Tag Archives: sarah ludford

Lib Dems vs Brexit: Sarah Ludford Internationalism and social justice is the liberal way

A cracker of a speech from Sarah Ludford looking back at Liberal figures all the way back to the repeal of the Corn Laws:

My Lords, normally I would try to reflect speeches from across the House in my winding-up, but this evening I will concentrate on the Liberal Democrats. This is partly because the loss of our late colleague Lord Ashdown is much on our minds. Obviously the primary grief is felt by Jane and the family, but we too, his political family, are nothing short of devastated. We badly miss his voice. Tweets of Paddy’s from two months ago remain online; I am afraid they are not complimentary about the governing party, saying,

“and so our beloved country is once again held to ransom by squabbles in a Tory Party who give rats in a sack a bad name”,

and,

“the great unravelling begins. If you want a playbook for what next, look to the Tory civil wars of the Com Laws in 1846”.

The fact is that, unlike Liberal Democrats, whose hallmark is openness to the world, Tories have long been split between international and insular tendencies; that continues today. Some talk, admittedly, about “global Britain” but this seems more about resurrecting the Empire—or at least the Anglosphere—than a true spirit of international and multilateral co-operation. Modern Liberal Democrats can still subscribe to the words of the radical Liberal Richard Cobden, who cited among the benefits of repeal of the Corn Laws that,

“it would introduce through mutually advantageous international trade a new era of international fellowship and peace”.

That sentiment endures, both as the rationale for the European project after 1945 and in the DNA of the modern Liberal Democrat party; no wonder the two are so well-aligned. As my noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire said last week, a global Britain should be within, not against, a global Europe. Hence one of Paddy’s successors, my noble friend Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, insisted in this debate last Wednesday:

“I am passionate about remaining in the European Union. I venture to observe that I am just as passionate about remaining as those who are passionate about leaving. I respect their passion and, in turn, I expect them to respect mine”.—

Another previous leader, Jo Grimond, in his book The Liberal Future 60 years ago, wrote:

“Liberals dissented from the original decision not to take part in the Iron and Steel Community. A Liberal foreign policy towards Europe would be based on the firm belief that Britain is a part—a leading part—of Europe”.

But it was not just Liberals in our Liberal Democrat heritage who carried the flame for Europe. My noble friends Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank and Lord Taverne came via the Labour Party and the Social Democrats. They reminded us in this debate how they were part of that brave contingent of 69 MPs who defied the Labour leadership and its three-line whip to vote to join the then European Community in 1971. My noble friends Lord Wrigglesworth and Lord McNally, also once SDP, stressed internationalist principles too. They were led by Roy Jenkins, later our Liberal Democrat Leader here in Lords. In the epilogue to his European Diary as President of the European Commission, Roy recounts the formation of the SDP, noting simply and unremarkably that,

“the SDP and its Alliance partner maintained a wholly committed European position”.

Roy Jenkins also harks back much farther in our political roots when, in his biography of William Gladstone, he quotes from Gladstone’s Midlothian campaign, when he was much concerned about atrocities in the Balkans against Bulgarians and Montenegrins. Gladstone, he records, spoke of a,

“nation called to undertake a great and responsible duty”,

in regard to “the peace of Europe” and the need for,

“right and justice to be done”.

These are uncanny echoes of Paddy Ashdown’s insistence that we had to take an interest in the Balkan wars of the 1990s and take on a responsibility to protect in particular the Kosovars and Bosnians being subjected to ethnic cleansing on our continent.

In her very generous comments about Paddy Ashdown in her debate on the western Balkans last Thursday, the noble Baroness, Lady Helic, said:

“During the Bosnian War in the 1990s, most politicians, including some from my own party, pontificated from a distance. Lord Ashdown went in and out of Sarajevo during the longest siege in modern history, across a risky mountain route and through a tunnel burrowed into the city”.—

Hence, when my noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire wrote a slim Penguin tome for the 1997 election called Why Vote Liberal Democrat?, in words he could repeat today, he wrote:

“Nostalgia for an imperial past, combined with hostility to closer cooperation with Britain’s neighbours, offers no credible way forward … Liberal Democrats are internationalist by instinct and by intellectual conviction … We believe that Britain can achieve more through sharing sovereignty and pooling power than by standing alone … Britain is a European country. Our international interests and responsibilities start with our concern to promote peace, stability and prosperity within Europe, in partnership with our European neighbours”.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Lib Dems “most sweary peers in House of Lords”

Something to amuse you on a dark January evening from iNews:

Our Lib Dem Lords make six out of the top ten profane peers

Six of the top 10 “sweary peers” are Lib Dems, with Baroness Sarah Ludford leading the pack with 51 profanities in 2017. It’s a pretty admirable feat given that peers only managed to score 287 swears between them across the whole year.

