In other news… Hemming “resignation threat”, Rogerson on second home tax, Russell on Israel & more

by Stephen Tall on November 4, 2012

MP John Hemming’s fury over ‘cover-ups’ (Daily Express)

A LIB Dem MP threatened to resign the party whip last night and sit as an independent unless child protection was treated “more seriously”. John Hemming said the Government was “dangerously complacent” about the level of cover-ups at ­children’s homes and in the ­wider family justice system. He said if ministers did not demonstrate “a change of attitude”, he would withdraw his “personal support for the Government”.

Mentally impaired people ‘exploited by court-appointed deputies’ (BBC News)

Action is needed to prevent vulnerable people being ripped-off by those appointed by the courts to manage their finances, MPs have been told. Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames said a constituent of his, who suffered head injuries in a car crash, was left nearly “penniless”. The man had paid out a third of his compensation in fees to solicitors appointed as his “deputy”, said the MP. The government said it was taking steps to improve the system.

Lib Dems ‘want no tuition fees’ (icScotland)

Scottish Liberal Democrats have pledged to stand up for students as they restated their “commitment” to free university education. Society as a whole benefits when “education is offered on the principle of ability to learn”, education spokesman Liam McArthur said. … Mr McArthur used an online article for the National Union of Students (NUS) website to insist that the Lib Dems in Scotland still support free university education.

Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson in second homes tax rise call (BBC News)

North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson is calling for a higher rate of council tax for second home owners. … Mr Rogerson said: “You go to coastal villages, some of the towns as well, and you see huge swathes of places with no lights on at night. That really hits the local economy. People might spend quite a bit of money when they’re there for a few weeks a year. But if those houses were occupied it would help the local pub and shop.”

Labour-Lib Dem row ‘like a scene from The Thick of It’ (Newbury Today)

A NEWBURY Labour party firebrand has been accused of fabricating an invitation to stand as the local Liberal Democrat candidate in the next general election in an effort to boost his own profile. The gloves are off in the row between Newbury Labour member Richard Garvie (pictured) and the West Berkshire Liberal Democrats following the release of email conversations between himself and leader of the elected opposition Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West). In the emails Mr Garvie appeared to accept a move to the party in February following talks, before later changing his mind.

Liberal Democrat MP wants medicine from Israel labelled (Jewish Chronicle)

A Liberal Democrat MP has called for medicines produced in Israel to be labelled as such. But Sir Bob Russell, who represents Colchester, said he would have no problem using Israeli-made pharmaceuticals “provided that I was made aware of this”. … But Norman Lamb, LibDem minister at the Department of Health, rebuffed the call. “The requirements for medicines labelling are set out in both European and national legislation. There is no requirement for medicines labelling to indicate the country of origin.”

Sir Bob takes up Lib Dem whip (Colchester News)

COLCHESTER MP Sir Bob Russell has returned to the Whips’ Team for Liberal Democrat MPs at the House of Commons after a gap of more than two years. Sir Bob, who is known for his outspoken and independent views, stepped down from the role at the 2010 General Election. This is the third time he has been a whip during his 15 years as an MP.

Elected mayoral candidate for Bristol: Profile of Jon Rogers (South-West Business)

“If I’m elected mayor, I will be on the blower to David Cameron on day one and say to him, ‘You promised extra powers for the elected mayor of Bristol. Well, I need Transport for Bristol in the same way that Boris Johnson has got Transport for London so will you please keep to your word and let me do this so I can sort out Bristol’s transport problems. I want these extra powers and I need them now.’”

Bristol mayor: Lib Dem’s Jon Rogers releases manifesto (BBC News)

Creating more jobs and reducing unemployment in Bristol has been set as the top priority by Jon Rogers, the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor. Mr Rogers has pledged that, if elected, he would offer cuts to business rates for firms which train young people or launch in areas of high unemployment. His manifesto also includes plans to set a flat bus fare rate of £1.50 and to freeze council tax for a third year. Voters go to the polls on 15 November to elect a city mayor.

Ex-St Helens council leader fined after election assault (BBC News)

The former Liberal Democrat leader of St Helens Council has been fined for assaulting the Labour candidate during an election night row. An altercation broke out between Brian Spencer, 65, and Labour’s Mark Johnson, 25, at the count at St Helens Town Hall on 4 May. Mr Spencer, from Sutton Leach, lost his seat on the council in the ballot. He pleaded guilty to the assault at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court. A second assault charge was dismissed.

* 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.