Slideshow: Bonnie the Lib Dem cockapoo captures the spotlight in Cambridge

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They say never work with children or animals… Tim Farron learnt all about that in Cambridge on Thursday. He was on a visit to support local parliamentary candidate Julian Huppert, Mayoral candidate Rod Cantrill and candidate for South Cambridgeshire Susan Van De Ven. Bonnie the Liberal Democrat cockapoo captured the spotlight and was voluminously photographed by Getty Images. Please use the arrows above to flick through the slide show of this canine campaign coup.

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#LibDemFightback campaigners busy on the streets this weekend

There are some fantastic, smiling action photos coming out from Lib Dem campaigners this weekend!

Victor Chamberlain has been out twice, campaigning for Simon Hughes with colleagues at the Elephant and Castle:

…and at Borough and Bankside:

Tim Farron visited Leeds – and Leeds Young Liberals captured their excitement at the leader’s arrival:

https://twitter.com/GregMulholland1/status/858371510905516032 Continue reading

Tim Farron commitment to end homelessness – reason to be proud, but also conscious of a great challenge

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A party press release yesterday said:

The Liberal Democrats have committed to ending the scandal of rough sleeping in Britain, as the Homelessness Reduction Bill enters into force today.

Following a campaign visit to the Hundred Houses Society, a charitable housing association in Cambridge, Tim Farron announced a series of measures the party would put in place to help end rough sleeping.

These include introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority, to put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters. Other policies include increasing funding for local councils for homelessness prevention, reinstating housing benefit for under-21s and reversing planned cuts to Local Housing Allowance rates.

This is a good reason to be very proud of our party. Making this commitment is a big deal. Housing is a basic human right, and we are right to base our policy on that.

Shelter advocate an approach based on the American “Housing First” model. I see that Tim Farron embraces that method. Continue reading

We’ve learnt the hard way not to stand in the middle of the road

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We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.

Aneurin Bevan quoted in the Observer, 6 December 1953

We have reason to be cautiously optimistic about the forthcoming elections.

It will probably take years to clarify why we had such a disastrous result in the 2015 general election, but it seems plausible to say that it was because people did not know what we stood for any more. Despite a laundry list of governmental achievements, we had, to an extent, sold our soul to the devil – the tuition fees disaster being emblematic of the whole thing. Then we went into the election saying effectively that we’d put a tape measure between the two other main parties and stand exactly equidistant between them. OK, that’s not what we said, but that was the perception that came over. Continue reading

General election campaigns get off to a flying start across the country

Campaigns, of course, are already up and running across the country for the May 4th local elections, but Theresa May’s announcement has given even greater impetus to Lib Dem activists across the country.

Here’s a round-up of some of today’s action via Twitter – please let us know about any other team action photos in the comments!:

Caroline Pidgeon was up in Cambridge lending her support to Julian Huppert in his campaign to regain the city’s parliamentary seat and also to Rod Cantrill in his bid to be the first Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:

https://twitter.com/CarolinePidgeon/status/855832360780275712

Jane Dodds and the team have been out in Montgomeryshire:

Continue reading

Tim Farron: Trump putting the UK at the ‘back of the queue’ is a devastating blow to May’s hard Brexit

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Responding to reports Donald Trump will put the EU ahead of the UK in trade talks, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

This is a devastating blow to Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans.

Yet another claim by the Brexiteers, that Britain would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal with US, now lies in tatters.

Theresa May should now make clear she will prioritise a trade deal with the EU over one with Trump. Continue reading

Does Parliament have the plushest waiting room in the world?

St Stephen’s Hall, Houses of Parliament – some rights reserved by UK Parliament

Despite understandable security measures, it is still easy to visit the Houses of Parliament and watch the proceedings.

I went there this week. You basically present yourself at the Cromwell Green entrance, which is halfway along the building by the big statue of Oliver Cromwell. At the gate, they tend to ask you why you want to come in – but you just have to say “I want to go to the public gallery of the House of Commons (or Lords)” and they’ll let you in (having checked that the queues are not too long). You then get given a green card and are seen by a policeman who gives you a little briefing. You then go through the inevitable airport security check and you are in.

It’s worth noting that it is your right as a citizen to enter Parliament and ask to see your MP at the central lobby. You are advised to book an appointment with your MP for such a meeting, but you don’t have to. Of course, he or she might not be in Parliament if you turn up unannounced, but all UK residents have a right to walk into parliament for such a purpose or to watch proceedings.

Once you are in you do have a surprising amount of freedom to linger and wander through the place, without any “shooing along” from officials. There are officials and security guards around, but it is really quite surprising how free you are to “mooch about” and admire the various paintings, plaques, ceilings etc. You get to stroll through Westminster Hall, which is magnificent and the most historic part of the present Parliamentary buildings. Charles I was tried there. Continue reading