Tag Archives: richard kemp

Richard Kemp writes: Why I’m standing to be Party President

I was amazed to be told that the Federal Board has decided to run the internal elections for the Presidency and Party committees this Autumn. Yes, I know that they are due BUT I also know that they will be taking place when there are far more important things to do. There may just be some issues like stopping Brexit; welcoming new MPs to our Party and fighting a General Election that should take precedence. 

Had it been left to me I would have taken the opportunity to tell the Conference in Bournemouth that the Party would be postponing the elections until January and, I would expect, getting a rousing standing ovation from our front-line troops for doing so.

But perhaps it is because decisions like this keep getting taken that I want to stand to become the Party President in the first place. I first became interested in standing when our LGA Lib Dem Executive was told in March last year that the Party was proposing to send out three emails to the membership before the May elections all about Brexit campaigning and not one about local elections. Don’t get me wrong I believe that Brexit is important. As far back as 1975 I chaired the Liverpool ‘yes’ team in the EEC referendum of that year. Elections are even more important. Unless we get elected to councils and parliaments, we are a talking shop, a debating society.

The elections last year began the very public process of raising in people’s minds the full potential of the Lib Dems. The 175 gains and subsequent headlines led to repeated successes in council by-elections. That lead to this year’s huge gains in this year’s round, the election of Jane Dodds and the defection to us of 5 MPs including our own Luciana Berger MP in Liverpool Wavertree.

That’s the way I think that we can grow. We built our Party in the past street by street, community by community, ward by ward and then to parliamentary success. That’s the Lib Dem way and it’s the right way. Parliamentary successes caused by defections or Brexit will be short-term unless underpinned by a phalanx of Councillors and strong community action.

For 52 years I have been a front-line worker for the Party. For 37 of those years I have been a Liverpool Councillor. At times I have represented some of the most deprived communities in the UK. Now I represent a wealthier ward which includes the most famous Lane in the World! I lead the Lib Dem opposition on the council where we are clawing our way back to power against an increasing cult-like extremist Labour Party.

That has not stopped me doing things globally or nationally. For 10 years I was the UK representative on the World body for local government UCLG. For 8 years I was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in local government at the LGA. I now lead on health & social care at the LGA and regularly attend sessions of all sorts in both Houses of Parliament.

I believe that we need to change the way we do things nationally:

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Why there will be no Kemp4Prez stickers at Conference

A reasonable number of people will know that before Christmas I was asking them about whether or not I should stand for the Party Presidency when it comes up for election later. A smaller number know that as a result of those discussions I have decided after Christmas that I will indeed be a candidate.

However, whilst I am not keeping it a secret, I am not yet starting a proper campaign. I am not acting this way because of indolence. In my 52 years in the Party I have never left an election to chance or thought that I would breeze in. The reason I am not doing anything yet is because I believe that there are three things even more important than filling this important post.

The first and most obvious one is that we either have to resolve not to leave Europe or work out how to deal with the consequences of having left. Of course, this all might have changed in the interval between you reading this and me writing it! Brexit will cast a long shadow over both our Country and politicians because of he way that it has been handled. Well done our First 11 for the splendid way they have thought and acted and our second 100 in the Lords have acted superlatively well but we will all have much to do in the coming few weeks and months whatever happens.

Secondly, we have the English local elections coming up on 2nd May and nothing but nothing should distract us from maximising our vote and maximising our number of councillors. This should be a national election and I would appeal to Scottish, Welsh and London colleagues to support campaigning near to you as you have no elections yourselves. Nothing will put us in a better position in the media than more councillors. Nothing will enhance our position with the “Independent Group” than us having even more bottoms on seats in Council Chambers.

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Richard Kemp and Liverpool Lib Dems set up street stall outside Labour Conference

Knowing that there may be a lot of unhappy Labour members once the leadership result is announced, Richard Kemp and the Liverpool Liberal Democrats are setting up a stall outside Labour’s conference to offer them a home if they are feeling that their party has moved too far from them.

They will be outside the Liverpool Museum at the Pier Head between 11 am and 1pm.

They will be looking for people like Mark Robinson:

Good luck to them. You have to admire their nerve.

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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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How Liberal Democrats around the country are marking Remembrance Sunday

Here’s a flavour of how  Liberal Democrats are marking Remembrance Sunday, some in an official capacity, others on their blogs. I suggest you put on Elgar’s Cello concerto as recommended by Armour Plated Liberalism and have a look at the following:

Tim Farron spent yesterday selling poppies in bad weather:

Jo Swinson tweeted from a service in Bearsden

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The most important factor for Liberal Democrats in any 2015 Coalition negotiations

The Silly Season continues with yet more speculation on what happens after the 2015 election. Monday’s Independent carried the loaded headline:

Lib Dem Supporters spell it out: we won’t be fooled by Nick Clegg again over support for a coalition

That Liberal Democrats will be wary about any future coalition, with anybody, should come as no surprise. The deductive reasoning powers of the average goldfish could have worked that out.

