Young Liberals Condemn Cable For Defending Rennard

The LibDems’ youth wing has condemned Vince Cable’s defence of Lord Rennard yesterday. Cable told the BBC he didn’t regret having the pervy peer help out on his campaign and rather unwisely told LibDem women to “move on”. Unsurprisingly that has gone down like a cup of sick with the Young Liberals:

“We at Young Liberals are disappointed to hear Vince Cable defending Lord Rennard’s involvement during his election campaign this year. Alistair Webster QC, who conducted an earlier investigation into the Rennard allegations on behalf of the party, made a statement saying “let me be clear from the outset that the evidence suggests that Lord Rennard’s behaviour has caused distress to a number of women, so much so that they came forward several years after the event in question”.

As part of Young Liberals Policy, Lord Rennard is banned from attending all Young Liberals events, and our members can refuse to work with him without fear of disciplinary action.”

LibDem insiders say the truth is doddery Cable is totally out of touch with the modern world on sexual harassment and doesn’t understand why LibDem women have a problem with Rennard. They say Vince has to be strong-armed into making any critical noises about Rennard and had to be talked down from giving him an official job. LibDems have been depressed by Cable’s tin ear on this issue…

Cable: I Don’t Regret Having Rennard on My Campaign

Vince Cable has told BBC 5 Live’s Emma Barnett that he does not regret having Lord Rennard help out on his campaign in Twickenham in June. Confronted with Guido’s story that Rennard was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents, Cable admitted:

“He did come as a volunteer. I had hundreds of volunteers. He’s a party member; he came along and did some canvassing and supported us, as he did with other MPs and candidates. I don’t regret he came as a volunteer. The position is, he’s an ordinary party member, he comes and helps and knocks on doors like hundreds of other people, and he came and supported my campaign.”

Cable also backed Rennard’s continuing LibDem membership, saying the party should “move on”:

“He clearly is the focus of a great deal of critical comment. I want the party to move on… I don’t want every conversation to go back to what happened 10 years ago with him. His position is not a comfortable one, but he is still a party member and I think that’s where it should rest.”

Not sure LibDem women will be particularly impressed at being told to “move on”…

Now Cable Duped By Mend Extremists

Last week Guido told how Jeremy Corbyn, Wes Streeting, Stephen Kinnock, Naz Shah and Afzal Khan hosted MEND in parliament. MEND is an extremist-linked group whose senior figures have praised Al-Qaeda, attended speeches by al-Qaeda hate preachers, and justified the murder of British troops. The latest politician to fall for their scam is Vince Cable, who has appeared in a video for the group name-checking them and praising their work. Presumably Vince doesn’t know what they’re really like – he can click on the links above and see for himself. Corbyn and Sayeeda Warsi also appeared in the video. Why do politicians keep palling up to this sinister bunch of wrong ‘uns?

Leaving Lembit

Sad news for Lembit Opik, whose better half Sabina has publicly dumped him on Twitter. Plenty more fish in the sea, Lembit. Sports tonight?

LibDem Women Write to Cable Accusing Party of Covering Up Sexual Assaults

An 82 strong group of LibDem mainly women activists have signed an open letter to Vince Cable accusing the party of covering up sexual assaults and harassment. The letter, signed by dozens of female activists over the last two days, says the party did not “adequately look into” an allegation of assault against a male LibDem, warns this is not an “isolated case” and says “the party is failing” at dealing with harassment:

Dear Vince,

We didn’t want to resort to this. This should have been dealt with effectively by Liberal Democrats HQ, but instead we have been left with no choice but to pen this letter. When a group of young women put forward allegations of sexual assault against a fellow member of the party in July 2017 we expected a thorough investigation. Instead the allegations against the accused were not adequately looked into and a suspension only occurred two days ago.

We wish this were an isolated case, but these stories are common within the party. After the allegations about Lord Rennard, we were promised a change in the complaints procedure. It is evident this has not happened.

