In other news… (In which defectors & rebellions loom large)

by Stephen Tall on May 13, 2012

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

Lord Owen attacks coalition over Lords reform ‘farce’ (Telegraph)

Lord Owen was one of 43 of the peers polled who said the Upper House needs to be reformed, even though he disagreed with the changes devised by Nick Clegg and other senior Liberal Democrats. “There does need to be change,” said Lord Owen. “You look around the chamber and you can see the person who is a friend of George Osborne. You can see the person who was a big donor. And you can see the person who is an expert and deserves to be there.” The peer, who served as a Labour foreign secretary in the late 1970s, has a range of criticisms of the Coalition’s proposed changes, which he decribed as a “farce”. “The 15-year terms are too long – they should be six or seven years,” he said. “There is also no need for youth peers – I think there should be a minimum age of 45. It should be a revising chamber, not a challenger to the Commons.

Councillor suspends herself after EDL Twitter comment (BBC News)

A Bournemouth councillor has apologised “unreservedly” after saying online that only the English Defence League “sticks up for the English”. Conservative councillor Sue Anderson said she had suspended herself from the party and referred herself for disciplinary procedures.

Liberal Democrat leader resigns from party (Cambridge News)

The leader of the Liberal Democrats in East Cambridgeshire has resigned from the party … Cllr Ian Allen, who represents Haddenham ward, has announced he has resigned from the party and become an independent councillor. He said: “The stage has been reached where I can no longer support coalition policies that are unfairly directed at worsening the lives of the least well off in society.”

Backbenchers more rebellious than at any stage since World War Two (Independent)

The analysis, by Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of Nottingham University, discloses that Tory MPs rebelled in 28 per cent of divisions in the two-year parliamentary session that ended last week. Liberal Democrat MPs were almost as mutinous, stepping out of line in 24 per cent of Commons votes. The combined rate of 44 per cent outstrips previous parliaments – and will be particularly alarming for Tory and Liberal Democrat managers as, historically, MPs have tended to be more rebellious as general elections approach.

Fastest defector yet ditches Lib Dems day after election (Press & Journal)

A Highland Liberal Democrat councillor is believed to have made history as the fastest political defector. Veteran councillor Biz Campbell retained her seat of Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh on Friday, but confirmed the following morning she was quitting the Lib Dems because they had “lost direction”.

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