Archive for the 'Front Page' Category

I am going to ensure that Liberal Democrats are the party of ideas and inspiration for Britain.

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Ming Campbell celebrates his election as leader of the Liberal Democrats (Photo by Alex Folkes / LDDPics)
March 2, 2006: Ming Campbell’s address following the announcement of the result of the Liberal Democrats leadership election:

Thank you Mr Returning Officer and all of your staff and all the counting staff for all their hard work in ensuring an efficient count.

Thank you to everyone who voted and who took part in this election.

A particular thank you to those whose votes ensured this result.

The challenge now for all of us is to lead this party back towards government at the next election.

Today is not a victory for me; it is a victory for all Liberal Democrats.

Once again in these last few weeks we have confounded our critics and the commentators, all of whom wrote us off. Yet thousands of people in Dunfermline and West Fife elected Willie Rennie as the 63rd Liberal Democrat MP.

A victory in Labour’s heartlands and a victory which bursts the bubble of Cameron’s Conservatives.

A victory that points the way to a contest against those twin forces of conservatism.

A victory which underlined the remarkable legacy we have from Charles Kennedy.

Now let me say a few words to my opponents in the Leadership election.

To Simon let me say, I never cease to admire your tireless efforts to promote the cause of liberal democracy. I look forward to continuing that work together with you as a valued friend and campaigning President of our party.

To Chris let me say, you are a formidable asset for our party and will be a big part of our future. I look forward to working with you and the others of the brightest and best generation in politics to develop and strengthen our party.

Let me tell you how I am going to lead the Liberal Democrats.

I am going to modernise our party so as to make a reality of three party politics in Britain.

I am going to ensure that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the party of ideas and inspiration for Britain.

I am going to encourage the brightest and the best from every walk of life and every part of the country, women and men of every class and creed, every background and religion, to join in making Britain a better country.

I am going to lead the party to crusade against poverty – the poverty of income and the poverty of aspiration. Fairness and freedom are the inalienable right of every citizen.

I am going to ensure the party champions environmental protection, through radical tax policies and global effort. We have a duty to pass on a world fit for our children and grand-children.

I am going to make the Liberal Democrats the party of democratic revolution – combating the un-elected quango State, the unaccountable power of central government and the secrecy which still pervades too much of Britain.

I am going to make the Liberal Democrats the party which looks beyond our shores, which recognises that prosperity, security and sustainability are all dependent on using our influence to shape and participate in effective international action.

I am going to make the Liberal Democrats the party which wants to take power from Westminster and Whitehall and give it to men and women in their own communities to determine how they run their schools, hospitals, police and transport.

Leadership will mean tough questions and difficult answers, as we embrace the opportunities created by the new political landscape.

But the prizes can be the most exciting for liberals and progressives in 100 years.

We have the brightest political generation in our ranks.

Who would not relish the chance to lead in these circumstances?

Who would not relish the task of taking on both Labour and the Conservatives?

The task is to build a strong, effective, powerful Liberal Democrat party with the objective of ensuring a greener, fairer, decentralised and democratic Britain at peace with itself at home and admired abroad.

Thank you

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

March 1, 2006: As the poll closed for the Liberal Democrat leadership election, Ming Campbell issued the following message:

I want to thank everyone who has voted in the leadership election and the very many people who attended hustings up and down Britain over these past two months. I want to thank my superb team for their tireless efforts to support my campaign.

This is the third time that Liberal Democrat members have voted to elect a party leader.

I would be proud to follow Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy and I would relish the chance to champion the great cause of liberalism in debate against Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

That decision is one for Liberal Democrat members. Whatever the outcome tomorrow I look forward to campaigning alongside Simon Hughes and Chris Huhne in the weeks, months and years ahead to put the Liberal Democrat case to the country.

Our real fight is not against each other, it is a fight to promote the great cause of Liberal Democracy, a fight for a better Britain.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

February 23, 2005: Ming Campbell’s address to the London Hustings

As my good friend and constituency neighbour Willie Rennie MP has observed, this party seems to do pretty well without a leader.

Perhaps your journey tonight has been unnecessary.

Perhaps we could soldier on as we are, leaderless but regularly trouncing our opponents at by-elections.

Let it be clear tonight, whichever of Simon, Chris or I win – our real fight is not against each other, it is a fight to promote the great cause of Liberal Democracy, a fight for a better Britain.

We need unity certainly. But we also need clarity.

I know what I stand for and I’m determined that the country knows too.

A fair, green, democratic, decentralised Britain with an ethical foreign policy.

Values, beliefs, policies that chime with the vast majority of people in Britain.