They have been joking about it on Twitter:

The Leader of the our Lords group was perhaps upset that he didn’t make the list:

Sarah Ludford was modest:

Liz Barker is such a diplomat:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Sarah Ludford: Brexiteers fear the people realising the disastrous truth

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future. 

After two days of debate, it fell to Sarah Ludford to sum up for the Liberal Democrats. She brought together all the strands of the debate. She took on the two days of vitriol that had been directed at the party from the Brexiteers. What were they frightened of, she wondered. They were, she said, so keen to stamp on dissent for fear of the disaster of Brexit being realised by the people. She summarised the massive negatives to business, to jobs, to prosperity, to EU nationals and their British families and made the case for a referendum on the deal.

There were times during this mammoth task of putting all the speeches up that we wondered what on earth had possessed us to think that it was a good idea, but we now have in one place a comprehensive rebuttal to everything the Government says on Brexit. Our lot did us proud as they drove a coach and horses through the Government’s arguments. The sheer vitriol they took from the Brexiteer zealots shows that their arguments were very effective.

My Lords, I draw the attention of the House, and perhaps the Daily Mail, to the fact that my receipt of an MEP pension is in the register.

We have had a long and intense debate, with many excellent speeches. I concur with the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, in thanking Gina Miller for the fact that we have had this debate. It has been a marathon rather than a sprint, just as the Brexit process itself will prove to be over possibly a decade of blood, sweat and tears. Those who swallowed the myth perpetrated by some Brexiteers that it would mean “With one bound, we are free” are going to be cruelly disappointed. This is just one of the many disillusionments to come. Another is the unravelling of the notion that leaving the EU will solve all our problems. There are in fact many sources of valid dissatisfaction, grievance and frustration among the people of the United Kingdom today. To most of these problems, Brexit will bring no relief but there is no spare capacity in this Government to focus on anything but Brexit. As Tony Blair so rightly said in his recent speech:

“This is a Government for Brexit, of Brexit and dominated by Brexit. It is a mono-purpose political entity”.

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 9 Comments

European Arrest Warrant: I’m a sceptic (but not a Eurosceptic)

As I write, the House of Commons is debating the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Well, sort of. In fact, the Speaker, John Bercow, has already pointed out that “there will not today be a vote on the specific matter of membership of the European arrest warrant”. But Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling say there will. In the Tories’ Alice in Wonderland world, when they use the word vote it means just what they choose it to mean, neither more nor less.

As with any debate involving Europe, there is a danger of it being used as …

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

Gaza: Senior Lib Dems speak out against Hamas, urge continuing ceasefire; and Lib Dem Friends of Israel issue statement

Gaza Burns - photo by Al Jazeera EnglishThis weekend’s Guardian published a letter from five senior Lib Dems – including Sir Alan Beith MP, Lord Dholakia and Baroness Sarah Ludford – condemning Hamas and urging both sides in the conflict to continue their ceasefire in Gaza:

As Liberal Democrats, we are totally committed to the state of Israel being able to live within secure borders, and wish to see the removal of the existential threat to Israel’s security by an internationally recognised terrorist group, and the creation of a viable

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 89 Comments

Nick Clegg’s leadership: A summary of the coverage

Nick Clegg visits Manchester VelodromeWell, there was a certain inevitability that poor election results would lead to calls for Nick Clegg to resign. Today, the papers are full of comments from activists and MPs critical of the Deputy Prime Minister.