The article quotes people like Martin Tod, Gareth Epps and Cllr Richard Kemp, all of whom are saying quite reasonable things, none of them suggesting that Nick Clegg fooled us in 2010, …

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Lib Dems publish plan for 300,000 homes to be built a year

I’ve talked a few times about how housing has become an increasingly important policy in the rhetoric of Liberal Democrat ministers (see Danny Alexander set to up the ante on anti-Tory rhetoric and housing and Vince Cable on “one of the great acts of economic vandalism in modern times”).

Whether or not that rhetoric will produce policy results is the big question.

At which point, enter stage left a policy motion in the agenda for next month’s Liberal Democrat conference:

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged and | 47 Comments

The 3 Lib Dem mayoral candidates profiled

Three mayoral elections will take place a week today. Though the media has fixated on London’s Boris/Brian/Ken campaign, there are contests also to elect the first-ever mayors of Liverpool and Salford. In addition the following cities will hold ballots on 3 May on whether to adopt the elected mayor system: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the Lib Dem standard-bearers to become mayors of their cities next week…

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In other news… Kemp4Liverpool, Duwayne4London, Tod4Winchester, Salmond4Inquiry, and more…

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Liverpool elected mayor candidates announced (BBC News)

Twelve candidates have been nominated to stand as Liverpool’s first directly elected mayor. Nominations closed at midday and voters will go to the polls on 3 May. Among the 12 are four members of Liverpool City Council, including Labour leader Joe Anderson and Liberal Democrat Richard Kemp.

Duwayne Brooks announced as Lib Dem deputy mayor (BBC News)

A friend of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has been named as a deputy to Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick if

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Andrew Stunell MP writes… Launching the Liberal Democrats’ local election campaign

Local Election Day is now exactly a month away for most of Metropolitan England as well as across the whole of Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg was in my own area of Stockport earlier today to officially launch the Liberal Democrat local election campaign, visiting a local business and speaking with councillors, business owners and local people.

I’ve no doubt that many of you have been out on the doorstep over the last few months, talking to people and showing them what we are achieving both nationally and locally.

You will already have your big messages in place. Number one has got …

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Plan C: The Social Liberal Forum’s economic prognosis

There has been a very welcome recent revival of policy thinking in the Liberal Democrats, despite the large cuts to the party’s official policy research staff. This has included a new think tank (Liberal Insight) and good work by Richard Kemp and the local government sector in encouraging imaginative plans for making use of the new legal powers going to local government.

Added to this is the Social Liberal Forum’s further foray into economic policy-making, following up on some of their successful events with their first policy pamphlet. Prateek Buch’s “Plan C – social liberal approaches to a fair, …

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In other news… Richard Kemp for Liverpool, Kennedy on the UK, defection in Cambridge, Hughes at Leveson

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Richard Kemp to represent Liberal Democrats in Liverpool mayor election in May (Liverpool Echo)

‘He said: “I am standing because I believe that only the Liberal Democrats have the long term strategies which will place this city in a leading position able to create the jobs and investment which this city so badly needs. Liverpool needs an encompassing vision and direction that everyone in the city, residents, business and friends can buy into and support.”

You can read Richard’s own account of …

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The Local Government slot: winning with localism

It’s very possible to get a bit glum at the moment isn’t it? All the talk is about cuts and the health service reforms with our opponents blithely ignoring the facts that they were a principal cause of the deficits and that they would have had to deal with the growing problems of the NHS.

So when I am down a bit I think of the many good things that have been done by this government and work out how I can take full advantage of them both politically and for my community.

Chief amongst these is the continued drive for localism. …

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In other news… Vince upsets Tories, Liverpool to choose mayor, Radcliffe hexes Clegg, and Hughes settles with Murdoch

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

  • Cable sticks by Les Ebdon as his choice of ‘university tsar’ – the Lib Dem business secretary is opening up a rift in the Coalition:

    Business Secretary Vince Cable is standing by his candidate to head the university fair access watchdog, despite a rejection by MPs. Les Ebdon had been put forward by ministers as their preference for director of the Office for Fair Access. But MPs on a select committee have voted to try to block the appointment. However ministers are not backing

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    Liverpool’s listening exercise and the Green Agenda

    Liverpool Liberal Democrats have just kicked off the next stage in our work toward regaining power in Liverpool.

