by Stephen Tall on March 11, 2012
Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…
“We’re no longer arguing about fiscal policy – monetary policy’s now taking on most of the heavy lifting anyway,” he says as he notes that Labour has now accepted the need for fiscal discipline. “So the argument has shifted into a debate around how active government should be in promoting the recovery. Is it getting out of the way or is government being proactive and positive? That was the purpose of that letter to the prime minister which set out the case.”
A Lib Dem councillor has written to the Press Complaints Commission over news reports [in the Telegraph] that he’d suggested students should pay council tax. … A spokesman for Lib Dems among the Local Government Association gave this statement to HuffPost UK: “This was an inaccurate record taken from a minute of a meeting last year where Sir Merrick Cockell (Conservative Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council) and Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem Leader of Portsmouth Council) met the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. The story in the Telegraph is incorrect, but they did not bother to contact Gerald Vernon-Jackson to check their facts. Gerald Vernon-Jackson did not at that meeting support the removal of student discounts, nor has ever done so.”
Former MP Lembit Opik has said Nick Clegg should stay on as deputy prime minister, but stand aside as Liberal Democrat leader so someone else could rebuild the party’s electoral fortunes. He told Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics this was “not an anti-Nick Clegg proposal” as he debated the ideas in his new book with Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames, Labour’s John Woodcock and Conservative Alun Cairns.
You can buy Lembit’s book, written with Lib Dem colleague Ed Joyce, on Amazon here.
Lib Dem anger as Tories eye Huhne seat (Financial Times)
Lady Warsi, Conservative party co-chairman, has put her party on alert for a by-election in the Eastleigh seat of Chris Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister, who is facing a court hearing over allegations relating to a speeding case. … Her comments were immediately criticised by Lib Dems, who said Lady Warsi was “being premature to say the least”, and pointed out that Mr Huhne denies passing on speeding points to his former wife Vicky Pryce. The court case is not expected until October. “The idea that Chris would stand down if he is acquitted shows a remarkable misunderstanding of Chris’s personality,” said a party spokesman.
The Lib Dem response is revealed among 25,000 documents released on Tuesday onto the Boundary Commission website as part of their ongoing review, designed to reduce the number of English MPs from 533 to 502. … The official Lib Dem responses, described by acting party chief executive, Hilary Stephenson, as “strongly rooted in localism” and written by members in the local regions, range from regions where only a handful of seats are singled out for significant changes, to areas like the West Midlands and the north-west, where the Boundary Commission proposals are all but torn up. In the West Midlands the party wants changes to 30 of the 54 proposed boundaries, in the north-west to 46 out of the 68 new seats. With many other “minor changes” requested, in the north-west party campaigners were happy to accept only five of the official new constituencies, and a further one where they only request a name change.
Co-Editor Stephen Tall writes: Farewell and congratulations to Prateek Buch, Friday day editor of LibDemVoice, who has had to step down from that role as a result of starting a new job. Mary Reid has kindly agreed to become our Friday day editor, having previously alternated the Tuesday day-editing duties with Mark Valladares. Thank you, too, to Sara Bedford, a long-standing contributing editor to the site, who has agreed to take over Mary’s position as Tuesday day co-editor with Mark Valladares. And if any of that confuses you, the full roll-call of honour of the site’s editorial collective is published here.