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Govt would be 'well advised to recall Parliament'

The former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said he believes "it would be in the interests of the Government" to recall Parliament over the crisis in Iraq.

"I think the Government would be well advised to recall Parliament and to give Parliament the opportunity of sharing with Parliament everything that the Government has done and at the moment at least is intending to do," he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One programme.

He added that if MPs were to be recalled "both Parliament and the country will be better informed."

Lib Dems will go after 'Mr Bigs'

Abolishing prison sentences for drug possession will free up resources to go after the "Mr Bigs", Justice Secretary Simon Hughes told Good Morning Britain.

Responding to criticism of the Lib Dem manifesto pledge, announced today by party leader Nick Clegg, Mr Hughes said: "the people who simply are picked up for having drugs which they are using themselves...and we don't believe that sending them to prison which costs the state a lot of the answer and we would use the money we concentrate on the 'Mr Bigs', the people who sell drugs, the people who promote the drugs, the people who import the drugs."


Mother 'wishes' drug addict son went to prison

A mother whose heroin-addicted son committed suicide told Good Morning Britain a bit of her "wishes" he had gone to prison.

Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, who has written a book about her experience and set up charity DrugFAM, spoke out against Nick Clegg's Lib Dem manifesto pledge, announced today, to abolish prison sentences for drug possession.

Read: Son's drugs death 'like having a limb ripped off'

Alexander: Lib Dems 'do not believe in austerity forever'

The Liberal Democrats will not support "austerity forever" and would lead a Government which balanced paying off debts with "investing in the future", according to a senior member of the party.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told Good Morning Britain the Lib Dems also had to show voters how the party "was distinct" from the Conservatives and Labour.


Clegg goes after rich with Lib Dem economic policy

The Lib Dems will "significantly" reduce the national debt every from 2018/19 and only borrow to invest in projects which will boost growth, Nick Clegg will announce later today.

Read: Ashdown warns Lib Dems 'stop it now' after plot

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg's party took a battering in the local and European elections. Credit: PA

While the Lib Dems have committed to Conservative chancellor George Osborne's timetable for eliminating the structural deficit by 2017/18, Nick Clegg will insist his party would make the rich pay a greater share.

The economic plan for their 2015 manifesto is part of a strategy to distance themselves from the Tory party and Conservative spending plans which Clegg claims would mean "austerity for ever".

Mr Clegg will also stress the importance of investing in housing to "protect the country from another crisis" by reducing the risk of a property bubble.

In a speech which effectively starts an extended campaign by the Lib Dems ahead of next year's general election, Mr Clegg will accuse his coalition colleagues of planning to balance the books by hitting those "down on their luck" or "scraping by on the minimum wage".

Read: Voters still choose Labour despite 'unpopular' Miliband

Lib Dems want 'stronger Scotland within UK family'

Pro-union campaigners and party activists should make a positive case for a "stronger Scottish parliament which stays in the UK family", Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said.

Scottish and English flags held up over Edinburgh, Scotland. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

Read: Barack Obama backs Scotland staying within UK

In a message to activists, he said: "With 100 days until the referendum, Liberal Democrats have a golden opportunity to loudly state our case for home rule for Scotland in a federal United Kingdom.

"We know that the majority of people in our communities, in our colleges and workplaces believe Scotland has the best of both worlds as part of the UK family.

"They agree with our liberal message that Scotland benefits from a strong Scottish parliament which shapes its own domestic agenda on matters like health and education whilst working across the UK family to boost jobs and growth.

"But we need to make sure that that majority of people hear our message over the summer months. I need you to get out and make our positive, sunshine case for a stronger Scotland which works together as part of the UK."

Read: Salmond claims Independence creates economic opportunity for UK

Clegg 'knew about Lord Rennard's apology weeks ago'

Nick Clegg saw Lord Rennard's apology to four women weeks ago, but it was not released as the former Lib Dem chief executive did not want to damage the party in the run-up to last week's elections, a friend of the peer has claimed.

Lord Carlile told BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "Lord Rennard was absolutely very concerned personally not to do any possible damage to the party in the run-up to last week's local and European elections.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

"So although this apology was seen for example by the party leader [Mr Clegg] weeks ago now it was held back until the elections were over."

Asked if Mr Clegg told Lord Rennard to hold the apology back, Lord Carlile replied, "No, no, no, absolutely not. Chris Rennard went absolutely out of his way to ensure and try and make it absolutely clear that nothing further should happen in this case until after the elections."

Lord Rennard situation a 'tricky' one for Clegg

by - Political Correspondent
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
It has been a tough week for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

By Carl Dinnen: Political Correspondent

The Lord Rennard situation is tricky for the Liberal Democrat leader - to a certain extent there are party processes going on which takes this out of his hands.

Lord Rennard is appealing against the decision to suspend him for not apologising, while the women are appealing against the independent report that found Lord Rennard hadn't actually breached party rules.

Nick Clegg says the party disciplinary process has to take its course, but it is a very difficult week for him.

There are senior figures who want Lord Rennard reinstated and others who think Nick Clegg should be standing down due to recent election results.

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