Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Eastbourne’

Paul Burstow Champions Coalition Wins

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 4th February, 2012

When Nick Clegg planned a Liberal Democrat parliamentary away-day in Eastbourne this week he could hardly have known that the media hordes would descend on that seaside town, not to quiz MPs and Ministers about policy but rather about the fate of Chris Huhne. But if Plan A was to carry on as normal had the CPS decided not to prosecute Chris, Plan B quickly snapped into action when the opposite happened. Ed Davey, as widely rumoured, took over Chris’s Cabinet role as Energy Secretary, while Norman Lamb moved into Ed’s former position in the Department of Business, Industry and Skills. Norman’s slot has been filled by a goverment newcomer, Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central — a welcome new female face on the front bench. Chris meanwhile left Eastbourne early to prepare his defence if that proved to be necessary. It should be stressed that he denies any wrongdoing and in keeping with the most basic principle of Britsh law, he should be presumed innocent unless proved otherwise. The Minister for Social Care, Paul Burstow, for his part, on Friday evening had a post-Eastbourne engagement to speak at Putney LibDems’ annual dinner, which he duly did after a warm-up introduction by the Merton and Wandsworth GLA constituency candidate Lisa Smart. For once Paul didn’t go into the minutiae of NHS Reforms (though this remains a hot topic), but rather stressed the messages that the Party needs to get out about LibDem wins inside the Coalition government’s programme, notably raising the tax threshold, rolling out the pupil premium and boosting apprenticeships. And of course he gave a big plug for people to go and help in the Worcester Park local council by-election in his own constituency of Sutton and Cheam; polling day 16 February. Being in government in coalition at such a difficult economic time is not easy, but I am impressed how chipper Ministers like Paul remain. As junior partners we do not get everything we would like, but it is remarkable how much has been achieved.

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Stephen Lloyd Regails the Kettners Lunch

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 16th March, 2011

One of the most heartening results of the May 2010 General Election was the Liberal Democrats’ capture of Eastbourne, after long years of trying. The new MP, Stephen Lloyd, had fortunately had enough experience of he world not to be fazed by the grandeur of the House of Commons and once the Coalition Agreement had been signed, realised that both he individually and the LibDems as a party would be in for a bumpy ride for a while. Moreover, as Stephen made clear in a speech to the Kettners Lunch Club today at the National Liberal Club, until one gets elected as an MP, politics can be an expensive business, not only in terms of money but also regarding one’s personal life. It demands a great deal of self-sacrifice. However, in Eastbourne he has had the advantage of a strong local team of helpers, as well as a well-run LibDem Council. He believes the party will retain control of Eastbourne at the local elections in May and probably should do quite well across parts of the country where the Conservatives are the main opponents. What the next general election will bring will depend entirely on how successfully the Coalition has delivered on its promises to get Britain’s finances in shape, though of course the introduction of AV — assuming the referendum delivers a ‘Yes’ vote — could produce some very interesting results.

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