• Liberal Democrats employ a Pastoral Care Officer

    Jeanne will be responsible for monitoring any complaints,
    ensuring they are recorded and resolved, arranging appropriate Pastoral
    Care Services if required, and acting as Safeguarding Officer in the
    Party for young people and vulnerable adults. She will play an active role in promoting positive behavioural practices throughout the Party.

    Introducing herself to the party, Jeanne wrote:

    “My name is Jeanne Tarrant and I’m the Party’s new pastoral care officer.  I have been employed as a result of the recommendations from Helena Morrissey’s report.

    My role includes guidance, supporting and working with the wider party in implementing best practice for managing complaints, and producing best practice guidance. Also, ensuring such documentation is publicised and working with the training department to develop any training if required.   I will be responsible for supporting a wide range of people, including members, employees, volunteers, etc., across the party.

    I can be contacted to give advice on a range of issues from how to make a complaint and next steps to giving advice and support to anyone who receives an initial complaint.  Whilst any concerns raised with me will be treated in the strictest confidence, notes will be made and your anonymity will be protected as far as possible but any serious complaint will be investigated, so that it may be resolved.  If in doubt about an issue please contact me so we can discuss it.

    I am based in Headquarters but can meet with people outside the office. My hours of work are Monday to Friday 9-6pm and I can be contacted by phone on 07884 733262 or via email at j.tarrant@libdems.org.uk .

    A little about me:  I previously worked for the Royal College of Midwives as a team manager and a Trade Union Officer.  I have extensive experience in negotiations, supporting members through disciplinary action, grievances, supporting individuals in raising concerns including whistleblowing, developing and maintaining relationships with different groups whilst preserving confidentiality and also developing training for shop stewards on the new equality Act 2010 on understanding and challenging various types of behaviour which may adversely affect others and damage working relationships.  And yes I am a midwife who occasionally practises to keep my hand in! My name is French and is pronounced ‘Zhanne’, think Leanne and add Je instead of Le.   I am looking forward to  working with you all in the future.”

     

  • Stephen Lloyd appointed PPS to Ed Davey

    Commenting, Stephen Lloyd MP said:

    “This is a tremendous opportunity and I am looking forward to tackling key issues such as our current and future energy use, as well as developing the many business opportunities presented by our growing green economy.

    “We have a superb Secretary of State in Ed Davey who I’ve known for many years. Working with Ed to ensure that the coalition remains the greenest government ever is a task I welcome enormously.”

  • Energy Act to create 200,000 green jobs – Ed Davey

    The Act provides investors and industry with the confidence they need to invest in the energy sector and places a legal obligation on British governments to ensure the UK’s energy generating capacity is maintained while at the same time reducing emissions.

    Liberal Democrats in Government have already secured more than £30bn of investment in renewable energy which will support around 35,000 jobs and this new package of measures is expected to attract around £40bn of investment in renewable electricity by 2020.

    This will provide enough power for 10m homes while at the same time reducing carbon emissions by around 20m tonnes – equivalent to 25 per cent of annual household emissions.

    Commenting, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey said:

    “The Liberal Democrats are the party of green. I am proud that we have stood up for our environmental principles in Government and put tackling climate change at the heart of the coalition’s agenda.

    “The renewables industry is a British success story. Liberal Democrats know that green jobs and industry must be at the heart of the stronger economy and fairer society we are building. That’s what the Energy Act delivers.”

  • Banking Reform protects British public

    Commenting on the Act, Ian Swales said:

    “The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

    “Everyone has felt the impact of the financial crisis, and this Banking Reform Act is a crucial step to ensuring that the British public are not again put in a position where banks that have acted irresponsibly have to be bailed out by the British public.

    “For years Labour allowed the banks to run riot. On their watch, banks were allowed to act recklessly and risk the financial wellbeing of our entire country. Liberal Democrats in Government are cleaning up Labour’s mess and the Banking Reform Act is a key part of that.”

  • Hughes replaces McNally as Justice Minister

    Lord McNally has been appointed as the new Chair of the Youth Justice Board, a post which he will take up in mid-March 2014. Simon Hughes will take over as Justice Minister with immediate effect.

    Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

    “Tom McNally has been a fantastic minister who has pushed through a Liberal agenda in the Ministry of Justice. He will now bring the same wisdom, experience and effectiveness to his new role helping young offenders to turn their lives around.

    “I am delighted to welcome Simon to the Liberal Democrat Government team. He has been a passionate voice for the party’s principles and values throughout the Liberal Democrats’ journey from party of opposition to party of Government.

    “Simon will now be able to use his talents inside the Coalition, helping the Liberal Democrats to anchor the Government in the centre ground and helping us to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.”

    Simon Hughes said:

    “It is a privilege and a huge responsibility to be appointed to this important job in Government.

    “Issues of justice and civil liberties have been my passions since I was a teenager. Justice and civil liberties are also core issues for every Liberal Democrat in the country.

    “I hope that my experience, training and work on human rights from my time at university and in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, as a practising barrister for several years before I was elected to the Commons, and over all my time as a Member of Parliament, will stand me in good stead for this job.

    “Lord McNally will be a hard act to follow, but I will try and build on his significant achievements and wish him the very best in his important new role.

    “I look forward to working in the Ministry of Justice and to contributing energetically to progressive and successful decisions and policies for the fairer and safer society which every Liberal Democrat wants to achieve.”