Three days ago, you sent an email to all members pledging to stamp out harassment and assault in the party. Right now the party is failing at this. It has been days since we first went public with this situation and all we have heard is attempts to justify the party’s behaviour.

We want a full review into the procedure for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and assault and for the recommendations of the review to be properly implemented. We want more comprehensive support for those who come forward, so people can report with complete confidence that the party will treat their case with the full consideration it deserves.

We are disappointed, Vince. We love this party. We believe that our principles of tolerance, equality and freedom are worth fighting for, but currently the party is not living up to them. We want this party to be a safe environment for all members, and we urge you to take action.

Vince welcomed Rennard back into the fold, these LibDem activists know he doesn’t get it…

Local LibDems Don’t Want Olney Back

Sarah Olney says she has quit as Vince Cable’s chief of staff because she has been “lobbied intensively” by local members to run again in Richmond Park. That isn’t what local LibDems are saying this morning. Members of Olney’s local party say they are distinctly unimpressed by her simply announcing that she is going to be the candidate again next time round. They say she resigned as a PPC when she took the job with Cable and so should face full selection like anyone else. Complaints have been sent by Richmond LibDems to party HQ protesting the situation and demanding the local party is able to choose its candidate. 

It’s not hard to see why they feel this way. Olney was the only MP in Greater London to lose her seat to a Tory. There is no way she should have lost that seat given the London backdrop. She lost because she had not used her six months to deliver anything for her constituents. There is also the question of her expenses, which are still the subject of a police probe. The Richmond Park result was the upset of election night, what makes Olney think her local party are going to want her back?

Olney Quits After Just Six Weeks As Vince’s Chief Of Staff

Former Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney has quit as Vince Cable’s Chief of Staff after only six weeks in the role, Guido understands. ‘LOLney’ only managed to survive five months in the Commons before being ousted by Zac Goldsmith. There is speculation tonight that she has quit over an issue related to her expenses…

LibDem HQ Accused of Hushing Up Rape Allegation

The LibDems have finally been dragged into the Westminster sex scandal after a series of allegations were raised online over the weekend. One activist claims LibDem HQ hushed up a rape complaint made against a party activist: “the general LibDem HQ approach to dealing with sexual assault complaints is to say ‘report it to the police’ and then hush it up.”

A LibDem spokesperson confirmed to Guido a party member has been suspended:

“These allegations were referred to the police for investigation. A member of the party is suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. If an allegation is made against a party member, the disciplinary procedure is triggered immediately with an investigator talking to witnesses.

“If someone has an allegation of a criminal nature against a member of the party, we would urge them to go to the police. If they were unable to do so, we would refer it to the police on their behalf.

“Our party has a clear and robust complaints procedure set out on our website. We take any such complaints extremely seriously. If anyone has any complaints, we would urge them to come forward as set out on our website, and our pastoral care officer will make prompt contact.”

Meanwhile, a website called “LibDemsToo” has been set-up by party volunteers to catalogue “a sexism within the UK Liberal Democrats” and provide “useful links for taking action”. One account reads:

“A fellow male activist of a similar age (20s) was drunk at conference and when saying goodbye at the bar he tried sticking his tongue down my throat. It was horrible and I’m wary to be around him (especially after he has had a drink as he can’t seem to control himself).”

Doesn’t look good…

Vince Cable’s Stunning Harassment Hypocrisy

Vince Cable has joined in the condemnation of the Westminster sex pest revelations, saying in a statement last night that parliament needs to do better at dealing with allegations of harassment:

“The Prime Minister is right to be calling for these changes. Parliament clearly needs improved procedures to respond to allegations of harassment. The Liberal Democrats have introduced similar changes since a review in 2013, which has proved a positive step.”

