In other news… Nick talks Dutch, Farron’s footie boycott, Hemming’s whistleblower charter & more

by Stephen Tall on October 28, 2012

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

Nick Clegg insists on speaking Dutch at Cabinet Office meeting (Telegraph)

Nick Clegg, who speaks five languages fluently, chose to conduct a recent meeting at the Cabinet Office with Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, entirely in Dutch. Did the Deputy Prime Minister, whose mother is from the Netherlands, do so to outfox a Downing Street official whom David Cameron had allegedly sent to spy on their conversation? “Nick enjoys being able to talk Dutch,” the Liberal Democrat leader’s spokesman tells Mandrake. “Similarly, when he meets leaders from France or Latin America, he’ll speak French and Spanish. It’s very much appreciated when he goes. Usually at these meetings, there’ll be an aide who can speak Dutch, too, but [this time] I don’t think there was a No 10 aide there at all.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader calls for more Holyrood powers (BBC News)

The Scottish Lib Dems have gathered in Dunfermline for their autumn conference, with a call for increased powers for the Scottish Parliament. The party has put forward proposals for “home rule” for Scotland, which includes major new financial powers. Party leader Willie Rennie claimed the move was more popular with voters than the option of independence. He said people wanted assurances that an independence no vote would not mean there would be no change. Mr Rennie told delegates: “Home rule for Scotland in a federal United Kingdom keeps us as a powerful force for good in the world.”

Moore calls on SNP to ‘embrace reality’ on issue of independence (The Herald)

MICHAEL Moore yesterday demanded an “honest debate” from the SNP, claiming the recent row over EU legal advice showed the Nationalists were out of touch with reality. The Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary said the controversy had exposed SNP politicians playing “fast and loose with Scotland’s future to meet their own narrow ends”.

Lib Dems secure narrow victory in Pinkneys Green by-election (Royal Borough Observer)

A NARROW by-election victory has seen a Liberal Democrat elected on to the Royal Borough [of Windsor & Maidenhead] council, securing a swing from the ruling Conservative Party. Liberal Democrat representative Simon Werner has been elected to fill the vacant Pinkneys Green ward seat on the Royal Borough council, following a by-election held yesterday (Thursday), winning with 839 votes.

Lib Dems take seat unopposed (ThisIsLeicestershire)

The Liberal Democrats have won a council seat unopposed. … Stuart Bray, Lib Dem leader of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and a county councillor for Burbage, said: “Not many years ago every seat on Burbage Parish Council was Conservative. Now the Lib Dems have 14 seats and the Conservatives six.”

Price of Football: Boycott expensive clubs, says MP (BBC Sport)

Football fans should boycott League clubs for at least one match in protest at high ticket prices, says an MP. Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron tabled a motion in the House of Commons following BBC Sport’s 2012 Price Of Football survey. “I’d like to see people switch their allegiance to non-league clubs for at least one weekend,” he told BBC Sport. The price of the cheapest average adult ticket in English football has risen by 11.7% over the last 12 months. Lifelong Blackburn Rovers supporter Farron said many football fans find prices “unaffordably high”.

John Hemming: Threatening whistleblowers must be outlawed (BBC News)

The Jimmy Savile scandal shows the urgent need for greater protection for people reporting abuse to prevent future cover-ups, MPs have been told. Lib Dem MP John Hemming said abuse victims were often ignored and punished and this could not be “tolerated”. He wants a new law to make it an offence to threaten whistleblowers to stop them reporting wrongdoing.

Lib Dem urges Manchester MPs to oppose government reforms to crime victim compensation (Mancunian Matters)

John Leech opposes the government’s planned reforms to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is backed by Labour’s Yvonne Fovargue and Andrew Gwynne. Mr Leech signed an Early Day Motion in September to bring a debate about the issue to parliament. “I make no apologies for urging the government to look at this again,” he said. “I call on the rest of Manchester’s MPs to join this campaign for the victims of crime.”

Trouble brewing in the Lords (BBC News)

Two senior Lib Dem peers have put down a battery of amendments to plans to change the way we all register to vote, in the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, due for detailed debate in the Lords next week. … Lib Dem Lords, Chris Rennard and Paul Tyler have weighed in. They’ve put down a series of amendments to the bill which toughen up the duties of the officials who compile the electoral roll…changing the word “may” to “must” at several points.

Teenage council member Siobhan resigns (ThisIsGloucestershire)

THE youngest ever Cirencester town councillor has resigned after struggling to juggle her responsibilities with her university studies. Liberal Democrat Siobhan Brasier was elected unopposed for the Stratton-Whiteway ward in April 2011, just four months after her 18th birthday.

Shamed would-be MP was to get the Lib Dem boot (Coventry Observer)

JAILED fraudster Dr Vincent McKee sent drunken late night emails to Liberal Democrat supporters during his election campaign, it has been revealed. The city’s party chairman Brian Patton admitted the 54-year-old had only stood as a parliamentary candidate in 2010 because the beleaguered party had no-one else to choose from. Mr Patton also revealed Dr McKee was set to be thrown out of the party for his ‘shocking’ behaviour before he resigned after the fraud came to light.

The Hampshire county councillor paid more than an MP (ThisIsHampshire)

Liberal Democrat Keith House collected an estimated £71,600 as a member of five bodies in 2011-12. He had more publicly-funded roles or “hats” than any other county councillor, according to figures compiled by anti-council tax group IsItFair. … Asked if he represented good value for money, the father-of-four said: “I will let the electorate be the judge of that. “In Eastleigh, I have kept council tax down, have protected services, improved facilities and followed-up on case work. In Hampshire, I have kept the administration to account.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.