(more…)

Ming Campbell talks to Nicola Davies and Liz Barker (video)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Ming Campbell talks to Nicola Davies and Liz Barker about the women who have influenced him in his life and about his desire to see a more representative House of Commons:

If you have difficulty viewing this video, for example if you only get sound and don’t have pictures, you may need to upgrade your copy of the Flash Player. This is quick and easy to do. The latest version of the Flash Player is available here.

Read the transcript of Ming’s discussion with Nicola Davies and Liz Barker »

Guantanamo Bay must close: It is time for the Prime Minister to take action and to demand the closure of the camp.

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Sir Menzies Campbell MP, today called for the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities to be closed, and the detainees to be released without delay or swiftly brought to trial. His demand follows the publication of a UN report on conditions in the camp.

Sir Menzies has written a letter today to the Prime Minister in which he calls on him to press the United States government to close the detention facilities.

He also asks the Prime Minister to confirm what representations have been made by the Government on behalf of British residents being held at Guantanamo Bay, and to clarify whether British officials have had any role in supporting or facilitating the transfer of individuals to the camp.

Commenting, Sir Menzies said:

The systematic violation of human rights undermines the moral authority of the West and makes it impossible to win the long-term battle for hearts and minds.

It is time for the Prime Minister to take action and to demand the closure of the camp. Detainees should either be charged or released.

I also hope that the senior representatives of the Conservative Party presently visiting Washington will use the opportunity to make it plain that the present situation at Guantanamo Bay is intolerable.

The findings of the UN report are deeply damaging. These practices can have no place in a civilised democracy.

(more…)

Campbell hails victory in Gordon Brown’s backyard

Friday, February 10th, 2006

Ming Campbell campaigns with Willie Rennie in the Dunfermline by-election
Welcoming Willie Rennie’s sensational victory in the early hours of this morning, acting Liberal Democrat leader Ming Campbell said:

This shows that there are no “no go areas” for Liberal Democrats. This is conclusive proof that the public will respond with enthusiasm to the Liberal Democrat vision for Britain.

If anyone in the media – in the Westminster village – or elsewhere doubts the electoral vigour of this party they must stand up and take notice now.

In Willie Rennie, we have yet another superb parliamentarian. If I have the honour of being elected to lead this great party, I look forward with confidence to welcoming very many more to our parliamentary ranks.

Paddy Ashdown: why I am supporting Ming Campbell

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-HampdonDear Fellow Member,

Since I was elected leader of our great party, we have grown in size and influence in every year, at every election and at every level.

Now our members must decide who should lead the Liberal Democrats to the next level.

The decision that we take is vitally important. After all, our ambition must be to break the 100 seat barrier and challenge for government.

But to take this step up, to reach this next level, we will need a leader of undisputed authority and credibility.

That is why I am supporting Ming Campbell.

All three candidates have their strengths. But Ming is not just a party leader, he is also a national leader. He is a politician with the stature to take on and beat Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

My judgement is that the British public will tire of a politics characterised by flim-flam and modishness. If elected, Ming will offer principled leadership based on values and conviction.

I believe that in the next period of our politics – that will be set against the backdrop of a growing crisis in the Middle East and the challenges of nuclear proliferation – foreign policy will play an unusually large part in the future of our country and the Western world.

Ming Campbell is also the candidate with the greatest experience. Nothing can prepare a person for the challenge of becoming a party leader. What we need is someone with a proven track record in parliament and politics. A leader who has consistently shown the character and judgement to command the confidence of his colleagues.

And crucially, the new leader also needs to be a strong team player. It is no coincidence that Ming has the backing of the overwhelming majority of parliamentarians and members who have worked alongside him. He is also the person who can provide the leadership and professionalism necessary to inspire and unleash a uniquely talented new generation of Liberal Democrats.

So I will be giving my vote to Ming Campbell. But we have a proud democratic tradition in the Liberal Democrats: every member has a vote, and every vote counts equally.

This is an important decision, so do please use your vote.

 

Paddy

I know real liberals, Mr Cameron, and let me tell you – you are no liberal

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

February 8: Ming Campbell issued the following statement shortly before arriving in Dunfermline for eve of poll campaigning:

Yesterday, David Cameron invited local Lib Dems in Dunfermline to join his party.

Let me explain why this invitation is laughable, and will not be taken seriously here in Scotland or anywhere else in the country by Lib Dem members.

Mr Cameron has made clear his admiration for Mr Blair – sometimes it seems as though the feeling may be mutual.

Mr Cameron wishes to be seen as a liberal. Mr Blair wished to be seen as a liberal in his early years.

But being a liberal is not about what you say, but what you do. Mr Blair no longer even pretends to be a liberal.

