Tag Archives: stephen lloyd

The Stephen Lloyd case shows there is no room for nuance in politics

Politics ought to be synonymous with good governance, but it’s not. It’s a game you have to play to get into a position where you can practise good governance. Politics doesn’t seem to have any room for nuances or counterintuitive positions, as the case of the Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has shown.

Lloyd is a classic liberal hero. He can thank the NHS for the fact that he can hear anything – indeed that he’s alive – because it saved him when his hearing and his life were seriously threatened as a toddler. He therefore believes in public services through deep personal experience. He also mortgaged and remortgaged his house to allow him to fight the traditionally Conservative stronghold of Eastbourne. He failed to win the seat in 2005, won it in 2010, lost it in 2015, and won it back in 2017.

The way he won it back in 2017 has sown the seeds of his decision to resign the party whip. Bear with me on the detail, because this is very important.

At the start of the 2017 general election campaign, Lloyd worked out that the only way he was going to win Eastbourne was to accept that the Brexit issue was over, and that despite his own views – he was an enthusiastic campaigner for Remain in the 2016 referendum – he would respect the referendum result. He quotes voters who said to him ‘I’d happily have you as my MP but I voted Leave and if you’re our MP you’ll work to scupper Brexit in Parliament.’ He therefore made a pledge that if the government did a withdrawal deal, he would vote for it.

Viewed from today’s perspective, it might be considered rash, but the vantage point at the time was different. The prevailing narrative was that Theresa May had called the election because she knew she’d increase her majority, and the question was merely whether her post-election majority would be 30, 60 or even 100 seats. The idea that she might lose her majority seemed fanciful, and therefore Brexit seemed as good as done.

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Stephen Lloyd resigns Lib Dem whip over Brexit deal

According to BBC South East’s Helen Catt.

It’s because of what he called “irreconcilable differences” between what he sees as his obligations to his Eastbourne constituents and the party’s anti Brexit position.

Stephen promised his constituents, a majority of whom voted to leave that he wouldn’t block Brexit. Perhaps the party’s mistake was allowing him to stand on that basis in 2017.

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Vince: Brexit deal is a disaster for the British people

The Brexit Deal is a disaster and the people should be given the chance to vote on it says Vince Cable.

Speaking as EU leaders endorsed it, Vince said:

This is a sad day for everyone involved; the deal the EU have endorsed remains a disaster for the British people.

What has been agreed is vague at best and is essentially an agreement to have an agreement. There is still no majority in Parliament for it, and “No Brexit” remains the only real alternative.

Nobody voted to make themselves poorer and damage the UK’s standing in the world. It is time the Prime Minister granted a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

At the London Regional Conference yesterday, he said t was important to get “no deal” off the table as we campaign for “no Brexit.”

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An open letter to Stephen Lloyd MP

Dear Mr Lloyd

I, along with many other of your fellow Liberal Democrats, have noted with considerable alarm, your intention to vote with the government on the issue of Brexit. Not only is this totally at variance with the party and the manifesto on which you fought the last General Election, but it flies in the face of your duty as an MP to vote in the best interests of your constituency and the country.

It is worth remembering the letter written by Edmund Burke MP to his constituents in which he examines the whole question of what an MP’s duty to his constituents is. Whilst it is well worth reading the whole letter the most salient point is:-

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

(Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol, 3 Nov. 1774)

I well understand your belief that you ought to keep a pledge made in the heat of an election campaign. (Though perhaps the experience of a pledge that bedevilled the party in coalition should have given you pause before making it).  However, the Brexit with which you promised to keep faith no longer exists. Instead there is an exit agreement that keeps almost none of the promises made by Brexiteers and in fact breaks one of the key promises, namely to get away from regulation by the EU. The reality is that the agreement that Mrs May wishes you to support leaves the UK having to obey all the EU rules, but having no say in their creation.

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2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related…

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, Tom Brake MP said:

The cost of Brexit is continuing to spiral out of control. The Conservative Government’s plan to turn Kent into a car park, Operation Brock, is now costing the tax payer an additional ten million more than the figure they gave in the

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29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of

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16 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

Welcome to the second day of our week of publishing the Party’s press releases as we receive them. Do let us know in the comments if you find this valuable…

Government must improve care for those with eating disorders

Today Wera Hobhouse will lead a Westminster Hall debate on the role stigma plays in preventing people with eating disorders from accessing early treatment.

