Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Browne’

Nick picks Ed over Dave. Leveson is coming.

13/03/2013, 03:49:17 PM

by Atul Hatwal

The Leveson saga reached a turning point in the House of Commons at lunchtime today. As ever with that place, it was wrapped in the arcane minutiae of parliamentary procedure, but make no mistake it was pivotal.

Following the Conservative’s refusal to countenance enacting Leveson, pro-reform forces have looked to make amendments to existing bills to legislate for the majority of Lord Leveson’s recommendations. Principally, these amendments have been tabled for the Crime and Courts bill and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill.

The Conservatives have been privately panicked at the prospect of these amendments coming to a final vote in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Their whips have been warning the leadership for weeks that it is unlikely the Tories will be able muster the votes to defeat the amendments, and so prevent Leveson becoming law.

Late last night came a final throw of the dice. The Conservative whips tried to re-schedule Commons debate on the Crime and Courts bill amendments. Specifically, they tabled a welter of new amendments to the bill – 29 pages of them – and tried to specify that any debate of the Leveson changes would happen after consideration of the government’s new additions.

With a fixed limit of two days debate on the amendments, all of the Leveson provisions would have been lost.

This procedural attempt to remove the Leveson amendments was contained in something called a programme motion: a motion which sets the timetable for parliamentary debate and is itself discussed, and voted upon, on the floor of the House of Commons.

In response, Labour tabled an amendment to the programme motion that would have guaranteed time for debate of the Leveson amendments.

For the Conservative plan to work, they needed the co-operation of their Liberal Democrat partners to defeat Labour’s amendment to the programme motion.

It offered the Lib Dems a potential route to help out David Cameron without being seen to publicly renege on their commitment to support Leveson.

Until this lunchtime, no-one on either side of the debate knew conclusively how hard the Lib Dems would push their coalition partners on Leveson. When Lib Dem home office minister, Jeremy Browne, got up to speak at the despatch box, on the programme motion for the Crime and Courts bill, he implicitly answered the questions on the Lib Dem’s commitment to Leveson.


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Friday News Review

24/12/2010, 06:59:42 AM

Browne caught out, but Teather plays a straight bat

Jeremy Browne described some of the Conservatives’ partners in the European Parliament as “nutty”. He said foreign diplomats were delighted that the Lib Dems had ensured the Government was “far more amenable and civilised” towards the European Union than a Tory administration. The disclosures are made on the fourth and final day of The Daily Telegraph investigation into the true feelings of senior Lib Dems towards the Coalition. Speaking to an undercover reporter posing as a supporter in his Taunton Deane constituency, Mr Browne, who is regarded as being on the Right wing of his party, disclosed that he and colleagues had been engaged in a struggle to persuade the Tories to relax a planned cap on immigration. “The Tories had a very harsh, in my view, immigration policy,” he said. “That’s not to say I think that there shouldn’t be, you know, a level of immigration which can’t be assimilated in society – I’m not in favour of letting rip and letting everyone in – I think we need to have a proper, functioning policy. But the Conservative one I thought was driven by quite a lot of uncharitable instincts. I think, with the involvement of the Lib Dems plus the more liberal-minded Tories, we’ll end up with a policy which is more enlightened.” Asked about Mr Cameron’s decision to ally his party with some far-Right parties in eastern Europe, he said: “They [the parties] are quite nutty and that’s an embarrassment to them.” – Telegraph

She said that some Conservatives were finding Coalition politics “very painful indeed”, but added: “Most of them are finding it a relief. They are not having to pander to their own Right-wing, they are having to pander to our Left-wing.” Miss Teather was the only one of the 10 ministers visited by this newspaper whose private views largely reflected her public comments. “I think Michael Gove is deeply relieved to be in Coalition, because it meant that we got an extra slug of money for schools and that was work that I did with Nick Clegg behind the scenes,” she said. “We had an absolute fight to get that extra money into schools, and he would never have had that if he had just been a Secretary of State in a Conservative government.” – Telegraph

Cable strikes back

Vince Cable today broke his silence to speak of how a sting by undercover reporters had caused “great damage” to the confidential relationship between MPs and constituents. The Business Secretary said the Daily Telegraph’s tactics had “completely undermined” the work of local MPs and he would need to be “more guarded” in the future. Dr Cable said today: “I feel quite angry and strongly about this, I’ve had constituency surgeries now for 13 years every week, that’s well over 600. Thousands and thousands of constituents have been to see me, often on very difficult and highly confidential issues which have been respected by me and by them. Then somebody who isn’t a constituent falsifies their name and address and comes in with a hidden microphone – it completely undermines the whole basis on which you operate as a local MP.” – Richmond and Twickenham Times

End of the line for ‘firebrand’ Sheridan

Tommy Sheridan was told to go home and prepare for jail after being found guilty of perjury yesterday. The former Scottish Socialist Party leader was convicted of lying under oath five times during his 2006 defamation victory against the News of the World. Judge Lord Bracadale told him: “You have been convicted of the serious offence of perjury and must return to court expecting to begin a prison sentence.” But ex-MSP Sheridan, 46, will be free to spend Christmas with wife Gail and his five-year-old daughter Gabrielle after being bailed until sentencing on January 26. Senior legal sources expect him to be jailed for around five years. The working class hero’s fall from grace was complete at 3.45pm yesterday at the end of the dramatic 12-week-trial – Scotland’s longest ever perjury case. Surrounded by Gail, his mother Alice, 72, and other family members, Sheridan was greeted by applause from supporters in the foyer of the High Court in Glasgow. – Daily Record

The trial of Tommy Sheridan cast new light on the News of the World’s use of private detectives who have been convicted of illegal phone hacking and “blagging” confidential data. Sheridan’s attempt to highlight the practice saw Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s chief media adviser and former editor of the NoW, appear in court. Coulson, thought to be the first NoW senior executive to be questioned on oath in a criminal trial about the affair, repeatedly denied having any knowledge of illegal activity by his staff. The high court in Glasgow heard that Sheridan’s name, home address and personal mobile details appeared twice in the notebooks of Glenn Mulcaire, a NoW freelance investigator convicted of illegally accessing private phone messages of the royal household and other public figures for the tabloid in 2007. The two sets of notes, believed to date to 2004 when the NoW’s first investigation into Sheridan’s alleged adultery was at its peak, could suggest Mulcaire was twice ordered to hack Sheridan’s mobile phone or pass on his private pin code to NoW reporters. – Guardian

Lib Dem Council Leader in video gaffe

Many council leaders are happy to appear in front of television cameras to talk about their work but most would baulk at flexing their acting muscles while belting out a version of the Lou Reed song Perfect Day. Sheffield Council boss Paul Scriven appeared to have no such concerns, however, when he agreed to star in a video which features him arriving at a luxury hotel and extolling the virtues of its staff and the services they can offer. The production, which appeared on the internet yesterday was, according to Councillor Scriven, supposed to be a private training video for Sheffield’s four-star Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, and was never intended for public consumption. But the scenes which show him arriving in a taxi with his tie askew and shirt untucked, and a sequence in which he serenades staff before drinking a pink cocktail, have led to ridicule and questions over his political judgement. Yesterday, members of Sheffield Council’s Labour group said it was “difficult to understand” why Coun Scriven had decided to act in the video and claimed that the performance was “not what the people of Sheffield would expect.” – Yorkshire Post

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