Tag Archives: stephen dorrell

Former Conservative Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell joins the Liberal Democrats

Stephen Dorrell was Health Secretary in John Major’s government and as recently as 2014 was Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee.

Tonight, in an article for The Times (£), he announced that he had joined the Liberal Democrats.

However, we belittle the distinct political traditions of Liberal Democrats, social democrats and liberal Conservatives if we pretend that voices in the “centre” are all the same. The argument for realignment is different. Democratic politics requires its practitioners to build coalitions of people whose views are not identical, but who share political objectives and a commitment to see them translated into reality.

Brexit is the immediate illustration of the issue. Liberal Democrats, liberal Conservatives and social democrats share a strong belief that the UK’s interests are best served by remaining a member of the EU and building in Europe the world’s most effective champion of liberal values. These values, enshrined in the EU treaties, are not, as Vladimir Putin says, “obsolete”; they are the essential ingredients of the success of western civilisation, and liberals should organise to defend them wherever and whenever they are threatened.

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Proof that not *all* Tories are bonkers on Europe (and nor was Mrs Thatcher)

margaret thatcher europeAmidst all the Tory Euro-hysteria (‘Eurotic’, I’ve heard it described as: and I seriously hope I didn’t mis-hear) it’s easy to forget there are a few Tories, a diminishing if stoic band, who have kept tight hold of their senses.

And though it was David Cameron’s desperate last-ditch pitch for the job of Tory leader — his 2005 promise to his party’s Europhobes to withdraw the Tories from the mainstream centre-right EPP alliance, a policy even David Davis wouldn’t touch — which has, slowly but inevitably, dragged the party ever more fringewards, a few of his backbenchers remain hopeful they can persuade him, even now, to do the sensible thing.

Here’s some of what they’ve written to him:

We acknowledge the EU’s shortcomings and understand the desire and, under the Lisbon Treaty the possibility, to repatriate powers. However, we do our nation, as well as Europe, a disservice by not confidently exerting the same level of engagement and leadership as we demonstrate in organisations such as NATO, the G8, the UN Security Council or the Commonwealth.

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Police investigate Tory councillor after comments broadcast on YouTube

The Leicester Mercury reports:

Police are investigating remarks made by a councillor at a meeting to discuss plans for a travellers’ site.

Robert Fraser, county councillor for Groby and Ratby, said Romanians would “stick a knife in you as soon as look at you”, and that some Europeans “make the Irish look like complete amateurs”.

Travellers’ spokesman, Alfred Kefford, said he was outraged by the Conservative councillor’s “racist” comments.

He heard them after footage of the meeting was posted on video website YouTube. He complained to the police.

Today, Coun Fraser, a former county council member for equality, apologised and said he

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    Brexit could be given as an example of the need for compromise. The Brexiteers claim that the reason Brexit did not happen straight after the...
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  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 6th Jun - 5:45pm
    Johnmc is spot on. It does not help seeing these guys as funny on both sides of the Atlantic. That is the way Rees Mogg...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 6th Jun - 4:50pm
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  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 6th Jun - 4:39pm
    David Raw, John Marriott: i didn't say anything about whether Ed supported coalition at the time (obviously he did), or whether as leader he would...
  • User AvatarJohnmc 6th Jun - 4:31pm
    Please don’t call the ludicrous Rees Mogg by initials that suggest familiarity or fondness for him. ‘JRM’ is a willful anachronism and vicious reactionary. He...