Tag Archives: sarah olney

Vince announces his Chief of Staff and Press Secretary

Those of us who had hoped of a return to Westminster for Sarah Olney will have to wait for a while because she has taken a job which will ensure she is there every day, but will not be able to stand for election.

Vince Cable has appointed her as his new Chief of Staff so she will have a key role in developing his strategy and liaising with the Party to get us all onside.

In many ways, this is an inspired appointment and sends out two very clear messages. First of all, it’s forward looking. Sarah wasn’t even a member of the party two and a half years ago. She joined us in the first post-Clegg surge in May 2015. She is a Lib Dem newbie who is going to be even more at the heart of developing party strategy than she was as an MP. That’s a nod to the members who has joined the party that the new leader may have been around for a while, but he is open to them.

Sarah Olney’s appointment also reaffirms the party’s increasingly vocal anti-Brexit stance. There will be no more equivocating and diffidence.

This should go some way to soothing the nerves of those in the party who were slightly nervous about Vince’s comments in the wake of the referendum about things like freedom of movement and a second referendum.

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Sarah Olney on returning to normal life

The New Statesman is running an article titled “I’m very much out on my ear”: what it’s like becoming an ex-MP. It interviews a number of people who lost their seats, but the focus is heavily on Sarah Olney.

Apparently, Theresa May apologised to Tory MPs who lost in the debacle that was the June General Election.

While May was referring to her Conservative peers, losing a seat is an experience also familiar to Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney. The former MP for Richmond Park made headlines by overturning Zac Goldsmith’s 23,015 majority in the December 2016 by-election – only to lose the seat by 45 votes six months later.

“I don’t get any money at all,” she says. “I got paid up to 8 June and then nothing. I don’t qualify for loss of office allowance or statutory redundancy because I wasn’t there for long enough. You have to have been there for at least two years.”

Olney, who intends to look for a new job after the summer holidays, describes herself as a “little bit cheated” by the snap election. “I was expecting – especially when we had a Fixed-term Parliaments Act – that parliament was going to last until 2020. So to suddenly find that it’s changed means that you don’t qualify for anything.”

Posted in News | 25 Comments

LibLink: Sarah Olney: Brexit undermines universities at every turn

Sarah Olney has written an article for the Times Educational Supplement talking about the difficulties facing universities as a result of Theresa May’s push for a hard brexit.

Citing Cambridge University’s assertion that Brexit poses a significant risk to our Higher Eduction sector, Sarah outlines this in detail:

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn’t seem to be listening. Theresa May has chosen to pursue the hardest and most destructive version of Brexit possible: taking us out of the single market and the customs union, and even threatening to do so without a new trade agreement with the EU. The government is also refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals  living and working in the UK to remain after Brexit.

The government’s hard Brexit policies and rhetoric risk driving away international students and academics. The number of EU nationals applying to British universities has already fallen by 7 per cent compared with last year, despite the government’s assurance that those starting this year won’t face higher fees after Brexit. Some 53 per cent of foreign academics are now actively looking to leave the UK, and 88 per cent say that Brexit has made them more likely to do so in future.

And what about the EU’s Erasmus programme? It gives 16,000 British students the chance to study abroad every year but the government has made no commitment to maintaining or replacing it after Brexit. Last year, the Liberal Democrats delivered a petition to No 10 and the European Parliament, calling on them to save Erasmus. This petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

And contrasts the Lib Dem view:

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Lib Dems to deliver £7 billion schools funding boost

Tim Farron and Sarah Olney have announced that the Liberal Democrats will invest nearly £7bn more in schools and colleges over the next parliament.

The funding would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from the National Funding Formula.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Olney said:

Children are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers – but Theresa May doesn’t care.

While funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.

This extra £7 billion of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.

We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Tim Farron added

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Battle Bus debuts in Surbiton

Around 300 people braved the drizzle this morning in Surbiton, west London, to welcome the Liberal Democrat battle bus as it embarks on a tour of the country ahead of next month’s election.

Party leader Tim Farron was joined by Sarah Olney, MP for nearby Richmond Park & North Kingston, along with former cabinet ministers and parliamentary candidates Vince Cable and Ed Davey. The pair are standing in Twickenham and Kingston & Surbiton constituencies, respectively.

Addressing the crowd, Tim Farron acknowledged the “Lake District-style weather”, before attacking both the Conservatives and Labour.

The worst governments are the ones with the weakest oppositions. There is a vacancy for an opposition in this country, and the Liberal Democrats are here to fill it.

This will not be a coronation. This will be a contest.

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#LibDemFightback campaigners busy on the streets this weekend

There are some fantastic, smiling action photos coming out from Lib Dem campaigners this weekend!

Victor Chamberlain has been out twice, campaigning for Simon Hughes with colleagues at the Elephant and Castle:


…and at Borough and Bankside:

Tim Farron visited Leeds – and Leeds Young Liberals captured their excitement at the leader’s arrival:

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Tim Farron campaigns in Richmond Park

The first big photo-op of the election campaign saw Tim Farron return to the scene of our most audacious recent triumph – Richmond Park, where Sarah Olney beat Zac Goldsmith.

Here’s a reminder of her stunning victory speech just 4.5 months ago.

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