    Lord McNally said:

    “It has been an enormous privilege to serve as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice over the last three and a half years. I believe we have demonstrated that the Coalition can work effectively in taking the tough decisions imposed by economic circumstances while pursuing a radical reform agenda.

    “I look forward to the opportunity to build on a decade of success tackling the causes of youth offending. It is a challenge I look forward to with real enthusiasm.”

  • 30m people in work

    “30m people in work is another landmark on the long road to recovery.  It’s only been possible because we’re sticking to a sound economic plan and because of the hard work of the British people and of British business.”

     

  • Date set for first same-sex marriages

    The Government announced today same-sex couples will be able to get married from Saturday, March 29, 2014.

    Nick Clegg welcomed the news and said it would strengthen the tradition of marriage.

    He said: “This is the news many couples have been waiting for. After a long and important battle this is a wonderful step forward for equality.

    “Love is the same, gay or straight, so it’s only right that the civil institution should be the same.

    “March will be a real moment for celebration as same-sex couples finally get the chance to express their love through marriage.”

    Couples wishing to be among the first to marry will need formally to give notice of their intention to marry on March 13, 2014.

  • Nick Clegg’s 2013 Christmas Card
  • Nick Clegg’s Commons statement on Nelson Mandela

    Nelson Mandela’s message transcended the boundaries of nations, people, colours and creeds. And his character transcended boundaries too: he was a politician, but appeared to be free of all the pettiness of politics.

    He was a warm human being with a mischievous wit, and yet seemed to rise above the normal human frailties of anger and hurt.

    He was a man who was well aware of his place in history, but he didn’t want to be placed on a pedestal and was humble at all times.

    So, with qualities like this, it is little wonder that millions of people who did not meet him in person nonetheless feel they have lost a hero and a friend.

    I never had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela myself, but like so many people I almost feel as if I had. He clearly made a huge impact on all of those he did meet. I remember Paddy Ashdown once telling me, with a sigh, that his wife Jane would regularly say that Mandela was the funniest and most charming man she had ever met.

    As a student, I was one of the thousands of people who flooded into Wembley Stadium for the Free Nelson Mandela concert to mark his 70th birthday.

    Stood there, I remember thinking how on earth could this one man live up to everyone’s expectations, if and when he was finally released?

    But, as a free man, Nelson Mandela not only met those expectations, he surpassed them.

    The challenge for South Africa seemed almost impossible at the time: how could people, who had spent so long divided in conflict, and either perpetrated or suffered so much abuse, find it within themselves to forgive, to move on and build something together.

    Well, Mandela could, and did, and the truly remarkable example of forgiveness he set made it possible for his country to be reborn as the rainbow nation.

    Given the enormity of his achievements, we are all struggling to work out the best way to honour his legacy.

    I like to think that one of the things he would like us to do in this House today is to pay tribute to and support the individuals and organisations around the world that fight for human rights and do not have a global name.

    Right now, all over the world, there are millions of men, women and children still struggling to overcome poverty, violence, and discrimination.

    They do not have the fame or the standing of Nelson Mandela, but I’m sure that he would tell us that what they achieve and endure in their pursuit of a more open, equal and just society shapes all our lives.

    Campaigners like Mary Akrami, who works to protect and empower the women of Afghanistan; Sima Samar, the Head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission; or organisations like the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras which works in the shadow of threats and intimidation.

    They are just three examples of the individuals and organisations who deserve our loyalty and support just as much as the British campaigners in the Anti-Apartheid movement in London showed unfailing loyalty and support towards Nelson Mandela in his bleakest days, and here I also want to pay tribute to the Rt. Hon Member for Neath and his fellow campaigners for what they did at the time.

    All of this will make the way we mark tomorrow’s international Human Rights Day all the more significant.

    And Britain can pay no greater tribute to Nelson Mandela than by standing up, around the world, for the values of human rights and equality he fought for.

    When Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom, he made no call for vengeance, only forgiveness.

    He understood that dismantling apartheid’s legacy was about more than just removing the most explicit signs of discrimination and segregation. And he recognised too that, to build a brighter future, South Africa must confront the darkness of its past.

    In doing so, Nelson Mandela laid down a blueprint that has made it possible for other divided communities, such as in Northern Ireland, to reject violence, overcome their differences and make a fresh beginning.

    And that is why I hope that in communities where people are still struggling to replace violence and conflict with peace and stability, the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation, which Mandela embodied, are followed by others too.

    Recently, for example, we have debated in this House the alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

    Surely, there can be no better way for that country to heal its wounds and bring peace and unity to all its people than to follow Mandela’s example and emulate South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process?

    This, as I see it, is Nelson Mandela’s lasting legacy to all of us: to champion the defenders of human rights today and to know that wherever there is conflict and injustice, with hope and courage, peace is always possible.

    As the Prime Minister reminded us earlier, at his 1964 trial, Mandela told the world that equality in South Africa was an ideal for which he was prepared to die.

    No one who has listened to those words can fail to be moved to hear a man, so explicitly and so courageously, put his life on the line for freedom.

    As others have remarked, Mandela famously liked to repeat the great saying, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

    So, on this year’s Human Rights Day and beyond, let us honour his memory by ensuring that the hope he gave lives on for all those whose liberties and rights are still denied.