I know real liberals, Mr Cameron, and let me tell you – you are no liberal.

In his first few weeks, Mr Cameron has shown in his actions precisely which aspects of Mr Blair’s leadership he wishes most to emulate.

Insubstantial policy statements, empty pledges, the obsession with media spin. These are the aspects of Blairism that Mr Cameron has been fastest to adopt – just when they are going out of fashion.

Why have they gone out of fashion? Because people today want their politicians to be honest about their beliefs, to make promises they can keep, and to stand up for Britain�s fundamental liberal values, not to sell them down the river for short term political advantage.

David Cameron’s flip-flops on policy expose his inexperience. He’s still a novice. A leader with L-Plates.

So while Conservatives may think that youth, inexperience, and naivete are the answer to their problems; I say they are not the answer to the country’s problems.

Tomorrow’s Britain needs leaders of experience, proven good judgement, who people know they can trust. That’s my territory Mr Cameron, not yours. And I can’t wait for the chance to put that choice to the British people.

Thirty-one MPs now backing Ming

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

Andrew George, MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly, has announced his support in a letter signed by all the Cornish MPs and Paul Tyler, former MP for North Cornwall, backing Ming’s campaign. This brings the total number of MPs backing Ming’s campaign to thirty-one – more than the other two candidates combined. Ming also leads in support from Lords, MEPs and Council Group Leaders.

Our party needs unity, a clear purpose and firm leadership from a man who can get the very best out of the talented team we now have in Parliament.

I believe that Ming is by far the best person to do this. He has the integrity, professionalism and commitment to radical liberalism we need.

Read the full list of supporters »

It seems natural to me that we should be at the forefront of attempts to improve the EU

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

February 2: Ming Campbell met with Liberal Democrats in Brussels earlier today and addressed them as follows:

I am delighted to be able to join you here today.

The European Parliament is unique. There is simply no other Parliament in the world like it. Working in twenty different languages, legislating for a partnership of 450 million citizens, it is a daring example of representative democracy in action.

I am immensely proud of the work of our Liberal Democrat MEPs, and of that of our colleagues from Liberal parties across Europe. You are promoting a European Union which is economically dynamic, environmentally sustainable and politically accountable. A union which has liberal values at its core.

I am a lifelong internationalist. It has always seemed self evident to me that the pooling of sovereignty at international level is necessary if we wish to influence the world around us. Globalisation has made this need for collective, supranational decision-making even more pressing. The new threats to our collective security international terrorism, unstable or rogue states, weapons of mass destruction, cross border crime, and global climate change demand a coherent international response.

In seeking the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in Great Britain, I can promise you this: I will lead a party which will wear its internationalism on its sleeve.

(more…)

Applying fresh thinking to the urgent challenges of our times

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

January 31: Ming Campbell today launched a personal statement entitled “Policy Themes, Leadership Priorities” in which he identifies the most pressing challenges facing Britain today and how he, as leader, would tackle those issues.

When I joined this party we were not afraid of fresh thinking, of testing the boundaries of political debate, and challenging the fossilised thinking of the other parties. I am determined that we will become a party not of protest, but of Government, a party which changes Britain for the better.

I believe that a modern Liberal Democrat party is better placed than any other to understand and address the most pressing challenges of our time:

  • the overbearing centralisation of public life in Britain, which has led to a pervasive feeling of individual powerlessness amongst its citizens, and to public services which still fail too many of the people they are supposed to serve;
  • the absence of social justice, with persistent levels of poverty and social immobility, which are simply unacceptable in a country as wealthy as ours, and a tax system still biased against the poor;
  • the unsettling effects of globalisation and the urgent need to rebuild confidence in the international rule of law;
  • the threat of catastrophic environmental degradation and the complex task of changing individual behaviour for the sake of the survival of the planet;
  • the fundamental imperative of reforming our outdated political institutions, and defending civil and individual rights at a time when Labour and the Conservatives are all too ready to abandon those hard won freedoms.

These are the urgent challenges of our times. My leadership will focus relentlessly on applying fresh thinking to these issues, drawing on our longstanding principles, and offering new solutions and answers to a British electorate weary of spin and managerial politics.

This personal statement sets out in more specific terms how I would aim to deliver on those pledges.

Read “Policy Themes, Leadership Priorities” »

Be proud of who we are and what we have achieved.

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

January 28: Ming Campbell at the Plymouth hustings:

Be proud of who we are and what we have achieved. But the best is yet to come. Not a time for caution and consolidation. Time for confidence and commitment. I am confident. You are committed. Together there should be no limit to our ambition.