How does Sir Vince deal with harassment allegations? Infamous wrong ‘un Lord Rennard ran Cable’s campaign in Twickenham in June, he was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents. Here they are together on the campaign:

Tell us again Vince about how seriously you take harassment allegations…

Next Week Sheffield Hallam LibDems Select Candidate

Guido hears that next Friday (November 3) Sheffield Hallam LibDems are going to select their parliamentary candidate. There are five on the shortlist, Nick Clegg is not one of them. Don’t think he would particularly enjoy sitting in parliament over the next few years. Next week’s meeting could well decide the next Sheffield Hallam MP…

Tories and LibDems Call on Labour to Suspend Whip From Jared

The Tories and LibDems are both calling on Labour to suspend the whip from sexism, homophobia and racism row Jared O’Mara. Justine Greening has written to Corbyn:

Dear Mr Corbyn,

I am writing to you regarding the actions of Labour MP Jared O’Mara, whose sexist and homophobic comments have been widely reported in the media today.

This morning a member of your Shadow Cabinet, Angela Rayner MP, defended Mr O’Mara, implying that he was a now reformed character given that he made some of these comments fifteen years ago.

However, it has since been alleged that Mr O’Mara made misogynistic comments to a young woman in a night club just seven months ago.

I agree with Labour MP Chris Leslie who has called for these latest allegations to be investigated.

Violent, sexist and homophobic language must have no place in our society, and parliamentarians of all parties have a duty to stamp out this sort of behaviour wherever we encounter it, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

Will you be investigating the latest allegations made against Jared O’Mara MP? How is it that individuals who have made such remarks can be selected as Labour candidates? Will you be removing the whip from him while the investigation is carried out?

These comments show the deep and persistent stain on Labour’s ability to represent women, the LGBT community and wider society.

In less than a week, two of your MPs have been found to have made inappropriate comments.

LibDem leader Vince Cable adds:

“This is completely unacceptable behaviour, if he did make these remarks Labour needs to withdraw the whip from him immediately.

“People must have confidence that MPs will stand up against prejudice. As MPs we cannot let ourselves fall short of those standards, particularly in our dealings with the public.

“One thing is for sure, the Labour Party need to review their selection process for general election candidates.” 

Still no comment from Labour…

Give Us a Brake: Tom’s ‘Red Diesel’ Hot Air

Last month LibDem Tom Brake tabled an Early Day Motion on air pollution. It specifically called on government to end subsidies for ‘red diesel’ (red-dyed, lower VAT diesel that is meant for use in agricultural machinery rather than cars):

“That this House notes the Government’s plans to tackle Britain’s air pollution crisis and improve air quality…further notes that reduced duty red diesel for certain uses costs HM Treasury £2.4 billion annually; believes that subsidising red diesel also inhibits the Government’s plans to support the take-up of cleaner technologies and tackle air pollution effectively…”

In Brake’s Carshalton and Wallington constituency there are proposals to build a giant rubbish incinerator. Brake’s website proudly trumpets his support for the incinerator in a lengthy defence of the project. There’s just one thing: the proposed incinerator will burn 2,000 tonnes of red diesel per year (in order for the internal temperature to reach the necessary levels). A co-conspirator writes: “If Mr Brake is so keen on cutting the use of red diesel and air pollution, why has he supported the Viridor Incinerator?”. Guido has written previously about murkiness with Brake and Viridor. His Carshalton constituency is a real rotten borough, this is the tip of the iceberg…

Davis: Brake Leaked His Own Letter

Last night Tom Brake complained to Bercow that he suspects DExEU leaked to this website a letter he wrote to David Davis. It’s clearly hurting Brake as he brought it up in the Commons again at DExEU questions this afternoon. DD comprehensively slapped him down, replying that the first DExEU heard about the letter was when a journalist called them up asking for comment. In other words, Brake leaked his own letter to the press first. A row entirely concocted by Brake, who is not only wasting everyone’s time to serve his own bitterness but also misleading the House…

Brake Misleads Bercow About Guido Story

Tom Brake has gone crying to Bercow after his letter to David Davis last week was published by Guido. In a point of order yesterday Brake whinged:

On Friday I emailed the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’s office at eight minutes past 12. It was acknowledged by his office at 21 minutes past 12, and by 15.03 precisely my letter was on Guido Fawkes’s website.”