Eating disorders affect 1.25 million people in the UK and despite evidence showing early intervention is critical to a recovery, people wait three-and-a-half years, on average, between the onset of symptoms and starting treatment.

Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Wera …

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LibLink: Stephen Lloyd: Universal Credit was meant to make work pay – it’s causing nothing but grief, pain and anger

Our social security spokesperson Stephen Lloyd has been talking about how badly the Government has cocked up the implementation of Universal Credit for a while. We supported it in coalition but as soon as we were consigned to the back benches, depleted, the Tories ripped loads of money out of it.

He’s now written for the Huffington Post about what a nightmare this new system is.

And a crucial part of this incentive was the Work Allowance. This is the maximum amount a UC claimant can earn through employment, before their benefit payments are reduced. However in the Summer 2015 budget, with the

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Gosport findings ‘shocking and devastating’

We have all be shocked by the revelations about the inappropriate treatment of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Here is Norman Lamb talking about the way the NHS closed ranks when he was Health Minister, and how he called for the enquiry that has just been completed.

We also have some quotes from him:

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And Music Services continue to be cut…

Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd is supporting a campaign to save the East Sussex Music Service. He wrote in his newsletter:

Sadly the budget cuts just keep rolling in from East Sussex County Council, and they’re now planning severe reductions to our music services.

The absolutely brilliant East Sussex Music Service (ESMS) are celebrating their 84th year; they deliver music lessons to around 7000 children in schools across the county per annum and 1000 children, aged between 4 and 18, attend area music centres each week. Despite this success, the county council have announced plans are being made to close the music instrumental service by 2019. This will result in the loss of valued music provision for many and destroy a service which has introduced thousands of Eastbourne children to music over the decades.

I believe such proposals are unnecessary, wrong and shortsighted. I’ve also been told that staff believe savings can be made without slashing such a much loved music service. We need County Hall to pause, listen to the people they serve and go back to the music staff to ask them how the funding circle can be squared, rather than just propose a decimation of the entire instrument teaching provision. A decision which if it goes through, will be horrendously difficult to reverse. Please join me in opposing this cut by signing the online petition here.

I remember being amazed when studying the music systems of Albania under Enver Hoxha’s regime, that every child, from nursery onwards, was taught music. By the age of four, those showing talent were given individual lessons. By the age of six, some children were learning two instruments. Music was a celebrated part of culture, not a sideline. I wondered why we didn’t do the same.

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Lloyd: Government must delay “horror” changes to mortgage support

Support for Mortgage Interest is a benefit given to people claiming Universal Credit or certain other income-related benefits who have a mortgage or who have taken out loans to make repairs to their home. It pays for the cost of interest on up to £200,000 of a person’s mortgage in order to prevent claimants from defaulting on their mortgage.

From next month, SMI will be replaced by a loan of the same value, which is repaid (with interest) when the property is sold.

It’s pretty cheap, as benefits go, costing the Government around £300 million a year. It is certainly about 3.5 times cheaper than letting someone’s home be repossessed and then having to pay housing benefit to put that household in the rented sector.

Apart from the whole principle being flawed, the implementation seems to have been botched as only around 10,000 of the eligible families have taken up the loan. Some people haven’t even been sent the information about it so that they can make an informed choice about whether to take the loan.

Our Work and Pensions spokesperson Stephen Lloyd said the whole thing was a horror and called for implementation to be delayed.

Every month we seem to be hearing yet more examples of this Conservative government being both mean-spirited and unintelligent; this mortgage interest benefit change is a classic example. It will force some homeowners into even more debt, and will force others to sell their homes putting themselves at the mercy (and cost) of their local council’s housing department. Which, naturally, will cost the taxpayer more in housing benefit than keeping them in their own house by paying mortgage interest payments. An absolutely ridiculous decision.

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Lib Dems secure major victory to limit cold calling

Those amazing  Lib Dem peers have been at it again – winning crucial changes to legislation.

As the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill completes its stages in the Upper House, the Liberal Democrats have secured a significant victory following the government’s acceptance of crucial Liberal Democrats amendments.

Led by John Sharkey, we campaigned in the House of Lords to end  cold-calling in relation to pensions, claims management and other financial services.

The Government have now committed to a total ban on pensions cold-calling, as well as prohibitions on other forms of cold-calling if these are shown to be detrimental.

