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Category: Parliament / Constitutional Affairs

  • September 11, 2014

    Devo max is a cheap last-gasp offer – but a federal UK may be the happy result

    Mark had the following article published in this morning’s City AM. To read it on their website, click http://www.cityam.com/1410368705/devo-max-cheap-last-gasp-offer-federal-uk-may-be-happy-result  WHATEVER the outcome of next week’s referendum on Scottish independence, of one thing we can be sure: the constitutional settlement that had helped make the Union such a success for 300 years will be tainted. This settlement […]
  • June 10, 2014

    Westminster Hour – Mark discusses Birmingham schools story & Newark by-election

    Mark appeared this week on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour with Lib Dem MP, Martin Horwood, and Labour MP, Bridget Phillipson. Below is a summary of Mark’s thoughts on some of the topics that were discussed: Cabinet row over Birmingham schools/Trojan Horse story The Prime Minister’s decisive and thoughtful intervention on this matter was clearly […]
  • May 27, 2014

    The birth of four-party politics? Almost everywhere in London it’s a two horse race

    ‘London is out of touch’ screams the Sun in disbelief at the capital city’s refusal to embrace UKIP. Nowhere else in England and Wales did the Farage insurgency fail to secure first or second in the popular vote. In fairness this followed a slew of newspaper commentary in the aftermath of last week’s local elections […]
  • February 5, 2014

    A Miliband Government Might Really Take Us Back to the Sixties

    Perhaps predictably as election fever hots up, keynote speeches by Party leaders are now commonplace. However, last month’s offering from Ed Miliband on reform of the banking system may yet herald a more radical restructuring. Perhaps we should be thankful that little more has been heard of his grand theory of ‘pre-distribution’ since its first […]
  • January 18, 2014

    2014 – The Tory Equivalent of Brown’s Missed Opportunity?

    Gordon Brown’s premiership in 2007 began auspiciously. From two domestic crises he managed to fashion a honeymoon. It is easy to forget now, but the new Prime Minister’s surefooted handling of a terror alert and severe floods helped project him as a strong, national leader. This translated into soaring poll leads in the summer of […]
  • May 3, 2013

    Some initial thoughts on the local election results

    First, my heart goes out to those scores of dedicated, community-minded Conservative councillors who lost their seats. Rightly many will feel that they deserve better than to be voted out in a tide of mid-term anti-coalition sentiment. Second, these were almost unprecedentedly mixed results with all parties able to claim some good news amidst other […]
  • June 13, 2012

    Jeremy Hunt Censure

    The following article is to be published in tomorrow's edition of City AM: The Liberal Democrats’ decision to play politics over the Jeremy Hunt censure vote will not be forgotten by already aggrieved Conservative backbenchers. The opportunity for revenge at some future point will be relished.
  • March 29, 2012

    Whither the coalition?

    Regardless of post-Budget and party donor squalls, I reckon it still remains a sensible working assumption that the coalition will sustain for the full five year term of this parliament. Incumbents are notoriously difficult to prise out of Downing Street. Against all odds (or so it seemed) John Major survived for virtually a full term after the collapse of his economic policy in September 1992; similarly even Gordon Brown could not be ousted from the Premiership in spite of apparently perennial terminal crises in the quarter-decade from October 2007...
  • March 27, 2012

    Can we restore our faith in politics?

    Below is the text of a speech Mark was to make at a local debating event: Make no mistake – this year's parliamentary allowances and expenses scandal will have a lasting impact on British democracy. The Daily Telegraph's handling of this story will provide a seminal case history to media watchers for decades to come. This parliament is now paralysed by inaction and lacks credibility or public confidence to govern effectively. This would be serious at the best of times. These times, however, are arguably the worst seen in
  • November 14, 2011

    Alan Keen MP

    I was deeply saddened to learn of the death this morning of Alan Keen MP. I knew Alan principally from his eight-year stint as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Football Group, having served as his Vice Chairman for the past three years. He was absolutely dedicated to the world of football and was an avid supporter of his beloved Middlesbrough, having worked as a talent scout for the club before entering politics....