Call to relax rules around green belt
FORMER LIBERAL Democrat leader Menzies Campbell has been brought back into the party’s top team as part of a reshuffle announced by Sir Vince Cable.
Tim Farron, who quit as leader after the General Election, has been give the task of drawing up plans to regenerate the North under the shake-up. With just 12 Lib Dems holding seats in the House of Commons, peers feature heavily in the list.
After a decade-long absence from the frontbenches, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem becomes defence spokesman.
Sir Vince will take on the economic and business roles, a move that reflects his expertise and experience in predicting the causes of the financial crisis and five years as Business Secretary, the Lib Dems said.
New roles for Lord Storey, former Liverpool City Council leader, and Lord Shipley, who led Newcastle City Council, show the party’s commitment to restoring its fortunes in local government, according to Sir Vince.
It comes after Norman Lamb announced last month that he was stepping down as health spokesman. He has been replaced by Baroness Jolly.
Former journalist Christine Jardine takes over the Scotland brief from Jamie Stone, who will now speak on the Armed Forces.
Sir Vince said: “I am fortunate to lead such a great, gender-balanced team, which is comprised of the most talented and promising politicians in the House of Commons and battle-hardened, experienced campaigners.
“The team has a wealth of senior Ministerial experience. It also includes the former council leaders of Newcastle and Liverpool, signalling my intention to restore and build on our local government base.” RULES AROUND the green belt should be relaxed and homes built next to motorways to help tackle the country’s housing crisis, a Tory former Treasury Minister has argued.
Conservative peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe also said building height restrictions should be looked at “creatively”, with a view to provide more accommodation.
The former Tesco executive said she understood the politics around the issue were “very difficult” but argued the country was “in a crisis”.
Lady Neville-Rolfe was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords on the availability and affordability of housing.
She told peers: “A lack of adequate housing growth alongside population growth is undermining society in this country.
“I believe that housing could be a critical driver of greater productivity as well as helping mend the country’s social fabric.”
Declaring herself to be a “big fan” of the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, she argued he “should be allowed to be more radical” given the scale of the problem faced.