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Work and Pensions Secretary agrees with Lib Dem pension proposal

This week, the government agreed to bring forward plans to review the current rules concerning the priority of pensioners when a company fails following pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

Responding to calls from Stephen Lloyd, our Spokesperson for the Department for Work & Pensions,  new DWP Secretary of State Esther McVey agreed that a review into the current rules – past and current – after companies go bust is “something that needs to be brought forward”.

Stephen said:

Under current rules, pension obligations are unsecured – meaning that insolvent companies only fund their pension schemes once they have compensated their other supposedly more ‘important’ secured creditors.

Today I urged the new Secretary of State to review the rules and provide further protection for employees with private pensions by giving them greater priority when companies fail. I was delighted to hear the Minister agree that this is something ‘which needs to be brought forward’.

Then and only then will employees with private pensions be wholly protected when large companies collapse. I will be making sure that the Minister sticks to her word on this.

You can watch Stephen’s question here.

Now, warm words in the Commons Chamber doesn’t necessarily translate into action from the Government, but you can bet your life that Stephen will be pursuing this. 

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Stephen Lloyd on why Holocaust Memorial Day is so important

It’s not Holocaust Memorial Day until next week, but yesterday there was a debate in the Commons to mark the occasion. Here’s Stephen Lloyd’s contribution:

 

I thank the hon. Member for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) for sponsoring the debate. It is a pleasure for me to co-sponsor it. This is the fifth or sixth time I have co-sponsored a debate on this important day. When I was first a Member of Parliament I was proud to do so, and now that I am back in the House, I am even more delighted.

Let me also congratulate the indomitable Karen Pollock, who is in the public Gallery and whom I have known for many years. Without her, I do not believe that this day, and the impact and reach that it has across the country, would be as strong. She really does deserve an enormous amount of credit.

The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day this year is the power of words. I was reminded of that when I read some words only earlier this morning from Anne Frank, that remarkable young girl who wrote so beautifully in Amsterdam all those years ago. She wrote:

“When I write I can shake off all my cares; my sorrow disappears; my spirits are revived.”

That is such a powerful set of words for such a dreadful time by a remarkable young woman.

That comment and the power of words brings me to my own constituent. Eastbourne does not have a large Jewish community; in fact, it is fairly minuscule—probably only 40 or 50. Like everyone else in the Chamber and many across the country, however, I am here because we know that what happened was so wicked—as was what has happened so many times since in the different genocides from Rwanda to Cambodia and the rest—that if we do not emphasise and talk about this day, there is the constant danger that it will happen again. Indeed, it is depressing that when I last spoke on this day in the House the Yazidis were perfectly safe in Iraq and Syria. Two years later they have almost been destroyed as a people. I therefore profoundly believe that the commemoration and remembrance on this day must never stop.

I have an extraordinary constituent in the small Jewish community in Eastbourne called Dorit Oliver-Wolff. She is a survivor, and she recently wrote an autobiography called “From Yellow Star to Pop Star.” She was born in Yugoslavia. When the Nazis invaded, she and her mother moved to Budapest when she was only five or six years old, and they somehow survived through the four or five years of the war from hand to mouth, travelling from place to place, creating new identities. It was when she was in Budapest that she first realised she was Jewish: she was only five years old and a woman spat at her in the street and called her “A stinking Jew”. Can anyone imagine anything more utterly incomprehensible than that to a five-year-old?

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Lib Dems step up attack on Universal Credit

Liberal Democrats have played their part in making sure that the inadequacies of Universal Credit have been highlighted. In the debate on Wednesday,  Christine Jardine said:

We hear that, instead of it helping, as many as 1 million children could be pushed into poverty by 2020. That surely cannot be the legacy that my Conservative colleagues would want to leave for future generations. They surely cannot be content with what they are hearing in this Chamber from constituents and even their own Back Benchers: that families are facing rent arrears and the threat of losing their homes; that there is anxiety about missed payments; and that people are choosing between making those payments or feeding their families.

Citizens Advice Scotland has already seen more than 100,000 people, one in five of whom have waited more than six weeks for payments—and only 14 areas in Scotland have UC. We stand at an important crossroads: the Government have the opportunity to pause UC, address its many flaws and say to those coping with the cruel reality of this botched benefit reform, “We hear you. We recognise the problem and we will fix it.”

