Tag Archives: MP

The race to replace Don Foster as MP for Bath

The race to replace my old boss, Don Foster MP, has finally formally got going.

The Bath Chronicle reported that the short-listed candidates to stand on the Lib Dem ticket for Bath in 2015 are:

  • Chris Lucas
  • Steve Bradley
  • Manda Rigby (Lib Dem, Abbey)
  • Andy Furse (Lib Dem, Kingsmead)
  • Martin Turner
  • Wera Hobhouse

I have written before about how big a pair of shoes they have to fill with the departing of Don Foster. But on initial reflection there are some extremely competent candidates on the shortlist to stand in what might be one of the few truly safe Lib Dem seats.

I wish all the candidates the best of luck. I would also love to hear who you want to see as the next MP for Bath and why…let me know in the comments below.

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Why Maria Miller should resign as a MP

Press regulation deal
Maria Miller (still) MP has today resigned
, no not as a MP, but just as the Culture Secretary.

In case you missed it, Miller resigned because of the growing pressure on her after it was revealed she cheated the tax payer out of £45,000 (or £5,800 depending on whether you believe independent parliamentary commissioner or a collection of her fellow MPs).

The Prime Minister responded to her resignation letter saying he was ‘sad’ and that he hoped she would be able to return to cabinet ‘in due course’.

I’m sorry….what!?!

If these expenses on a second home (which all MPs are entitled to) were claimed my Maria Miller as a MP then why oh why has only resigned as the Culture Secretary and not as a MP?

In reality this is not Maria Miller resigning – this is more a shifting of her priorities within The House of Commons and taking a significant pay cut (backbench MPs like Maria Miller still get £67,060 a year).

As commentator Owen Jones noted:

This is why I fully support her fellow Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith’s, call for introducing a right to recall for the electorate. In a Conservative Home blog he argued:

“If events cause a majority of constituents to lose confidence in their MP, they should have the right to remove that MP.”

I would argue that the events have cause Miller’s constituents to lose confidence.

Goldsmith concluded his blog by saying:

If anything good emerges from the Maria Miller affair, it will be a build-up of pressure on the political establishment to honour its early promise, to trust the people, and to adapt our democracy to the modern age.”

Maria Miller is still a MP because of a deficit of democracy. She is there because her electorate don’t have the power to kick her out.

The ever out of touch Prime Minister seems to think she has a future on the frontbench but I would suggest her constituents might think otherwise.

Until this deficit in our democracy is plugged though, we all need to be calling for MPs like Miller to actually resign, not just for her to take a frontbench sabbatical until the media storm clears.

Ask her to resign:


A great spot over at Labour List – In 2008 Maria Miller called for MPs caught fiddling expenses to face a ‘recall mechanism’… 

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Stroud MP makes national news…for the wrong reasons

Stroud’s Conservative MP, Neil Carmichael, isn’t famed for his media profile. And so it was with a little surprise that I saw that he featured in Hugh Muir’s Guardian Diary.

They say any publicity is good publicity…for Mr Carmichael’s sake I hope that’s true.

Muir writes on Mr Carmichael’s rather strange question in the Commons:

“There are neighbourhood plans in Chalford, Dursley, Eastington and nearly a dozen other areas in my constituency,” boasted Stroud MP Neil Carmichael. “Does the minister agree that a good neighbourhood plan is an appropriate protector against inappropriate developments?” And Boles did agree – but how can there be a dozen plans in Stroud when there are only a handful in existence, voted through by referendums, in England and Wales? “There actually aren’t any,” one puzzled constituent said. “It was a puff question to support the coalition’s planning policy.” Can that be so, we asked Carmichael. “None have had the vote yet, but some are close,” he said. “I should have corrected it at the time. I should have said there are neighbourhood plans under way.” Indeed. No one wants the House misled.

Not exactly the sort of national press coverage Mr Carmichael would have been hoping for.

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WATCH: Inspiring video from Stonewall ‘thanking’ MPs and MSPs

To often when I write about LGBTI rights I write about the negative violations of these rights.

Today of all days it would be too easy to write another article condemning another set back for the global struggle for equality.

Instead I wanted to write about a good news story. This good news story comes from my home country, the UK.

From 29 March 2014 same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales. This represents one of the final few steps in the marathon to fight for equal rights in the UK.

This makes me proud to have been born in the UK and to call this part of ‘my culture’.

And, just as I too often talk about LGBTI rights in the negative I am aware the same can too often be true when I write about politicians.

It is because of this that I wanted to share with you this video from the organisation Stonewall thanking MPs and MSPs for speaking out in favour of equal marriage. 

It is inspiring to look back at where we have come from in such a short space of time. Please do share this video with friends and family.

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Filed under Politics, sexuality

Shaker Aamer – it is time to lobby your MP

I have blogged before about the terrible plight of Shaker Aamer, the Brit that is still in Guantanamo Bay. This blog is about taking action and making it easy, both for you and your MP. Together we can force the US to put their morals where their mouth is. I want YOU to write to your MP (you can find out who your MP is here) highlighting his case. You can use the following as a guide or you can simply cut and paste into an email. Please do let me know any response you receive

Dear [name] MP,

As you will know there is a British resident still languishing in Guantanamo Bay.  I hope you agree that Shaker Aamer’s detention without charge or trial is unacceptable.

As a result I urge you to write to Hague about this issue pushing him to go further that he already has (raising it with Clinton).

Please sign the following letter without delay.

I look forward to you taking action on this case.

[your name and address]

Rt Honourable William Hague
House of Commons,


I am writing on behalf of a number of my constituents who have expressed deep concern at the current status of Shaker Aamer, a British resident currently detained in Guantanamo Bay.  Raising this case to the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton is timely  and welcome.  However, a number of my constituents are concerned that the UK government is not doing enough to bring  about his release or trial.  I would therefore urge you to continue to push for his immediate release or trial and report back to Parliament on the outcome of your discussions with Secretary of State Clinton.

Shaker is a British resident who has been held in captivity for nearly nine years with no charge or trial. He has alleged numerous cases of torture and has spent much of his time in solidarity confinement on hunger strike. Guantanamo Bay remains a travesty of justice that we cannot let encroach onto our government’s time in power.  President Obama has made the commitment to fully close Guantanamo; we have to push for this promise to be fulfilled.

To bring this case to a swift resolution, I urge you to pursue the following:

  • Push for an agreed timetable with the US authorities for Shaker Aamer’s release or trial.
  • Ensure that all allegations of torture and illegal detention are fully investigated, including the possibility of any British involvement.
  • Call for the complete closure of Guantanamo Bay and the use of illegal detention.

For as long as Shaker Aamer remains in custody without charge or trial there is no possibility of our government drawing a line under these cases of alleged torture and illegal detention overseas.

I trust that you will see that action on this case is imperative for not only Shaker and his family waiting for him in the UK, but also for Britain as a whole.

I look forward to your response.  


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