John Hemming, John Pugh and Adrian Sanders have all gone public with their criticism of Clegg. It should be noted that none of them are particularly noted for being his biggest fans. There is a certain irony that where there were elections on their patches, they did reasonably well. In Pugh’s Southport …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 46 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: UKIP would pull the rug out from under the City

UKIP logoIn Monday’s Evening Standard, Nick Clegg had this to say about how the diverse, modern capital would be affected if Nigel Farage and UKIP got their way. While Farage’s party offers change, it’s not the sort of change that we want:

But don’t be fooled: it’s change of the worst kind. Behind the crowd-pleasing, pint-swilling banter is a party that wants to turn the clock back. Ukip’s only answer to the complexities of the modern world is pulling up the drawbridge, shunning the outside world and hankering for some

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

LibLink: Sarah Ludford MEP: Despite their claim to be a libertarian party, UKIP have a shocking record on LGBT rights

Over at the Huffington Post, Sarah Ludford MEP has been looking at UKIP’s record on LGBT rights.

She first shows that they really don’t get it:

On the Ukip website, it states “As a libertarian party, we are entirely at ease with their (LGBTI community) choice and wish all of them well.” I question the appropriateness of this folksy language and the implication that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, particularly considering that LGBTI citizens continue to be the target of around 100 hate crimes per week. But even if it was well intentioned, why then do we consistently hear voices from

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Sarah Ludford MEP writes… Emergency Motion 6 will promote Schedule 7 reform and protect civil liberties

The last time I wrote a piece for Lib Dem Voice I asked for the assistance of conference voting reps to ensure that party conference debates the detention of David Miranda and the reform of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism 2000 – Labour legislation – under which he was detained.

A very big thank you to those who responded with support for Emergency Motion 6: Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000 to be in the ballot for debate in Glasgow next Wednesday (Sep 18th from 9:00 to 10.30, item F38). I’m sure the handsome volume of signatures – due …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

English Council, 15 June – our man in Luton reports…

This is a report of the meeting of the Liberal Democrats English Council, held on Saturday at University College London.

The English Council is the governing body of the Liberal Democrats in England and meets twice a year to consider matters of importance to the English Party.

Speech from Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg at English Council - 15 June 2013The day started with a speech from the Deputy Prime Minister. Before heading off to chair meetings at the G8, Nick Clegg had stopped into University College London to give a message of optimism to …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

This week in Europe: 1-4 April

European Union flags - Some rights reserved by tristam sparksEuropean ‘Financial Transaction Tax’ will hit Londoners

A research report prepared for the City of London Corporation has estimated the cost of the proposed European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) on UK government debt at £4 billion, with further costs for company debt.

Even though the UK is not taking part, bonds issued by our government and companies are traded in EU participating countries and will therefore be subject to the tax. This will raise government spending and the cost of capital and investment.

MEP …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

The Independent View: The battle for privacy in the EU and how the Liberal Democrats can help

Last year Liberal Democrats took a principled stand against the “Snoopers’ Charter” – more formally called the draft Communications Data Bill. This added up to a defiant, important defence of citizens’ privacy rights in the face of a concerted (and ongoing) effort by the Home Office to undermine them.

Right now there is another, equally important, battle for our privacy going in the European Parliament. The same principles are at stake. Once again Liberal Democrats have a really important role in determining what sort of law we get.

The “Data Protection Regulation”, proposed by the European Commission and now being considered by …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Liberal Democrat MEPs react to Cameron’s EU speech

Liberal Democrat MEPs have been responding to David Cameron’s speech promising an in/out referendum on Europe once he has renegotiated the terms of the UK’s membership. This is, of course, incumbent on the Conservatives winning a majority at the next election. That sounds like a pretty powerful motivator to Liberal Democrat activists to ensure the Tory leader does not have control of the Commons.

I will update this post during the day with further comments. First off the marks were Sir Graham Watson and Sarah Ludford.

