New Liberal Democrat House of Lords team announced

by Stephen Tall on July 20, 2007

Lord Tom McNally, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, has unveiled his new frontbench team.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SPOKESPEOPLE AND OFFICE HOLDERS IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS

LEADER
Rt Hon Lord McNally

DEPUTY LEADERS
Lord Dholakia OBE DL
Lord Wallace of Saltaire

LORDS SPOKESPEOPLE

HOME OFFICE
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
Lord Avebury (Civil liberties)
Baroness Harris of Richmond DL (Police)

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE QC
Baroness Linklater of Butterstone (Penal Reform)
Lord Wallace of Saltaire

CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
Rt. Hon Lord McNally
Lord Tyler
Rt Hon Lord Maclennan of Rogart
Lord Smith of Clifton

CABINET OFFICE
Rt Hon Lord Maclennan of Rogart

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS
Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Lord Avebury (Africa)
Lord Dykes (Europe)

DEFENCE
Lord Garden KCB
Lord Lee of Trafford
Lord Addington

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Baroness Northover
Lord Roberts of Llandudno

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT
Lord Clement-Jones CBE
Baroness Bonham-Carter
Lord Addington (Sport)
Lord Lee of Trafford (Tourism)

CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES
Baroness Walmsley
Baroness Falkner of Margravine

INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES AND SKILLS
Baroness Sharp of Guildford
Lord Watson of Richmond (Universities)
Lord Cotter (Skills)

HEALTH
Baroness Barker
Baroness Tonge
Lord Carlile of Berriew – mental health and disability

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS
Lord Teverson
Lord Redesdale (Agriculture)
Lord Dykes (CAP reform)
Lord Greaves

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Baroness Scott of Needham Market
Baroness Hamwee (Regional and Local Government)
Lord Dholakia OBE DL – Communities
Lord Greaves
Lord Burnett (planning)

NORTHERN IRELAND
Lord Smith of Clifton
Baroness Harris of Richmond DL

SCOTLAND
Rt Hon Lord Maclennan of Rogart

BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM
Lord Razzall CBE
Lord Sharman OBE
Lord Vallance of Tummel
Lord Cotter (small businesses)
Lord Redesdale (Energy)

TRANSPORT
Lord Bradshaw
Earl of Mar and Kellie DL

TREASURY
Lord Newby OBE
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

WALES
Lord Livsey of Talgarth CBE
Lord Roberts of Llandudno

WOMEN AND EQUALITY
Baroness Thomas of Walliswood

WORK AND PENSIONS
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay
Lord Addington (Disability)
Baroness Thomas of Winchester
Lord Kirkwood

LIB DEM LORDS WHIPS

CHIEF WHIP
Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE
DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP
Lord Addington
WHIPS
Baroness Harris of Richmond DL
Lord Roberts of Llandudno
Lord Teverson
Lord Lee of Trafford

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6 comments

A question. Is Jenny Tonge a new appointment to the front bench or was she already there?

by liberalone on July 22, 2007 at 9:26 pm. Reply #

The reappointment of Jenny Tonge as Junior Health Minister to the Liberal Democrat benches in the House of Lords is an utter and complete disgrace for which there is absolutely no excuse.

Her pro-terrorist outbursts, her continual anti-Israel stance, her calumnies and insults and her recent holding of all British Jews responsible for the actions of the Israeli government – a sovereign and independent power – do not merely have “clear anti-Semitic connotations” (to quote Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat Leader) but are in the mind of most right-thinking British Jews outright and downright anti-Semitic in their content and implication.

Tom McNally’s reappointment of Tonge to front bench politics after two official reprimands and her past dismissal from Liberal Democrat shadow office flies in the face of Sir Menzies Campbell’s official distancing of himself from her remarks – but he continues to hide behind the oh-so-democratic constitution of his party to allow such outrages to continue, claiming that he cannot remove the whip from her in the Lords. If he cannot achieve that, what will he not achieve should ever he gain national office?

The Hammersmith and Fulham constituency party, I am told by one of its members, has seen heated arguments between those members who seek to defend Tonge’s regular and insistent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel stance and those who retain a modicum of sanity and objectivity in the face of her vitriolic and vituperative slurs, lies and half-truths. It is clear from this that the assurances we have been given that the Liberal Democrats do not intrinsically, willfully and purposefully harbour anti-Semites in their midst falls short of reality.