Stephen Lloyd caught Iain Duncan Smith out one of those economic with the truth moments:

Secondly, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), a former Secretary of State, said that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has supported universal credit. I was a bit surprised by that, so I did a quick check. The JRF actually said that it would support universal credit if it was properly funded—I just mentioned the £3 billion—and if payment and waiting times were reduced, which is exactly what many people have been saying today.

The media reports yesterday that the Government is ready to make changes on the amount of time people are waiting for money, but that isn’t the only problem with Universal Credit. It’s interesting that Labour now accepts the principles behind Universal Credit – that it should end the poverty trap. Until the Tories got a majority, that’s exactly what it would have done. There was enough money in there to ensure that people could move into work and not lose their benefits. Then May 2015 happened and George Osborne took billions out of the system.

So, our Work and Pensions Spokesperson Stephen Lloyd and Leader Vince Cable have written to the the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask him to sort this out in the budget. They said:

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Stephen Lloyd’s hilarious Christmas card

Former Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne Stephen Lloyd has one of the funniest Christmas cards this year.

Stephen Lloyd Alpaca

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Inside a Liberal Democrat Action day – with Stephen Lloyd and the Eastbourne team

Ever wondered what happens on a Lib Dem action day? Lots of phoning voters, leafletting, delivering and stuffing envelopes. Eastbourne Liberal Demcorat candidate and MP till Parliament was dissolved Stephen Lloyd produced this video of an action day last month. It’s full of people who talk about why they have come along to help.

He’s holding more tomorrow and Sunday. If you are near Eastbourne and can make it, please sign up here or go along at 10 am.

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Stephen Lloyd resigns as PPS over underinvestment in A27

The Eastbourne Herald is reporting that Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has resigned as PPS to Ed Davey over the £75m proposed for investment in the A27 in the Autumn statement.

Stephen is quoted

After all the work and cross-community effort by so many local residents and businesses in Eastbourne and Willingdon, I am profoundly disappointed by the proposal put forward by the Department of Transport. Instead, there is a vague promise for some time in the future. This isn’t jam tomorrow, but more like the possibility of jam sometime, if we’re lucky, in a few years.

He said, “Ever since I

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Stephen Lloyd MP writes… A better future for our coastal communities and inshore waters

imageFor the past few years in my role as MP for Eastbourne, I have been working with residents and councillors from across the political spectrum on an outstanding, £80million redevelopment plan for Eastbourne’s harbour. Together we have drawn up plans which aim to bring 1,500 jobs, new and affordable housing, as well as leisure activities to the community.

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Ashcroft’s poll of Lib Dem battleground seats: incumbency is alive and well but 2015 will be a survival election for the party

Tory peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has published his latest set of constituency findings. He polled some of the key Lib Dem / Tory and Lib Dem / Labour battlegrounds in the summer – he’s now followed that up by looking at a further 22 seats. Of these, 2 are Lib Dem targets, 15 the party is defending against the Tories, and 5 against Labour. You can see the full results here .

Here are the headline findings:

  • Of the 20 Lib Dem-held seats polled, the Lib Dems would retain just 6.
  • The Tories would gain 7 and Labour would gain 4. The other 2 would be a tie (though actually a further 5 are statistical ties within the margin of error).
  • The Lib Dems would win neither of their two targets.
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    Stephen Lloyd on the Eastbourne pier fire: “I am as shocked and heartbroken as everyone”

    Eastbourne pier on fireStephen Lloyd, Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne, has posted the following message on his Facebook page to update people on what action is being after the fire which ravaged the town’s pier:

    Dear all,

    Thanks for the support posted here after the tragic fire at the pier yesterday. I am as shocked and heartbroken as everyone. The important thing now is to get this fixed; keep pushing out that Eastbourne is well and truly open for business and to do what we can to help the Pier owners and the folk who had concessions on the Pier. Some of the kiosk owners have lost their livelihood and it’s important we rally around.

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    The Lib Dem retreat to seat-by-seat campaigns. The right tactic, but not a long-term strategy

    Stephen LloydThe Guardian’s Rafael Behr has written of his experiences in Eastbourne, a seat won from the Tories by the Lib Dems’ Stephen Lloyd in 2010. His majority, 3,435, would need a swing of just 3.9% to be wiped out. The recent Lord Ashcroft poll of Tory / Lib Dem marginals indicated an average swing away from the Lib Dems to the Tories of 3.5%. This, then, is the kind of seat within the Tories’ reach and which they need to win if they are to gain an overall majority. …

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    Stephen Lloyd MP writes… The jobs agenda – a lot done, more still to do for single parents

    Budding Artists Create Holiday MasterpiecesIn my constituency of Eastbourne, one in four households with children is headed by a single parent. This mirrors the diversity of modern families across Britain, where families come in all shapes and sizes, and reinforces my commitment to support and promote policies which enable each and every one of these families to balance work with bringing up their kids.