    We don’t run the council, in fact we are some way off running the council. But we know that the ruling Labour administration has no real vision, and as part of our way back towards running the City we wanted to develop and articulate one.

    So we have published a document and started a “listening exercise”. Headlines include our aspirations for Liverpool to be the Green Capital of Europe and for us to take real advantage of the opportunities in the Localism Bill. You can find the …

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    The Independent View: The General Power of Competence – Is the sky the limit?

    As the Localism Bill moves into Report stage in the Lords, local authorities are getting ever closer to gaining their much discussed General Power of Competence (GPoC).

    For Lib Dems the passage of the Localism Bill is an interesting moment. Many, one suspects, might echo the views of former Lib Dem LGA leader Cllr Richard Kemp who in January blogged his ‘support about 80% of the Bill, like the direction but have concerns about the deliverability of 15% of the Bill, and actively detest 5% of it.’

    Though Kemp’s reservations were reserved for the provisions concerning elected mayors, Lib Dems …

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    Cross-party smackdown for Home Secretary

    A tweet crosses my desk from Cllr Kemp, itself a retweet from LGCPlus journalist Ruth Keeling. It contains a link to the Association of Police Authorities – not a body I am overly familiar with, but it has a fairly self-explanatory title.

    The link is directly to a fairly draw-dropping cross-party letter from chairs of Police Authorities around the country who have a fairly serious beef with the Home Secretary’s accuracy in a recent speech.

    Theresa May appears to have tried to shore up support for the Conservative policy of elected police commissioners by insinuating that in London, taxpayers got a better service from the elected police chief (and Mayor) Boris Johnson, than in other parts of the country where there are indirectly elected Chairs of Police Authorities instead.

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    Liberal Democrats receive Queen’s Birthday Honours

    Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011.

    He’s listed under Knights Bachelor – Knighthoods:

    Graham Robert WATSON, MEP. For public and political services.

    Congratulations, Sir Graham!

    Also:

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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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    Good news for local government as capitalisation budget increased by half

    There was some good news for local government yesterday with the announcement that the capitalisation budget is being increased from £200m to £300m for 2011-12.

    Since the £200m figure was set in autumn spending settlement, Liberal Democrats in local government and also ministers such as Danny Alexander and Andrew Stunell have been pushing hard for an increase – with the result being yesterday’s news.

    Capitalisation is a technical financial measure but in brief it allows councils more flexibility in their financial decisions. It is the process of letting revenue costs be treated as capital expenditure in limited circumstances, the primary advantages of …

    Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

    Labour councils cut more jobs than Tory or Lib Dem areas

    Labour councils are cutting far more jobs than their Conservative and Liberal Democrat neighbours – on average 50% more than Tory councils, according to figures revealed by the Guardian:

    Labour authorities have issued on average 745 job “at-risk” notifications, compared with 498 and 414 respectively from Tory and Lib Dem councils.

    The figures are the first to confirm that Labour councils are making bigger cuts and appear to bolster claims by David Cameron and Nick Clegg that Labour councils are cutting and then blaming the coalition for “politically motivated” reasons.

    However, the Guardian’s analysis also reveals that Labour authorities are suffering the

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    Opinion: Health & Social Care Bill – a local government perspective

    Media coverage and comment so far since the Bill was published last week has been largely about GP commissioning, and the abolition of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. Naturally there will be risks associated with such an enormous transfer of financial responsibility, but we should most certainly not overlook the underlying localist and patient-centred philosophy, and the opportunities for GPs to become more engaged with a wider health and wellbeing approach in every locality.

    GP practices operate in local communities, and councillors are elected to represent those same communities. How should we work with them more …

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    LibLink: Cllr Richard Kemp on the Lib Dem Local Government conference

    Lib Dem councillors had their annual conference this week within the confines of Local Government House in Smith Square, London. Co-hosted by ALDC and the Lib Dem LGA group, the conference pulls together colleagues from across the country with our parliamentary team. This year, of course, our parliamentary colleagues have joined many thousands of Lib Dem councillors in actually being in charge of running things. Normally our councillors are more experienced at holding the reins of power than our MPs.

    Cllr Richard Kemp has written a review for Total Politics:

    Nick pulled no punches in telling us how difficult the decisions

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      This is spot on. "The ultras on our side have done little to help with accusations of stupidity or racism. I get the frustration, especially...
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      The one statement that should be obligitory reading for all Lib Dem polticians ( and Ulster Unionists or anyone else ) is The Tories exist...
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