I was quite surprised to see the words “looks good, sounds good” in Sir Graham Watson’s …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

This week in Europe: 7-10 January

Report on proposed banking reforms is published

The Economic and Monetary Committee has published a report “Banking Union and a Single Banking Supervisory Mechanism“, with some expert opinions from European economists on the European Commission proposals to create a single supervisor for European banks. For those interested in the proposals, their viability and some of the arguments for gradations of supervisions – the 200 largest banks in the Eurozone have approximately 90% of the market in that area – the five opinions will provide a lucid, and brief summary of the key issues, the context in which decisions are being …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

In other news… Teather’s non-defection, Mulholland on beer price-fixing & MEPs on Irish abortion law

Sarah Teather Would Rather ‘Poke Her Eyes Out’ Than Join Labour (Huffington Post)

Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather would rather “poke her eyes out” than defect to the Labour Party despite being sacked from the government, according to the party’s chief enforcer. After the New Statesman noticed Teather had voted against the coalition plans to cap benefits, a policy she decried as “immoral and divisive”, rumours swirled that this meant she was about to defect to Labour. However the speculation was shut down by Lib Dem whip Alastair Carmichael, who tweeted: “I just asked her, says she would rather poke

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Sarah Ludford MEP – ‘US Presidential Election – What will be the impact on EU/US relations?’

Over at the Endeavours Public Affairs blog, Lib Dem MEP for London Sarah Ludford looks at this Tuesday’s presidential election and what it means for Europe. Here’s an excerpt:

The Obama administration has in any case been perceived as not very interested in Europe, except as a source of financial and economic worry, with a strategic shift of US focus to the Asia-Pacific region distracting from relations with the EU. It’s a sobering cause for reflection that neither candidate has talked about Europe in their campaigns, even in the televised debate devoted to foreign affairs.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: The Tories: tough on Europe, soft on crime

The news that Sussex teacher Jeremy Forrest has been arrested in Bordeaux on suspicion of abducting pupil Megan Stammers is a timely reminder of the value of EU cooperation to fight crime. The maths teacher, who now faces imminent extradition, joins a long list of suspects caught with a European arrest warrant and swiftly returned to face justice in the UK. But the Conservatives’ dogmatic opposition to all things European is now putting the safety of Britons at risk.

The European arrest warrant, in operation since 2004, has succeeded in cutting average extradition times in the EU from one

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Conference calls for our parliamentarians to reject Secret Courts

At most conferences there is at least one debate which proves how different we are from the other main parties. Different because we entrust Conference to decide party policy, in open debate, even where that may be at odds with the views of our parliamentarians.

Today’s debate on the ‘Secret Courts’ motion was a good example. The full title was F41: No Government Above the Law – The Justice and Security Bill.

This motion, submitted by two local parties, called on the Coalition to withdraw Part II of the Justice and Security Bill, which would empower Ministers to allow civil hearings …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

Sarah Ludford praises European Arrest Warrant’s latest use in London

From a press release:

London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the use of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in a bid to apprehend a former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London. After failing to answer bail the man, named by police as Lawrence Soper, is believed to have fled to Italy.

Sarah Ludford commented:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Another step towards ending the waste of two European Parliament locations

Whether it’s the cost, the environmental impact or the disruption to operating the organisation, the continuation of two locations for the European Parliament has few friends. The friends it does have, who think it’s a sensible way of spending time and money to shuttle one institution back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg, are very tenacious though. Yet as a result the obvious waste of these arrangements continues to overshadow the steps the European Parliament does take to cut waste elsewhere.

As a result, progress has been slow, but another step has been taken as London Lib Dem MEP Sarah Ludford has reported:

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Europe: good news, but not big news

Into my inbox yesterday came an email from London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, welcoming a sensible new decision which the European Parliament has made that will  give the public better information and – thanks to that better flow of information – make the relevant market work more efficiently. Just the sort of good news that liberals should trumpet: giving people power and fixing market failures.

But. And it’s a big but.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Europe: what Liberal Democrats have been saying today

Nick Clegg:

I have said for months that it would be best to avoid arcane debates about treaty change altogether and if we had to proceed down that road, it would be best to do so in a way that did not create divisions in Europe.

The demands Britain made for safeguards, on which the Coalition Government was united, were modest and reasonable. They were safeguards for the single market, not just the UK.

There were no demands of repatriation of powers from the EU to Britain and no demands for a unilateral carve-out of UK financial services.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , and | 101 Comments

What are Lib Dem MEPs up to when it comes to money?