    I am proud of the coalition government’s record on job creation and bringing down unemployment – reflected in the latest statistics out last week which showed that unemployment had fallen to its lowest level in nearly six years – but recognise that there is still more for us to do to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from the economic upturn.

    This week, single parent charity Gingerbread has published a new report, Paying the Price: The long road to recovery, which highlights single parents’ experiences in work and of finding work. In reading the report, I was struck by how motivated single parents are to work and support their families – indeed 60% of single parents are already in work – a fact which is reinforced by the stories I hear from the single parents I meet at my constituency surgeries.

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    Mike Thornton MP takes his seat in the Commons

    By-election winning Lib Dems Alan Beith, Simon Hughes, Mike Thornton, Sarah Teather, Mark Hunter and David Chidgey
    By-election winning Lib Dems. Photo by Helen Duffett, on Flickr.

    From the BBC:

    The newly elected Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton has taken his seat in the House of Commons after winning the Eastleigh by-election.

    He took his oath of allegiance to the Crown earlier.

    New MPs are not allowed to speak in debates, vote, or get paid,

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    Baroness Thomas writes… Getting Personal Independence Payments right

    This afternoon the Department of Work and Pensions announces a significant change on the new Personal Independent Payments following significant Lib Dem pressure. Celia Thomas, the Lib Dem peer who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, explains why it’s a major win.

    Getting the rules governing Personal Independence Payments right is vital. The new benefit, which will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance later this year, will have a huge effect on disabled people up and down the country.

    I’m broadly in favour of the change to PIP, which seeks to clarify the eligibility of disabled people to this benefit, the purpose …

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    PMQs: My honourable friend makes an important point

    I think David Cameron broke his own record this week:

    (To Nicolas Soames) My right honourable Friend makes an important point.

    (To Julian Brazier) My honourable Friend makes two very important points.

    (To Duncan Hames) My honourable Friend raises an important point.

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    PMQs: Miliband hits barn door – twice

    Britain back in recession, embarrassing emails about government links to Murdoch. These are gifts to the opposition. The most open of open goals at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

    I liked Miliband’s opening question:

    Today we had the catastrophic news that Britain is back in recession. I am sure that the Prime Minister has spent the past 24 hours thinking of an excuse as to why it is nothing to do with him, so what is his excuse

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    Opinion: Nick Clegg’s sixth language is Tory

    It’s important to find things to be cheerful about in these serious days. So I was pleased, last weekend, to be recognised publicly as an errant lefty by my good friend Stephen Lloyd, the MP for Eastbourne, in his speech to the South East Regional Conference in Whitstable.

    It’s been a difficult Coalition so far for many of us, particularly the social liberals (or left-leaning liberals as I am very happy to be known).

    At the time of the tuition fees debacle, a group of 104 of our 2010 general election slate got our 15 seconds of ‘media’ as we called for

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    PMQs: Nadine Dorries asks question. No-one dies.

    Today was the fiftieth anniversary of Prime Minister’s Questions. And it was a fairly typical session. As always, it was in two parts.

    Part one: Lots of jeering, cheering, knockabout, winding-up and prepared lines exchanged between the PM and opposition leader.

    Part Two: Generally hum-drum but important questions from various back-benchers, largely heard in earnest silence.

    The bit that most people will see will be the short bit on the telly, which will be a few seconds of ya-boo politics. In itself, that is a good piece of democracy in that it highlights the weaknesses of the government and the opposition. The longer …

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    The 7 Lib Dem MPs unaffected by the Boundary Commission proposals

    The last 24 hours’ political news has been dominated by the Boundary Commission for England’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies — and in particular the reduction from 533 to 502 in accordance with the Coalition Agreement to reduce the size of the House of Commons.

    I’m a self-confessed politics geek, so I find this stuff interesting. But I was surprised that it should be the lead news item on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning — does the public care as much as us anoraks? I doubt it.

    True, some members of the public will have particular concerns about …

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