Cameron must accept immediate cross-party talks ensure a meaningful statutory register of lobbyists.

Cameron must accept immediate cross-party talks ensure a meaningful statutory register of lobbyists.
The recent revelations regarding the lobbying of parliamentarians are, regrettably, the latest in a long line of similar scandals. Such disclosures serve to undermine public trust in parliament and bring both Houses into disrepute. There is a real danger of adding to the growing perception that parliament is out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people.

I have been calling, on behalf of the opposition, for progress on the introduction of a statutory register of lobbyists along with a clear code of conduct since the start of this parliament. It is now more important than ever before.

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Labour must create a rupture with the past 30 years to win in 2015

I was elected to Leeds city council during the miners’ strike, perhaps the defining domestic event in her period of office and I became leader in 1989. I was there when she left office having tackled head-on her assault on local government and communities, most notably the poll tax.

All who were politically aware, as I was, at the end of the 1970s understood the relevance of WB Yeats’ celebrated line “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”.

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The Tories are leading a government of wasteful spending and inefficient policies

Ever since the General election the Conservatives have attempted to brand Labour as the party which is known for wasteful expenditure. Similarly they have sought to represent their own party and the coalition government more generally as a highly efficient operation which is not wasting public money. This has been one of the central tenets of the public discourse about politics and the economy for more than two years and the Conservative approach to this matter has found a widespread echo in the media.

But the truth is that this widely accepted representation of public expenditure and the relative position of each of the political parties was almost wholly incorrect.

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Concerns raised over proposed HS2 route

It is a positive development that the HS2 proposals show that there will be links through Yorkshire that will bring economic growth in the area and jobs to local people.

However, I do have grave reservations about the exact alignment and route of the proposals.

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Cameron’s hiring and firing of civil servants is wasteful, inefficient and ineffective

The coalition government have broken their promise to deliver a more efficient and effective government. At a time when the government is introducing a strivers’ tax on hard working families it is absolutely astounding that they are continuing to spend millions on recruitment agencies whilst simultaneously paying out millions in redundancy pay to civil servants.

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The Tories’ systematic cuts have left the Big Society in tatters

Labour’s historical and intellectual roots lie in the values of mutualism and reciprocity as a means of building social justice and strong communities. 

It is self-evident in a complex society like ours that public services will be provided by a wide range of organisations from the central state in some instances, and in others local government, or free standing institutions which are taxpayer funded. In the non-state sector, private companies operating in the market place equally provide some services as do many charities, community groups and voluntary organisations.

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The reshuffle will lead to a record number of special advisers


This Tory-led Government is not doing what it promised it would. The number of special advisers, or “SpAds”, has risen to a staggering 85 and it now looks like this number will increase even further.

As a result of the Government reshuffle last week, it is clear that there will be more politicians in the Cabinet. It is very likely that this will also lead to the appointment of new special advisers.

I have written to Francis Maude to ask how many special advisers there were before the reshuffle and  how many new special advisers will be appointed as a consequence of the reshuffle.

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