I’ve been wondering for a little time what the Liberal Democrat MEPs are pushing for when it comes to the European Union’s budget, which makes London MEP Sarah Ludford’s latest email update particularly timely:

No pro-European LibDem can be other than fully committed to reform of the EU. Any flaws in the way it is run overshadow its good work on everything from research to roaming charges, not to speak of the area I am passionate about, justice and civil liberties. I’m pleased therefore that a deal has been reached for the EU’s 2012  budget which overall represents no real terms

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Sarah Ludford opposed plans to refurbish MEP offices

Good to see a Liberal Democrat MEP taking up this cause in a press release:

Liberal Democrat London MEP Sarah Ludford has called for the blocking of plans by European Parliament bosses known as the ‘bureau’ to spend £26 million (€30 million) on improving MEP offices in the Parliament’s Strasbourg building.

The Parliament is currently obliged under the EU treaties – fixed by the 27 national governments – to sit in both Brussels and Strasbourg in a ‘travelling circus’. But in June a majority of MEPs voted in favour of maintaining a single seat in Brussels, which would save 19,000 tonnes of CO2 …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Healthy scepticism alive and well among Liberty’s ranks

At the weekend Liberty held its AGM. Jo Shaw was there…

We are, as our esteemed director, Shami Chakrabarti said on Saturday “a gobby lot”. In that, the Liberty membership share much in common with the membership of the Lib Dems. Both share a tradition of being unwilling to shut up, of asking difficult questions and not necessarily toeing the line which might be expected or helpful for the leadership.

Liberty was formed 76 years ago in response to police brutality against protestors against hunger and unemployment. Police tactics at demonstrations and the politics of dissent are currently high in …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

European Parliament rejects plans to hand bank details to the US

Sharing of bank records with the US started in 2001 in an effort to tackle terrorism. However, the European Parliament has rejected new proposed agreement after heated criticisms that too much private information could be handed over without good reason.

The Register reported:

The European Parliament has rejected a proposed interim agreement on SWIFT – under which the US gets access to European bank transactions…

Rapporteur Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert from the Netherlands said the Council had not been tough enough on data protection and rules in the interim agreement on data protection were not proportionate to the security supposedly provided.

London Lib Dem …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Video: Sarah Ludford MEP at Mass Photo Gathering

Campaign group I’m a photographer not a terrorist held a Mass Photo Gathering in Trafalgar Square yesterday, in defence of street photography. Thousands of photographers came together to assert their rights and to protest against the misuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Section 44 allows uniformed police officers to stop and search people in designated areas if it is considered “expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.” I met Grant Smith, who was stopped under Section 44 by police in December. Sarah Ludford, Lib Dem MEP for London, had written a letter to the Independent in protest at his treatment.

I spoke to Sarah and Grant about the incident:


Video also available on YouTube.

Posted in Events | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Jonathan Fryer’s Diary of a Euro-candidate

Wednesday
The Liberal Democrat Friends of Poland is launched this afternoon at the Polish Centre in Hammersmith, chaired by Islington’s LibDem Mayor, Stefan Kasprzyk. A good turnout from the Polish-language media. In my speech about why Poles in London should vote Liberal Democrat, I joke (truthfully) about how during the Communist period, I’d been unable to find accommodation in a snow-bound Krakow, so spent the night in a Carmelite convent. Straight after the speeches, I have to do an interview in Spanish for a London-based Latin American channel. The capital’s ethnic diversity certainly keeps one on one’s toes. Later this …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 20th Feb - 4:06am
    Sean Hagan, I have not anywhere in any way expressed disdain for unprepared voters, just their abusers. David Raw: "Your comment is breathtakingly elitist and...
  • User AvatarIan Martin 20th Feb - 3:40am
    matt "she must have had Bangladeshi dual nationality" It is a question that she has Bangladesh nationality now and this will come before a British...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 20th Feb - 12:05am
    Surely the immediate question is whether some or all of the Gang of Seven (>Eight) can be brought to support Liberal Democrat positions in the...
  • User AvatarIan Patterson 19th Feb - 11:12pm
    At present atrophy rate we will be exceeded as fourth Commons party by weekend!
  • User AvatarMichael 1 19th Feb - 11:11pm
    Of interest is the sky data poll which has: Con 32% Lab 26% Ind Group 10% Lib Dems 9% UKIP 6% Compared to the Survation...
  • User AvatarGraham Evans 19th Feb - 11:01pm
    @ Denis Mollison You have to read AAV with a pitch of salt. Like NBN, it's a left wing blog which frequently distorts the reporting...