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David Laws says what we’ve all been thinking..

By Editor
June 24th, 2012 at 11:53 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats

HT: This week the respected Institute of Economic Affairs will publish an article by David Laws  MP calling for deeper cuts to public spending and tax.

In his paper, David  argues that the great names of Liberalism – William Gladstone, David Lloyd-George, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes – would be “shocked” that more than 40% of the economy is now accounted for by the public sector.  Yes indeed.

The Sunday Telegraph have given it front page status today and has an illuminating interview with him inside. Go get your copy or check it out on line.


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What do we want “LAWS”.. When do we want him “NOW”

By Angela Harbutt
February 4th, 2012 at 9:52 pm | 11 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats

Lib Dems overwhelming want David Laws back in the mix – big time. A Lib Dem Voice survey of members , released today, suggests that an overwhelming  72% of Lib Dem members in the LDV sample want to see David Laws return to a ministerial post in the Coalition government, with most wanting to see him return to the cabinet.

There are some Lib Dems who think that he is better placed to stay behind the scenes and mastermind the next election strategy. I have some sympathy with that. We do need someone who knows what they are doing, this time around, running that. But what we need, just  as importantly right now, is to be able to show we are competent in government.With ideas that work and a positive message for what we can achieve rather than prevent. Getting Ed Davey (who has been phenomenal in  Business)  into the Climate job and  Norman Lamb (who has spent too much time behind the scenes) to take up Ed’s post are both excellent moves. But if there was the chance of adding David Laws to the line up who wouldn’t think that was a pretty impressive team to field in the all-important run up to the next general election.

If David Cameron is serious about this partnership – and if Nick Clegg really does have the balls to do what’s necessary – then it surely can’t be long before David Laws is off the subs bench and back in the game?

UPDATE – Sunday Telegraph reporting that Laws may be in for a big job… GET IN.

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Chris Huhne goes, but is this the Rule of Law(s)?

By Tom Papworth
February 3rd, 2012 at 11:34 am | 3 Comments | Posted in coalition, Government, Liberal Democrats

So Chris Huhne (and ex-wife Vicky Pryce)  is to be charged with perverting the course of justice as a result of allegations that the former Environment Secretary Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change allowed or persuaded his wife to accept speeding penalty points on his behalf in 2003.

Mr Huhne strenuously denies the charges (and one can’t help but wonder whether Ms. Pryce will be less keen to repeat her allegations now that she is being charged as well) but it has not saved him. He has been forced to resign from the Cabinet.

It’s an odd business, to say the least. Not the charges themselves – this matter needs to be investigated and, if there is a prima facie case, charges should be filed. What is odd is the fact that he has to resign now.

It is a fundamental principle of the rule of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In most walks of life, that would extend to whether one has to resign from one’s job as well. If one is accused of a crime, an employer might suspend a member of staff, to distance itself from the issue, but to sack a person (or expect them to resign) while they try to clear their name is usually considered to be unfair.

What is interesting is that different rules appear to apply to politicians – and to other public figures. On the one hand, there is no process for suspending a minister, or allowing them to step aside temporarily, while the matter is investigated. The minister must quit – end of. I suspect that this is a hangover from the origins of ministerial office, with the minister acknowledging their duty to protect the sovereign from embarrassment. It seems to be a bit harsh in the modern world. Chris Huhne, like anybody else, should have the opportunity to prove their innocence without penalty.

And if he’s guilty, he should be sacked, rather than being allowed to resign.

That being said, it has happened, and there is feverish speculation about who will replace him. Will Ed Davey come into the Cabinet? Will Norman Lamb replace Ed Davey as Employment Minister?

Both would be welcome moves, but people seem to be forgetting one obvious potential promotion. It is widely recognised that David Laws is ripe for a return to the front benches. Is this unfortunate event an opportunity to bring about the return of Laws?

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Are the Lib Dems the “most interesting party” in British politics?

By Angela Harbutt
September 26th, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Comments Off on Are the Lib Dems the “most interesting party” in British politics? | Posted in Liberal Democrats

According to James Forsyth….

“The Liberal Democrats are now the most interesting party in British politics…We are seeing the most radical attempt to reform what a party stands for in British Politics we’ve seen for a long time”

Is he right? Well he said it a fringe event ” Coalition and the changing Liberal Democrats”. at Lib Dem conference last week. To allow you to judge for yourself, here is the full video of the whole discussion. Some very interesting, sometimes radical thoughts and ideas were offered at this session – not just by James..

watch it here


To help steer your way around the (rather long) video – here is a guide to what you will find where on the video…

David Laws speech : 00.02.44

Jeremy Browne speech : 00.10.21

Q&A with David Laws and Jeremy Browne: 00.21.00

Simon Goldie (LV):  00.39.20

James Forsyth (Spectator): 00.43.30

Mark Littlewood (IEA): 00.51.50

Q&A with Simon, James and Mark: 01.02.10

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What David Laws and Jeremy Browne said at conference..

By Angela Harbutt
September 23rd, 2011 at 1:04 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Liberal Democrats

On Monday evening Liberal vision and the Institute of Economic Affairs co-hosted a fabulous fringe event  in Birmingham. Our distinguished panel considered how entering government has changed the Liberal Democrats. Whether deficit reduction meant the party has embraced a new economic direction? Whether the days of the Lib Dems making high public spending pledges were over? And to what extent the LibDem leadership is now decisively “free market liberal”?

Our thanks to the wonderful Michael Crick for being such an organised, as well as thoroughly entertaining, chairman and to our speakers Jeremy Browne MP, David Laws MP, Mark Littlewood (IEA), Simon Goldie (LV) and especially to James Forsyth (Spectator) who was drafted in with less than 12 hours to go when Peter Oborne was unavoidably detained elsewhere.

Despite the huge numbers attending the event (standing room only) there are still a loads of you out there who could not make the event and have been begging ( yes begging!) to be told what was said.  We will try to get a more professional video up for you in the next day or two covering comments from all the speakers…. But for those who cant wait – here are the speeches from David Laws and Jeremy Browne (and err… apologies for “shakeycam” – these clips have been grabbed off the back up camera)…..

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