Category Archives: Liberal Democrats

Sheffield Lib Dem leader switches seats to avoid getting the boot

Sheffield Council’s Lib Dem leader is switching seats to avoid an embarrassing local election defeat.

Lib Dem group leader Shaffaq Mohammed has represented the student friendly Broomhill ward for a decade…but will be moving up the hill to leafy Crookes and Crosspool just in time for the election on May 22nd.

He made no public announcement confirming his departure – voters found out about the switch when a leaflet was stuffed through their door.

lib-dem-running-scared-full

It’s hard to fault him. After all, his predecessor as Lib Dem leader, Paul Scriven – also a Broomhill councillor - was forced into an embarrassing third place in the 2012 local elections, behind Labour and the Green Party. Shaffaq is currently the only remaining Lib Dem councillor in Broomhill.

The upmarket suburbs of Crosspool and Crookes, on the other hand, attract the bare minimum of students, and the Crookes ward, where both areas sit, is right in the middle of Clegg’s constituency of Sheffield Hallam. The ward was one of a handful of Lib Dem holds in 2012′s election.

You may remember Mr Scriven from the delightful and not at all embarrassing advert he made for his favourite local hotel, where he sang and danced to Lou Reed’s Perfect Day…and hoped nobody would notice. Scrapbook did.

Running in Shaffaq’s old seat will be student Lib Dem activist, Old Etonian and former Clegg intern Harry Matthews. He enjoyed brief fame for giving Nick a bright green onesie and asking him if he’d ever worn it live on the radio.

Shaffaq told the Sheffield Star:

“There is no guarantee of winning any seat in Sheffield – I never take anything for granted.”

Wise words…

Lembit Opik now hosts a pro-Iranian propaganda ‘comedy’ TV show

lembit-opik-iran-propaganda

The latest bizarre career move in the increasingly implausible life of Lembit Opik is a foray into Iranian propaganda, cloaked under the veil of a ‘comedy’ news programme.

At least Scrapbook think’s it’s supposed to be comedy, it’s hard to tell with Lembit.

He’s taken on hosting duties on News At When, which airs on a recently launched Freesat channel called London Broadcasting Partners. The show’s described as “Britain’s first satirical pro-Iranian politics show” – and, somewhat chillingly, as “Iran…with a smile.”

The alleged comedy show includes a character called ‘Mr West’ who is shown blaming Iran for various day-to-day inconveniences, and is characterised by a series of overly long, stony silences. Presumably to allow the viewer to laugh at the jokes. Only there aren’t any jokes.

The skit ends with Lembit’s co-presenter declaring “That poor old chap needs to stop obsessing about Iran.”

As yet, The British, pro-Iran answer to The Daily Show has failed to set the world on fire. At the time of writing, the debut episode had clocked up a whopping…419 views on YouTube. And at least three of those were Scrapbook doing research for this story.

This isn’t Lembit’s first journey into the realm of Iranian propaganda – a few years ago, he was given his own show on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s favourite TV channel, Press TV.

You’ll probably remember Press TV as being the Iranian Government-owned channel which got fined £100,000 and lost its broadcasting licence after it aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, that had been conducted under duress.

In the opening of the show, faux-exasperated at Opik’s poorly timed ‘comedy’ interruptions, his co-host asks: “Are you done?”

We wish, mate. We wish.

Crisis for Clegg: Defiant Portsmouth Lib Dems let Hancock keep Cabinet job

clegg-hancockPortsmouth’s Liberal Democrat councillors made a defiant challenge to Nick Clegg’s authority tonight, by voting to let Mike Hancock keep his seat on the city’s cabinet, despite having been suspended by the party for alleged sexual misconduct

The astonishing decision, made during a three hour private meeting, comes just hours after a High Court judge overruled the council’s attempt to prevent Hancock’s alleged victim seeing the full report into the scandal.

Hancock was suspended from the national party earlier this week, after a redacted copy of the Pascoe Report into his behaviour was leaked to Scrapbook and Guido. He remains a member of Portsmouth Council – as well as an MP – but currently sits as an independent.