On top of this – if this were not in itself enough – Rabbi Baroness Neuberger, no less than President of Liberal Judaism, has never, ever once condemned or repudiated Tonge’s insidious and pernicious, disgusting, wayward and unwarranted remarks. Not once. I call on her now unequivocally and absolutely to distance herself and Liberal Judaism from Tonge’s indefensible position and categorically to censure Tonge lest she and Liberal Judaism be seen as aiding and abetting such anti-Semitism. At present, her silence is deafening. Qui tacet consentire videtur.

Sir Menzies Campbell must find a way to remove the Liberal Democrat whip from Tonge in the House of Lords, and boot her unceremoniously out of the party. Nothing less is acceptable. Actions speak louder than words – and far, far louder than Campbell’s heretofore half-hearted ineptitude and Neuberger’s interminable and lamentable silence.

A party that seeks the highest office in the land can no longer afford the self-appointed luxury of behaving as if what it says is the truth merely because it says it. The Liberal Democrats tell us that they are not willfull anti-Semites. They must demonstrate that they are not. To demonstrate that they are not, they must condemn Tonge forthwith and tear up her party membership card.

The putrid stench of anti-Semitism hangs over you. Shame on you. Utter and complete shame on you.

by Julian Cox on July 29, 2007 at 2:33 pm. Reply #

I don’t agree with the illiberal tone, let alone most of the content of the previous comment.

People who want to make such comments should consider the effect they have on the reader, justify their remarks accordingly and if they have a valid point not undermine it with vitriol and insult.

by Paul L on July 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm. Reply #

Julian Cox:

I think you should take a leaf out of Baroness Julia Neuberger’s book. Jenny Tongue has sought to campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people, which does not make her anti-Semitic. Many people are fed up with these wild assertions, and you would do well to reflect on your ill judged remarks.

by Meral Ece on July 29, 2007 at 7:40 pm. Reply #

You don’t, Paul L, agree with the “illiberal tone”… Well, I’m not a Liberal Democrat – why should I sound ‘liberal’? Be that as it may and with every assurance that it will, isn’t it so very interesting that Jenny Tonge can seem to come out with exactly as she pleases and not one of you raises an objection – except for the Chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, who tells me that they even cosidered legal action against her on the grounds of incitement to racial hatred – but I express FACTUALLY based criticism and I am told that I am being illiberal and exhorted to consider the effect my words have on the reader. What, not robust enough to take it all on the chin? Can’t take the rough and tumble of political life? Or are you so precious that we all have to curtsey and speak in hushed tones in the royal presence? Stop being so prissy, you laughable little prig.

You seem unable to accept the fact that the Jews of Britain have been grievously insulted. What about the effects of Jenny Tonge’s words upon us? Because her words are not just insult, they are resulting in injury as anti-Israel sentiment spills over into good old fashioned anti-Semitism. It’s always interesting to see what eventually comes out of the closet. And in this instance, it ain’t Mark Oaten. The logical answer to that question is irrefutably that there seems to be one rule for you and Jenny Tonge and another for the Jews. Same old story. And proof positive, if any were needed, that there’s nothing so illiberal as a Liberal Democrat whose modus operandi is hypocrisy and the disgrace of the double standard.

Well, vitriol and insult apart, like Lenny Bruce (or was it Jeremy Thorpe?) once said: “I know when I’m looking at a room full of faggots” I know when I am looking at a room full of snivelling anti-Semites… it’s at the Liberal Democrat annual conference. I suggest, Paul, (no wonder you won’t give your full name) that you attend this year. You’ll be in good and like-minded company.

Now, Meral Ece, who does at least have the degency to give her full name but could, of course, have called me Mr. Cox. You see, Jenny Tonge might be a hatchet faced, anti-Semitic, foul-mouthed peddler of half-truths and lies, but there is no reason for you not to be perfectly polite.

So I must take a leaf out of Baroness Neuberger’s book and keep my mouth shut? Is the only good Jew a silent Jew in the face of injustice? Hmmmmm, very democratic of you, Meral. Go tell that to Kemel Ataturk – if you can catch him face up, because he is no doubt spinning in his grave if not inside his favourite catamite.