The first official party hustings were held in Plymouth today. Sir Ming Campbell gave a forceful speech at the hustings, setting out five areas for the party’s future direction:

  • fighting poverty
  • civil liberties
  • the environment
  • internationalism
  • reviving local democracy

When asked by Sky News if he was confident now that commentators are putting him as the clear front runner, Ming Campbell said:

I take nothing for granted. I am optimistic, but not complacent.

When queried about the possibility of the Tory and Labour parties squeezing the Liberal Democrats out at the next election, he answered:

Bring them on…

Read Ming’s Plymouth hustings speech in full »

Ming Campbell sets out his agenda for the environment

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Ming Campbell visits the Eden Project with Norman Baker MP

January 23: Speaking at the Eden Project in Cornwall, Ming Campbell called for an Environmental Incentive Programme to build incentives for good environmental behaviour into the tax system. It would be part of an historic shift in our tax system to make polluters pay and to take the poorest out of tax.

Unveiling a series of proposals to protect the environment, Ming Campbell also called for;

  • Further road charging systems, with councils having the right to use the revenues raised to improve their own public transport alternatives.
  • Better information for individuals about the environment impact of their actions such as details of the carbon emissions caused by flights on airline tickets.
  • Developing carbon accounts for individuals and households, once the technology allows, to influence everyday behaviour.
  • A new international agreement on carbon dioxide emissions to tackle climate change.
  • Developing the full range of renewable energy, reducing energy demand, promoting cleaned-up fossil fuel and encouraging localised micro generation rather than rushing towards the costly and problematic nuclear option.

Ming Campbell was accompanied to the Eden Project by the partys environment spokesman Norman Baker MP, who is one of Mings leading supporters.

Read the environment speech in full »

Hammering on the doors of power

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Ming Campbell launches his campaign for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images).

January 19: Launching his campaign, Ming Campbell pledged that under his leadership the Liberal Democrats will not be making polite interjections from the sidelines. We will be hammering on the doors of power, he said.

He highlighted the five key themes of his campaign:

  • fighting poverty,
  • civil liberties,
  • the environment,
  • internationalism and
  • reviving local democracy.

He said that he has been overwhelmed by the support of Liberal Democrats across the party. His campaign has the support of some of the brightest and the best in British politics and British public life.

In every era the glittering talents colonise one political party. It is our fortune that this bright generation has chosen the Liberal Democrats. My mission, as Leader, would be to harness their ability, to ensure that it is our party that becomes the rallying point and the catalyst of this new political era.

Read the campaign launch speech in full

More than ever, Britain needs a strong liberal voice

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

Ming Campbell addressed the Liberal Democrat ‘Meeting the Challenge’ conference earlier today:

I want to begin today by paying tribute to Charles Kennedy. In his resignation speech Charles displayed the dignity and courage, which made him such a success as leader of our party. He led us to new heights in two general elections. Today we salute Charles, wish him well and look forward to him returning to the front-line.

I also want to say to my colleagues Mark, Chris and Simon let us have a vigorous contest for the leadership, let us debate issues and policies – but let us remember how much unites us and let us never forget for one second that the real battle for us Liberal Democrats is against Labour and the Conservatives.

I have come here today to affirm my belief in a great cause. It is a cause that has inspired and dominated my whole life. The cause of liberty, of freedom, of justice. The cause that empowers people and liberates communities. The cause that enlightens our world and inspires our politics.

It is the great cause of liberalism. I have always been proud to be a Liberal and a Liberal Democrat and to campaign for this party since I was a student.

(more…)

Liberal Democrats must display a radical, reforming zeal to help to give more power to people, not government – to communities, not bureaucracies.

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Ming’s article was published in the Times on January 13, 2005

We live in a time of constant, restless change. Consolidation and caution will not be an adequate response, either for our country or for the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democracy cannot be a struggle between those who wish to modernise and those who do not. To be a Liberal Democrat is to be a moderniser. I believe that the central task of the Liberal Democrats today is to understand the forces that are likely to shape Britain in the years to come and act upon them.

(more…)

Hear no evil, see no evil approach to rendition will not make allegations disappear

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Responding to Tony Blair’s comments on extraordinary rendition at his monthly news conference, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, said:

The Prime Minister is obviously determined to continue with his hear no evil, see no evil policy.
But these allegations will not go away. So long as there is no requirement for aircraft transiting through British military or civilian airfields to specify who their passengers are, there will be anxiety and conjecture.

UK role in “rendition” illegal and immoral

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Commenting on reports of increased use of UK airports by American aircraft engaged in “rendition” of people to countries where torture is permitted, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:

“So-called ‘rendition’ is illegal and immoral.
The UK should not facilitate the transfer of individuals from countries where torture is illegal to countries where it is permissible.
We should have no part of that.”