The council’s Lib Dem group broke the news in a brazenly defiant statement, taking Hancock’s side against the national party leadership:

‘Cllr Mike Hancock no longer remains a member of the Portsmouth City Council Liberal Democrat Group because, having had his membership suspended by the party at national level, it is not possible for him to remain a member of the city council group until the suspension is lifted.

The group acknowledges that the suspension has been imposed before the issue to which suspension relates has been properly and fairly determined through due process in the courts.’

It means Hancock – who denies allegations he forced his tongue down the throat of a vulnerable constituent, repeatedly turned up at her house and masturbated on her sofa – will keep his job as cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development.

And the £10,300 pay packet that goes with it.

 

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Now winner of Eastleigh by-election caught exaggerating CV

Mike Thornton with Nick Clegg

Scrapbook exposed the questionable professional credentials of the Tories calamitous by-election hopeful Maria Hutchings last week. The gaffe-prone candidate described herself as a “business woman”, name-dropping blue chip companies like Texaco as “clients” — but had apparently never been a director of a company or held shares in an enterprise for which she worked.

Now the Lib Dems’ new MP Mike Thornton may have been caught in similar chicanery. Boasting of  “business experience”, the Lib Dems said that Thornton worked as a:

“Business and Development Manager”

Claiming that he “can help bring new jobs and investment to our area”, his “business” credentials sounds impressive. But his council register of member’s interests shows that Thornton works as a mortgage advisor to Southampton-based Simply Finance. Doubtless a worthy trade – but not a business leadership role.

“Independant [sic] Mortgage Advisor with contract to Simply Finance Group, Drivers Wharf, Southampton”

Political candidates who have worked in the private sector should stop over-egging their “business experience” to suggest they are entrepreneurs or have held leadership roles in SMEs.

Rennard ‘sex scandal’: Clegg version of events unravels on radio phone in

Nick Clegg on LBC radio

Nick Clegg’s version of events on the harassment allegations against Lord Rennard is unravelling at an alarming rate. The deputy prime minister had previously claimed that his office were informed of “general concerns” regarding the party’s chief executive in 2008.

But with a former Lib Dem MP revealing she told the deputy prime minister about Rennard’s behaviour when he became party leader in 2007, Clegg was forced to defend himself on a radio phone in this morning.

His poor attempt to account for this gap is already being likened to Richard Nixon:

“I can only tell you the truth as I can recollect it now”

And it got worse, with caller “Cathy from Dulwich” turned out to be, errr, Cathy Newman from Channel 4 News, who seized on his admission that Rennard didn’t simply resign as chief executive for “health and family reasons” as claimed at the time. LBC producers didn’t seem to be impressed, however, and cut her off before she could follow up.

If it looks like a cover up and smells like a cover up …

Clegg to address Women’s Day rally in wake of ‘sex harrasment cover up’

Lib Dem International Women's Day rally

Top Liberal Democrats linked to the cover-up of alleged sexual harassment by former party chief exec Lord Rennard are to  address a party rally on, erm, International Women’s Day. In an ironic turn of events, the gathering on “meaningful gender equality” will be addressed by Nick Clegg, who despite previous denials was forced to admit he had known about Rennard’s behaviour for five years, and women’s minister Jo Swinson, who has been accused of “not acting” over allegations.

Page 24 of the party’s spring conference guide:

The Liberal Democrats and our predecessors have long championed this agenda. Whether it be in the campaign for women’s suffrage, legislating to recognise economic and legal rights, demanding equal pay, fighting for the right to choose, and challenging continuing discrimination and barriers to equality.

One barrier to equality being an alleged of a “sex-for-favours” culture in which female candidates and staff were pressured into sex.

The training event ‘Staying out of jail’ also makes a reappearance on page 30.

Too late for Chris Huhne, though.

How the Lib Dems U-turned on Lord Rennard ‘sex pest’ claims

It’s not the ‘crime’ that gets you: it’s the cover up.

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