political

Election round-up – including the Lib Dem MP who is retiring, triggering an all-woman shortlist

More and more new Lib Dem members

Over 7,000 since the general election was called, taking the party’s membership up to over 95,000.

Theresa May to be empty-chaired?

Theresa May is refusing to take part in party leader election debates. But some of the media are making bolshie noises about going ahead with debates anyway:

Oh and:

An unwanted endorsement?

Tony Blair is edging towards telling people to vote Liberal Democrat:

Being gay is not a sin – Farron

Despite Tim Farron’s strong record in voting for equality, such as backing same-sex marriage repeatedly in the Commons and winning plaudits from the legislation’s prime mover, Lynne Featherstone, he has struggled to turn his belief that ‘we are all sinners’ into interview answers which leave everyone in the LGBT community confident he thinks no less of them than of others.

And so this is relevant today:

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was challenged over his views on homosexuality during a Commons debate about the snap general election.

Tory Nigel Evans intervened to ask whether he believed being gay was a sin after Mr Farron was grilled about his views during a TV interview.

“I do not,” he replied.

Jo Swinson re-standing, John Pugh retiring

This next Parliament will be pivotal for our country, both for Scotland’s place in the UK, and the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe.

I’m standing in the general election because I’m passionate about keeping Scotland in the UK, and averting the disaster of the Tories’ hard Brexit. Most people in East Dunbartonshire agree – 61% voted to stay in the UK and 71% voted to remain in the EU. They deserve a pro-UK, pro-EU MP.

East Dunbartonshire is the SNP’s second most marginal seat, with a majority of just 2,167 over the Liberal Democrats. The result last time makes it absolutely clear: this is a fight between the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, and one I fully intend to win.

Down in England, there will be an all-women shortlist following news that John Pugh is retiring:

One of only nine current Liberal Democrat MPs has chosen to step down ahead of June’s general election.

John Pugh, MP for Southport, said he planned to retire next month, but “did not bank on the prime minister’s opportunism” in calling an election.

He said he did not want to work through “the nightmare chaos of Brexit” in the next parliament.

The local constituency party will now choose a new candidate from an all-woman shortlist.

Nick Clegg standing

There was previously speculation about whether Nick Clegg would want to continue as an MP. Speculate no more as he is joining the list of Lib Dem big names who is definitely standing in the general election:

Theresa May has called a General Election out of opportunism and intolerance: opportunism in seeking to exploit the weakness of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party; and intolerance in seeking a landslide majority to bring about ‘unity’, by which she means the ability to impose whatever interpretation of Brexit she wishes without meaningful scrutiny from Parliament.

Meanwhile, her Brexit-obsessed Government is failing to provide the decent schools, hospitals and social care which communities, including those I represent in Sheffield, rightly deserve.

This General Election once again places the interests of the Conservative Party ahead of the daily needs of the British people.

I will be re-standing as the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate in Sheffield Hallam – a constituency I have had the immense privilege to represent in Parliament for twelve years – because I vehemently oppose the direction that Theresa May wishes to drag our wonderful country.

When I was Leader of the Lib Dems, our key task was to provide responsible Government; today, our key task is to provide effective opposition and lead the fight against the Conservative’s damaging approach to Brexit.

My constituents, and millions of people across the country, deserve a better choice than Theresa May’s hard Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s hapless leadership.

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