Coalitions versus “Majorities”

The first week of May always brings a succession of political anniversaries.  Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the 2005 general election,of  personal interest to me as my first successful attempt to get into Parliament.  The 1st of May was the anniversary of Tony Blair’s first landslide in 1997.  Today is the anniversary of the 2010 general election, leading to Britain’s first coalition government in living memory.

Read more

Action to control betting shops

The remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is huge. Ministers are responsible for housing, local economic development, planning policy, parking, local government finance, localism and community integration. Often these issues spark controversy. But all CLG ministers are in complete agreement that there is an urgent need to revitalise the Great British High Street, to bring back the bustling centres of retail and leisure which served their communities so well prior to the financial crash. We want high streets and town centres that encourage people to spend a couple of relaxing hours working their way around the shops and enjoying a coffee or a meal in a restaurant.

Read more

Government £7 million boost for Bristol Green Capital

My Liberal Democrat government colleague Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury,came to Bristol today to announce £7million government grant support for Bristol Green Capital 2015. I lobbied colleagues in the Treasury and Department of Energy & Climate Change for the money and the scale of the award will make a huge difference to the programme of work next year. It should also act as a powerful lever for further financial support from business.

Read more

Remembering Srebrenica

Peering out of the plane window as we descended into Sarajevo I could see the large detached houses with low pitched roofs that are a feature of the Bosnian countryside. Images flashed back into my mind of houses like these on fire.

Read more

What has the Budget done for Bristol?

The 2014 Budget came amidst some promising economic news. Economic growth is the strongest in the European Union and one of the most impressive in the world. Inflation is down to 1.7% – the lowest level in five years. UK income inequality is at its lowest level since 1986. In Bristol West, unemployment was down 11.4% at the end of 2013 compared to May 2010. Nationally there are now 1.26 million more people in work than when the Coalition Government took office. This is all good news, but there is obviously still a way to go.

Read more

Thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day

Today I attended the national event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz the gathering at Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre heard readings and testimonies from survivors of the holocaust in Nazi occupied Europe.  I  met Mrs Aaronson, who survived the evacuation of the Lodz ghetto by being forced to clear up the area by the SS.  She was sixteen and had lived in the ghetto for four years.  Now she visits schools for the Holocaust Education Trust, telling her story to today’s teenagers.

Read more

That Syria vote and why I am a liberal interventionist

When the result of the division on the Government motion was announced I was stood at the back of MPs crowded at the entrance to the Commons.  So I didn’t see the Labour whips move to the position where the winners of the vote get to shout out the result. The stunned silence quickly gave way to tasteless Labour cheers.  Low politics had collided with complex diplomacy.

Read more

The Future of Bristol Train Travel

Imagine the scene in four years time.  You’ve been on the train from London for the last one hour and twenty five minutes.  The journey has been smooth and quiet, on one of the new inter-city trains, powered by electric.  As the train approaches Bristol Temple Meads you see to your left a boat docking by the wharf next to the hotch potch of different building designs that make up Bristol Media Village.  Beyond looms the roofline of the recently opened arena.

Read more

Campaigning for more jobs and apprentices

Bill Clinton had a slogan in his Presidential campaign headquarters – “It’s the economy, stupid!” What was true 21 years ago in the US has even more validity in Britain today. I never miss an opportunity to talk up Bristol as England’s most prosperous city region, a powerhouse of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Read more

A visit to the Parliamentary Archives

Everyone is familiar with the Clock Tower of Parliament, housing what must be the most famous clock  in the world.  Tours up the tower to see the clock mechanism and the Big Ben bell itself are very popular with Bristol West constituents.  The Clock Tower is now officially named the Elizabeth Tower, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  But the taller and larger tower at the other end of the Palace of Westminster, named after the Queen’s great great grandmother, is far less well known.

Read more

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.