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Simon Hughes denied that the Government had been slow to act on capital spending. "No I don’t accept that. When we came to office you remember exactly what the position was. We had to check everything, we had to make sure we weren’t spen... Continue to article
Rushanara Ali, Kwasi Kwarteng and Simon Hughes did not agree with the idea of lowering the age of consent. The three MPs were taking part in a panel on BBC Radio 5live's Pienaar's Politics. Shadow Education minister Rushanara Ali said... Continue to article
Simon Hughes' personal statement to the House of Commons “A report has been published today by the Standards Committee following an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into complaints made about me. “I’m grat... Continue to article
Simon Hughes said he would have preferred if the Government’s NHS reforms had not gone ahead. “No [the Liberal Democrats would not have done it if they were in power alone]. It wasn’t our intention and it wasn’t something we were comfort... Continue to article
Simon Hughes called on the Government to take action to curb the number of London properties being offered and sold to people abroad. “I’m a Liberal and I’m an internationalist and so I approach all policy from that perspective. But I ... Continue to article
Simon Hughes confirmed there was a “deal to be done” to move the burden of green levies off consumer bills and onto general taxation. “There is a deal to be done, and we understand we’ve got to take the burden off the consumer. We’ve als... Continue to article
Simon Hughes said Adam Afriyie's amendment to the EU referendum bill was "barmy". "Adam's idea is to suddenly have a referendum next year, can I just say it would be barmy to do that for two very obvious reasons. Firstly [on] his argumen... Continue to article
Shirley Williams has suggested that Simon Hughes’ opposition to universal free school meals only came about because he is not a parent. Mr Hughes, who is not married, accused Southwark Council of “wasting extraordinary amounts of money”... Continue to article
Simon Hughes admitted his local party had changed their mind on free school meals since deciding they were not a spending priority. "We have changed our mind. We made a decision locally – in fact, made by councillors, not by me, that giv... Continue to article
The Liberal Democrat conference has voted against a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Delegates in Glasgow rejected an amendment by 322 votes to 228, and then overwhelmingly passed the leadership’s proposal for a reduced at-sea ... Continue to article
The Liberal Democrats, at their annual party conference in Gateshead, voted against discussing the Health and Social Care Bill in an emergency motion tomorrow, which would have aimed to get it withdrawn. Under the party's alternative voting system Baroness Williams's rival motion to support the bill was instead accepted and will be debated tomorrow, rather than a motion to "kill the bill".
Nick Clegg had urged his party to get behind the NHS reforms, saying the Health and Social Care Bill had "changed considerably" and "deserves the support of the whole party".
Deputy leader Simon Hughes earlier defended the Liberal Democrats' record in Government, and insisted he was "not worried" about the future of the party.
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Mr Hughes said: "Of course I am worried when people are concerned in the community that we are not doing the right thing, and I have concerns about that, but I am not worried about the future of the party and our ability to achieve in government the sort of changes that would not have been delivered if the Tories were there on their own."
Nick Clegg yesterday stressed the Health and Social Care Bill had been changed beyond "all recognition" since its first publication thanks to Liberal Democrat amendments.
He insisted that Liberal Democrat peers had mad "absolutely sure" competition would always be the servant of the NHS and "not its master".
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, echoed the words of his party leader and welcomed th news that Shirley Williams's motion had been chosen instead of discussing whether to drop the bill.
Speaking to Sky News he said: "Shirley has played a key role along with other Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords in terms of improving the bill, improving the bill with a view to passing it into law. I think that’s the right thing for the NHS, I think it’s the right thing for the country and so if that’s the debate we’re going to have tomorrow then I welcome that."
Baroness Williams added that after the changes made she is now prepared to support the bill.
Speaking on Sky News she said: "We’ve done everything we can to support the NHS including dealing with health inequalities and therefore I’m prepared to stand up for those reforms but not the original bill which I think was very ill-judged and very ill-conceived.”
The Liberal Democrats are expected to intensify the divisions within the Coalition over housing benefit caps when deputy leader Simon Hughes makes a speech expressing his concerns over the caps.
Mr Hughes is expected to say that the limits will "break up families" and ask: "Is this really how we want to treat now the adults of the next generation?"
Liberal Democrat sources insist that Mr Hughes supports the idea of a cap in principle, but has been left "deeply concerned" about the consequences of the reforms in central London.
The fourth day of the Liberal Democrat party conference in Liverpool was marked by pleadges of loyalty to the coalition by senior party figures and disquiet over cuts by MPs and party members. Simon Hughes said he backed the government, while MP Bob Russell said cuts could not be fair.
David Laws has put the pressure on George Osborne to raise personal tax allowances in next month's Budget, saying such a move could “end the austerity on household budgets”.
In an interview with Newsnight, the Lib Dem MP followed Simon Hughes and Ed Balls in calling for the tax cuts:
“We have to distinguish between the period of austerity for public spending and for public services, which is clearly going to go on for a period of time, from the austerity that we’ve seen in household budgets… now that we have completed most of the tax increases, now that we’re seeing inflation this year on a firm downward track, that gives us the opportunity, if we can make these other reductions in taxation by increasing the income tax thresholds - as Nick Clegg has suggested - that gives us the opportunity of ending the austerity on households budgets.”
Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes has said in an interview with the Guardian that he hoped the spending review would delay the decision to replace Trident, axe tutition fees and allow councils to build more housing.
John Pugh has accused Andrew Lansley of taking Labour's "NHS experiment" to "its logical, ultimate and slightly disturbing conclusion".
Speaking during an emergency motion discussion at the Lib Dem conference, he said: "Some thanks are due to Andrew Lansley, and you may ask why.
"I have a very simple reason for this: he has woken the country to the ultimate absurdity of a 20-year experiment with the NHS. Because what he has endeavoured to do is take the Blairite model for the NHS to its logical, ultimate and slightly disturbing conclusion."
Mr Pugh was supported by Andrew George, who said: "The NHS is more important to the public than the fate of any political party. Yes, Labour paved the way, with Tory support, but this is primarily a Tory plan with our grudging support or possible acquiescence. It’s often said ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.
"Well, I think that the future fate of both this party and this Coalition Government needs to take heed of the concept that actually: ‘it’s the NHS, stupid’."
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes admitted that the party did not “have a procedure” in place to effectively scrutinise the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill in its initial form.
04/12/2013 on The World At One, BBC Radio 4
17/11/2013 on Pienaar's Politics, BBC Radio 5live
06/11/2013 on World at One, BBC Radio 4
02/11/2013 on The Week in Westminster
27/10/2013 on Sunday Politics, BBC One
06/10/2013 on Murnaghan, Sky News
18/09/2013 on BBC News
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
5 hours ago on Pooled Clip
5 hours ago on The World At One, BBC Radio 4
5 hours ago on World at One, BBC Radio 4
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