Lord oakeshott

Portrait of the week | 5 June 2014

Home The government scrabbled together material for the Queen’s Speech, which promised measures to allow money to be put into ‘collective defined contribution schemes’ for pensions, as is done in Holland; to prevent pub landlords who are tied to large companies being worse off than independent publicans; to increase penalties for human traffickers; and to allow for by-elections when MPs do serious wrong. The European Commission called on Britain to raise taxes on higher value properties and build more houses. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, fought fiercely to blame each other over Islamic extremism in Birmingham schools. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, backed Conservative

For a group of Lib Dem MPs, the war is already over

The anti-Clegg Liberal Democrats are fond of World War One analogies, likening their leader to a general sending wave after wave of troops over the top to their deaths. But a more fitting military analogy would be that around a third of Liberal Democrat MPs are cut off behind enemy lines and there is nothing that can be done to save them that wouldn’t endanger the rest of the army. The stark reality is, as I argue in the column this week, if you are a Lib Dem MP in heavily Labour territory you are going to lose your seat. This is a hard thing for any MP to accept

Nick Clegg is safe, but his party will continue to glower a while longer

Nick Clegg is safer now than he was this morning. Lord Oakeshott’s outing as the source of these ICM seat polls and his resignation from the party has put the plotters on the back foot. MPs who were ambiguous in their support for the leader are now much more forthright. Vince Cable himself is preparing a further statement of loyalty to Clegg following his denunciation of Oakeshott yesterday. The Clegg operation is more interested in getting this story over with than settling scores. It is vigorously defending Cable, arguing that he can’t be held responsible for Oakeshott’s actions. But the problem for Clegg is that the Lib Dems’ internal structures

Isabel Hardman

Will Oakeshott’s demise kill off Lib Dem revolt?

Nick Clegg said this morning that ‘appropriate steps’ will be taken to deal with Lord Oakeshott after the peer was outed as the ‘Lib Dem supporter’ who had commissioned uncomfortable polling about the Lib Dems’ chances in 2015. As with other difficult situations with Lib Dem peers, though, Clegg doesn’t have that much power to remove the whip from Oakeshott, even if he’d like to. Speaking after his speech on international development the Deputy Prime Minister said: ‘I think it is wholly unacceptable for people in a campaigning political party facing very very difficult elections last week as we were to find out now with hindsight that a senior member

Who is behind the campaign to oust Nick Clegg?

Lord Oakeshott has gone under the radar, as speculation mounts about his involvement in a bid to oust party leader Nick Clegg. Many believe he is responsible for commissioning a poll that appeared in today’s Guardian, showing that Clegg and other Lib Dems could lose their Commons seats if he remains leader. Looking through the House of Lords Register of Members’ interests, it’s clear that Oakeshott is very rich indeed, boasting numerous Directorships and shareholdings. He certainly has the financial clout to fund such a poll. The register reveals something else, too: that Oakeshott has one member of staff, called Naomi Smith. She confirmed to me that she is ‘a

Isabel Hardman

Polling council investigates anonymous Lib Dem seats survey

Who is the mysterious ‘Lib Dem supporter’ behind the ICM poll showing that the Lib Dems would fare very badly next year if Nick Clegg remains leader? ICM have published the poll tables, saying only that the commissioning client is a ‘member of the Liberal Democrats’. The British Polling Council rules state that its members must refer to the ‘client commissioning the survey’, and there is some suggestion that simply saying the client is a Lib Dem member isn’t quite sufficient. I’ve spoken to the BPC’s Secretary Nick Moon, who says the Council is examining ICM’s disclosure to see whether it complies with the rules. He says: ‘It is a

Prime Minister and Chancellor ‘stayed submerged’ on bankers’ bonuses

The irrepressible Lord Oakeshott is making mischief again: he’s using Sir Mervyn King’s comments about Goldman Sachs bonuses today to attack David Cameron and George Osborne. He’s just told Coffee House the following: ‘The Governor speaks for all on Goldman’s greed. He shows leadership where the Prime Minister and Chancellor stayed submerged. Starbucks are an also ran in the tax avoidance stakes compared to world champions like Goldmans.’ Then he took another covert shot at the Treasury by referring – not by name – to the appointment of former Goldman employee Mark Carney as the next Bank of England Governor: ‘Big banks like Goldman can’t have it both ways. If

Autumn Statement: Lord Oakeshott claims George Osborne dances to donors’ tune

The Liberal Democrats are keen to use today to show that Coalition works, but Lord Oakeshott is in a less charitable mood. I’ve just had a chat with him about George Osborne’s explicit rejection of the mansion tax in his statement today as ‘intrusive’. The former Lib Dem Treasury spokesman in the House of Lords says: ‘I’m not withdrawing anything I have said about the Tories and the mansion tax. Intrusive is exactly what taxes on high-end tax dodgers have to be. George Osborne has performed a screeching handbrake turn on Tory donors’ orders.’ Nick Clegg’s aides have been trying to labour the proalition point in their briefings , though. A

Lib Dem conference: Oakeshott calls for Cameron to take one for the team on universal benefits

Nick Clegg’s attack on universal benefits such as the winter fuel payment and free bus passes this afternoon was a nice little morsel of red meat to his party, as he said it would be ‘difficult to explain’ a failure to reform these payments when other benefits are being slashed. He told the World at One: ‘My own view is for the future that it would be very difficult to explain – and it would be quite interesting if you could ask the Labour party for this, because they appear to be saying that at a time when people’s housing benefit is being cut, we should protect Alan Sugar’s free

The work experience Chancellor

Lord Oakeshott has just sparked some outrage by arguing on the World at One that George Osborne, who he described as a ‘Chancellor on work experience’ should be replaced by Vince Cable. He said: ‘I do think that George Osborne, he’s got no business experience, he’s never worked outside politics, and you know, he’s doing surprisingly well for a Chancellor on work experience, but really in a torrid time like this I think we do need the absolute best people available.’ A now-backbench Lib Dem peer announcing he would like to see a Lib Dem leading the Treasury team isn’t exactly the most surprising revelation. But what was interesting was