Except there is one embarrassing bit of information that Brake didn’t tell Mr Speaker. The first DExEU heard of his letter was when newspapers started calling them up for comment. Which means Brake leaked his own letter to the press first. Bercow might be no fan of Guido, but he won’t take kindly to being misled by Brake either…

LibDems Threaten “Civil War” If Cable Promotes Rennard

Guido’s story about pervy peer Chris Rennard worming his way back in with the LibDems has caused quite a row. Rennard is an old friend of Cable – more modern-minded LibDems say their leader is too old school to understand why it is not appropriate for their Harvey Weinstein to still be knocking about. Rennard ran Cable’s campaign in Twickenham in June, he was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents. The LibDems are rumoured to be having a reshuffle this afternoon, and Vince is said to be considering promoting Rennard to an official role. This is causing immense anger among senior LibDems, who are threatening “civil war” if Cable attempts to get his old mate back in. Surely Vince can see the problem, though don’t remember him joining the criticism of Weinstein this week…

UPDATE: No “shadow cabinet” job for Rennard in the reshuffle. Would have been a bold move from Vince.

Vince Welcomes LibDems’ Harvey Weinstein Back Into Fold

With Westminster calling on Theresa May to strip Harvey Weinstein of his CBE, the LibDems are still letting their own handsy wrong ‘un get away with it. Bridget Harris, one of Lord Rennard’s victims, has compared the former LibDem chief executive to the disgraced Hollywood mogul in an interview with Emma Barnett. Ali Goldsworthy, who was also harassed by the pervy peer, says Weinstein and Rennard are a case of “Same playbook, different location”. Surely the LibDems won’t be having anything to do with Rennard, right?

Wrong. This is Lord Rennard two weeks ago on a trip to Brussels with the LibDem chief executive and a third of the party’s MPs. Rennard and Vince Cable are old friends, LibDem sources say he is trying to get back into the fold and judging by this photo he is having some success. This trip would have been known about by Cable’s office – they obviously did nothing to prevent Rennard’s attendance. One is a disgraced power-broker despised and loathed by young women in his field, the other is Harvey Weinstein…

UPDATE: Another LibDem source gets in touch to say Rennard effectively ran Cable’s election campaign in Twickenham – here’s a photo he posted on polling day of them campaigning together:

There is a battle going on behind the scenes to convince Vince not to give him a job…

Cable Schooled By Young Brexiteer

Tricky outing for Vince Cable on Question Time last night. First he was schooled by a young Brexiteer who challenged his delusions about becoming Prime Minister. Then he was taken to task over his party’s record on tuition fees:

Tough sell.

Vince Bottles “Slicing Up Corbyn” Line

The pre-briefed version of Vince Cable’s LibDem conference speech included the line:

“If Jeremy Corbyn sits on the fence any longer, he is in danger of being sliced up the middle by the serrated edge.”

The line was cut from the speech on delivery, perhaps after they saw how it went for Osborne talking about chopping up his opponents.

This is the most interesting thing to come from this week’s LibDem dross. Sky News cut away from Vince’s speech after a few minutes to hear from the President

Lol-Ney Simply the Best

Simon Hughes and Sarah Olney singing Simply The Best at Lib Dem conference. Since Simon and Sarah both lost in June it seems the voters disagree…

EU Berets at LibDem Conference

Meanwhile down in Bournemouth… yes they really are wearing EU berets. And no idea what this video trailing the new LibDem PPB is about:

Needs a cigarette for the full Herman Cain circa 2012 look

H/T @jhallwood
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Noel Gallagher on Brexit:

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