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Paddy Ashdown backs Norman Lamb for Lib Dem leader

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown has endorsed Norman Lamb to be the next Liberal Democrat leader.

Lord Ashdown, who led the Lib Dems from 1988 to 1999, admitted it was "hard to chose" between Lamb and his rival Tim Farron, but that it was "decision time"

Lib Dem party members will decide Nick Clegg's successor in a leadership election the July 16.

Mr Clegg stood down as party leader after the Lib Dems defeat in the general election in May.


Lamb: Lib Dems' tuition fees 'debacle' cost party

The "debacle" of the Liberal Democrats' U-turn on university tuition fees "massively undermined" voters' trust in the party, one of its leadership candidates has said.

Norman Lamb, a former health minister, wants to replace Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader. Credit: PA Wire

Norman Lamb said the Liberal Democrats had learned an "extremely painful lesson" from raising tuition fees to £9,000 while in coalition government with the Conservatives, despite ex-leader Nick Clegg's pledge to vote against any increase.

"Trust for me is critically important and that debacle massively undermined people's trust in the party," he told BBC Radio 4.

"I believe very strongly that we have now learned a massive lesson, an extremely painful one. But I don't think we will ever make that mistake again."

Lamb - who confirmed to ITV Anglia yesterday that he wanted to replace Nick Clegg - voted in favour of tuition fee increases in 2010, while his potential rival for the leadership, Tim Farron, rebelled and voted against the policy.

Care minister: Change after scandal 'unacceptably slow'

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said the Winterbourne View scandal was "a wake up call" but that progress to bring about change "has been unacceptably slow."

The Lib Dem MP said: "I want to see a real change of pace in the next few months to move people out of institutions where appropriate, and, with the right support, back into the community. NHS England has been tasked to develop a clear plan to move things forward quickly."

File image of the Winterbourne View residential hospital. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Mr Lamb's comments came after families of Winterbourne View Hospital abuse victims accused the Government, NHS and local authorities of an "appalling failure" over the rehousing of vulnerable people with disabilities.

Complaints have been made that some families are having to travel hundreds of miles to the units where their children have been housed.

Norman Lamb MP: Helicopter crash 'absolutely tragic'

The MP for North Norfolk Norman Lamb, in whose constituency the crash happened, has said it is "absolutely tragic" for the families of the crew members involved.

Lamb: Care cap 'does not include bed and lodging'

The Government cap on care "does not include the cost of board and lodging", the care minister Norman Lamb told Daybreak.

Instead, the Government will set a cap on "the care that you need", such as "help with washing", the Lib Dem MP explained.

"Of course you would want to go further in having the cap lower - I understand that, we all want to do that, but it has to be sustainable.

"And the problem is we are all living longer and the costs of care keep escalating."

He added: "It's a bit rich for Labour to criticise it because over 13 years, they did absolutely nothing."


Minister: NHS to be 'world leader on patient safety'

Norman Lamb said transparency on staffing levels would benefit patients. Credit: PA

Health Minister Norman Lamb said: "We are determined to see the NHS become a world leader in patient safety - with a safety ethos and level of transparency that matches the airline industry.

"The Francis report is already having an effect, with the NHS planning to hire more than 3,700 extra nurses over coming months.

"Experts know that the right number of staff varies by ward and by shift, and should be based on evidence.

"We need transparency on staffing levels, backed up by a strong inspection regime to get better, safer care".

Care minister: 'Unrealistic to think 15 minutes is enough'

The care minister Norman Lamb has said it is "unrealistic" to think 15 minutes is enough time to provide adequate care to the elderly and disabled.

Data obtained from 63 local authorities in England by a care charity found that three-fifths now commission 15-minute visits, despite concerns that short visits "deprive" people of essential care.

Norman Lamb said there were too many examples of councils buying "rushed care visits" Credit: PA

Norman Lamb said there were too many examples of councils buying "rushed care visits": "It's unrealistic to think that 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed.

"It's not fair on those who need support and it's not fair on care workers."

The minister insisted the Government needed to help provide "better care for the 300,000 people currently getting home care" and for those likely to need it in the future.

Care minister calls for those at fault in CQC to be named

Care minister Norman Lamb has said he believes those to blame for "covering up" the health regulator's failures over Furness General Hospital should be named.

"This culture of covering things up, of gagging orders, pay-offs, this has to never happen again," he said.

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One that he had "a lot of confidence in the new leadership" of the CQC, but stressed the need for "total transparency".

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