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Federal Executive Committee told to “resolve” Rennard issue or “it will come back to haunt us”

May 18th, 2009 Posted in UK Politics by

Alix Mortimer, of LibDem Voice, has written to LibDem Federal Exec members, outlining LibDem activsits’ fury at the expenses outrage.

Referring to the Chris Rennard allegations in the News of the World, she says “This is not going to go away and if Chris [Rennard] doesn’t adequately explain this or say he will repay the money in the next few days, I will be coming up to stand outside Cowley Street with a placard.”

She finishes her letter saying:

“…it’s vital we address the News of the World’s allegations about Lord Rennard’s arrangements properly. It is simply not sufficient to say that his arrangements were “agreed by the Lords’ authorities” or similar – we could not sound more out of touch with the public mood if we tried. I cannot stress enough how no-one on the Clapham Omnibus is accepting the “it was within the rules” argument. I believe this case will come back to haunt us if we do not resolve it now. The full constitutional reform narrative being championed by the leader has the potential to be hugely exciting – it would be a great shame if it were undermined by further revelations. These could be largely prevented and/or defused by your firm actions this afternoon.”

This is a significant development, as Alix is a co-editor of the Cowley Street-backed LibDem Voice, this is a bit like a Sun leader writer calling for action to be taken about Rupert Murdoch. (This presumably explains why the letter hasn’t been published on LibDem Voice)

The Federal Exec has to resolve this matter tonight. Its meeting starts at 5.30pm.

UPDATE: Alix has asked me to clarify that the  first quote – relating to the placard – was included in her letter, but was actually quoting another LibDem activist. Alix has also posted her concerns on her own blog.  But the letter hasn’t been published anywhere yet, from what I can gather.

14 Responses to “Federal Executive Committee told to “resolve” Rennard issue or “it will come back to haunt us””

  1. +++ Source : LibDems “Uneasy” Over Rennard Expenses +++ - Guy Fawkes' blog Says:

    […] : Liberal Vision’s Mark Littlewood is reporting that LibDem Voice’s Alix Mortimer has written to members of the Fed Exec calling for a […]

  2. crewegwyn Says:

    Spot on Alix.

    Perhaps appointing an employee to the Lords is not a good idea ……………..

  3. Alix Says:

    Erm, nearly.

    The quote you attribute to me re: the placard-waving was actually pulled out of one of comment threads I submitted, and there is a link to the relevant thread right above the quote.

    (Incidentally, have a look at my post “We must publish our expenses” on 15th May – this was where I said I’d be submitting the comment thread to the FE. Did you not spot this Sun leader-like move at the time, then? 😉 )

  4. Paul Walter Says:

    I was that placard-wave threatener.

  5. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Alix, Having looked at your letter myself now, as it stands, it certainly reads as though the final two paragraphs are from you rather than part of the previous comment. But I can easily see how they may be part of the previous comment. That may just be a formatting issue.

    That aside. I trust that the FE get the mood of the Party on this issue.

  6. Charlotte Gore Says:

    It’ll be very annoying if this, in fact, an open letter but it *looks* like a secret, private letter. Worst of both possible worlds.

  7. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Paul – if we did not attribute the placard waving comment to you correctly – then accept my apologies (I wont stand down nor will i allow a vote amongst my peers on the issue at this time (something to do with not being substantive !!..).

  8. Angela Harbutt Says:

    It appears to be a letter to the members of the Federal Exectuive only. I have not seen it published anywhere and cant find it on Lib Dem Voice though i might be looking in the wrong place ?…

  9. Alix Says:

    Angela – no, sorry, what I meant was that the placard-waving bit wasn’t me. It was (as he says) Paul, and I was quoting it (among others) as an example of grass roots feedback.

    Would be great if you could amend this in interests of strict accuracy. Ta.

  10. Alix Says:

    I should also add that the email says what I said on my blog yesterday? Guido didn’t originally put the two together either, but now has (and I get a Guido link! hooray!)

  11. Rob Fenwick Says:

    Hardly something to be proud of, Alix.

    Incidentally, I just spent a coupe of days in the company of a bunch of Lib Dem activists – this issue didn’t come up at all.

  12. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Alix on the case re:changing the post.

    By the way, any reason you didnt put up the post ( Lib Dem Voice and chose instead to put it on your blog?
    Its your best and most forthright blog on the expenses issue in my opinion.

  13. Matt Wardman Says:

    >By the way, any reason you didnt put up the post ( Lib Dem Voice and chose instead to put it on your blog?

    I’d assume that it is a personal communication and to avoid any confusion with the “semi-official” and group status of LDV.

    And a post about Alix took Guido’s site down … wow :-)

  14. Alix Says:

    You’d assume right, Mr W. It’s obviously not so hard to grasp after all. I passed on some grassroots links and quotes from LDV – and then I said my own piece. The section in which I reflect on the need for the immediate publication of MPs expenses and a solution to the Rennard problem begins with the word “Personally”. The long paragraph Mark has excerpted above began with the words “I also think”. The email was sent from my personal email address, and not from my Voice address. I’m not even sure any of the rest of the LDV team know I sent it, unless they’ve seen this post.

    I could, of course, have confirmed all this if anyone had gotten around to asking my permission before they published my email – and I could have pointed out my post of the previous day too, on my own blog. But hey, far more exciting for it to be a “secret” letter and a “significant development at Cowley Street-backed Lib Dem Voice” I guess 😉