Join us!

It’s just over a week since I accepted the position of Deputy Prime Minister – and already we have achieved real change.

Changes that the Liberal Democrats have spent months campaigning for, are about to happen.

There will be no ID cards, no third runway at Heathrow, no more fingerprinting in schools without parents’ consent, no more child detention.

Promises we were making a few weeks ago are becoming realities. Fair taxes. The income tax threshold will rise to £10,000. That is this Government’s priority, not tax cuts for millionaires. The best start at school for every child. Extra money is now going to be targeted to pupils who need it most. That is a huge leap in creating a truly mobile society.

We’re making Britain’s economy fairer. The banks are going to be taxed, the bonus culture is going to be addressed. And we’re cleaning up British politics. Fixed term parliaments are happening. People will soon have the power to sack corrupt MPs, and be able to vote in elections to the House of Lords.

But this isn’t the end of the story.

Thanks to your support there are Liberal Democrat ministers in government, putting Liberal Democrat policies into practice.

I need you to take the next step and join the Liberal Democrats today.

We’re going to be campaigning for real change in government just as strongly as we did in opposition.

By joining the Liberal Democrats today, you can be part of the Liberal Democrat team in government. You can give us the strength to win the referendum on the voting system, and to make sure this government gets on with the job of bringing real change to Britain.

You can join online, quickly and easily, here.

Over 5,000 people joined the Liberal Democrats during the campaign. Many more have joined since the election results came in.

Most members joining online give about £25 as their first subscription, but you are welcome to give as much or as little as you can afford.

I hope you will join us today.

Shaking up British Politics

Today Nick Clegg MP has given his first speech as Deputy Prime Minister – you can read the full speech here on the important subject of political reform.

Nick has announced today is the biggest shake up of British democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832. It is a fundamental resettlement of the relationship between state and citizen that puts people, not Whitehall, in charge.

Step one – we will repeal all of the intrusive and unnecessary laws that inhibit people’s freedom. This means scrapping ID cards, halting the second generation of biometric passports, radically reforming the DNA database, ending the ContactPoint children’s database and stopping the fingerprinting of children without parent’s permission.

Step two – we will reform our politics so it is open, transparent and decent. We will introduce an elected House of Lords, fixed termed parliaments and strengthening parliament so it can hold the executive to account. Under our plans voters will have the power to recall corrupt MPs, there will be a register of lobbyists and a cap on donations. And most importantly we will give people a chance to vote in a referendum on our outdated and undemocratic electoral system.

Step three – we will radically redistribute power away from the centre, into your communities, your homes and your hands. We will strengthen local democracy and empower local people whilst scrapping layers of unnecessary top-down Whitehall bureaucracy. And we will implement further devolution to the nations of Britain.

Liberal Democrats in government are already delivering our manifesto commitments and opening up our political system and empowering citizens. That is what we have fought for over many years, and that is what we are now able to do.

Annual Council 2010

Labour’s Councillor John Beirne accepting his appointment as Mayor of Bury for 2010-2011.

At yesterday’s Annual Council meeting of Bury Council, the Liberal Democrats have decided not to enter into a coalition with either party, and we remain a strong opposition on Bury Council.

Group Leader Councillor Tim Pickstone said: “The people of Bury have chosen the Conservatives to be the largest party on the Council. They will be forming a minority administration. We will decide on issues on an individual basis in the best interests of the people we represent and serve.”

“Labour made it clear that they had no interest in running the Town Hall, just like they showed no interest in running the country. Maybe they want to avoid taking responsibility for tough decisions.”

“The Liberal Democrat group will continue to put the needs of Bury before politics, and will continue to be an effective opposition to the Conservatives, and make every single Liberal Democrat vote in Bury count”.

Statement from Nick Clegg MP

“Tonight the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive of the Liberal Democrat party have overwhelmingly accepted my recommendation that we should now enter into a coalition government with the Conservative Party.

“Before I say anything more about that coalition government I would like to express my thanks and admiration for Gordon Brown. He has been a towering figure in British politics for well over a decade. And the manner in which he has acted over the last few days has demonstrated immense dignity, grace and a profound sense of his public duty.

“We are now going to form a new government More importantly than anything else, we are going to form a new kind of government; I hope this is the start of a new kind of politics I have always believed in. Diverse, plural, where politicians with different points of view find a way to work together to provide the good government for the sake of the whole country deserves.

“That was what we were asked to do by the people of Britain in the General Election last Thursday and that is what we will deliver.

“I want to thank David Cameron for the very open, constructive and workmanlike way in which we have come together to make this agreement on how we can come together in this coalition government. We are obviously politicians from different parties. I believe we are now united in seeking to meet the immense challenges that now face the country and to deliver a fairer, better Britain.

“Of course there will be problems along the way; of course there will be glitches. But I will always do my best to prove that new politics isn’t just possible – it is also better.

