In other news… Lib Dems close no libraries, Paddick pledges 360,000 homes, & Newby is new Lords whip

by Stephen Tall on April 29, 2012

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Tim Farron: No library closed under Lib Dem leadership (LibDems.org.uk)

Last year, more than 40 libraries were closed by Conservative and Labour councils. In stark contrast, for the second year in a row, no Liberal Democrat-controlled council in England and Wales closed any library. Liberal Democrat-controlled Cardiff is opening five new libraries and Portsmouth and Bristol are also opening new libraries.

Tim Farron said: “Cutting services like Labour and Tory councils are doing will do long-term damage. Liberal Democrats are doing the right thing thanks to our financial competency in the councils we run. That is also the reason why not only have Liberal Democrat councils kept libraries open, but councils in England have also frozen council tax and are most likely to be giving the lowest-paid council workers a pay rise.”

London mayor race: Lib Dem Brian Paddick vows 360,000 homes (BBC News)

Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick has said he will build 360,000 homes over the next decade if he is elected to City Hall. … Outlining his plans to solve London’s housing shortage, Mr Paddick said thousands of homes could be built on land “owned by the mayor”. “We’ve identified brown field sites – not back gardens, not green spaces but brown field sites, some in inner London, some in outer London – where you can build these homes,” he added. He said the majority of the land he had identified was “owned by the mayor” and building could be funded by borrowing from the City. Pension funds in Europe and America “invest in social housing”, he said.

Clegg props up leadership with change of Whip (Independent)

The Independent on Sunday has learnt that Lord Newby is to become the party’s Chief Whip in the House of Lords, and the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip for the Upper House; his predecessor, Lord Shutt, quit last week having just turned 70. Plans for an elected second chamber will be a central feature of the coalition’s second legislative programme, and a key test of Mr Clegg’s ability to secure a long-cherished policy win for his traditional party base.

‘It’s time to quit, Nick!’ claims ex-MP Opik in Sheffield talk (Sheffield Star)

Mr Opik, who stood for the party presidency in 2004 and 2008, said if the party lost seats in the local elections on May 3, Mr Clegg should immediately announce a timetable to resign as leader. “If the results are very bad he should set a very short timescale and let the party replace him by the end of the year.” Mr Clegg should continue as deputy prime minister, he said, but not lead the party. “I don’t dislike Nick Clegg, but business is business,” he said.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.