Now, Jenny Tonge has “sought to campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people” has she? She has certainly condoned terrorist atrocities. Is that the same thing? Is that supporting a liberal cause? Sounds rather nastily fascistic to me. But that’s just my opinion and you think I don’t, perhaps, ‘reflect’ enough before I write. And whilst we are on the subject of “Palestinians”, what exactly did the Turks do to them for the hundreds of years this province was under the heel of the Ottoman Caliphate? Oh, and lest you are unaware, the so-called “Palestinians” are Arabs. My Arab friends tell me that they had to make way on the pavement if a Turk walked by… In fact, of course, anyone born in “Palestine” was a “Palestinian” and there are a large number of Jews whose birth certificates are marked thus, because they were already living there when independence (under the auspices of the United Nations) was declared, reconstituting the Jewish national homeland which at no point in the intervening two millennia was ever without Jews living in it. Or didn’t you know that?

Now, you tell us that “many people are fed up with these wild assertions”. Whose? Mine or Tonge’s? If they are mine, they are neither wild nor assertions. They are factual comment on Tonge’s remarks which have been condemned even by Menzies Campbell – who is leader of the Liberal Democrats, if you hadn’t heard. Now, lest you don’t know what you are taking about, Tonge is the one who indulges in wild assertions: That the Western world and the Liberal Democrats are in the grip of the pro-Israeli financial lobby. That British Jews are responsible for the actions of the State of Israel – a foreign and sovereign power. And other such anti-Semitic obescenities. Perhaps you meant those… You didn’t? Oh, well, I suggest you go away and find out what Tonge has in fact really said and then comment in po-faced disapproval.

And for your homework this evening, perhaps you would do well to reflect on the ill-judged way the Turks treated the “Palestinians”. Maybe that will put an end to your smug superciliousness.

And if you are a British citizen and take umbrage at my references to the Ottoman Empire – now you know how most Jews in this country feel when listening to Tonge’s outbursts.

Or are there different rules for Jews?

by Julian Cox on July 30, 2007 at 6:35 pm. Reply #

“You seem unable to accept the fact that the Jews of Britain have been grievously insulted.”

“now you know how most Jews in this country feel when listening to Tonge’s outbursts”

Mr Cox, who has given you the right to speak for “the Jews of Britain”? What gives you the means to know how they feel?

Are British Jews a bunch of puppets who have to jump when you tell them?

And are you referring to the 238,000 who described themselves as “Jewish” in the 2001 Census only, or do you include the equal number with mixed heritage?

Your repetitive, OTT rhetoric has something of a hollow ring to it when you let slip your rabid racial hatred of Turks.

And what of your distaste for “Liberal Judaism”? And your misogynistic rejection of a woman as a rabbi?

And what do you say to the ultra-orthodox sects who refuse to recognise the State of Israel? You can hardly call them “self-hating”, now can you?

My ancestors come from South Westmorland, North Devon, Scotland and Northern Ireland. What does that make me in your eyes? More lowly than a Turk or an Arab? Or a mountain sheep-shagger?

We have to reject the dangerous and false conflation of “anti-Israel” and “anti-Semitic”, which you seek to force upon us.

“Anti-Israel” means anything from opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine to criticism of Israeli policy in the occupied territories (much of it emanating from Jews).

“Anti-Semitic” is anything from campaigns of genocide to Richard Nixon railling against “Kikes” and “Jew boys”.

Jenny Tonge comes somewhere within the first spectrum, nowhere near the second.

The United Kingdom in the last two centuries has had not a single pogrom and gave Jewish people full civil rights in the 1850s. Oh, and not a single Jew was handed over to the Gestapo by the Metropolitan Police.

In fact, we have had a Jewish Prime Minister and scores of Jewish cabinet ministers. And I doubt if British academic life would have maintained its vitality without the Jewish contribution.

All of which makes Mr Cox’s outburst sound like something out of the madhouse.

The way to prevent a recrudescence of anti-Semitism in the UK (which even Oswald Mosley failed to ignite in the first place) is for Jewish people to join with Gentiles to campaign for human rights and fight racism, not sectarian rants.

I guess there will be plenty of liberals, socialists and secularists in your own community, Mr Cox, who will be pointing out to you the dangerous error you are making.

by "Thomas Knill" on July 30, 2007 at 8:50 pm. Reply #

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