“I’d like to say something directly to the nearly seven million people who supported the Liberal Democrats in the General Election last week. I am now acutely aware that I carry your hopes and aspirations into this coalition agreement.
I am sure you have many questions, maybe many doubts. But I can assure you I would not have entered into this agreement unless I was genuinely convinced it was a unique opportunity to deliver the changes you and I believe in.

Fair taxes.

A fair start in life for every child.

A new approach to our discredited banking system and the prospect of green and sustainable economic growth.

And new, open politics which you can trust once again.

“So I hope you will now keep faith with us let us prove to you that we can serve this country with humility, with fairness at the heart of everything we do. And with total dedication to the interests and livelihoods of everyone in this country.”

Lib Dems launch Environment manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have set out radical plans to protect the environment and set the economy on a path to a zero carbon Britain.

The proposals include a £3.1bn green economic stimulus package, plans to slash energy use and improve energy efficiency, and a UK Infrastructure Bank to embed green investment for the long term.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:

“This election is not like any other. Climate scientists tell us that the next government will be the last that can stop dangerous climate change.

“That is a huge responsibility for the party that wins this election. But it’s an even bigger responsibility for the voters that will choose them on May 6.

“So my message is this: don’t settle for a Labour party that has had thirteen years to deliver on the environment and has failed. Don’t settle for a Conservative party that talks the talk on green issues, only to align themselves with climate change deniers in the European Parliament. And don’t give your vote to a Green Party that cannot make a difference in Westminster.

“Instead, choose the only party that was taking a stand on saving the planet well before it became fashionable. The only party that has led the way on tackling climate change, from championing the 10:10 campaign in our councils, to setting out radical plans in Parliament to cut Britain’s carbon emissions. Choose the only party that in the wake of the economic crisis is setting out a credible vision for a new and sustainable economy.

“Something really exciting is happening in British politics. This is a huge opportunity to set Britain on the road to a prosperous and green future. “We should seize it.”

Do you agree with Nick?

Last week saw Nick Clegg go head-to-head with the Labour and Conservative leaders in a home affairs debate on ITV1. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, debated with Gordon Brown and David Cameron about domestic affairs. Subjects discussed included immigration, healthcare and education.

After the first TV debate, more and more people say they agree with Nick and the Liberal Democrats.

Can you help us with the campaign in Bury? There is loads to do in the next couple of weeks and every bit of help is much appreciated. Get in touch.

If you didn’t see the debate , you can watch it online the next couple of weeks and every bit of help is much appreciated. Get in touch.

If you didn’t see the debate , you can watch it online here.

Liberal Democrats Local Election Candidates

Nominations are now in for the local elections for Bury Council on 6th May 2010 (the same day as the General Election.

The Liberal Democrats are fielding a full slate, including two candidates in the Pilkington Park ward, where following the resignation of a Conservative Councillor, there are two vacancies.

East: Linda Arthur
Moorside: Nissa Finney
Redvales: Tim Bowden
Elton: Robert Sloss
Church: Jim Eagle

Holyrood: Tim Pickstone
Sedgley: Andrew Garner
St Mary’s: Donal O’Hanlon

Radcliffe North: Kamran Islam
Radcliffe East: Mike Halsall
Radcliffe West: Lynne Molloy

Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor
Ramsbottom: Paul Jenkins
Tottington: David Foss
North Manor: Ewan Arthur

Whitefield and Unsworth:
Pilkington Park: Wayne Burrows and Joanne O’Hanlon
Besses: Julie Baum
Unsworth: Theo Tymczyna

£13 Billion Tory VAT Bombshell

Analysis of the Conservatives’ proposed tax cuts or reversals shows that they will cost over £13.5bn a year in 2011-12 prices – yet just £100m has been specifically identified to fund them.

This leaves a £13.4bn black hole, equivalent to a 3% rise in the standard rate of VAT. This would mean an extra tax of £389 on the average household.

The Liberal Democrats have fully-costed plans to raise the starting threshold for income tax to £10,000 – this would put £700 back in the pockets of the vast majority of people, and lift around 4m of Britain’s lowest earners out of paying tax altogether.

It would be funded by ensuring the very well-off pay their fair share, through measures including:
taxing capital gains as income

a mansion tax on properties worth over £2m

giving tax relief on pensions only at the basic rate

tackling tax avoidance
Commenting, Nick Clegg said:

“Liberal Democrats have costed, in full, our proposals for tax cuts. We can tell you, penny for penny, pound for pound, who pays for them.

“We will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises. The Conservatives will. Let me repeat that: Our plans do not require a rise in VAT. The Tory plans do.

“Their tax promises on marriage and jobs may sound appealing. But they come with a secret VAT bombshell close behind.

“So if you’re on an ordinary income, you have a choice. If you want your taxes to rise: vote Labour or Conservative. If you want your taxes to fall: choose the Liberal Democrats.”