last week. All that would have happened, once the splenetic outrage of the Brexit-supporting press had passed, is that the Government would have been forced to come back to MPs with a more moderate, workable approach to Brexit which would then have received their support. MPs would not have blocked Brexit but they would have blocked hard Brexit. So it is pretty rich for Labour MPs to deliver pious homilies to other parties about the dangers of hard Brexit.

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