Monday, October 28, 2013


Aung San Suu Kyi was presented with the Sakharov human rights prize in the European Parliament last week. She told MEPs that in 1988, when she founded the Movement for Democratic Reform in Burma, many of the democratic countries now represented in the European Union were still communist dictatorships.

It was a timely reminder that we too often take for granted the European Union's enormous achievement in promoting peace, democracy and the extension of human rights. UKIP people dismiss this and claim that the collapse of the 'iron curtain' was due to NATO. They ignore the values that inspire and underpin EU partnership, and the decision-making procedures that tie governments and politicians together. Lots of jaw-jaw, as Churchill might have said.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

LibDems in Europe fighting waste

Earlier this year, Nick Clegg said that when we are having to tighten our belts at home it would be wrong for the EU to press ahead with big spending increases. He was right then and he is right now. This is why Liberal Democrats in Brussels backed moves to cut the EU budget by 8bn Euros.

Despite this fact, this week our friends at the Daily Mail reported that Lib Dem MEPs voted for an increase in the EU budget. The truth is that not a single Liberal Democrat voted for more spending from Brussels.

Liberal Democrats are committed to building a more streamlined and efficient EU, by cutting back on administrative costs and wasteful spending. That is why we have fought for billions of euros of cuts including on staff salaries, MEP allowances and trips abroad.

[Hat-tip to Liberal Democrat Voice and George Lyon MEP]

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

European Liberals prevent restrictions on E-cigarettes

Mary Reid writes in Liberal Democrat Voice:

In the European Parliament earlier today, MEPs backed a Liberal Democrat amendment which will ensure that electronic cigarettes are available for sale on the same basis as tobacco.
The original proposal from the Commission was that e-cigs should be treated as medicines, which would have restricted sales. But the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe  (the Group to which our Liberal Democrat team belongs) argued that they had a major role to play in reducing tobacco-related deaths. The amendment did require e-cigs to meet safety standards and for advertising to be restricted.
We have received comments from two of our MEPs who have been actively involved in this issue.
Chris Davies says:
E-cigs can be a game changer in the fight against smoking.  Hundreds of former smokers have written to tell me that they have helped them give up cigarettes when nothing else worked.
They are successful because they are not medicines but products that smokers enjoy using as an alternative to cigarettes.
Every year 700,000 people in Europe die of smoking-related disease. We should not do anything that makes e-cigs harder to obtain than tobacco cigarettes.
Rebecca Taylor says:
Many smokers have already quit tobacco by switching to electronic cigarettes; today’s vote will help more of them to do so.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Tweet from LibDem electoral guru

Good news: latest quarterly stats show Lib Dem membership up. 1st time that's happened outside a general election in a decade

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Vince Cable's directors' pay reforms come into effect today

Under legislation piloted by Liberal Democrat minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, companies will for the first time be subject to a legally binding vote on pay policies. From today, shareholders will finally have the power to link pay of directors to their performance, instead of merely registering protests through advisory votes on remuneration reports.

More on the application of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act here.